Culture Wars in Universities

Colleges and universities are in the news (It’s commencement time, I suppose). And some of the news is about commencement. A furor over Georgetown’s invitation to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius to speak. More here.

St. Francis University of Steubenville has announced it will no longer offer health insurance to its students, ostensibly because of the contraception provision in the ACA. But it turns out that the decision is largely financial, and they will continue to offer insurance to their employees.

At Shorter University in Georgia, a furor over the requirement of staff and faculty to sign a statement of moral behavior–. Inside Higher Ed’s coverage of the story; a story from Huffington Post on a librarian who has refused to sign, and the website that is spearheading opposition. Shorter is one of many institutions caught in the middle of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1980s and 1990s.

And, on a very different note–at another Christian college, the Biola Queer Underground.

And finally, my friend and mentor John O’Malley asks whether medieval universities were Catholic:

Were medieval universities Catholic universities? It is a question easier to ask than to answer. One thing, however, is certain: the contemporary grid for an “authentically Catholic” university does not neatly fit the medieval reality. There are even grounds for asserting that in their core values medieval universities more closely resemble the contemporary secular university than they do today’s Catholic model. If we are looking for historical precedents for that model, we do not find it clearly in the Middle Ages.

I still remember him saying in class some 25 years ago that the university was the one institution in the West that had never been reformed; it still functions in many ways today as it did in the Middle Ages. Shorter and St. Francis are both evidence that some modern universities are more benighted than medieval ones.

1 thought on “Culture Wars in Universities

  1. Franciscan U has been able to thrive and grow through strong Catholic identity and reputation for orthodoxy, producing grads who are faithfully practicing Catholics. The cost to the students for their (required) insurance was about to double, it seems like the Holy Spirit is continually looking out for Franciscan, and that was put to good use as an opportunity to protect against the possibility of being coerced to provide contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization to young people whose human, moral and spiritual welfare they have a responsibility towards; they stopped offering insurance and dropped the requirement that students had to carry health insurance. Good for them!!!!! Contraception is always grave sin, and insofar as someone does so freely and with full knowledge of its sinfulness, they sin mortally. Nobody who understands the natural moral law in regards to this, and the Catholic faith, could agree to participate in supplying contraceptives to others. As a woman, I consider that the sexual revolution and contraception has had horrible results for women, men, children, families and society. Family breakdown, pornified culture and the trivialization of sex, 50 million abortions since 1973, even loss of understanding of the nature of marriage as lifelong unitive and procreative covenant of man and woman, foundation of family for raising and educating their children. Franciscan University has been warmly supported in their decision by their alums and Catholics generally.

    I am a 33 year old Catholic woman and member of the Cathedral Parish, together with another woman I’ve started a religious freedom group that is meeting at St Paul’s to study the HHS mandate crisis situation, pray, and take appropriate action, above all to bear witness that this is against our moral and religious beliefs, and we believe contraception is immoral and harmful. If there are Episcopalians who have a sound Christian morality and want to stand up for religious freedom they also would be welcome to join us.

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