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Student Slander and Provocation Unchecked

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Intimidation on@NotreDame's campus against individuals and groups upholding Catholic teaching on homosexual sex #GoCatholicND Click To Tweet

In one of the most indefensible, and perhaps consequential, decisions of his tenure, Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins has declined to condemn, or even criticize, a vile and inflammatory assault via poster and video by a group of students on other students, alumni and faculty for upholding the Church’s teaching on homosexual sex. The student organizations Irish Rover and SCOP were also targeted, as was Sycamore Trust. 

  This is a serious matter. Please attend to our Action Note at the end of this bulletin.  

The series of lamentable events began with a poster, continued through a screed published in the Notre Dame Observer, and ended with an ugly and intimidating video.

The Poster

On September 25, The Irish Rover, the independent Notre Dame student publication, reported that a week earlier some then-unknown students had planted a large sign at the heart of the campus with the words   “There is Queer Blood on Homophobic Hands”  blazoned across it.

The sign, which heads this bulletin, reproduced pages from the Irish Rover and another student publication, the Observer, that reflected Catholic doctrine on homosexual and transgender issues. 

“Most shockingly,” the Rover reported, “the sign’s message was painted in blood red, the names of the articles’ writers were all circled in blood-red paint,” and “among the names were those of current students, faculty, and alumni of the University.”

The ND police removed the sign, the Rover reported, but only after “it had been shared widely on social media.”

The Observer Rant

Notre Dame Observer There's queer blood on homophobic hands

A few days later, the Observer recklessly published a deeply disturbing free verse malediction by a student, Audrey Lindeman, echoing the anger of the poster.

Explicitly targeting the student organizations SCOP, the Rover, and Young Americans for Freedom, together with Sycamore Trust, she wished “the murdered trans angels (18 this year yet) [would] leak brimstone into your
praying mouths.”

She continued:

your cowardly
pontification is a cultural
bullet at the gay massacre
you burned us you
beat us in alleys you
watched us die of AIDS
and yet I’m here, laying
waste to your reproductive
futurism

The Video

The Observer piece ended with a link to the incendiary climax of this series of denunciations, a video that was billed as “a response to recent articles in the Irish Rover about a sign posted on campus, along with an article about gender identity written by faculty” and the “multiple transphobic lectures hosted by Students for Child Oriented Policy.”

In the video, Ms. Lindeman recites her Observer jeremiad while another student holds up a copy of The Irish Rover, a third holds up a sign lettered in red “Queer Phobic Discourse is Violence,” and a fourth repeatedly bashes with a crowbar the original poster with its targeted names and clips. 

Every reader should watch this video. It is impossible to convey in words its angry and unsettling overtones. We have preserved it here against the possibility it will be taken down when this bulletin is published.  

As prominent Notre Dame Law School professor Richard Garnett wrote on a legal blog site, this “anti-Catholic hate speech” performance “can reasonably be regarded as a kind of fantasy about inflicting violence (using a crowbar) against the offending writers, some of whom are their fellow students.”

Campus Reaction

The Irish Rover reported that the student body president declined to comment about the poster and that the Student Government’s director of gender relations “shared her support for the sign”on her Twitter account.

Otherwise on campus, doubtless inner consternation in some quarters, but outward silence. Intimidation and fear of being lumped with the Rover, SCOP, Sycamore Trust, and other defenders of Church “homophobic” teaching are powerful motivators — especially when the administration has buckled, as we show below.

Since the Rover viewed the poster “as an attempt to silence the paper and the presentation of Catholic teaching on controversial issues” and as harassment, it filed harassment reports with the ND Police and the university 

No word on that yet.

Father Jenkins

On October 1, Bill Dempsey, chairman of Sycamore Trust, wrote Father Jenkins that “the malignant poster and venomous video” must be “major violations” of the university’s “Standards of Conduct” and also “seem plainly to violate Indiana’s ‘intimidation law,’ which makes it a crime to incite violence or to take action intended to expose a person ‘to hatred, contempt, disgrace, or ridicule.'”

