The University of New Brunswick philosophy department was apparently so scared to be outed as a department that leaned conservative and Christian that they canceled a planned lecture featuring a conservative Christian. 

Dr. Corey Miller of the US evangelical organization Ratio Christi was originally going to deliver a speech titled “Is Christianity Good or Bad for Civilization?” as part of the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) philosophy of religion lecture series. 

However, his title raised concerns among the organizers, so he changed it to “Religious Beliefs: Axiological Reflections on Western Civilization.”

But the concerns didn’t end there.

According to the College Fix, email records show that one single student felt bothered by past media coverage of Miller, which had him implicated (and vindicated) in a dispute over LGBT issues while he was previously working as a professor.

“The student was not stridently angry, but was concerned that you might have anti-LGBTQ views,” Robert Larmer, chair of UNB’s philosophy department, wrote to Miller in an email just days before the scheduled September 21 talk.

The UNB philosophy department was afraid the university would cancel their lecture series, so, they opted to preemptively cancel Miller. 

“As part of a lecture series an invitation was extended to Corey Miller to participate as a potential speaker. A mutual decision was made with Ratio Christi to not go forward with the lecture,” Heather Campbell, UNB communications officer, told True North.

Miller disputes the idea that he agreed to be canceled – he told the College Fix he believes UNB’s faculty canceled his lecture because they already felt “under the spotlight by the university for being a bit more Christian and conservative at a secular university.”

“For Christian professors to operate — you’re operating clandestinely — and that’s why I’m not surprised by the fear and trembling by that department at the University of New Brunswick,” he said.

According to Miller, the UNB philosophy faculty “acted sheepish for no reason” and consequently “have become part of the cancel culture problem.”

Robert Thomas, president of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, said the decision to cancel the talk “showed a lack of intellectual courage.”

“Demands for conformity and purity tests for speakers impoverishes campus culture and limits the exchange of ideas that is necessary for a robust education that can confidently confront differences of opinion and belief in a pluralistic and free society,” Thomas told True North.

“To be fair to the university’s philosophy faculty, the department did still wish to have Dr. Miller speak. However, out of concern for the future of the still young lecture series, they chose to avoid potential controversy,” read a Radio Christi Canada blog post.

“We can certainly appreciate these concerns, but unfortunately, cancelling could only be done at the expense of freedom of thought and speech. Such is the recurring trend of cancel culture on our college and university campuses.”

The day after his UNB lecture was supposed to occur, Miller delivered a talk titled “Is Jesus genuinely unique to basic morality?” at Crandall University, a Christian liberal arts university in Moncton, NB. That lecture went forward without incident.


  • Lindsay Shepherd

    Lindsay holds an M.A. in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory from Wilfrid Laurier University. She has been published in The Post Millennial, Maclean’s, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, and Quillette.