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September 26, 2006 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-26

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 BRITJ;gi


News 2 Airlines relax
restrictions for
liquids on planes
Opinion 4 Toby Mitchel on
why we torture
Sports 10 Grand Rapids native
makes great strides

One-hundred-siteen years ofeditoriadfreedom

<, 4'

--- ------- --- --- -- --- --- --- - M


Ann Arbor, Michigan Vol. CXVII, No. 16

02006 The Michigan Daily

-a -

DeVos joins
debate on

Michael Venyah, a Lansing man who is on a tour of college campuses preaching condemnation, fends off LSA sophomore Jeremy Borovitz on the Diag
yesterday. Borovitz danced close to Venyah and verbally attacked him for his statements against homosexuality.
Anti-gay spekr ii
volatile crowd onDia

backpedals on
intelligent design
By Andrew Grossman
Daily Staff Reporter
Republican gubernato-
rial candidate Dick DeVos's
campaign has focused
on Michigan's struggling
economy. But he made a
rare foray into the politi-
cally dangerous debate
over social issues last week
when he told The Associ-
ated Press that he supports
teaching intelligent design
alongside evolution in pub-
lic schools.
TheDeVos campaign later
backpedaled. It released
a statement Wednesday
saying the AP report was
inaccurate and that DeVos
only supports letting local
school boards decide what
to teach.
"In the end, I believe in
our system of local con-
trol," he said in the state-
ment. "Local school boards
should have the opportunity
to offer evolution and intel-
ligent design in their cur-
The state Board of Edu-
cation currently issues cur-
riculum guidelines laying
out what students should
know upon graduating high
The guidelines say that
schools should teach evolu-
tion, but make no mention
of intelligent design.
Intelligent design is the
idea that life on Earth is
so complex that it could
not have evolved through
natural selection but was
created and guided by a
supernatural being. Propo-
nents, often affiliated with
religious groups, argue that
intelligent design is a scien-
tific theory that should be
taught alongside evolution
in public schools.
Like many in the scientif-
ic community, Anthropolo-'
gy Prof. Beverly Strassman
"It's a pseudoscientific
theory," she said. "You can't
compare something based
on faith against a scientific
More than 80 years after
a Tennessee court fined John

Scopes $100 for teaching
evolution in his high school
classroom, the debate over
teaching intelligent design
in science classes has heat-
ed up again.
After the Kansas state
school board adopted cur-
riculum standards that ques-
tioned evolution, a school
board primary in August
ended with the election of a
pro-evolution majority.
In a study of the United
States and 31 European
countries published this
summer by Science maga-
zine, the United States
ranks second to last in the
percentage of adults who
believe in the theory of evo-
lution, ahead of only Tur-
The state Board of Edu-
cation is currently writing
binding graduation stan-
dards for public high school
students. The board delayed
approval of the standards
earlier this month to allow
for more comment from leg-
islators. Some speculated
that the delay resulted from
debate over the standards
for teaching evolution.
Liz Boyd, spokeswoman
for Democratic Gov. Jen-
nifer Granholm, said Gra-
nholm opposes teaching
evolution in science class-
"We need to teach estab-
lished theory, which is
evolution, in our science
classrooms," Boyd said.
"But we can explore the
controversy over intelligent
design in a current events or
comparative religion class."
Education Prof. Nancy
Songer said a current events
class would be the ideal
place to discuss intelligent
"The theory of intelligent
design has some interesting
ideas, but there is no scien-
tific evidence to support any
of the ideas," she said. "It
would be a great topic in a
current events course."
She said local school
boards shouldn't have the
option of teaching intelligent
design in science classes.
"What's problematic
about letting school boards
decide is that it confuses
the issue about whether it's
a scientific issue or not,"
Songer said. "If it's allowed
to replace scientific theory,
it just confuses students."

In response to cries
like 'Homos are going to
hell' students react with
shouts of their own
By Walter Nowinski
Daily Staff Reporter
A Lansing man stood on the Diag
yesterday preaching hatred toward the
gay. His booming voice drew a fiery
and at times offensive counter-pro-
"The Pope is going to hell, Michael
Venyah shouted to the crowd of doz-
ens gathered around him. "Homos are
going to hell."
Then, signaling one student out of
the crowd, Venyah proclaimed "You
are going to hell!"
The comment was one of the many
that inflamed the large, angry crowd
that faced off with him on the Diag for
much of the afternoon yesterday.
Venyah and Chris Lemieux, who
said he'd been following Venyah since
he became a Christian seven years
ago, berated students with religious

rhetoric for at least five hours, squar-
ing off with students who swore and
cursed at them.
Both wore red shirts with yellow
lettering that said "ALL HOMOS GO
TO HELL." "God did not make you
gay'" Lemieux shouted, following his
proclamation with obscene descrip-
tions of sexual acts, which he said
would result in damnation.
Venyah, who leads the Lansing-
based Soulwinners Ministry with his
tour of college campuses. According
to his website, www.soul-winners.org,
he and Lemieux are at the beginning
of an eight-month, 15,600-mile, 27-
state, 64-campus tour.
"We are here to tell the students,
faculty and staff of the judgment that
awaits them" Venyah said.
Venyah also condemned oral sex,
masturbation and any form of sex out-
side of marriage.
LSA sophomore Jeremy Borovitz
was one of the many students who
challenged Venyah and Lemieux in
response to a derogatory comment
about anal sex. After Lemieux fin-
ished a vivid tirade, Borovitz jumped

