Cardinal Wuerl Speaks Out for Priest Who is Under Fire for Teaching Homosexuals are Called to Celibacy


Cardinal Wuerl used his homily at George Washington University to make it clear that he stands behind the priest who is under fire on that campus, Father Greg Shaffer. 

Two gay activists attacked Father Shaffer recently because the priest teaches that chastity for homosexual people means that they are called to celibacy. The stated purpose of the attacks on the priest was to have him removed from campus ministry and to either force the Newman Center where he is assigned to stop teaching Catholic morality.

Cardinal Wuerl’s homily seems to indicate that Father Shaffer has the confidence of his Cardinal. This takes the possibility of him losing his assignment off the table.

Now it’s up to the university to decide if they are going to jump into this and try to close the Newman Center or if they will allow freedom of thought and speech on their campus as they have up to now.

Cardinal Wuerl’s homily, excerpted from CNA.

“I want to offer a word of support and encouragement to your chaplain, Father Greg Shaffer…and to stand in solidarity with a good priest,” the archbishop of Washington said April 14.

His remarks come as two gay students said the Newman Center chaplain had told individuals who came to him for counseling that if they experience same-sex attraction, they should remain celibate.

Asserting that this was anti-gay behavior, the two students have launched a campaign to force Fr. Shaffer off the campus of the private university.

Cardinal Wuerl reflected on the duty of bishops and priests to “feed Jesus’ flock,” and considered to whom “Jesus’ flock” refers.


Christ’s flock are those who freely choose to follow Christ and be a part of his Church, the cardinal said, and that those who choose not to follow Christ are not forced to do so.

“We propose the ways of the kingdom of God in terms that the world can understand and examine, in terms they may freely accept or reject.”

When Christ himself was faced with those who would not follow his teachings, he “did not respond by changing the teaching,” Cardinal Wuerl noted.

“Even when they said to him you need to be current, you need to be contemporary, you need to be politically correct, you need to be with the times, Jesus did not say, ‘Oh, then, I will change my teaching.’”

Christ continues to offer unchanging truths today, which cannot be changed to “conform with any particular cultural demand,” he said.

“Yet, there are those who claim that voices for the Gospel should be silenced, that we should be silenced. There are those who say there is no room for any other view but their own.”

Cardinal Wuerl said that this experience is not new to the Church, and she has always bore the brunt of “narrow-minded discrimination and blind bigotry.”

He urged a need to preserve and protect religious liberty in the face of attempts to silence priests lest they “be allowed to engage in dialogue with our culture.”

Just because there are forces in society wishing to change marriage and to deny the dignity of human life and natural law, that “does not mean that the rest of us no longer have a place in this society,” the archbishop stated.

United States Army and Catholic/Christian Bashing

I held off on writing about this because I was trying to figure it out. 

An Army Training Manual designated Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity as terrorist organizations, alongside the Ku Klux Klan, Hamas and al-Queda. Reports say that the manual was used (presumably as a teaching device) during an Army Reserve Equal Opportunity training brief on religious extremism. You can find the entire training manual here. This is a screen shot I took of the slide in question:

Fox News said that Army spokesman George Wright told them that this training manual “is not condoned” by the US Army and was an isolated incident. “This slide was not produced by the Arny and certainly does not reflect our policy or doctrine … It was produced by an individual without anyone in the chain of command’s knowledge or permission,” he said.

I held back on writing about this because the Army was claiming the manual was the product on one wacko soldier and that they had corrected the situation. I didn’t exactly buy that, but I also didn’t know enough to have an opinion about what was happening.

Enter Lt Col Jack Rich who appears to be on active duty and is stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Lt Col Rich is reported to have sent an email to his subordinates listing the American Family Association and the Family Research Council as “domestic hate groups.” 

The email said in part:

“Just want to ensure everyone is somewhat educated on some of the groups out there that do not share our Army Values,” the note read, according to Starnes’ report. “When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values — don’t just walk by — do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem.”The email ran on for 14 pages and listed The Southern Poverty Law Center as a source for its material. According to Fox News, it documented groups the “military considers to be anti-gay” among other things.

A Yahoo News article made this comment:

Some cultural warriors would likely look at this, teamed with some of the other incidents unfolding of late, and assume that there’s a war on Christianity — one that has worked its way into the U.S. military. Of course, others would dismiss such a notion as silly and unfounded. While Tony Perkins, who heads FRC, called the e-mail evidence that the military has become anti-Christian in nature, a Pentagon spokesperson denied such allegations.

