Churchill’s speaking invitation yanked

New venue sought for Memorial Day speech

Ward Churchill

Fired University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill responded in an email Friday to the announcement that a Grand Junction church yanked its invitation to host him as a speaker.

Confluence Media Collective, a group that publishes The Red Pill, said it will announce a new venue for the speaker sometime this weekend after the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley said it would not honor the planned Memorial Day event. The church said on its website it was denying the speaking event because many members of its congregation have relatives serving in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“If their ‘relatives and close friends’ are presently ‘serving,’ they’re still alive,” Churchill responded in an email. “The ‘remembrance’ is supposed to be of those who died bearing arms for the U.S. Like the guys from my unit in Vietnam, for example. How many of those doing all the yapping do you suppose actually lost relatives or close friends to combat? How many of these self-described ‘patriots’ ever spent a minute in combat zone themselves? Very few, I’d wager. On both counts.”

In a statement on its website, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley said it did not want to offend military families by having the event.

“While we have a commitment to providing a forum for a wide platform of ideas and people, we had not fully vetted the speaker or the date when we offered use of our building,” the church wrote on its website. “Some of our congregants have close relatives and friends now serving in the armed services in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have expressed dismay about having Churchill speak during a weekend of remembrance. Because our mission guides us toward unity with one another, we will not be using our time and space to bring a controversial and possibly divisive speaker into our community during such a poignant time.”

Eric Niederkruger, a member of the Confluence Media Collective, said Churchill will be speaking in the Grand Junction area on Memorial Day, but the new location is still being determined.

Niederkruger said the group went through the proper channels with the church to secure Churchill’s engagement.

“He is a very arousing, provocative figure. He never comes to speak to small crowds,” Niederkruger said. “It’s going to take more than a venue backing out for us not to bring him to Grand Junction.”

Niederkruger said Churchill was available to speak on Memorial Day. Having him speak in Grand Junction on that day is not an attempt by the Confluence Media Collective to make a statement, he said.


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