Washington Post blogger Eugene Volokh reported trouble in Public Broadcasting Land on Monday night. Berkeley-based KPFA, the original station that started the radical-left Pacifica chain of public radio stations, abruptly canceled their August 9 event with harshly atheist author Richard Dawkins over his criticism of Islam as "the most evil religion on the planet." He was expecting to promote a new book titled Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist. It appears in bookstores the day after the canceled event.
Ironically, Pacifica is legendary on the Left as a warrior for free speech. They were the winner in the "seven dirty words" court case against the FCC in 1978. But apparently today it's obscene and dirty language to single out Islam as an evil religion. KPFA said they could not support "abusive speech."
Volokh noted that KPFA was free to do this, since it's not a "government-run" station. But he didn't note it is a government-supported station. For example, it received "community service grants" of tax money from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting of $259,371 in 2012 and $138,671 in 2013. Conservative taxpayers foot the bill for radical propaganda. Volokh reported:
I asked Bob Baldock, the events coordinator at KPFA, about why the Dawkins event was canceled. Baldock said that, while there are “a number of things in [Dawson’s] writing that we have enormous admiration for,” KPFA objected to some public comments by Dawkins — in particular, remarks “about how Islam is the most evil religion on the planet” (apparently referring to the remarks quoted in an article in the Telegraph) and his statement, “to hell with Muslims and their culture"...
Baldock also said that having Dawkins speak would set up “such a problematic thing for our audience and, I feel, the Muslim community in the Bay Area.” And Baldock remarked that he had traveled in the Middle East, and “I know how beaten down Palestinians feel” — “their collective self-esteem is the lowest it’s ever been.”
“To make remarks like that [i.e., Dawkins’ remarks],” Baldock said, “I can’t fathom what possible good it could do.” “I think he should butt out of this issue,” Baldock said (referring to the merits of Islam).
In other words, if Dawkins wanted to trash conservative Christians for homophobia and misogyny, that would be progressive. But indicting Islam for these attitudes is promulgating "bigotry" and supporting "oppression."
Dawkins told the Telegraph:
It’s tempting to say all religions are bad, and I do say all religions are bad, but it’s a worse temptation to say all religions are equally bad because they’re not.
If you look at the actual impact that different religions have on the world it’s quite apparent that at present the most evil religion in the world has to be Islam.
It’s terribly important to modify that because of course that doesn’t mean all Muslims are evil, very far from it. Individual Muslims suffer more from Islam than anyone else.
They suffer from the homophobia, the misogyny, the joylessness which is preached by extreme Islam, Isis and the Iranian regime.
In a 2015 appearance on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Dawkins criticized the double standard on the Left and openly lamented they were mocking the "Free Speech Movement" at Berkeley in the Sixties: "they think that if you criticize Islam, you’re being racist. And you’re absolutely right that the [leftists] give a free pass to Islam where they’re kind of right about everything else — I mean, they’re right about misogyny and all the other … bad things … but in the case of Islam it just gets a free pass. And I think it’s because of the terror of being thought racist...It’s just the one exception — liberal about everything else, but then this one exception, 'It’s their culture.' Well, to hell with their culture."
KPFA's Baldock also sent Volokh a statement from the Bay Area group "Jewish Voice for Peace" objecting to the Dawkins event:
It has come to our attention that KPFA is sponsoring a talk by Richard Dawkins on August 9th, 2017 in Berkeley. As an organization that opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression, Jewish Voice for Peace – Bay Area urges you to cancel this event....
KPFA plays an important role in the Bay Area progressive community, and has a wonderful track record of bringing important political thinkers to address our community on a variety of issues, including speakers on Israel/Palestine. Hosting Dawkins is completely at odds with its mission of bringing progressive political thinkers to address our community. We strongly urge you to cancel this event.
Two months ago, National Public Radio anchor Steve Inskeep interviewed Dawkins after the Ariana Grande concert bombing in England, and navigated around mentioning Islam, saying vaguely that Dawkins felt "religion" was to blame for terrorism. This is what we get for our involuntary contributions to public radio.