I guess I’m one of those “culture warriors” the article talks about, because I am beginning to see a pattern here and it’s a twin to the pattern that’s formed in our universities. Those in authority are twisting the original intent of phrases such as “equal opportunity” to legitimize overt prejudice and hazing of Christians and Christian groups who support traditional Christian morality.

I know full well that sounds simplistic. But when we see one university after another attempting to kick Christian groups off their campuses under the guise of “inclusiveness,” it begins to form a pattern. When the United States Army experiences a similar rash of anti-Christian rhetoric in training manuals and now from a high-ranking officer, it does point in that direction.

These incidents with the Army are also certainly not the only ones that have occurred. They are just the ones we have learned about. It appears that the Army is breaking out with a case of Christian-bashing measles. 

The point I want to make is these two incidents were not private, off-the-cuff incidents between a couple of individuals. One was an Army Training Manual used at an Army Reserve Equal Opportunity Training Session and the other was an officer sending instructions to his subordinates. 

The United States Army is easily one of the most efficient killing machines on the planet. This kind of behavior coming from inside its ranks is not something to be taken lightly or dismissed.

It is ironic to me that things like equal opportunity training sessions are being used to foment discrimination. But that corruption of the original intent of these things appears to be widespread.
It seems that the Archdiocese for Military Services, which knows a lot more about these things than I do, reacted to the training manual in a similar, “I dunno for sure”  way. Their official statement about it said they were “astounded” by a training manual that

 … expressly listed “Catholicism,” “Evangelical Christianity” and other religious groups as examples of “religious extremism” alongside groups such as “Al Qaeda”, “Hamas” and the “KKK.”  

I am wondering how they will react now that another shoe has dropped.

Other recent incidents against Christians in the United States Military include:

  • A War Games scenario at Fort Leavenworth that identified Christian groups and Evangelical groups as being potential threats;
  • A 2009 Dept. of Homeland Security memorandum that identified future threats to national security coming from Evangelicals and pro-life groups;
  • A West Point study released by the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center that linked pro-lifers to terrorism;
  • Evangelical leader Franklin Graham was uninvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer service because of his comments about Islam;
  • Christian prayers were banned at the funeral services for veterans at Houston’s National Cemetery;
  • Bibles were banned at Walter Reed Army Medical Center – a decision that was later rescinded;
  • Christian crosses and a steeple were removed from a chapel in Afghanistan because the military said the icons disrespected other religions;
  • Catholic chaplains were told not to read a letter to parishioners from their archbishop related to Obamcare mandates. The Secretary of the Army feared the letter could be viewed as a call for civil disobedience.

Also:

Military Says Crosses Disrespect Other Faiths

Army Silences Catholic Chaplains 

Army Removes Steeple, Crosses, From Chapel

Air Force Removes God from Logo

UPDATE: Gonzaga’s President Will Review Knights of Columbus’ Application for University Recognition


Gonzaga University’s president Thayne McCulloh, announced that he will “review” the decision to deny recognition to the Knights of Columbus at the school.

According to the Gonzaga web site, this review is expect to take 30-45 days, which means it will probably come down after the academic year is finished.

That seems like a long time to review something that should, by all rights, be a slam dunk.

This is the web site of the University’s board of regents. If they operate the way boards of regents do here in Oklahoma, they hire and fire the university president and must approve hiring of senior staff. They would also approve the school’s budget, tuition structure and policies.

Here is a copy of the statement from the Gonzaga website:

Proposed Knights of Columbus Student Club

STATEMENT FROM GONZAGA UNIVERSITY ON THE ISSUE OF OFFICIAL
RECOGNITION OF PROPOSED KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS STUDENT GROUP

Gonzaga University’s Student Life division recently issued a decision that it could not recognize a proposed Knights of Columbus student club under its current club recognition process.  The University is concerned that all of the factors involved in this decision have not been represented in their entirety, and thus may be misunderstood.

Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh states that Gonzaga honors and respects the purpose and good works of the Knights of Columbus, with which it has a long tradition and mutual collaboration at both local and state levels.  The Knights of Columbus College Council (#12583) is already present within the student body and receives support from the administration.  Gonzaga University’s core Catholic and Jesuit identity recognizes, encourages and supports many student organizations that advance faith-related issues (for example, Gonzaga Right to Life, and the Blessed John Paul II Fellowship).

