Friday, June 05, 2015

St. Louis University Removes Statue of Founding Jesuit to Appease Politically Correct Activists

Yes, identity politics is something that contemporary university administrations virtually always cave to, and “Jesuit universities” are as bad (and probably worse) than others. Even when the issue is honoring an eminent Jesuit!

From The College Fix:
Saint Louis University has removed a statue on its campus depicting a famous Jesuit missionary priest praying over American Indians after a cohort of students and faculty continued to complain the sculpture symbolized white supremacy, racism and colonialism.

Formerly placed outside the university’s Fusz Hall in the center of the private Catholic university, the statue will go to the university’s art museum, a building just north of the bustling urban campus.

The statue features famous Jesuit Missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet S.J. praying over two American Indians dressed in traditional clothing. Last Monday, just two days after graduation, it was removed from the location it has called home on campus for decades.

A university spokesperson told St. Louis Magazine the statue will be placed within the “historical context of a collection that’s on permanent display in our SLU Museum of Art.” The statue is set for the museum’s “Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions.”

“In more recent years, there have been some faculty and staff who have raised questions about whether the sculpture is culturally sensitive,” SLU spokesman Clayton Berry said.

The De Smet statue has long drawn the ire of progressive students and scholars at the Jesuit university who argue the statue was a symbol of racism and white supremacy, among other oppressions.

In a recent op-ed published in SLU’s University News, senior Ryan McKinley stated the sculpture sent a clear, unwelcoming message to American Indians at Saint Louis University.

“This message to American Indians is simple: You do not belong here if you do not submit to our culture and our religion,” McKinley wrote. McKinley called for the statue’s removal, while suggesting the university replace it with artwork made by American Indians.
Here is the supposedly offensive image:

Of course, politically correct activists don’t actually care about history, only about articulating a grievance. So they ignore some realities.
According to a SLU webpage, De Smet had an excellent rapport with American Indians. He was known to them “simply and affectionately as ‘Blackrobe.’” While converting thousands to Catholicism, De Smet also helped negotiate treaties among the Indians and the United States, ensuring their land and safety.

De Smet also shares a connection to Saint Louis University, serving as its treasurer shortly after the university’s founding.

Despite De Smet’s history, students still said the statue visually represents oppression.
Of course, the “converting thousands to Catholicism” is probably the biggest thing the activists don’t like, since they don’t like Catholicism, and indeed, dislike Christianity generally.

So that is the irony of “Catholic education:” most of the people running it will run roughshod over the opinions of people who really are Catholic, and pander to the campus atheists.  Indeed, they are willing to throw a Jesuit under the bus to do so.

So will Marquette resist demands by left wing activists on campus to:
Recrop the Marquette University’s seal which depicts a biased and impartial [sic] narrative of Marquette’s initial relationship with Indigenous peoples to include the Illinois peoples whom are welcoming and guiding Marquette
Don’t bet on it. Marquette has no more courage in dealing with politically correct victim groups than any other university. Indeed, probably less.

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Blogger James Pawlak said...

I would be more concerned if either school were Catholic---Rather than Jesuit.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Ed Yepez said...

At DeSmet Jesuit High School (80), I remember being taught we were "Roman Catholic"

As a graduate of both the Proudly Liberal Washington University in St. Louis (84,88), and Graduate Studies at St. Louis University (97), I am disappointed by what appears to be catering to political correctness, a momentary gust, in the winds of history.

11:26 PM  

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