Monday, April 16, 2007

"Day of Silence" at Notre Dame

Numerous student groups at the University of Notre Dame are urging members of the campus community to observe a "Day of Silence" on April 18th. According to organizers, those who choose to participate in the Day of Silence can carry a card and wear a button to explain why they are not speaking.

And why aren't they speaking? Is it to remember the students murdered at Virginia Tech today? Is it to remember the victims of radical Islamist terror worldwide? Or the brave soldiers who have died in the fight against terror? Is it to honor Jackie Robinson on the 60th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier in Major League baseball?


The "Day of Silence" is part of the "Stand Against Hate," a full week of activities designed to spread awareness about issues faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community - including harassment and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals - with the hope of bringing the issue back to the center of campus consciousness.

In addition to the "Day of Silence," the "Stand Against Hate" will include a display of the Holocaust memorial on South Quad (on Tuesday) that will include symbols used by Nazis during the Holocaust to label and identify their victims.

It's this type of brave stand against bigotry and oppression that makes me so proud to be a Domer. Not!

Are LGBTQ (what the heck does Q mean?) persons really subjected to harassment, discrimination and hate at the University of Notre Dame? Or are they instead subjected merely to disapproval? Because there is a big difference between the two. Notre Dame students, faculty, and administrators are an educated group, and the culture on campus is steeped in political correctness and tolerance. I find it hard to believe that any group of people is really subjected to harassment and hate on that campus. Well, I take that back. Republicans and conservatives might be subjected to hate and harassment, and have their freedoms of speech and expression curtailed. And sometimes the members of ROTC on campus are subjected to shoddy treatment (there was an anti-ROTC protest on campus just a few weeks ago).

Notre Dame is a Catholic University. It is open to persons of all persuasions, but it still remains true to it's Catholic roots, dedicated to religious belief no less than scientific knowledge. That's part of the package when you get off the bus. This is not a secret. And the Catholic church teaches that God's gift of sexuality is intended by God to be shared between husband and wife. Sexual relations outside of marriage (whether between man and woman, man and man, woman and woman, Q and Q, priest and child) is contrary to the Church's teachings. Thus, at a Catholic University, it is no surprise that sexual relations outside of marriage are not encouraged. Setting LGBTQ issues aside, the University goes to significant lengths to "harass" and sexually discriminate between its students in order to prevent heterosexual relations between non-married persons. Single-sex dorms, parietals, and University rules are all designed to impede heterosexual students from exercising sexual "freedom." LGBTQ students should expect no better. LGBTQ sexual practices and choices are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church and contrary to the values of the University community. Because of that LGBTQ students will encounter, at times, disapproval of their chosen lifestyle. But disapproval is not hate. Jesus taught that he who is without sin should cast the first stone, thus Christ taught tolerance and forgiveness. Neither Christ nor the Church teaches hate. But tolerance does not always mean agreement or approval or endorsement.

I am also disturbed by the inclusion of the Holocaust memorial in this week's activities. Yes, homosexuals also suffered at the hands of the Nazis. But using the memorial as a prop this week trivializes what happened to the Jewish and homosexual victims of National Socialism. More than six million Jews were slaughtered in cold blood by the Nazis. Slaughtered not because of anything they actually did, but merely because of their ancestry. The Holocaust was Evil on a scale beyond imagining. To draw a parallel, however tenuous, between the victims of the Holocaust and the "victims" of "hate" at the University of Notre Dame is truly insulting. As noted above, LGBTQ students at Notre Dame may face disapproval, but they do not face hatred. Using the Holocaust memorial as a prop in the "Stand Against Hate" merely demonstrates that the LGBTQ community doesn't really understand what true hatred is. Of course, the subtle, unspoken message in using the Holocaust in this way is that while the LGBTQ students are victims of Nazi-style hatred, those who disagree with or disapprove of the LGBTQ lifestyle are the modern equivalent of the Nazis themselves.

Who's hating now?


Anonymous said...

Are they subjected to hateful treatment? No. But homosexuals at Notre Dame, until quite recently, were not even acknowledged by the University. Being a graduate I love the place, but it is this type of backward thinking that can be found throughout many of the university's policies and student body.

OC Domer said...

Anonymous makes my point. There is no "hateful" treatment, but there is not enough "acknowledgement." Notre Dame is a Catholic University. It tries to uphold the faith and traditions of the Catholic Church. Homosexual activity is not compatible with that faith tradition. Complaining about Notre Dame being Catholic is like attending West Point and complaining that everyone there is so "military."

And, of course, anonymous tops it all off with some name-calling. Anyone who disagress with Anonymous is "backwards" in their thinking. Name calling is intolerant, hateful behavior. But it's okay as long as the intolerant, hateful behavior supports a politically correct cause.

gdude said...

Shot ... Score(!), ocdomer.

If they can't understand it, you can't explain it to them.

BTW, my child currently at ND reports it was pretty majorly a non-event. I guess the magnitude of the furor created by the whacked narcissist at VaTech with REAL problems sorta dwarfed the silly claims of oppression by the LGBTQ folk at ND.

On a tangential note, I'm at least hoping for one positive result of the insane rush to embryonic stem cell research: a cure for LGTBQ. Wouldn't that solve all their problems?

Blue and Gold this weekend. What's that going to reveal?

OC Domer said...

gdude -

Thanks for stopping by. I try to stay away from the "nature versus nurture" argument on homosexuality. I just get peeved when political argument devolves into "if you disagree with me you are stupid and you are preaching hate." That's not debate. That's a tantrum.

As for the B&G game - man I'd love to be there. To me (as I blogged earlier) it will be one for the ages. I expect we'll see a lot, despite the fact that Coach W will keep it completely vanilla. Can't wait to read all the reports.

Amanda said...

The comments made by you and gdude are the exact reason that a Day of Silence is needed. The Day of Silence is participated in nationally to speak out for all those who do not have a voice. It is in memory of GLBTQ teens who have taken their own lives after suffering abuse and bullying of their peers.

And yes GLBTQ students at Notre Dame face hatred and persecution. I am a student here and have seen it happen to GLBTQ students personally.

As for the Catholic identity, I would assert that this is nothing but asking Notre Dame to embrace its Catholic identity more fully. I seem to recall that Christ preached specifically against hatred and judgment. When the University will not even include sexual orientation in the anti-discriminatory clause, how can they say that they are practicing Christian behavior of compassion and love?

I hope that someday you have a child or close friend who is GLBTQ, maybe it will open your eyes and your heart. It not asking for support or even acceptance, it is taking a stand against hate. In all forms.

ND '11

P.S. By the fact that this event is still a strong presence here on campus two years after this post I think cancels out the whole "non-event" claim.