President McCulloh has received a request from the sponsoring student to review the institution’s decision regarding the recognition of the organization as a student club, and has decided to undertake this review.  The review is expected to take 30-45 days.

UPDATE: Voice for Life Cleared for Official Recognition by Johns Hopkins University

Caroline Laguerre-Brown, Vice Provost for Institutional Equity at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, earned her salary last week when she cleared Voice of Life, a pro life organization, for recognition as a legitimate campus group.

I say she earned her salary because her action pulled the university’s feet out of the fire of public approbation by simply honoring the idea of freedom of speech on campus. The student government had refused Voice for Life’s application on the touchy-feely grounds that their presence might make people feel “uncomfortable,” and whether “a Hopkins group (should) be involved in this much activism.” In other words, they turned them down without any clear-cut reason in the University’s rules that they could point to. They just didn’t want Voice for Life on the campus.

Voice for Life appealed the decision to the Vice Provost who wrote them a letter stating that so long as their activities fell within the parameters they had outlined in their email to her, they were allowed by University rules.

It’s a lawyer letter if I ever read one. There’s an unmistakable don’t-step-over-this-line-or-you’re-out meaning to it. But the letter does say that Voice for Life can be recognized by Johns Hopkins University.

In my opinion, this is a real save for the school. All they have to do is just behave the way a university should and allow students with differing ideas to express those ideas in a reasonable way. Far too many universities have abandoned their own principles of open inquiry and academic freedom in an attempt to silence groups such as this. A good number of them have plunged their schools into needless controversy in defense of indefensible positions; positions that are on their face biased and discriminatory.

I’m glad Johns Hopkins University has decided to do the better thing and allow Voice for Life to present their case in the university marketplace of ideas along with everyone else.

Vice Provost Laguerre-Brown’s letter to Voice for Life is below.

 

Church of England Goes Thumbs Down on Blessing Gay Marriages

The Church of England issued a report today in which it states that it will not support the blessing of gay marriages.

The report says in part:

… ‘marriage is a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace. Marriage, defined as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman, is central to the stability and health of human society. It continues to provide the best context for the raising of children.’

 the sexual differentiation of men and women is a gift of God, who ‘created humankind in his image… male and female he created them’. It is on male and female that God gives his blessing, which is to be seen not only in procreation but in human culture, too (Genesis 1.27-8).

In calling it a gift of God, we mean that it is not simply a cultural development (though it has undergone much cultural development) nor simply a political or economic institution (though often embedded in political and economic arrangements).

It is an expression of the human nature which God has willed for us and which we share. And although marriage may fall short of God’s purposes in many ways and be the scene of many human weaknesses, it receives the blessing of God and is included in his judgment that creation is ‘very good’ (Genesis 1.31).

In calling it a gift of God in creation, we view marriage within its wider life-context: as an aspect of human society and as a structure of life that helps us shape our journey from birth to death. 

 

This report from the Church of England comes after former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, issued a stinging op-ed rebuke to the Prime Minister and the whole movement that is pushing for gay marriage.

Recent polls indicate that “more than two-thirds of (British) Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority,” he wrote, ” … the prime minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties.”

Lord Carey’s op-ed piece goes on to note that the Equalities Minister, Helen Grant, “recently gave her support to the Labour MP Chris Bryant’s campaign to turn the 700-year-old chapel of St Mary Undercroft into a multi-faith prayer room so that gay couples can get married there.”

It’s a powerful piece. I will put an excerpt below with a link so you can read it all. If you follow the link above, you can read the entire document that the Church of England issued today. It is titled “Men and Women and Marriage.”

I’m going to write more about this Friday, but it appears that British Christians are starting to come awake. From the news coverage I’ve read, the British press is almost as biased in favor of gay marriage as the American press. Some of the comments I read were completely over the top for anyone who claims to be a professional journalist.

All of us who follow Christ need to support and help one another. Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Southern Baptist, Evangelical — it doesn’t matter. We need to stand on the Gospel principles we share and refuse to be moved. We also need to aid and help one another, including emotionally, as we go through the waters ahead.

Here, from the Daily Mail, is Lord Carey’s op-ed piece:

I like David Cameron and believe he is genuinely sincere in his desire to make Britain a generous nation where we care for one another and where people of faith may exercise their beliefs fully.


But it was a bit rich to hear that the Prime Minister has told religious leaders that they should ‘stand up and oppose aggressive secularisation’ when it seems that his government is aiding and abetting this aggression every step of the way.


