Last night, as I was leaving campus (much too late, but alas), I noticed this poster on the wall:
- The picture says, “Even though we know dinosaurs survived the flood (on Noah’s Ark) we don’t know if Jesus ever rode them. But He probably did!” accompanied by a picture of Christ on a velociraptor (a clearer, color picture can be found here).
- Beneath that, it says, “Awesome? Yes. Science? No.” and beneath that, “Okay. Now that we have your attention, we’d like to let you know that the First Meeting of the Georgetown Law Secular Student Alliance is happening Thursday, Septemeber 24 at 2pm in McD 156. [email protected]”
- It’s stamped by the Office of Student Life for posting, and was hanging in a student organizations only spot (where, incidentally, the pro-choice group had recently put up flyers for their “Wine, Cheese, & Choice” gala which Georgetown allegedly doesn’t support).
Now, I don’t know if Georgetown is actually funding this “student group” or not. I don’t think I need to say that to fund them would be totally incompatible with Georgetown’s alleged mission as a Jesuit University.
In 1990, Pope John Paul II released an Apostolic Constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, on the purpose, identity and mission of Catholic Universities. Paragraphs 13 and 14 read as follows:
Since the objective of a Catholic University is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture(16), every Catholic University, as Catholic, must have the following essential characteristics:
- a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community as such;
- a continuing reflection in the light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which it seeks to contribute by its own research;
- fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church;
- an institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life”(17).
14. “In the light of these four characteristics, it is evident that besides the teaching, research and services common to all Universities, a Catholic University, by institutional commitment, brings to its task the inspiration and light of the Christian message. In a Catholic University, therefore, Catholic ideals, attitudes and principles penetrate and inform university activities in accordance with the proper nature and autonomy of these activities. In a word, being both a University and Catholic, it must be both a community of scholars representing various branches of human knowledge, and an academic institution in which Catholicism is vitally present and operative”(18).
Now, a University which promotes “secularism,” the mockery of religion, and the blasphemous mockery of Christ seen above (whether that promotion is financial, or simply through providing wall space to air that message, authorizing the student group with this anti-Christian message as it mission, and allowing the use of University-owned supplies, like computers and paper) is failing in its essential Catholic mission. If there is any difference between a secular University and a Catholic University, it is that the Catholic University has a distinct identity. In other words, a secular student group is antithetically opposed to the distinctly Catholic elements of Georgetown. The group, then, is an assault both on the University’s goals, and her character.
The Secular Student Alliance is a perfect example of everything wrong with the New Atheists. The poster promoting their first even doesn’t actually affirm anything (an affirmation might be something like: “Those of us who don’t believe in God still follow an ethical and moral system – find out why!”); instead, they assault everything else. And as it happens, what they assault is continually a straw man argument. In a nominally Catholic University, they don’t intellectually challenge Catholicism. Rather, they challenge a parody of Fundamentalism. No Christian believes Christ rode dinosaurs. It’s just a stupid and insulting stereotype, like showing a person eating a pork chop at a traditionally Jewish school and saying, “Wow, it didn’t kill me on contact like we all thought!”
The Secular Student Alliance is also allied with some of the worst anti-Catholics currently living. Exhibit A: PZ Meyers, one of their speakers. He’s the guy who thinks it’s funny to steal and desecrate the consecrated Eucharistic host… that is, the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. There’s nothing intelligent or intellectual here, just a bunch of bitter athiest fundamentalists fueled by hatred and blindness. Georgetown should do everything in its power to stop this religious hate speech, rather than supporting it.