out from the crowd toward the two
black preachers.
"You know what else it says is OK
in the Bible?" Borovitz said. "It says
slavery is OK."
Borovitz then sarcastically sug-
gested onlookers chain the preacher
up and "drag him out of here."
Many in the angry crowd cheered
and laughed.
Although most modern Christians
do not believe the Bible condones
slavery, scripture has been used to
support the practice in the past.
Reached by phone late last night,
Borovitz said he regretted using slav-
ery as an example. He said he was
angry at the preacher and that he
reacted in the heat of the moment.
"It angered me what that guy was
doing:' he said. "I'm not gay, but if
there was a gay person there, it would
have offended them"
Borovitz said that he was trying to
point out how ridiculous the preacher
was being.
"Slavery's wrong," Borovitz said.
"Slavery's inherently wrong. I mean it
entirely sarcastically. It's a ridiculous

Other students consulted their
Bibles and tried to confront the two
preachers with theological rebukes of
their claims.
LSA junior Jonathan Tyrpak, who
identified himself as a member of
Campus Crusade for Christ, urged
interested students to join him for a
more civil discussion of Christianity.
"I think this man is a misrepresen-
tation of what Jesus Christ says in the
Bible," Tyrpak said. "I believe that
God will forgive all your sins if you
believe in him. I think the crowd's
reaction has to do with the lack of
grace that this man shows."
As the afternoon wore on, the
exchanges between the two preachers
and the crowd grew more intense.
A large group of students began
chanting "asshole" loudly. Several
same-sex students kissed and hugged
each other in order to draw the scorn
of the preachers. Others went a step
further and tried to spank Lemieux.
Another student attempted to flick ash
from his cigarette on Venyah's head.
Jeff Speaks, a School of Music
sophomore who stopped one stu-
See PREACHERS, page 7

Alum's job:
Be friends
with a senator

Aide reflects
on Obama's
presidential run
By Dave Mekelburg
Daily Staff Reporter
Every so often, recent Uni-
versity graduate Nick Colvin
looks out into the Washington
traffic to see a cab driver, win-
dow down, declaring his sup-
port for Sen. Barack Obama.
For Colvin, scenes like these
are reminders that the man sit-
ting next to him in the car is
not only the junior Democratic
senator from Illinois, he's a
national star.
It's only his first term in the
senate, but Obama's already
become a Democratic darling.
He delivered a key speech at

the Democratic National Con-
vention, he's the only black
Senator on Capitol Hill and
whispers around Washington
hint that he might have presi-
dential ambitions.
But as Obama's personal
assistant, Colvin has a closer
view of him.
"He's just Barack to me,"
Colvin said.
Colvin does not follow
Obama home to Illinois on
weekends, but from Monday
night to Thursday afternoon,
he works with him 11 to 16
hours a day.
Most of Colvin's friends
don't understand what the job
of a personal assistant entails.
"They ask if I ever get to see
him or talk to him;' he said,
Colvin likened himself to
Charlie Young, the character
on "The West Wing" who is

explores race
and the press
Note: Michigan Daily that does not inform,"
Editor in Chief Donn said keynote speaker Ellis
Fresard normally edits Cose, a Newsweek colum-
the stories on the front nist.
page. Because he was The symposium, called
quoted in this story, he "Can You Print That?"
did not edit it. brought together report-
ers, editors and academics
Panelists discuss from diverse backgrounds
how offensive is and was sponsored by the
University chapter of the
too offensive National Association of
Black Journalists.
By Laura Frank Controversies about
Daily Staff Reporter what is and what is not
appropriate to print when
Journalists have not it comes to racial and
only a right but a duty to ethnic issues affect many
offend in certain situa- types of news media,
tions, according to pan- including campus publi-
elists at a conference cations.
yesterday about minori- At a panel discussion
ties and the media. in the afternoon, Tiffany
"A greater danger to Hsu, editor in chief of
our society than a press The Daily Californian at
offending people is a press See PANEL, page 7

Nick Colvin, who graduated from the University this spring, is now the personal assistant of Sen.
Barack Obama (D-iii.)
the personal aide to fictional the senator. and senior Illinois Sen. Dick
U.S. President Jed Bartlet. The job of waking up Durbin. Another day, it might
Colvin doesn't work at an Obama often belongs to Col- be delivering a speech about
anonymous desk in the back of vin. After the wake-up call, genetic research.
a campaign office, far from the the agenda changes daily. On According to Colvin, only a
action. Instead, he spends his Thursdays, it's "Constituent handful of senators have per-
hours in close company with Coffee" with Illinois residents See OBAMA, page 7


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