Friday, February 12, 2010

Marquette Student Government: No Free Speech About Homosexuality

Last night, the Marquette University Student Senate passed a resolution condemning “prejudicial attacks” on gays and lesbians, claiming that “On Marquette’s campus LGBTQ issues in the past have been overlooked” and that “LGBTQ individuals have been subjected to intentional and unintentional prejudicial attacks . . . .”

This might seem bland enough, although actual harassment and discrimination against gays (and a long list of other groups) has long been against university rules. So why a redundant resolution?

A big problem comes with the phrase “prejudicial attack.” Actual physical attacks are against civil law, as well as university rules. Harassment has long been against university rules. The resolution mentions that “Some of these attacks take the form of derogatory jokes,” and that is the only form of “prejudicial attack” mentioned in the resolution.

Doubtless, telling derisive jokes about gays and lesbians is not nice, and could indeed be considered a form of harassment -- which again, is already outlawed. We have trouble seeing why homosexuals should have a special protection that (say) blonds, or Polish people or rednecks or people considered “too religious” don’t have.

Giving the Game Away

The true intent of the resolution was revealed when a conservative senator proposed the following amendment, to be added to the text:
Espousal of traditional Christian or specifically Catholic teaching on homosexuality shall not, if done respectfully and in the appropriate context, be considered a “prejudicial attack” or an expression of “prejudice.”
The amendment was voted down!

And it was voted down by a wide margin, with only four senators supporting it, and approximately 17 opposing it. After the amendment was defeated, the motion itself passed.

The intellectual level of the debate was revealed when one senator asked what “espousal” meant!

Given a chance to protect the right of Christian and specifically Catholic students to affirm Church teaching on homosexuality, the Student Senate, after considerable debate, refused to. It’s appalling that, on the campus of a supposed Catholic university, Catholic teaching about the sinfulness of homosexual acts is not supposed to be even expressed.

Not only is Church teaching not an officially enforced orthodoxy (which it shouldn’t be) but opposition to Church teaching is the official orthodoxy -- at least if Student Government (and the bureaucrats in Student Affairs, who monitor and ride herd on Student Government) gets its way.

Indeed, it largely already has. A source close to student government who spoke to us about the issue asked that his or her name not be used, because “we are probably the minority group on our beliefs . . . I’d rather not use my name.”

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