What matters more
Mike Matheson | Wednesday, February 3, 2010
To start, I’d like to say that I support the beliefs of those who took part in the silent protest in an attempt to get sexual orientation added to the non-discrimination clause. I fully believe it should be added. However, in response Will Haley’s viewpoint entitled “Jenkins disappoints,” (Feb. 1) I felt that there are two crucial flaws within your argument.
It seems as if you expected Fr. Jenkins to come out of the main building and immediately begin to “engage in conversation” (literally or figuratively). You claim that the administration is “sluggish” and “non-responsive.” I disagree with you. It is not that the administration is “non-responsive.” The real issue here is that you (and I) do not agree with the response they have provided.
The University has clearly expressed over the years that sexual orientation will not be added to the non-discrimination clause. However, this is not because Fr. Jenkins wants to discriminate against the LGBT community. I believe one of the main reasons it has yet to be added is because of the Church’s stance on homosexuality. Take a look at the Catholic perspective on the groups that are included in the clause. The church does not consider being black, being Hispanic, being a woman, or being a certain age contrary to natural law.
However, the Church does consider homosexual acts contrary to natural law. When I was a freshman, this belief was described explicitly at a mandatory meeting. We can try to peacefully begin conversation as much as we’d like. However, this University will stand by the Church. Until the Church as a whole accepts the LGBT way of life and the sexual acts involved with it, a new “conversation” at this University will not re-open. You might say that you are only asking the University to not discriminate against the people themselves (rather than homosexual acts), but the Catholic administration most likely views the concession of “sexual orientation” in the non-discrimination clause as a step they cannot take given the Church position.
This brings me to my second point. This issue has surrounded the non-discrimination clause since 1997. It has been a part of the church for far longer than that. Essentially, I’m saying that this issue is not a new one. However, LGBT students and allies with knowledge of the University position (or at the very least, access to it) choose to attend this University every year. You have made the choice to be a part of a University that disagrees with you. You’ve made the choice to stick it out and fight for something you believe in, but you need to understand that the University probably won’t budge. At the end of the day, if you are a student or professor that disagrees with the University position, you need to ask yourself what matters more. Do you care more about the University, its teachers, its students, the tradition, and the mystique or do you care enough about this issue to leave all that behind and move on to a community that is more accepting?