‘Stab in the back’ to oppose gay marriage
Professors and students at Assumption University, a Catholic college in Massachusetts, are upset at the institution for sharing a document on voting that criticized gay marriage.
University officials had emailed out a document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on October 19 to current students. It discussed various political issues and how voters, particularly Catholics, should weigh the issues while voting. The USCCB represents Catholic bishops in the United States.
The school had emailed out week seven of a 53-page document that touched on a variety of issues.
The document, titled “Forming consciences for faithful citizenship” discussed “intrinsic evil(s)” including “promotion of racism” and “support for legal abortion” as well as “redefining marriage.”
Nearly 4,000 people signed a Change.org petition criticizing the university for sharing the document. Additionally, 80 current and retired professors signed a letter to Assumption’s administration that shared similar concerns, according to the Telegram and Gazette, a local paper.
The Change.org petition criticized the bishops for writing:
Similarly, human cloning, destructive research on human embryos, and other acts that directly violate the sanctity and dignity of human life including genocide, torture, and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror or war, can never be justified. Nor can violations of human dignity, such as acts of racism, treating workers as mere means to an end, deliberately subjecting workers to subhuman living conditions, treating the poor as disposable, or redefining marriage to deny its essential meaning, ever be justified.
The petition said using the term “redefining marriage” is “an obvious jab at non-heterosexual individuals.”
“It is in the same sentence as some other very pressing harmful issues in society, as if it is being compared as something just as damaging to society as those other issues,” the petition said.
The petition said that school could have caused “trauma” with its statement:
At a time when LGBTQ+ Americans are living in fear, this is the worst possible timing for Assumption to send out an information sheet that displays such horrendous language. This is a stab in the back to the LGBTQ+ community that is very present on Assumption’s campus, including its club, AU Allies. We demand a formal apology from the school acknowledging the emotional harm or trauma this may have caused for students in the LGBTQA+ community.
The faculty letter called for more “resources” and policy changes, according to the Telegram and Gazette. (The paper did not publish a full copy of the letter).
Changes include “asking students for their pronouns and chosen name at registration and making this information available on the faculty class rosters,” according to the paper.
“Other resources could include faculty development programming on inclusive teaching practices,” the Gazette reported. It could include “dedication of more bathrooms on campus as gender neutral, and hiring of support staff with expertise in the specific challenges facing LGBTQIA+ students,” the paper said.
Greg Weiner, the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, did not back down from the university’s beliefs.
“The teachings of the Catholic Church are open to academic debate but the fact that Assumption is a Catholic institution is not,” Weiner said, according to the Gazette.
“We should not, cannot and will not apologize for Campus Ministry sharing the teachings of the Catholic Church as articulated in an official document issued by the Catholic bishops,” he said.