Friday, October 13, 2006

Georgetown's Disenfranchised Protestants Fight Back

The purge of Protestant student groups at Georgetown University was a matter of note in the blogosphere back in August. Now the Alliance Defense Fund is coming to the aid of the students.

(Story excerpted from WorldNetDaily)
The Alliance Defense Fund has written a letter to a "Christian" college asking officials there to reconsider their decision to ban several national and international Christian student organizations because the groups are too evangelical.

Georgetown University, which boasts a tradition of more than 200 years of Jesuit and Catholic teachings, recently sent letters to half a dozen evangelical Christian organizations telling them they no longer are welcome.

200 years of Jesuit and Catholic teaching? Which one? It seems like the two would be mutually exclusive.

"Now I've seen derecognition letters before, but this one takes the cake," David French, the senior legal counsel for the ADF, said of the Georgetown University decision. "Blessings and may God's peace be on you! … Now get off campus!"

He told WND that there's been no satisfactory explanation for the sudden change in school policy, but those in a position to know best say the groups, such InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, are too evangelical.

"The real interesting thing is that Georgetown tossed these groups, but left the Muslim Student Alliance and the Jewish Student Alliance intact," French told WND. "This Christian college is giving more religious freedom to Muslims and Jews than to Christians."

[…] The ADF letter to John DeGioia, the president, and Rev. Timothy S. Godfrey, S.J., a campus ministry leader, and others asked them to correct the "discriminatory decision by the school's Office of Campus Ministries.

[…] The letter noted that Georgetown advertises that it believes "serious and sustained" discourse among people of differing faiths promotes understanding. However, the difference between its statements and its actions is "a sizeable credibility gap," the letter said.

[…] The school actions also violate its own free speech policy and student organization policy, the letter notes.

[…] French said the university, which is private, has the right to dictate who it wants on campus, but essentially it is staging a "bait-and-switch" with students and parents by proclaiming that they will enjoy "full religious freedom" on campus, when they won't.

[…] The brush-off letter from the university starts: "Blessings and may God's peace be upon you!" but deteriorates shortly later to: "Protestant Ministry has decided to move in another direction."

Translation: The Protestant ministries on this campus have decided to enforce mainline revisionism and apostasy.

[…] "The real problem at Georgetown is the same problem that has plagued campuses across the country: an increasing intolerance for religious students and student groups (regardless of whether they are Catholic or Protestant) who take the Bible seriously and seek to live their lives under the authority of Scripture," French said in a blog on the ADF site.

"In the many years I've spent defending Christians on campus, I've never seen a campus, private or public, eject a Christian student group from campus that followed campus orthodoxy on the relevant social and religious issues of the day."

Bingo! I’d be a lot more sympathetic to Georgetown, a nominally Catholic institution, regulating the Protestants on their campus if I didn’t believe they would mistreat orthodox Catholics the very same way. After all, the school had to be forced by public and student opinion to display crucifixes in the classrooms. The threat they fear isn’t from Protestantism; the threat they fear is a challenge to the dose of new-age secular horse manure they feed to their students. They sugar-coat it with a thin veneer of Catholic lingo in order to disguise the taste. Anybody that exposes the poison under the coating is a danger and must be suppressed.

As Joseph Bottum said in First Things back on August 28,2006:

The problem, of course, finally boils down to this: The evangelical groups represent only a few hundred students, but they are strongly pro-life and opposed to homosexual marriage. The mainline Protestant employees of Campus Ministry find such things embarrassing, and so they kick the evangelicals off campus, employing the power of the officially Catholic chaplain’s office and the rhetoric of the school’s Catholic identity.

There’s an obvious irony here—employed too often to be surprising—in which people begin by protesting in the name of diversity against centralized authority, and later discover, once they’re in charge, how useful those old forms of authority can be in controlling diversity.

But it also represents a tactic we’re likely to see more of: claims of old-fashioned Catholicism, used by people who are far from old-fashioned Catholics, to maintain control of officially Catholic institutions and to ban the people whose political opinions they don’t like. Watch for it at Boston College, and Marquette, and Notre Dame, and Loyola Marymount, and on and on.