He concluded:

Since we are included as targets…[w]e respectfully ask what you intend to do about it…. As an immediate step, we strongly urge you to require the incendiary video be taken down. The longer it spews hatred, the more the risk of another Virginia Tech.

Prominent author and commentator Rod Dreher also wondered what the university’s “going to do about it,” for “a line has been crossed” and there is risk of violence:

Whoever put this sign up slandered others at Notre Dame, attacked free speech, and is clearly trying to incite violence against them with that kind of incendiary rhetoric and symbolism. [“Anti-Catholic Hate at Notre Dame“]

After he saw the video, Dreher published Lindeman’s “deranged poem” together with Bill’s letter, and observed, 

[I]f I were on Notre Dame’s campus, and had been targeted by her with such malicious invective, and my image had been subject to a beating with a crowbar, I would be worried. [“Scary Threats at Notre Dame“]

Two alumna of Notre Dame and the Rover, Alexandra DeSanctis and Kate Hardiman, writing respectively for the National Review and the Washington Examiner, were among those in the media covering this affair. Their articles underscore the deplorable character of both the students’ action and the administration’s continued silence. 

Conclusion

Demonizing and intimidating those who support Church teaching about homosexual sex is the preferred, and increasingly successful, weapon of radical LGBT forces. Until now an effective but subtle force at Notre Dame, it has suddenly surfaced full-blown in an especially threatening way. It is both lamentable and alarming, if perhaps not entirely surprising, to see it smother even a whisper of criticism from Father Jenkins, otherwise a champion of civility, who is charged with insuring the safety of students and the freedom of faculty and students to explain and defend the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

Action Note

 This is a serious matter. As Rod Dreher observes, the administration’s passive toleration of these provocative actions by angry students should concern anyone with a stake in campus safety.   To be sure, the risk of violence is probably quite remote. So, too, is the risk of being struck by lightning. But people are struck by lightning, and Virginia Tech and its kin drive home the lesson that mentally unstable people with grievances quite unpredictably do break and kill on campuses and in churches. 

We urge everyone who shares our concern to write Father Jenkins. Parents and grandparents in particular have a right to expect the University to deal with this provocation decisively. Use both these addresses:

jjenkins@nd.edu
president@nd.edu

Don’t be satisfied with boilerplate assurances. Father Jenkins should condemn the students’ action, direct them to take down the video, hold them to account, and issue a stern warning against future transgressions.

Feel free to contact us about this. We would appreciate receiving copies of communications with the university so that we can better judge our future course. 


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31 Responses to “Student Slander and Provocation Unchecked”

  1. “The Heart of The Pro-life Movement is Love.” Father John Jenkins

    This is, in fact, about the Life-affirming and Life-sustaining essence of authentic Love versus the possessive, coercive, and manipulate nature of lust.

    “Reflecting on the new permissive attitude of some bishops toward homosexuality, Fr. Murray condemned homosexual acts in blunt terms.
    “A relationship based on sodomy is intrinsically evil,” Murray said”, and I would add abusive, “You don’t sodomize someone and do a good act. That’s an immoral act”, and I would add, an act, that regardless of the actors or the actor’s desires, because of its inherent abusive nature, is in every case, physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually harmful and thus devoid of Love.

    Prayers for all those who are suffering from abuse, that they may heal their wounds, and recognized that, through their healthy and Holy relationships and friendships, they are beloved children of a Loving God.

    “For the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter that by His revelation they might make known new doctrine, but that by His assistance they might inviolably keep and faithfully expound the Revelation, the Deposit of Faith, delivered through the Apostles. ”

    One cannot be respecting the Sanctity of the marital act within The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony while condoning demeaning sexual acts of any nature.

    I will Pray then, that this Administration does not remain silent, due to a failure to Love God’s beloved children enough to tell them The Good News because they desire Salvation for all of God’s beloved. No Greater Love is there than this.

