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Witch Hunt At Providence College

A few years back, a professor at a liberal Catholic college told me that he would never quote Pope Francis’s teachings on family and sexuality in his classes, for fear that one of his students would report him to the administration for anti-LGBT bigotry, and that the administration would punish or even fire him. I heard from three other professors who teach there who agreed with him. Sounds crazy, right? Well, here’s a story for you.

This evening, there was a scheduled a campus march at Providence College in Rhode Island, in which students were to have stand firm against a witch Catholic RA who attempted to poison the students’ mind by posting the above presentation to a bulletin board in his dorm. The march may well have been canceled because the college offices closed due to inclement weather. According to a report in The Cowl, the student newspaper: [1]

On Thursday, March 2, a bulletin board promoting marriage between one man and one woman was created by Resident Assistant Michael Smalanskas ’18 on the second floor of St. Joseph Hall at Providence College. Soon after, it was photographed and spread across campus via social media.

The bulletin board was taken down that night by students acting on their own accord, but was put up again the Sunday evening that students returned from spring break. However, this time it bore a message stating its approval from Vice President of Student Affairs Kristine Goodwin, despite the lack of any school policy that requires topic approval for bulletin boards, even through Residence Life.

The Board of Multicultural Student Affairs took up the controversy at its weekly meeting. More:

The meeting began with the executives of PC’s LGBTQ+ advocate organization, SHEPARD, addressing the audience. “LGBT students exist on this campus, we are here, we deserve the same respect and rights that every other student has on this campus,” stated President Mallari Bosque ’18. “We are here and we deserve to be supported the same way that every other student is supported.”

After thanking SHEPARD, [Vice President of Student Affairs Kristine] Goodwin expressed her concern that she and the other administrators would not be capable of fully addressing students’ questions in regard to the incident and further actions of the College because more information was still being gathered.

“I always try to resist reacting,” Goodwin explained. This became a common thread that ran throughout the meeting, as she and Father Gabriel Pivarnik, O.P., vice president for mission and ministry, both encouraged all involved to pause before attacking or growing defensive out of anger.

change_me

Stop right there. Students can smell administrative sniveling. That’s when the battle was lost. But let’s go on.

Hieu “Daniel” Nguyen ’20, a resident of St. Joe’s who reported the incident, was the first to voice concerns. He explained that he took action because he felt the bulletin board did not promote inclusion in St. Joe’s and on campus as a whole. “The first time, I felt really upset. But this time, I just feel angry,” he said, adding that he felt the reinstallation of the board was an effort to create a reaction on campus and that he felt especially angry when he saw the mark of approval from Goodwin on display. However, Nguyen acknowledged his feeling of relief when he found out that the approval was inaccurate.

“You belong here,” Goodwin said. “My answer is complicated, and again I’m not skirting it, but it’s important that I show you the complexity. I can tell you I am not in a position to say that what Michael put up, what the RA put up, is contradictory to what the Church teaching is, and so it’s complicated because I am not going to approve it, but I’m also not in a position to say that it cannot be up.”

No, lad, you don’t belong at college, and it has nothing to do with your sexuality or your opinions on sexuality. It has everything to do with the fact that you’re incapable of dealing with opinions you don’t share. It has everything to do with the fact that you chose to attend a Catholic college, and yet fall to pieces when a Catholic student expresses support publicly for Catholic teaching.

Let’s hear from the witch himself, Michael Smalanskas:

“The beliefs I hold are those of the Catholic Church and are consistent with the mission of the College as a Catholic and Dominican school,” Smalanskas explained. “The Church provides us with an account of the human person and sexuality that is good, true, and beautiful. On our campus, we must be committed to protecting the status of these beliefs from being falsely accused as hate speech or bigotry. The question must be put to [college president] Fr. Shanley—will Catholic teaching on marriage as one man and one woman be considered hate speech at Providence College or will its free expression be protected by the College?”

After the bulletin board was reinstalled, students flocked to social media to share their opinions. In an email shared on Tuesday evening, Nguyen encouraged students who wanted to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community to print out the attached pride flag and display it on their door. “If you feel uncomfortable putting it on your door, you can write something positive like ‘Love is love’ or ‘Friar Family,’” he added. Residence Life has asked that students who wish to display messages on their door slide it into the door tag in order to abide by the school’s fire policy.

Next Wednesday, March 21, SHEPARD will hold a march against homophobia and transphobia at 6:30 p.m. The march will begin outside of Slavin and conclude at Moore Hall. On Monday, March 19, SHEPARD will provide materials at its open, weekly meeting at 7:00 p.m. in Feinstein for members of the community to create signs for the march. “We asked for allies, and we ask you guys to stand behind SHEPARD,” said Melanie Fricchione ’19. “Coming and showing support for SHEPARD and coming to this walk shows administration that we do care about this as a community and we will stand with our community members that are LGBT identifying. And we need it. We’re here and we’re queer and we’re not going anywhere!”