At his pre-Easter Downing Street reception for faith leaders, he said that he supported Christians’ right to practise their faith. Yet many Christians doubt his sincerity. According to a new ComRes poll more than two-thirds of Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority’.

Their fears may be exaggerated because few in the UK are actually persecuted, but the Prime Minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties.


He seems to have forgotten in spite of his oft-repeated support for the right of Christians to wear the cross, that lawyers acting for the Coalition argued only months ago in the Strasbourg court that those sacked for wearing a cross against their employer’s wishes should simply get another job.


More shockingly, the Equalities Minister, Helen Grant, recently gave her support to the Labour MP Chris Bryant’s campaign to turn the 700-year-old Parliamentary chapel of St Mary Undercroft into a multi-faith prayer room so that gay couples can get married there. The Speaker of the House of Commons is reported to be supportive of the move.


Now, there are many questions that we need to ask. If this means the removal of Christian symbols from the chapel to accommodate all faiths and even humanist ceremonies this would amount to changing the chapel fundamentally, even to banishing the Christian faith from the seat of political power. This would have implications for Her Majesty, the Queen, and could place her in a very difficult position as the chapel is a Royal Peculiar under her direct patronage.


As David Cameron knows, I am very suspicious that behind the plans to change the nature of marriage, which come before the House of Lords soon, there lurks an aggressive secularist and relativist approach towards an institution that has glued society together for time immemorial.


Sebelius Says Government Will Enforce HHS Mandate Aug 1

Now, here’s a surprise.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the agency will go ahead with enforcement of the HHS Mandate on August 1.

Sebelius, more than any other government official, is responsible for this broadside against religious freedom. The hand-picked committee that wrote this regulation operated under her agency’s control. That is not to gainsay that President Obama signed it and has backed it to the max, despite promises he made to pro life Democratic members of Congress.

The Affordable Health Care Act, often called Obamacare, includes provisions for freedom of conscience and religious exemptions. The President also made public promises to Democratic Congressmen, primarily Congressman Bart Stupak, on this issue. The President was forced to do this in order to pass the Affordable Health Care Act. Former Congressman Stupak signed a letter in opposition to the HHS Mandate in which he referred to these promises and said that the President had failed to live up to them.

The Affordable Health Care Act included provisions that the Health and Human Services Department would promulgate rules and regulations to enforce the law. The committee charged with this came up with the HHS Mandate, which broke the President’s word and created what seems to be an on-going attack on religious liberty in America. Membership of this committee contained a heavy component of Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates.

Secretary Sebelius is the former Governor of Kansas. During her tenure as governor, she went so far as to use her power as the state’s highest elected official to publicly campaign against and defeat pro life Democratic state Senator Mark Gilstrap, presumably for opposing her on the issue of abortion. She also received and accepted large campaign donations from Dr George Tiller, the controversial doctor who was infamous for performing late-term abortions in Wichita, Kansas. Dr Tiller was murdered in 2009.

All this is to say that the HHS Mandate is not, as its supporters like to claim, a law. It is a regulation written by a committee of unelected, hand-picked abortion supporters many of whom were financially connected to organizations that will benefit from the mandate. As such, it has very little to do with “women’s health” or access to birth control, and a great deal to do with using the power of government to attack and, if possible, destroy, organizations that these groups such as Planned Parenthood see as their political opponents.

That committee was not a balanced and reasonable group of citizens working in good faith. It was a hanging jury designed to use the Affordable Health Care Act to promote the viewpoint of a few organizations and one side of the culture wars.

An article from The Washington Times concerning Sebelius’ plans to implement the HHS Mandate August 1, says in part:

President Obama’s top health official said Monday the administration will finalize its new rules granting free birth control, saying the controversial policy will go into effect in August.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius‘ comments came the same day that the public comment period for the contraception mandate ended, and even as a bevy of nonprofit groups and companies are fighting in court to overturn it.

“As of Aug. 1, 2013, every employee who doesn’t work directly for a church or a diocese will be included in the benefit package,” Mrs. Sebelius said at a forum moderated by Reuters that was held at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/8/free-birth-control-rules-to-be-finalized/#ixzz2Q3mvFX4S
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

 

Over 85,000 File Comments on HHS Mandate

Americans have the right to petition their government.

Eighty-five thousand of us took advantage of that right by commenting on the latest version of the HHS Mandate. This isn’t the first go-round of this process where the mandate is concerned. Back in August 2011 when the initial rule was issued, 147,000 commenters, most of them again the Mandate, filed comments.

