Bridget Flores | Friday, November 19, 2010
I would like to thank Alex Coccia for his viewpoint article (“Living up to the ‘Spirit of Inclusion’ at ND,” Nov. 17). Notre Dame, as a Catholic university, has the mission of upholding Jesus’ call to love thy neighbor as thyself, as well as Catholic Social Teaching, which upholds the intrinsic value and dignity of every human being, regardless of their sexual orientation.
People like to wear those wristbands that say, “WWJD,” or “What Would Jesus Do,” and in this case, I think Jesus would say that Notre Dame needs to rethink its priorities. Rather than denying AllianceND, Notre Dame’s unofficial gay-straight alliance, official club status 14 times in a row, Notre Dame should recognize that a gay-straight alliance would foster intelligent discussion, understanding, tolerance, and love — all values that Jesus held as essential in how we treat our neighbor.
Adding “sexual orientation” to the non-discrimination clause would symbolically and legally protect LGBT students from discrimination — protection they now do not have, and for which they suffer. Discrimination and hate crimes targeted at gay students happen at Notre Dame, and homophobia has become an unfortunate part of Notre Dame culture in dorm life, Frosh-O and daily interactions among students. The worst part about this culture of intolerance is that most students don’t realize it exists because it is so ingrained into every-day life. And just because it may not be intentional does not mean that it is any less hurtful to LGBT students, faculty and staff.
Mr. Coccia made a lot of good points in his viewpoint, and if the University wants to live up to its mission of being a Catholic University that espouses the values of Jesus, it should pay attention to his suggestions. It’s high time we all put aside our preconceived notions and take a good look at the reality for LGBT students at Notre Dame. If we are truly dedicated to Catholic teaching, we have a lot of work cut out for us.