    Behold “The Cross, Our Only Hope”!

  2. Glen fogarty. The same exact thing happened to me. My maiden name is not part of my Facebook name and someone accused me of vitriol and not being a Domer even though I am a double domer. A classmate did respond who knows me personally to defend me that I am in fact an alum but not to defend my comments. I too was kicked off the discussion board. I am ‘84, 87 mba.

  3. Glenn Fogarty, '91, JD '94 October 15, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    I called Fr. Jenkins office noting my dismay about this matter, and as expected, received no reply whatsoever.
    The self-styled progressives that have hijacked class pages on Facebook have also taken to censoring concerned ND Alumni and creating false pretenses to expel us from these groups. When a classmate of mine from ’91 posted concerns about this horrible incident, I added my own comments. Because I go by my middle name on Facebook for some degree of privacy, one of these vicious leftists claimed I wasn’t an Alum, and even though I immediately provided my name and class years as a Double Domer, a pliable “admin” kicked me off our own 1991 class page. Which incidentally has become a sewer full of radical, left-wing posts that have nothing to do with Notre Dame or our actual class year.
    Pravda Returns.

  4. Bernie Tracey '55 October 11, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    I sent the following EMail to Father Jenkins:

    Dear Father,

    The truest statement ever made by Martin Luther King was, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal”.

    Now is that time at Notre Dame. Your silence in not speaking out, and wholeheartedly condemning, the venomous hatred which was recently spewed out by radical students at our beloved Notre Dame is a terrible betrayal of your responsibility as president.

    I shall continue to pray for you and Notre Dame, (but I must pray even harder).

    Bernard J. Tracey

  5. michael d. mcadams '62 October 11, 2019 at 10:38 am

    You reap what you sew, Fr. Jenkins. From the day you brought Obama to campus to the day this sign was posted on campus you have supported real socialism, not social justice.. And now you won’t even defend church teachings. It’s time for you to leave before violence comes to campus…and it will. It’s time for the board to act.

  6. Perhaps it’s time for everyone to redirect their donations to Catholic schools that would do all that you long to see at Notre Dame. Fr. Jenkins doesn’t need your money so he doesn’t need to respond.

  7. Notre Dame ceased being a Catholic University many years ago (e.g. honoring Obama on campus, Vagina Monologues, etc, etc, etc.). Does this present controversy really surprise anyone whether they be Catholic (myself) or not? I don’t think so.

  8. Nancy Martin Looby October 8, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    An absolute disgrace. I have five children and NONE of them went to ND. My youngest is a senior in HS and is applying to colleges now. ND is not even on her list. And I’m glad. The risk of losing her faith there is too great. It’s the antithesis of Catholic. Too bad it was much better in the 80s when I was there.

  9. This is what we wrote to Jenkins.
    “JMJ

    Dear Mr Jenkins:

    This active, sincere, activist family is truly perplexed at your reaction to the actions taken by the sick, confused people involved in what can be called the “There is Queer Blood on Homophobic Hands” sickness.

    We puzzle, we wonder, we guess, we study, we read and consult, and we find no satisfactory way to explain your attitude.  Your silence on the subject is mystifying, amazing.

    Is it possible that you sympathize more with these sick, confused people–who, please do not misunderstand us, we know do need help, psychiatric if not spiritual, and should be provided that help–than with God’s Holy Truth?

    On a slightly different, but related subject, aren’t you about ready to retire?

    We pray that the Holy Ghost finally illuminate you and provides you the courage you need to put an end to the “There is Queer Blood on Homophobic Hands” idiocy.

    Luis Howard”
    The only way this situation could be better is if Jenkins were “Jenkins, S.J.” Just one more cute Jesuit.

  10. Mark Napierkowski October 8, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Keep up the good work, Sycamore Trust, and keep the Faith! You are a beacon of light at Notre Dame, and I commend your vigilance!