It is mind boggling how much political capital the Obama administration has expended on this outrageous attempt to subvert the First Amendment. One of the many things that amazes me is the President’s willingness to play games with the American people by misrepresenting the issue and deliberately deepening the divides of the culture wars that are damaging us as a society. His allegiance to Planned Parenthood evidently knows no bounds.

If there’s one thing I know about politics, it’s that you don’t quit until the fight is over. This fight won’t be over until we have preserved the right to religious freedom for all Americans.

This article from the National Catholic Register gives a run-down of the history of this fight so far.

WASHINGTON — More than 85,000 parties have filed comments ahead of today’s 11:59pm Eastern time deadline to respond to the federal government about the latest version of its mandate that forces employers to provide contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization in their employee health-insurance plans.

“There is still a lot of energy behind this in the Catholic community,” said Anthony Picarello Jr., associate general secretary and general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which urged Catholics and people of good will to submit their comments with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More than 147,000 comments — most critical of the mandate — were previously filed when the government’s initial rule was issued in August 2011 and when the Obama administration proposed its first accommodation in February 2012.

The bishops’ March 20 report said last year’s proposed accommodation was inadequate and that the administration’s latest version of the mandate still violates religious liberty and conscience rights.

The USCCB filed its 26-page comment with HHS on March 20. The report said the mandate was virtually unchanged and that its religious “exemption“ still excludes most religious organizations and does not remove the burden on religious freedom.

EWTN’s Response

The Eternal Word Television Network also filed a comment, asserting that the government’s proposed rule does not permit anyone other than a church to be exempt from the mandate, noting that religious beliefs and conscience objections are held by people and organizations that are not churches.

The government is essentially forcing EWTN — which owns the Register — and other objecting parties to call contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing pills “good” and to pay for them, without deductibles or co-pays by employees, says the filing, which was signed by EWTN President and CEO Michael Warsaw and General Counsel John Manos.

EWTN’s comment says, “At the heart of this dispute is whether EWTN or persons with similar beliefs must use their bodies and money to support this erroneous belief under government force. The Constitution restrains the government from forcing its beliefs on individuals, particularly any religious belief.”

“Yet this mandate persists to force EWTN and others to part with money and their health under threat of government force,” the filing adds. “Thus this fight is not about providing health care; it is about an erroneous belief, which the government accepts as a foregone conclusion, that contraceptives, voluntary sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs are health care. EWTN refuses, by exercising the rights guaranteed to it by the same government, to swallow this error and merely ‘go along.’”

 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/tens-of-thousands-beat-deadline-to-protest-hhs-mandate?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-04-8%2023:11:01#ixzz2PyzUbEtA

George Washington University Catholics: Standing by Their Man

Two students at George Washington University have begun a campaign to use the university’s regulations to silence a Roman Catholic priest.

Their reason? Because the priest follows Roman Catholic teaching.

According to one news story I read, the two seniors, Blake Bergen and Damian Legacy, “feel alienated because the chaplain at George Washington University’s Newman Center rejects homosexuality, and they aren’t going to take it anymore.”

An article in the school’s newspaper, the GW Hatchet, says that the two students “have launched a coordinated campaign to rid the campus of the priest.” They claim that they have left the Newman Center because Fr Greg Shaffer’s “strong anti-gay and anti-abortion views are too polarizing.” Evidently, Fr Shaffer also committed the sin of using his freedom of speech to write a blog post in which he advises students with same-sex attractions to live celibate lives.

Bergan and Legacy wrote a piece for Huff Po with the totally disingenuous title, “The Fight for Love at George Washington University,” in which they toss around words and phrases like  homophobic and “persecution of the LGBT community.”

I’ve left this story alone, since Patheos’ blogger Dawn Eden clearly had the inside track. When Deacon Greg Kandra came alongside her with additional coverage, I thought it was done and done.

I still don’t believe I have a lot to add, but I do want to bring out a couple of points for Public Catholic readers.

First, the two men behind this attack on Fr Shaffer are not Roman Catholic. One of them was raised as a Jew and is now agnostic. The other wanted to become a Catholic priest and was turned down by Fr Shaffer because of his refusal to leave the gay lifestyle. He has since become a priest in something called the North American Catholic Church. I am not familiar with this denomination, but I’m sure it’s not Roman Catholic.

