NOTRE DAME, IN — In a startling and deeply disappointing action, Notre Dame’s Office of Student Affairs has denied the application of the student organization SCOP (Students for Child Oriented Policy) for recognition. This decision comes in the wake of hundreds of student signatories to the error-riddled and malign anti-SCOP petition that we described in our last bulletin.
As we explained in that bulletin, SCOP supports the Church’s opposition to the legalization of gay “marriage” and its view of the deleterious effect of same-sex parenting. SCOP is mobilizing support for the proposed Indiana constitutional amendment declaring marriage limited to heterosexual unions; it organized a conference at Notre Dame on gay marriage; and it is gathering signatures on a petition urging Father Jenkins to support and advance the Church’s teaching on this issue.
The denial letter refers to, and rests upon, the recommendation of the Club Coordination Council, a branch of the undergraduate Student Government. That recommendation is based on the assertion that there is “not a need” for SCOP because its mission is “closely mirrored” by the missions of other clubs that already “serve the intended interests” of SCOP.
The letter of denial does not identity any such organization whose mission “closely mirrors” SCOP’s, nor does it describe any action by any organization that has “served the intended interests” of SCOP.
While there may be existing groups that are sympathetic to the mission of SCOP, there is no other club with the same purpose and proposed activities. As Michael Bradley, the 2013-14 editor-in-chief of the Irish Rover declares in a message to us, “No club exists that does what we do.” Witness what we have described above — the conference, the petition, the support of the Indiana proposed amendment — and, more generally, SCOP’s focus on how pornography and marriage policies affect children and children’s rights.
Moreover, this standard was not employed by Father Jenkins last year when, after 15 years of repeated denials by the university of student requests for a gay club, he acceded to intense faculty and student pressure and accorded official recognition to such an organization. In that case, the interests of gay students had been served by the Progressive Student Alliance (PSA) as well as by the administration-founded Core Council. (The president of PSA was the leader in the recognition drive. A public supporter of gay marriage, he has just finished his term as president of Student Government.) It seems redundancy disqualifies only when students seek to advance the Church’s position against the gay rights agenda.
The administration’s lamentable action is striking evidence of a major fault line in the school’s Catholic identity. It has followed its recognition and support of a gay student organization with this denial of recognition and support to students upholding the Church’s position on gay marriage. By denying SCOP funding, the use of university space, and the right to sponsor events, the administration handicaps SCOP as an ally of the Church and a promoter of children’s welfare.
The many anti-SCOP petitioners that we described in our last bulletin have gotten what they wanted. It seems clear that among many at Notre Dame as elsewhere, to borrow from Robert George and Ryan Anderson, “Support for marriage as a male-female union has swiftly become, among the mandarins of culture, the most hated position on the most heated question.”
But these SCOP students are not to be cowed. Tiernan Kane, SCOP’s president vows, “This will not stop us!”
Pray for them and stay tuned for further developments. Father Jenkins, after all, has plenary authority. Accordingly, he also has full responsibility.
If you haven’t signed the SCOP petition calling on the administration to stand with the Church on gay marriage but would like to, do so here.
Recognized Student Clubs
It is instructive to examine the list of the hundreds of student clubs the university has recognized. They include, for example:
|Ace of Spades
Acting for the Camera
American Civil Liberties
Arnold Air Society
Ballet Folklorico Azul Y Oro
Big Yellow Taxi
Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Creativity and Innovation
Culinary Appreciation and Outreach
Detachment 255 Flyin’ Irish
Disc Golf Club
First Class Steppers
Iron Sharpens Iron
League of Legends
Logan Recreation Club
Ms. Wizard Team
ND for Animals
Park Flyers Pilots
Pom Pon Squad
Proponents of Animal Welfare Service (PAWS)
Rakes of Mallow
Role Playing Game Club
Rubik’s Cube Club
Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy
If you plan to attend Alumni Weekend or are within striking distance of the university, join us at our breakfast meeting on Saturday, May 31. Michael Bradley, who has been close to this matter, will talk about it and related events. Read about the breakfast and register here.
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