  11. It is interesting that those who defend the faith are being stoned, while those doing the violence are either praised or given silent adulation for spewing their hatred. Recall that there was likewise deafening silence during the McCarrick affair. “Qui tacet consentire videtur.” The Good News is that God hears our prayers, even when others, even our leaders turn away.

    Ed Smith, 1970,1973

  12. Dr. William F. Delaney, '52 October 8, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Nearly 50 years ago, while my wife was in training to become a medical technologist, she was required to attend a lecture on violence. A local police representative spoke on the pervasiveness of violence within the homosexual community commonly attributed largely to feelings of guilt for their unnatural lifestyle. Now we are witnessing an explosion of that violence against anyone who even questions the validity of that lifestyle.This situation should be a matter of serious concern everywhere but most especially at Notre Dame where, at one time, orthodox Catholic teaching was preeminent. Sadly, under the current university administration that does not appear to be the case.

  13. steve martinek '71, '74 October 8, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    Mary Blonigan and all you faithful who care about Our Lady’s University, is there a way to view and manifest what is happening as other than a spiritual rapid erosion of Catholic values? Something other than a victory for Satan akin to those he scored on our Nation, prior to DJT, and upon our Catholic Church under Francis the Ambiguit/Apostate? Perhaps? Are we not entitled to swell with pride and confidence at those who protest for our FAith, for the truth, for our patriotic historical conventional values–ultimately for God? Much of the mystery and majesty and exceptionalism of our Nation, our University, and our Church must now be summoned from my personal sepia-toned memories; yet, there it truly exists as does the tangible reality of my Faith in my heart and soul. Personally, twice daily, I intone the Memorare and St. Michael’s prayer, along with a fervent Penitential Rite (which I never hear at Mass anymore). Confident prayer and fervent Faith is enough to gird me and to assure the ultimate promised victory of Good over evil. The acceptance and extolling of deviance, chaos, and abortion on campus, in Church, and in our Nation, is merely a shallow, hollow, fleeting battle-win of the Progressives. The ultimate victory is promised to us–not to them, and not to satan. Amen?

  14. Taking offense at those Notre Dame students who oppose the Catholic teaching on homosexuality, I am writing to the President of ND to remind him of the words of the Penitential Act (Confiteor)

    I confess to almighty God
    and to you, my brothers and sisters,
    that I have greatly sinned,
    in my thoughts and in my words,
    in what I have done and
    in what I have failed to do,…

    Failing to do anything about students who act out their homosexual, lesbian, sodomite feelings and try to shame those who stand for Catholic and politically conservative teaching is a sin in my opinion and, I believe, in the wisdom of God. Father Jenkins, it is time for warnings, if not dis-enrollment, of disobedient students.

  15. Alfred (Fred) Gade "60 October 8, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    This ” Hate Speech” would be condemned the students expelled even at most secular universities as anti-Catholic speech that is maligning, demonizing and stigmatizing. But at so-called Catholic University of Notre Dame it is apparently met only by silence. How ridiculous can its Administration be and still call itself Catholic!

  16. The fight for the soul of the university has been lost. Ask yourself what would have happened to any students who hung up a noose on the quad with photos of the KKK displayed, and contrast it to what hasn’t happened to these students, who openly incited violence against fellow students by name. This is precisely why our National Merit Scholar son matriculated at the University of Dallas this fall instead of ND. Pretty soon, through lack of support, orthodox Catholic professors and students will leave ND behind, much as Anthony Esolen was driven away from Providence a few years ago.

  17. Charlotte Eckland Christiana October 8, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    This is not the Notre Dame from which my brothers and nephew graduated in the 1900’s although Hesberg (?) wasn’t much better.

  18. Thomas Quinn '84 October 8, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    What makes this doubly sad is that some deserving candidate was passed over for admission in favor of this miserable crusader in search of a cause.

  19. Sadly, this is not the climate of the lovely campus I remember visiting, for Notre Dame games with my parents, as a Homecoming date (before NDU was co-ed), for my cousin’s wedding at the Basilica, nor more recently, when that same Basilica was featuring the Holy Door. Again I ask, how can Notre Dame expect to keep any kind of Catholic identity?