I’m not sure why no one has asked if this whole campaign is just a matter of personal sour grapes and vengeance masquerading as concern for a “cause,” but I think it is a legitimate question. I don’t usually consider personal motives when I look at political actions. But this time, they seem fairly consequential.

According to the George Washington University Newman Center web site, 3,000 of the 10,000 students on this campus are Roman Catholic. Everything I read on their web site sounds like the Newman Center is there to minister to these students, although they do welcome people who are not Catholic to join in. Nothing I saw there makes me feel that the students are in any way required to participate in Newman Center activities.

Frankly, unless the university decides to play the fool and do what these men are demanding, this whole thing may turn out to be a teapot tempest. It sounds like a very nasty bit of vengeful character assassination aimed at a faithful priest who simply had the good sense to tell someone who was actively participating in the homosexual lifestyle that he was not good priest material.

Duh.

My comments on this are two-fold. First, this kind of wacko behavior could only occur in a social environment where people felt free to engage in Christian and Catholic bashing. These two young men probably wouldn’t be any less vicious if they weren’t feeling empowered by the endemic Catholic bashing on our campuses, but they most certainly would have taken another route for their personal vendetta.

Second, these priest bashers aren’t having it all their own way. Students on the campus have opened a blog supporting Fr Shaffer.

It’s about time.

Christians need to stop running away when someone attacks a fellow Christian and stand by them instead. This is the main point this post. We’ve gone on too long letting the bullies cull out one or the other Christian and attack them while the rest of us either run away or stand by and watch it happen. In truth, we are so glad that the object of the attack is them, and not us, that we keep quiet so that it won’t become us.

There’s a word for this. It’s called cowardice.

I am writing this post to commend the Catholic students of George Washington University for standing by their pastor. I am also writing it to encourage you to do the same when you see other Christians being attacked for following Christ. 

Silence means assent. We’ve been silent in the face of Catholic and Christian bashing for far too long.

Catholic Gonzaga University Bans Knights of Columbus Because They’re Catholic

I’ve written posts recently that I said were “man bites dog” stories. I suppose that makes this one a “dog bites self” story. 

According to the Cardinal Newman Society, Gonzaga University which bills itself as a Catholic university and whose mascot is the bulldog, banned the Knights of Columbus from their campus. This evidently came after a year of stone-walling by the University administration.

The reason this dog decided to bite itself? 

Because the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic organization. Dr Sue Weitz, Gonzaga Vice President for Student Life, wrote (emphasis mine):

“The Knights of Columbus, by their very nature, is a men’s organization in which only Catholics may participate via membership,” says a letter obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society written by Sue Weitz, Vice President for Student Life. “These criteria are inconsistent with the policy and practice of student organization recognition at Gonzaga University, as well as the University’s commitment to non-discrimination based on certain characteristics, one of which is religion.”

So. Does this mean that if I went to Gonzaga, my all-mom (which, by definition, makes us all female) rosary group could not be recognized by the university? What about an all-girl lamaze class? Of course, the all-male part of this letter, coming from a school with a winning basketball team, which, if I’m not mistaken, is all-male, is ridiculous on its face. It’s just puffery.

The thing that really strikes home is the “dog bites self” action of a Catholic university banning a Catholic organization because it’s Catholic. Dr Weitz commented in the letter that she “believes strongly in the university’s policy of non-discrimination and inclusiveness.”

I would guess that she probably believes what she wrote, but it’s nonsense. In truth, schools like Gonzaga that are so self-consciously “inclusive” and committed to “nondiscrimination” are the elite training grounds for a new upper class. Wealthy parents prepare their children from infancy to go to schools like Gonzaga because they are a funnel for targeting certain people into the privileged zip codes and plumb positions that rule the rest of us.

Harvard, Princeton, Yale are the premiere examples of this. A diploma from one of these schools is a ticket to entry into that other world of easy connections the rest of the country knows nothing about.  Gonzaga students have to push a bit more to get there, but for a vice president of this school to call it “inclusive” and “nondiscriminatory” is an oxymoron.

In truth, these upper tier schools, including those on the second and third tiers like Gonzaga, are no more inclusive and nondiscriminatory than the old “400″ of East Coast high society.

Money is the new discrimination. Wealth is the new prejudice. And the attitudes of the moneyed class control and corrupt higher education from top to bottom. Based on this action banning the Knights of Columbus from their Catholic school, I would say that these attitudes of exclusiveness and discrimination rule absolutely at Gonzaga. 

