Notre Dame 'Drag Show' Suggests Administrators May be Atheists
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Notre Dame is allowing a drag show to occur on campus, despite the fact they are a Catholic University. Students are protesting, as well as the concerned public. Why is this Catholic university allowing such a thing? The answer should be obvious. The people making the decisions are atheists; that's my opinion, and here's why I feel this is so. And Catholics should consider this when deciding if they should support the university.
This morning, I received an email sent to Notre Dame by Tom Devore a concerned Catholic who resides in Houston.
Here is the letter:
Dear Fr. Jenkins, Fr. Gerry, Provost McGreevy, and Administrators,
My name is Tom Devore Jr, I am a Catholic and a donor of the University of Notre Dame. My family has been involved with the University since 1930. We would like for our three boys to attend ND but most recently we have seen changes in the University that directly contradict the teachings of the Church and also their current Catholic education.
I am emailing to express my concern about the drag performance scheduled for November 3 on Notre Dame's campus with sponsorship by the Notre Dame Department of Film, Television, and Theater, the Department of Music, the Department of American Studies, the Initiative on Race and Resilience, the Gender Studies Program, and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts.
Notre Dame's mission statement declares, "The University is dedicated to the pursuit and sharing of truth for its own sake." Father Jenkins clarified in his remarks on the university's commitment to the pursuit of truth and academic freedom that "the right of free expression does not, of course, extend to speech that threatens violence or constitutes harassment against an individual or a group. Such expressions violate University policies and will not be tolerated."
A drag performance of any kind harasses and degrades women, pervading the truth of God's creation of man and woman. The University's invitation to three biological males to be paid to come to campus, dress in provocative clothing, mock, and objectify women must be rescinded. We demand the University offer an apology, especially to her women, for ever considering such a degrading portrayal of femininity, and direct its funds to events that support authentic femininity and the dignity of the human person.
Our Lady's University has a moral obligation to the truth and protection of her students that absolutely overrides a notion of 'academic freedom,' within which a drag performance has no place. This event must not take place under Our Lady's golden dome.
As a follower of Christ, the Church, and representative of Catholic education could you please advise on how this is beneficial to current and future Catholic students?
I look forward to your response.In Christ,Tom Devore
Notre Dame sent a brief, stock reply.
I am responding on behalf of Fr. Jenkins and others copied on your email. Notre Dame is committed to its mission as a Catholic university and, as part of that mission, to academic freedom and freedom of expression. As Fr. Jenkins said in a recent statement, "because Notre Dame is a university committed to the pursuit of truth through teaching, learning, inquiry, and dialogue, we are committed fully to the academic freedom of scholars to research and publish the results of their research and to teach in accord with their obligations and training." We defend this freedom even when the content of the presentation is objectionable to some or even many. The event you reference is part of a one-credit course in Film, Television, and Theatre on the history of drag, and the principle of academic freedom applies.
---Ann M. Firth
Vice President and Chief of Staff
Office of the President
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In the email thread I received, Tom pointed out two sections of the Roman Catholic Catechism, that I will share.
2333 Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.
2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.
Every Confirmed Catholic should know and understand that sexual immorality is gravely sinful. Furthermore, to suggest that such behavior is endorsed by allowing it, is likely a form of scandal.
2284 Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense.
No good Catholic in position to approve or disallow scandal should sit idle. Anyone who does is, in my opinion is lazy, a coward, or worse, an atheist. And not the moral atheist, who sincerely holds their non-belief while striving for moral consistency. No, these are persons who profess belief, while throwing up their hands in the face of grave sin and scandal. Such behavior is inconsistent with love, for no person who loves another would allow the one they profess to love to come to harm.
Consider this: If a professor proposed violating the law in a university classroom, as part of their "research," would the administrators allow it? Maybe it would depend. For example, if a professor smoked marijuana and encouraged students to do so in class, that might be allowed to slide. But what if the experiment was deadly? What if the professor wanted to exercise their academic freedom and it involved doing egregious bodily harm to a student? Would the administration still allow it?
We hope not, even if the student was convinced to volunteer. But why not, what with academic freedom and all?
The answer is simple. Notre Dame has an obligation to protect its students, and to enforce the law on campus, especially when it comes to serious criminal behavior. Everyone knows what would happen if a professor injured a student. The campus police would arrest the professor and they would lose their job and face prosecution, which could result in imprisonment. So, such activities aren't even thought about. Instead, professors take steps to ensure safety in the classroom, campus officials enact policies to protect students from violence and other forms of harm. That's because we all know and believe the law is real. Getting sued happens. Prison exists.
But why then, is it considered acceptable to endanger the human soul?
If we believed in God, the soul, the Church and the Catechism, and hell the same as we believe in the law, police, district attorneys, and prisons, then by no stretch of the imagination would we permit students to be endangered in the name of academic freedom, or freedom of expression. Even though secular law and tradition permit this, shouldn't the faithful adhere to a higher standard? The secular realm is corrupted, and it has always been permissible to do many things contrary to God's law. Yet as Catholics, we are called to follow a higher law.
To adhere to the secular law, but conveniently ignore God's law, or to profess that the ordinary, catechized Catholic somehow doesn't understand the law, then shrug and permit scandal, is itself a form of atheism. For no sane and thinking person who believes in the law would commit a crime and expect to get away with it. Likewise, no person of genuine faith should commit scandal and expect they and others will get away with it.
Criminals commit crimes because they think they can get away with them, or because they don't care if they are caught, or they are mentally ill. Christians commit sins because they have the misguided notion that they are not actually sins, or they have lost their faith. Perhaps they are momentarily confused or deceived. But only the atheist chooses sin because they see nothing wrong with the behavior.
By these fruits, how shall we view those Christians who choose scandal, despite knowing better?
Look, if there is an explanation for scandal that promotes gravely sinful behavior and would pass theological adjudication, then by all means, please enlighten us. Otherwise, the logic is sound. Those administrators who profess to be Christians but act defenseless in the face of scandal on their watch are in fact atheists. Or they may as well be. Because if they were genuine Christians who loved their neighbor, they would not shrug and ignore the scandal taking place under their authority. At a minimum, they would make some kind of condemnation or statement to communicate that such behaviors are gravely sinful and entirely contrary to Christian teaching. The administration was asked to reply. They kindly took the time to do so.
Their reply was a defense of scandal, not a condemnation of it.
Catholics should think about this when deciding where to send their children to college, or money. We want our children to flourish, not endanger their souls for secular prestige.
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