U.S. Christian University Cancels Ben Shapiro Speech - Then Reverses Course

Grand Canyon University in Phoenix said that the initial decision was not tied to the Jewish conservative commentator's ideas, but rather a desire to focus on 'opportunities that bring people together'

The largest Christian university in the United States canceled an appearance by Jewish conservative commentator Ben Shapiro on February 1st, but reversed course after the decision sparked a backlash. 

Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona initially explained in a statement that the decision to call off the speech was not related to Shapiro’s ideas, "but rather a desire to focus on opportunities that bring people together."

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However on Tuesday GCU President Brian Mueller told The Arizona Republic, "We’re not going to work with this group any longer, but we will extend an invitation to Ben Shapiro directly." Mueller was referring to the Young Americans for Freedom, which had initially invited Shapiro to speak.

According to Fox News, YAF, the conservative student group who invited Shapiro, slammed the University’s initial decision.

“By caving to an unseen mob and ignoring the popularity of Shapiro among its student body, Grand Canyon University just played itself and deserves whatever negative response this brings,” a YAF spokesman said in a statement. “GCU has abandoned the sentiment of its own proclaimed values, deluded itself into acting like the liberal campuses it claims to differ from, and blindly accepted the Left’s ludicrous argument that Shapiro’s presence somehow damages students, campuses, or debate.”

YAF further alleged that the University’s decision to cancel Shapiro’s speech was specifically due to his stance on immigration, Fox News reported.

Shapiro, however, contradicted this on Twitter, "I’m libertarian on immigration in a non-welfare, non-criminal, non-citizenship scenario, so not sure what the objection would be."

Shapiro sparked controversy in late January as the keynote speaker of the annual March for Life on the National Mall in Washington, when he shared the audience a head-scratching scenario about abortion and Adolf Hitler.

“The argument, I guess here, would you kill baby Hitler?” he started off, in a clip posted to Twitter. “And the truth is that no pro-life person on earth would kill baby Hitler. Because baby Hitler wasn’t Hitler — adult Hitler was Hitler. Baby Hitler was a baby.” As a result, Shapiro lost some advertisers for his podcast.