Congressman confronts Columbia Univ. Pres. with Genesis 12:3: “Do you want to be cursed?”

Congressman confronts Columbia Univ. Pres. with Genesis 12:3: “Do you want to be cursed?”

At a House Education Committee hearing, Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) grilled Columbia University President Minouche Shafik about her response to antisemitism on campus, framing his inquiry in decidedly Biblical terms. 

“The oldest and most established democracy in the region, Israel exemplifies the core values of freedom and democracy,” Allen began. In fact, I tell my colleagues that Washington, D.C., is not the center of the universe; Jerusalem is.”

Allen then noted that under Shafik’s direction, Columbia has an undergraduate and graduate degree program from the School of Religion at Columbia University, and the Department of Religion at Columbia is affiliated with the Union Theological Seminary and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

“Are you familiar with Genesis 12:3?” Allen asked Shafik, an Egyptian-born American Muslim.

“Probably not as well as you are?” she answered.

“Well, it’s pretty clear it was the covenant that God made with Abraham,” Allen continued. And that covenant was really clear. If you bless Israel, I will bless you. If you curse Israel, I will curse you. And then in the New Testament, it was confirmed that all nations would be blessed through you. So you do not know about that?”

“I have heard that now that you’ve explained it,” Shifak answered.

“So you are familiar,” Allen said. “Did you consider that a serious issue? I mean, do you want Columbia University to be cursed by the God of the Bible?”

“Definitely not,” Shifak answered.

“Okay, well, that’s good,” Allen continued. “We got freedom of speech in this country and freedom of religion. Yet we also have Moses looking down on the entire body of Congress, who gave us the law, which most of our laws were made and are supposed to be enforced. came from the original law. And what we have today is a lawless land. We have lawless universities that are overrun by people who are threatening other students who are attacking other students and creating fear in this country. We have a constitution that requires us to treat other folks as we would like to be treated, which is also in the New Testament.”

“You don’t have to believe it, but you know, the Bible is an incredible book,” Allen said. “There’s a lot of history there. And you don’t have to believe it, but you need to know what’s in there. Maybe you should have a course suggested for those who are having problems with all of this, on the Bible. And what’s in the Bible in terms of what will happen if, you know under the wrath of God.”

“Young people are being indoctrinated by these professors to believe this stuff. And they have no idea that they’re gonna be cursed by God, the God of the Bible, and the God over our flag. What are your thoughts?” Allen asked of the panel.

Claire Shipman, an American television journalist, answered.

“My thoughts are that you are right that we have a moral crisis on our campus,” Shipman said. “And I find…  the behavior of some of our students, some of our faculty, unacceptable, and I think we have a variety of tools to deal with it. We have to be able to have rules that make sense. We have to be able to afford them because people learn from consequences. We have to have a border. And then we need deep antisemitism training is essential. We must train people on what this is.”

Allen responded, finishing with another verse.

“You need to know when education is important, knowledge is important” Allend said, quoting Proverbs (9:10).

“The beginning of wisdom is fear of God.”

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