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Philosophy professor fired after refusing to delete song on YouTube

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A philosophy professor at a Christian liberal arts college in Indiana has been fired for refusing to remove a video, uploaded on his personal YouTube channel, of a song he wrote and performed called, “Little Hitler.”

According to the YouTube description of the video posted by Jim Spiegel – who until August 24 taught philosophy, ethics, and religious philosophy at Taylor University – his song explores human nature and the nature of sin, from a religious standpoint, i.e., that of the Bible.

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The title refers to the belief that any person has the capacity to commit acts of evil under the right circumstances – when, for example, the fear of punishment is removed from the equation.

Sounds uncontroversial in the context of Spiegel’s field of expertise and the university’s own nature as a Christian educational institution, not least because the song had already been performed on campus on numerous occasions.

However, once it hit the internet, the trouble began. According to Spiegel, the university received a harassment complaint and by all accounts proceeded to present him with an ultimatum: either remove the video, or be fired. It’s not clear what type of harassment the complaint alleged and consequently what Taylor University’s administration was responding to when sacking the professor.

It’s unclear if those complaining were reflexively reacting to the title of the song itself – but the school decided to act on the complaint and fired Spiegel on August 24.

And while Spiegel, described as a religious conservative, is certain it was him standing his ground when faced with the demand to remove the video that sealed his fate at Taylor, the university said it was not about canceling diverse opinions, that is, those that go against its own positions, or removing staff for their political or ideological views.

But, as reports are pointing out, the university has not exactly explained why Spiegel was sacked, either, other than that it was looking to restore unspecified “damaged relationships.”

Meanwhile, Spiegel’s past activity is brought up, such as supporting the idea of inviting US VP Mike Pence to speak at graduation, and perhaps crucially, his own previous complaints “that the school had become too liberal.”

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