  20. steve martinek '71, '74 October 8, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    We are promised the ultimate victory of Good and of God–in our Nation, our beloved University and our Catholic Church. The assembled forces of satan will not prevail against us. Jenkins and Francis the Ambiguit/Apostate both need “40 days” of solitude, prayer, sacrifice, fasting, and discernment. Elders of the Church should approach them. We, the faithful, should pray unceasingly and optimistically for precisely that to occur. Amen?

  21. James B Kenny Jr October 8, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    All excellent reasons to not give Notre Dame not one PENNY…………. Jenkins was trained by Hesburgh…..The Wonderful fellow that gave the University to a lay board. JBK ’60

  22. Lynn Chaffin '92 October 8, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    I had let my Irish Rover subscription lapse because, frankly, it was getting depressing reading of the antics on campus. I just renewed though in a show of support. To paraphrase another comment, why should I send my children to Notre Dame? How are they different than any other elite secular school?

  23. John S. Hamlon, Class of '61 October 8, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    I’ve taught the Catholic vision of marriage and family at every academic level (high school to grad school) over the past 51 years. I still teach an 18-hour course on St. John Paul II’s thought for Sacramento-area adults and young adults who are interested in enriching their faith. They’re extraordinary and have wonderful senses of humor. I always share the Sycamore Trust Bulletins with them.

    Recently in class, I predicted that, within 5 or so years, Notre Dame would have a residence hall “dedicated” to LGBTQ students and their activities. I added that I thought the LGBTQ agenda would eventually “run” ND, like it does the Jesuit university from which I received a Master’s in Theology. Verily, nothing would make me happier than to be proved “dead wrong.”

    Sycamore Trust Board members and intrepid ND students, thank you for your wonderful, steadfast work. Anaerobic bacteria (in whatever metaphorical form) cannot exist in air and sunlight. You are providing both. God bless you and your endeavors!

  24. George Heidkamp October 8, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Jenkins, will, as is his wont, do nothing. And the Board will be uninvolved. The faculty, according to the ND PR machine, is 57 percent Catholic. But that number is phony, and the faculty, as a group. will do zero. Notre Dame continues to be the epitome of secular progressivism. The CSCs have abandoned their mission.

  25. Dennis J Mcgovern October 8, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    Fr Jenkins stay with actual full faith.

  26. We have grandchildren applying for admission to ND as freshmen next year. This gives us and their parents as alums pause. I hope Father Jenkins and the University Board give this very hurting group of young people a hearing in the hope that they become less disturbed and hateful. I think their parents should be involved in such a meeting.
    The incident and rhetoric are too vicious to be ignored. Perhaps a psychological assessment should be made.
    .

  27. Willliam Dotterweich October 8, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Civil authorities should be brought in. Clearly the situation is out of hand. What will it take? I am so ashamed of this administration, and the wimpy board of directors. They are all to blame. Who has the spine to speak up?

  28. Paul Vincent Coleman October 8, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Expect father Jenkins to uphold Catholic teachings? Lots of luck on that one.

  29. It’s been many years since Father Jenkins has answered any of my letters, so I’m sure he won’t respond to any on this topic, either. Where is the Board of Trustees – that’s where any solution lies.

    • The board has been inert so far as one can tell. It is too large at 50, meets too infrequently, and hears only good news. The 12 Fellows, and especially the five CSCs in addition to Fr Jenkins, are at fault. They do know what’s going on, namely, the pervasive silence about of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, homosexual sex, and gender.Here, ND’s lawyers are also implicated. They should have advised Fr Jenkins that he should act decisively to avoid potentially major liability and devastating publicity should some deranged person shoot up the place with an AK-15. Perhaps they did.

  30. Nick Dempsey '59 October 8, 2019 at 11:53 am

    If any students had behaved this way against homosexuals they would have been thrown out of school.

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