I don’t find it surprising at all that a school which has veered so far from Catholic teaching as it regards wealth and power would be embarrassed by an unashamedly Catholic organization like the Knights of Columbus. Catholicism, if it is practiced as a faith and not a social delimiter, is the antithesis of what all these upper tier schools have become. 

There was a time when education was considered a leaven to our whole society. The principle behind public education is that we will provide a free, equal education for all our citizens so that every single one of them has a chance to live their life to its fullest. 

What has happened instead is that our schools have become, as I said earlier, funnels for discrimination. From the horrible slum schools we foist on large segments of the population, to the country club public schools we provide to other segments of the population, and on into the university level, education in this country has become a method and a means of creating and perpetuating a moneyed elite and a limited citizenry.

Gonzaga is part of that.

The last thing a school of this nature would want is a genuine Christian influence on its campus. Christianity has a way of turning this elitist nonsense on its head and demanding in the name of a God of justice and mercy that we do better.

I am not saying that this bizarre little letter with its facile self-righteousness that banned the Knights of Columbus from Gonzaga’s campus said any of this. I am not even saying that the Vice President who wrote it or the administrative board that backed it are thinking in these precise terms. I am saying that this is what they are doing.

These upper tier schools appear to be so self-congratulatory that it would never occur to them to challenge their own moral assumptions. They are bubbles of group-think and like-thinking and they have become increasingly aggressive about keeping anyone who is not “our kind” off their premises.

The Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Church which preaches the beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount are definitely not “our kind” in these schools.

Upper tier schools talk a good game about their inclusive, nondiscriminatory values. But in practice they are the instruments by which we have created and are perpetuating an isolated and privileged new upper class.

Gonzaga still claims it’s Catholic identity. In fact, it’s rather self-conscious about it. But I think Gonzaga lost its true Catholic identity long before it sent this letter banning the Knights of Columbus from its campus. True Catholic identity means identifying with the least, the lost, the poor and the weak. Gonzaga has evidently become the kind of school where that Gospel challenge to true inclusiveness and non-discrimination is a bridge too far. 

 

Christian Persecution: Six Quick Takes

 

Easter isn’t all new clothes, gorgeous masses in stunning church buildings and arguments about red shoes and foot washing. 

In some places, Calvary is present in the lives of the people. The Church itself and all its Christian people hang on the cross of persecution.

In other places, such as the United States and Great Britain, society is moving along the continuum toward violent persecution. Christians in those two countries have come to expect and accept that they will be subjected to hate speech against Christians, Christian-bashing on web sites. They are increasingly being forced to accept that they face growing legal discrimination against Christians and moves to force Christian speech and expression out of the public sphere. We are at the “you can go to church all you want, but leave it there,” phase of discrimination, and this discrimination is rapidly becoming government-enforced.

At the same time, Christians in Egypt fear being kidnapped with no police support to stop it. Christians in Bangladesh have their children stolen and trafficked and again, the police do not punish the traffickers. Christians in North Korea are imprisoned and worked to death. Christians in Nigeria are murdered, tortured and their churches are burned.

I could go on. But there is too much of it for one post.

Here is this week’s roundup of Christian persecution in Six Quick Takes.

 

1. Nigeria: Easter Attacks Kill 80, Thousands of Christians Flee to the Hills 

By BosNewsLife Africa Service – “Nigerian Christians appealed for prayers Tuesday, April 2, after Easter season violence in troubled central Nigeria left as many as 80 people dead and displaced some 4,500 others.

At least 19 people were killed since Easter Sunday when gunmen believed to be nomadic Muslim cattle herders attacked the mostly Christian Atakar group in Kaura district, a remote area of Kaduna state, officials said.

Witnesses said the attacks on three communities, including the Mafang and Zilang villages, killed many women and children. Kaduna police spokesman Aminu Lawan told reporters his forces were still investigating.

Ataka Christians live near Plateau state where authorities claimed fighting between cattle herders, who are mainly Fulani Muslims, and Christian villages killed nearly 60 people in recent days.

The area is on the uneasy dividing line between Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north and largely Christian south…

Christians said that following Sunday’s violence, thousands of villagers fled to the nearby hills. (Read more here.)

 

2. Bangladesh: Christian Children Re-Captured By Trafficker

Eleven of the 16 Christian children who were rescued from Muslim traffickers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Jan. 2 have again gone missing. Sources in the Christian community, as well as reports in local newspapers, report that they believe the children were re-trafficked and taken to madrassas, Islamic training centers, where they will likely be forced to convert to Islam and study the Quran.

