Truth to Power

Gott ist tot? Not in Texas

College Bans Nietzsche Quote on Prof’s Door

“God is dead.” That phrase, from Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Gay Science, is among the philosopher’s most well known – and most hotly debated.

At Temple College, a community college in Texas, the words in the original German – Gott ist tot – have been barred from a professor’s office door. While the college says that to leave the phrase up would offend others and constitute and endorsement of the phrase, the professor and others see a double standard in place, and a violation of academic freedom.

But he was quickly told that Mark A. Smith, interim vice president of educational services, had ordered the saying removed. And Laird said he had no choice in the matter.

Smith outlined his views in an e-mail message he sent to a student who complained about the quote’s removal. “Temple College as a public institution cannot be represented as showing preference toward any religious philosophy/perspective or toward the opposite, being atheism. The same practice goes for politics. The decision to have the quote removed was that the quote can be considered very controversial and offensive to others. In fact, other people have already expressed that the wording is offensive!” he wrote.</em>


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