Where’s the inclusion?
Melissa Wrapp | Monday, November 14, 2011
So, I’m a little confused. I’ve always begrudgingly accepted Notre Dame’s failure to amend the non-discrimination clause to include sexual orientation as an unfortunate consequence of it being a private, Catholic university. The justification for declining to make this change is ostensibly fear that courts might not understand the Catholic distinction between sexual orientation and sexual conduct.
But wait! According to DuLac, students are only permitted to engage in “sexual union” if married. Notre Dame has taken sex out of the equation. Are we assuming that homosexual students will flaunt these rules? Are these individuals guilty until proven innocent? Is Notre Dame’s administration subscribing to the harmful and demeaning stereotype of homosexuals as hyper-sexualized and promiscuous, reducing the fullness of their identity as human beings to their sexual preference? Or, are we ourselves failing to understand the complexity of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality?
Although the Catechism casts homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered,” it also asserts that homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
If we suspend reality for a moment and pretend, as the administration does, that the student body is expected to observe DuLac to the letter (hold your laughter — I’m looking at you, drunk freshman with a carnivorous fish!), then what could possibly be the justification for not including sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause? Students at Notre Dame are not permitted to engage in sexual intercourse unless they are married. If none of the student body is sexually active, how can we discriminate against homosexuals on the basis of sexual acts?
This Sunday, I received a rainbow ribbon and a statement on Notre Dame’s “Spirit of Inclusion” at Mass. It was a beautiful gesture, and an important step toward fostering tolerance on our campus. Inclusion is important, but what about equality? I am proud to call myself Catholic because I believe the Church always strives to “read the signs of the times” (in the words of the Second Vatican Council). I think its time our administration woke up and started reading.