Eleven Christian children, originally from the Rangamati district of Chittagong Hill Tracts, disappeared for the second time earlier this year after being given back to the custody of their parents. “We were not aware that our child would be taken to a madrassa,” one parent told International Christian Concern (ICC).

The children, along with five others, had been rescued by police from a madrassa in the Abuzor Giffari Mosque Complex in Dhaka. The children had been missing for months. They were returned to their parents soon after their rescue, but traffickers continually threatened the parents until the recent re-disappearance of the children. Local authorities say the children were likely trafficked again to madrassas and are concerned that they will be forcibly converted to Islam.

“The [leader] of the traffickers gives a large sum of money to the traffickers to take the kids to the madrassa,” said an ICC source. “Because of this, they threatened the parents and took their children, again, to a madrassa. It is all because of large sums of money, and because there are no punishments for the trafficker.” (Read more here.)

 

3. North Korea:  Number 1 for Christian Persecution

North Korea is the most hostile place for Christians around the globe,  according to the annual “World Watch” list from the Open Doors Organization.

The list ranks the 50 countries where Christian persecution is most severe. North Korea tops the 2013 list, thus holding its ranking for the eleventh year running.

“Christians are classified as hostile and face arrest, detention, torture, even public execution,” the Open Doors report said. (Read more here.)

4. Great Britain: Majority of Church-Going Christians Feel Persecuted and Marginalized

Over two-thirds of Christians in the United Kingdom feel part of a victimized minority, and David Cameron is making that worse by redefining marriage, the Coalition for Marriage says.

In a new poll commissioned by the group, almost eight in 10 said the prime minister’s same-sex marriage plan will lead to those who back traditional marriage facing the sack.

More than two-thirds (67 percent) said they felt part of a “persecuted minority.”

Marginalized
The survey also showed that over half of the U.K.’s Christians who voted Conservative in 2010 would “definitely not” do so again in 2015.

Colin Hart, campaign director of the Coalition for Marriage, said the poll showed “widespread and continued opposition towards David Cameron’s plans to redefine marriage.”

He added: “More worryingly it shows how Christians and those of faith are being treated like illegal aliens in their own country. They are being marginalized and persecuted for their beliefs. (Read more here.)

5. Egypt: Christians Targeted for Kidnappings

MATAI, Egypt (AP) — Ezzat Kromer’s resistance to his kidnappers did not last long. One of the masked gunmen fired a round between his feet as he sat behind the wheel of his car and said with chilling calm, “The next one will go into your heart.”

The Christian gynecologist says he was bundled into his abductors’ vehicle, forced to lie under their feet in the back seat for a 45-minute ride, then dumped in a small cold room while his kidnappers contacted his family over a ransom.

For the next 27 hours, he endured beatings, insults and threats to his life, while blindfolded, a bandage sealing his mouth and cotton balls in his ears.

Kromer’s case is part of a dramatic rise of kidnappings targetingChristians, including children, in Egypt‘s southern province of Minya, home to the country’s largest concentration of Christians but also a heartland for Islamist hard-liners.

The kidnappings are mostly blamed on criminal gangs, which operate more freely amid Egypt’s collapse in security since the 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Crime has risen in general across Egypt, hitting Muslims as well. But the wave of kidnappings in Minya has specifically targeted Christians, and victims, church leaders and rights activists ultimately blame the atmosphere created by the rising power of hard-line Islamists.

They contend criminals are influenced by the rhetoric of radical clerics depicting Egypt’s Christian minority as second-class citizens and see Christians as fair game, with authorities less likely to investigate crimes against the community.

Over the past two years, there have been more than 150 reported kidnappings in the province — all of them targeting Christians, according to a top official at the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police. (Read the rest here.)

6. United States: Pro Life Student Group Banned at Johns Hopkins University

.- A pro-life student group at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., is appealing a denial of official recognition, saying that it is being discriminated against for its views against abortion.

Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, told CNA that this decision is surprising, given that Johns Hopkins administration and students “pride themselves on being a ‘free speech campus’ – allowing dissenting opinions on campus and allowing a free exchange of ideas on campus.”

She added that there is a need for “upholding freedom of speech that isn’t popular.”

Voice for Life, a pro-life organization that is trying to re-start on the Johns Hopkins campus after several years of dormancy, has been rejected multiple times by the university’s student government, despite receiving clearance from the necessary committees as having met all campus requirements. (Read more here.)


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