Did You Know...


Black and pro-life? Catholic school doesn’t want you

By Michelle Malkin  •  April 10, 2008 09:58 AM


Jason Mattera at the Young America’s Foundation blows the whistle on the speech-squelchers at the Catholic-run University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, who embrace transgender lecturers and far Left hack Al Franken–but have barred black, pro-life speaker Star Parker:

Liberal administrators at the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic university and private college in Minnesota, censored the appearance of prominent pro-life and black speaker Star Parker. On April 21, 2008, Star—the best-selling author of numerous books—was slated to speak on campus about the devastating impact abortion has on minority communities. UST Vice President of Student Affairs Jane Canney nixed the idea entirely, citing “concerns” that the lecture was being underwritten by Young America’s Foundation.

Katie Kieffer, a 2005 alumna of St. Thomas and founder of the independent conservative newspaper on campus, the St. Thomas Standard, as well as the non-profit Conservative Student News Inc., was an organizer of the Star Parker lecture. She confronted Canney on her refusal to allow Star on campus. “Our Catholic university has hosted two decidedly liberal speakers in the past year, Al Franken and Debra Davis, an outspoken transgender woman,” Kieffer wrote in the St. Thomas Standard.

Why, then, won’t St. Thomas welcome Star Parker—a pro-life, Christian speaker?

Jane Canney told Katie and her sister, Amie Kieffer, a senior at St. Thomas and editor of the St. Thomas Standard, “As long as I am a vice president at St. Thomas, the Young America’s Foundation will not be allowed on campus.” Canney didn’t return the Foundation’s phone calls seeking comment. The Student Life Committee, on which Jane Canney resides, denied the Students for Human Life and the St. Thomas Standard a room on campus for Star Parker’s lecture. The young conservatives only needed a room and advertising space to host Parker, as Young America’s Foundation and Conservative Student News Inc. were covering all other costs.

Scott Johnson at Power Line recounts the longstanding petty tyranny at the University of St. Thomas against conservative speakers sponsored by YAF.

Perhaps this issue should be raised during the Pope’s visit next with Catholic educators.

Rick Martinez spotlights the decline of Catholic universities:

‘Is the Pope Catholic?” is a popular comeback used to denote an obvious fact. Of course he is. The answer to “Is Notre Dame Catholic?” used to be equally indisputable. But not any more

That’s a shortcoming many American Catholics pray that Pope Benedict XVI confronts next week when he makes his first papal visit to the United States. Among the many events he will preside over is a meeting with, and address to, Catholic educators. It’s a summons, really. Presidents and chancellors from all 235 U.S. Catholic colleges and universities are expected to atttend.

To borrow a Protestant phrase, I hope the pope’s address is really a “Come to Jesus” meeting. Too many Catholic universities — the University of Notre Dame is a high-profile example — have become “CINOs,” or Catholic In Name Only. Many have used the cloak of academic freedom to support causes and events contrary to church doctrine, leading to serious questions about the definition and role of Catholic identity in higher education.

The decline of Catholicism at U.S. Catholic colleges and universities has reached the point that only 10 percent adequately preach and practice church doctrine, according to the Cardinal Newman Society, which monitors Catholic higher education. A Catholic university should be the last place to find a performance of the play “The Vagina Monologues,” yet it’s scheduled on 19 Catholic campuses this academic year, including Notre Dame. The good news is, that’s less exposure than the play had in 2003-04…

…I’ll leave it to the holy father, a former theology professor himself, to explain the orthodoxy of having Catholic educators return to church teachings. As a layperson, I just want my church’s educational leaders to stop using the academic freedom argument to undermine religious freedom.

Refusing to pass out condoms to students isn’t undermining academic freedom. Refusing to establish gay resource centers has nothing to do with academic freedom. Refusing to stage a play that includes graphic descriptions and depictions of acts considered by the church as serious sins is not an issue of academic freedom.

If Catholic beliefs about human life, morality and culture aren’t going to be taught and supported at Catholic universities, then what is the point of being a Catholic institution? Why would a parent looking for a Catholic learning environment send a child — and pay top dollar to do so — to a campus that intellectually is nothing more than a secular school decorated with crosses?

These are the issues I hope Pope Benedict will discuss in clear and concise terms, as only he can, when he meets with Catholic educators next week.

Posted in: Education