Eric Bugyis April 25, 2012 - 11:43am
Since they will apparently be taking to the streets this summer to defend freedom, one would expect the Bishops and their hordes to be particularly scrupulous when it comes to defending those poor souls who experience equal discrimination. But, as others have suggested,it seems that there may be limits to theirsolidarity that are coterminous with a particular political party line.In the comments on my post about the Notre Dame faculty's response to Bishop Jenky's incediarysermon, which compared Obama toHitler and Stalin, and their request that he resign from the Board of Fellows in the best interest of the University, some suggested that his speech ought tobeprotected as a private citizen. Indeed, it should, and I don't expect anyone would disagree with this.However, as anyone who has relationships and uses language knows, free speech doesn't mean speaking without consequences. If you aren't aware of this phenomenon, just ask Roxanne Martino, who resigned from Notre Dame's Board of Trustees last summer "after a conservative Roman Catholic watchdog group reported that she donated thousands of dollars to an organization that supports 'pro-choice Democratic women.'" In this case, not only did Martino not make any public statements, but the University administration also claimed that she didn't even know that she was giving money to groups engaged in such advocacy.So, a liberal, lay woman quietlycontributes her own privatemoney to an organization that, the University claims, she didn't even realize supported activities contrary to Church teaching, and she is expected and allowed to resign. But a conservative, male cleric publicly compares the President to Hitler, and we don't even get a "but he didn'trealize who Hitler was" defense. Something doesn't add up here, but maybe Robert Barron can explain to me how this one "answers itself."
About the Author
Eric Bugyis teaches Religious Studies in the Division of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University of Washington Tacoma.