Grossly offensive

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 05, 2003

The Georgetown Voice, a weekly publication of greater Washington's Jesuit university, keeps us up-to-date on the implementation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae. It seems that some students not affiliated with Georgetown recently entered Red Square (the campus's "designated free speech zone" -- named by persons clearly impervious to irony) and distributed flyers protesting the Supreme Court's Lawrence vs. Texas decision: the notorious Sodomy Case. The flyers were published by a group called the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, and declared that TFP works "untiringly to create a moral climate whereby homosexuality is rejected." The Voice reports that the "authors of the brochure acknowledge that those who are simply attracted to members of the same sex, but resist intercourse, are not sinful, 'just as no one who resists the inclination to steal or lie can be called a thief or a liar.'" Pretty tame stuff.

Leafletting of this kind hardly throwns a spanner into the academic turbines of the university, but the students were obviously going out of their way to provoke a response. And they succeeded.

The student passing out the brochures was a member of TFP Student Action. After learning of the student's presence, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson instructed the Department of Public Safety to escort him off campus. He complied without incident, according to Interim Associate Director of the Department of Public Service Doris Bey.

Red Square is a designated "free speech zone," according to the Student Handbook. The handbook, however, does deny protection to certain types of speech."Expression that is indecent or is grossly obscene or grossly offensive on matters such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation is inappropriate in a university community," it states.

Olson cited this exception in his decision to have the student removed. "The individuals removed from campus were spreading a message that was grossly offensive, and I view the removal as entirely appropriate," he said.

In a broadcast e-mail sent on Nov. 25, Olson alerted students of the action. He specifically reaffirmed the University's commitment to the LGBT community. "I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members of our community enjoy the right to study, work, and live in a campus environment of respect and protection," he said. "Intolerance and invective have no place at Georgetown."

Yes, Georgetown welcomed Larry Flynt as a campus speaker; yes, Georgetown hosted Eve Ensler's "V Monologues" -- and defended both on grounds of academic freedom. No one looks to academics -- or to Jesuits, for that matter -- for principled institutional conduct. We expected Bill Clinton to be hosanna'd and Cardinal Arinze to get raw-prawned. But one thing has never been satisfactorily explained to me. At bottom, do these academic executives who succeed in pulling off the scam take themselves seriously, or do they see the joke? Jesuit or lay, do they look on those they have defeated with pity or with amusement?

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  • Posted by: shrink - Dec. 07, 2003 8:07 PM ET USA

    Diogenes poses a great question. Here's the answer, me thinks: The left look on their victims with amusement: For 2 reasons: one is that they take pleasure in viewing the destruction of orthodoxy. The other reason belongs to the definition of pity, which is an emotional pain that arises when one sees the misfortune of another as possibly belonging to one's self. So the Left neither empathizes with their victims' suffering, nor can they see themselves suffering a similar --and stupid-- fate.

  • Posted by: Simpleton - Dec. 07, 2003 8:54 AM ET USA

    Let me see if I have got this right, in the "Free Speech Zone" of a prominent "Catholic" university, speech that reflects the teaching of the Catholic Church is no tolerated.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 06, 2003 12:30 AM ET USA

    Was it Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot, who changed his name to Olson ? Freedom of speach must be restricted to the "chosen few," the p.c. "liberal" elite.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 05, 2003 8:18 PM ET USA

    "After learning of the student's presence, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson instructed the Department of Public Safety to escort him off campus." "Intolerance and invective have no place at Georgetown." Does he not have any idea of the total disconnect between the action and the proposition? He should have added: "Intolerance will not be tolerated unless it suits our fascist PC agenda to tolerate intolerance - then intolerance is quite tolerable!"

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Dec. 05, 2003 12:54 PM ET USA

    It would be interesting to see if a "message" that was compiled only from the statements of the Pope and the magisterium would likewise be deemed to be "intolerance and invective" on this Catholic campus. Where does one go to have their message approved for the designated free speech zone? Academic officials have power that they are unaccountable for.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 05, 2003 12:41 PM ET USA

    I wonder if the Cardinal who could declare Georgetown to be no longer Catholic enjoys the joke. Or, at least, the flatteries of heretics and public sinners. We should brace ourselves for years more of this same sort of thing. The Pope, holy but impotent, will not exercise authority. And those bishops who might be orthodox will follow his example for fear of offending the apostates in their rank. There will be no Great Awakening. Just one funeral at a time until this vile generation passes.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 05, 2003 12:10 PM ET USA

    I think neither; something closer to unbridled hatred seems a more appropriate description.