Catholic Schools Punish Students for Opposing Homosexuality

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - Two Catholic universities have tried to censor students during the past week for defending the church's teachings against homosexuality, actions the head of one Roman Catholic organization called "ridiculous."

One incident took place in Pittsburgh, where a Duquesne University student used an independent website to voice his opposition to a proposed "gay-straight alliance" on campus and described homosexual sex as "subhuman actions."

According to the school's website, several students complained to Duquesne's Office of Judicial Affairs, which held a hearing and concluded that Miner had violated the university's Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct by failing "to respect the rights, dignity and worth of other individuals."

In addition to requiring Miner to remove his online posting -- which he did upon request -- Duquesne has also demanded that the student write an essay on Catholic teaching about human dignity. Miner has refused to do so because he claims his post was simply a paraphrase of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which describes homosexual activity as "intrinsically disordered," "contrary to the natural law" and "gravely" sinful.

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, a national organization dedicated to renewing Catholic identity at the church's colleges and universities, told Cybercast News Service he considers the school's punishment a "ridiculous" exercise.

"Duquesne punishes a student for defending Catholic teaching by mandating an essay on Catholic teaching -- despite the fact that Miner clearly has a better grasp of that teaching than Duquesne's administrators," Reilly said.

"No doubt Catholic teaching on this subject is unpopular and offends many people who disagree with it," he stated. "But if gay sex is gravely sinful and opposed to the natural order of human sexuality and family life, then to argue that it is beneath human dignity is as accurate as it is provocative."

The university's website also states that a special committee made up of students, teachers, staff members and administrators "is examining the issue" of establishing a "gay-straight alliance" on campus "in light of our Catholic identity and mission.

"This is a complex, sensitive issue that must be considered carefully," the website states.

Reilly said the fact that the school is giving the issue such extensive consideration is "adding injury to insult" because such a club "would further confuse students and would endorse a lifestyle contrary to Catholic teaching."

As a result, the Society is preparing to launch a letter-writing campaign to call for Miner's exoneration and urge Duquesne "to uphold its Catholic identity and deny support for the proposed gay-straight alliance."

A similar incident took place in Spokane, Washington, where Gonzaga University ordered students not to advertise a lecture on the medical implications of homosexual sex.

The College Republicans club invited John Diggs, a physician with the Massachusetts Physicians Resource Council, to speak about "The Medical Effects of Homo-Sex" on Oct. 27.

Responding to concerns that the event might stir up anti-homosexual sentiments, university officials refused to approve the event and ordered students not to advertise it on campus.

"Prohibiting students from advertising a campus lecture is censorship," Reilly said. "Even though Gonzaga was prevented by its own rules from halting the event altogether, it attempted to ensure that few students would attend the lecture.

"Fortunately, Gonzaga's political correctness backfired," he added. "The auditorium was packed with students eager to hear medical facts that Gonzaga's officials and the mainstream media don't want them to discuss, even in an academic setting."

Reilly noted that these incidents are the latest events in a trend on Catholic campuses and cited a number of examples:

-- Student clubs at the University of Notre Dame set up a large "closet" on campus and encouraged students to "come out" and proclaim their sexual preferences. Student activists wore orange T-shirts that read: "Gay? Fine by Me."

-- At Boston College, a campus lecturer asserted that Native Americans were tolerant of homosexuality and blamed European explorers for bringing "homophobia" to North America.

-- The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota hosted an "OUT!Law" meet-and-greet reception for homosexual law students, lawyers and judges.

Nevertheless, Reilly told Cybercast News Service that while he is critical of these colleges and universities on this issue, the Cardinal Newman Society is "by and large supportive of these schools, which are trying to do the right thing.

"However, in their zealousness to show compassion to people who are battling their gay impulses, these institutions are failing to get out the message that such activities are sinful," he said. "We're doing our best to correct that."

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