Club used to promote views
| Sunday, February 13, 2005
Critics of abortion come in many forms. We are straight, gay, Democrats, Republicans, male, female. We are pro-life for one simple reason: we believe in the sanctity of human life at all stages, from conception until natural death. In the end, that is the sole criterion for declaring oneself to be pro-life; being pro-life neither requires nor implies anything else.
We were shocked and appalled Friday morning when a disturbing e-mail was sent through the pro-life listserv to all members of the campus Right to Life club. In it, the president of the club copied Bishop John D’Arcy’s letter condemning the Queer Film Festival and mentioned there would be a panel regarding gay marriage Friday afternoon. She went on to encourage all pro-lifers “to attend, so as to have a noticeable presence of opposition” and to give “cold stares in lieu of applause.” Now certainly this student has a right to hold her own views on the issue, but it was completely and unequivocally wrong of her to use Right to Life to promote her own personal agenda.
According to the ND Right to Life Web site, the purpose of the organization is “to promote and uphold the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death,” and their focus “is on issues [sic] such as abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty.” Those are the reasons we are a part of Right to Life. However, being part of this group in no way implies we are opposed to gay marriage. It is wrong to use a very necessary and important organization such as Right to Life to promote one’s personal agenda.
It would be wonderful if more opponents of gay marriage would come to panel discussions such as the one Friday. Without dissenting opinions, no real discussion ensues. But the e-mail sent to the Right to Life club did not even encourage intelligent discussion. Rather, when talking about Sister Jeannine Gramick, a nun who has devoted her life’s work to creating a more welcoming atmosphere for gay and lesbian Catholics in the Church, the e-mail suggested we ask such questions as “Did you know the Pope banned you from giving this talk?” Questions simply attacking the speaker do not accomplish anything whatsoever; conversely, they undermine the credibility of the person asking the question. (Incidentally, that question contains a falsehood; Gramick was barred from pastoral work involving homosexual persons, which, according to Cardinal Ratzinger, refers to holding retreats for gay and lesbian persons. This does not include speaking and writing.)
The recent e-mail sent to the Right to Life listserv is one of many occurrences on this campus that have contributed to the stereotype of Notre Dame as being a homogeneous and intolerant institution. We are angry about more than just this one e-mail. We are upset and saddened an atmosphere of closed-mindedness is so pervasive on this campus that we love.
If the president of Right to Life wishes to oppose gay marriage, that is her right. We just ask that she respects our rights to our own opinions as well and does not subject us to her hateful rhetoric.
ND Right to Life Members