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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Eagle

Is Catholic bashing acceptable at AU?

Are Catholics an acceptable target for hate, derision, and envy on our campus?

Imagine if our Student Confederation brought a comedian to campus who alleged that all Muslim students embrace terrorism. No one would tolerate a suggestion that embodied such ignorance and disrespect. Our campus would be united as students from all organizations raised a collective voice in protest. Mutatis mutandis, imagine paying close to $30,000 for an anti-Semitic speaker to visit our campus. Would AU, through students' tuition dollars, endorse such hate speech?

Last week, comedian Margaret Cho came to campus, paid by students' money. Cho demonstrated how impossibly incoherent some can be when they choose to comment on a subject about which they know so little. She was positively breathless in her denunciation of the Roman Catholic faith, conservatism, the political process, eating disorders and anything else that extends beyond the grotesque context of herself: the thirty-something year old Korean-American woman, wriggling through recovery from a sordid m?nage of alcohol, drug-abuse and failed sitcoms from the early '90s.

Unable to touch upon anything beyond superficial (which could be a symptom of her severely limited vocabulary), Cho reduces problems of the Catholic Church with it's 2,000-year-old tradition to the Roe v. Wade decision and comes across as astonishingly uninformed. Cho, who has had some funny sketches in her time depicting her immigrant mother and eating disorders, decided to begin the evening with her political opinions instead. Sadly, before she got to either one of these "jokes," I was safely out of earshot, practicing my breathing exercises and attempting to overcome my sudden and severe vertigo. Not to my surprise, there was a large group of offended students outside with similar feelings.

Although it was initially comforting to see other students sharing my disgust, it was difficult, to say the least, to recognize that so many students had been excluded from the Homecoming celebration. In the conversations that followed, many students seemed most offended that their student activities fee had furnished Ms. Cho's salary. Although the exact cost is unknown to the student body, it is estimated that over $25,000 was allocated to promote hate-speech, ignorance, vulgarity and violence at American University.

Homecoming should be an opportunity to rally school spirit and unity, a priority for the entire University community. No one should be excluded from Homecoming activities based on their religious convictions, least of all political affiliations. As Director of the Student Confederation's Department of External Affairs, I remember earlier this semester the fiasco that ensued as students on campus discovered that the 9-11-service initiative had aligned itself with the Salvation Army. The Catholic organization historically did not offer same-sex benefits and was therefore, by all AU standards, vituperatively anti-gay.

The Eagle used its front page with the slanderous headline "Sept. 11 Event Disliked" and the SC actively pursued alternatives to provide all students with a comfortable service environment weeks before the event was publicized. During last week's Homecoming, neither The Eagle nor the SC displayed such outrage and sensitivity toward an AU-sponsored, anti-Catholic comedienne. The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, faculty and staff are not the only community on campus to deserve a safe space. No student should have to face such a crude assault on his or her identity.

Members of the Catholic Church on campus, many of whom made alternative plans for Saturday night, were humiliated twice. First by the SC and Student Union Board, who facilitated Cho's performance and permitted hate speech against students, faculty, staff and alumni. Second, by Cho herself, who wasn't shy to categorically insult every man and woman who ever dedicated his or her life to Christ, every mother who ever bore a son who joined the priesthood, every Catholic who ever felt a certain reverence for the sanctity of life.

William F. Buckley, Jr. has described the Catholic Church as "an institution one loves secretly to hate, to deride, to envy. For one thing, Catholics are Christians who go to church pretty regularly, which is annoying to some Christians who do not make the effort. And their church is a mammoth institutional presence, which provokes jealousy." For those on campus who protest the continuous derision from professors, students, and now a distasteful and insipid comedienne, it is gratifying to have objective grounds for disparagement. However, in a world where not all Catholics are conservative, not all conservatives are Catholic, not all Catholics are Pro-Life, and so on, AU should be promoting peace and pluralism - for the left, the right, and all in between.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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