Here is an image of a pro-lesbian bulletin board that was up in a female dorm for all of February. No problems with it here at this Catholic school. Nobody intimidated the RA who put this up (nor should they have). But at Providence College, Michael Smalanskas — who, unlike the originator of the lesbian display, defends Catholic teaching — becomes a pariah.

For an added perspective, here is the (understandably!) volcanic reaction of literature professor Anthony Esolen [2], writing for Crisis, who left Providence College last year after being dragged through the mud by the rabid political correctness on campus. Esolen, now at Thomas More College, knows Smalanskas, but refers to him as “Dominic” in the post (perhaps Esolen did not realize that Smalanskas’s name has been made public). Excerpts:

Dominic immediately became an object of vilification. I have the following from him and from another reliable source:

The poster was torn down. Fellow RA’s—these would be fellow employees of the college—with access to the building abused their power and arranged to mill about in the hall outside his room in a threatening way. There were so many, that college security moved him for his safety. On subsequent days, larger and more raucous groups did the same.

This was right before Spring Break and, after receiving permission, Dominic put the board back up. It was torn down a second time. He put it up a third time, and it was torn down a third time.

The pushback was quick and severe and now includes a cartoon posted in his dorm (and, of course, on social media) of Dominic being anally raped. That’s a Title IX issue. The police were called.

Several Catholic professors urged the administration to do two things. First: make it clear that all harassment of Dominic must stop immediately (with serious consequences for its continuance). Second: issue a statement that to affirm the Catholic (that is, natural) understanding of marriage is not hate speech and would not be treated by the college as such.

The administration came out with a letter that is a model of evasion, duplicity, and smearing by association.

Naturally. Esolen details what’s in the letter, and concludes with the latest:

Students are demanding that the president, Father Brian Shanley, condemn Dominic, and thus ensure that such a poster will never be seen on campus again. This is called establishing a “safe space.” The gay activist group SHEPARD is going to march against “homophobia” and “transphobia” on Wednesday, with the full approval of the administration. That is like dragging Dominic up from the ground and beating him about the head with clubs.

Some of the resident Dominicans have urged Dominic to join the march, to show that he is not what the whole campus now believes him to be. He has been publicly singled out, targeted for vilification, physically threatened, forced to leave his dormitory room, attacked in the campus newspaper, and slimed by the administration—all for what I have described above. And now he is supposed to participate in his own humiliation. For what? [Editor’s note: We have learned that the resident Dominicans who made this recommendation have since reversed course realizing how futile it would be to participate in such a march.] [Note from Dreher: that editor’s note appears in the original, from Crisis magazine]

Read the whole thing. [2]

Fortunately, some of the PC faculty are standing up [3] for Smalanskas. Father Shanley, for his part, issued this equivocating statement [4] about the matter. This report on Lifesite News has a lot more detail, [5] including an interview with Smalanskas and his faculty adviser, James Keating. It also has a photo of a cartoon depicting Smalanskas being sodomized as punishment for the bulletin board. From Lifesite:

Campus police informed Smalanskas of the anal rape cartoon that “had been found in my common bathroom…posted on the mirror.”

This “very disturbing threat” is “a Title IX issue now,” said Smalanskas. A “lawsuit’s not off the table by any stretch.”

Even after the pro-sexual assault cartoon emerged, Providence College has been silent and not condemned the way other students are treating Smalanskas.

“The example that I gave to Kristine Goodwin is, let’s say a young Mexican-American student had put up a poster that said, ‘God loves the dreamers,’ that poster had been torn down, and [the student who created it] felt unsafe in her own dormitory because kids who tore it down were milling outside her door,” said Dr. Keating. “Then, a poster is put up of her being raped. How would the college react?”

“For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Michael doesn’t even get a little bit” of sympathy from the administration. Keating said Providence College’s foremost responsibility is to protect its students’ right to express their opinions, especially when those opinions are in line with the Roman Catholic Church.

The college has “failed” to do this, Keating told LifeSiteNews.

“This kid has had to move to another dorm for safety and the president of the college won’t speak to his parents,” said the anonymous faculty member quoted earlier in this story. If the student was “gay or black,” the college’s response would have been totally different.

This is an utter disgrace. If Smalanskas had to be moved by campus security out of his dorm room for his own safety, because he publicly affirmed Roman Catholic teaching — well, where on earth are the Board of Trustees? Where is the Dominican Order, which runs Providence College? Where are the PC alumni?

I guess this makes at least two Catholic colleges where you can’t quote Pope Francis’s statements on marriage and family without being treated like an Enemy Of The People.

I hope Smalanskas sues Providence College into the ground. The language of legal force is the only thing the gutless administrative enablers of these SJW zealots understand.

Would you want your kid to go to a Catholic college where he would be treated that way for publicly affirming Catholic teaching — and where the administration would not only not defend him, but would aid and abet his persecutors (Goodwin, the VP of student affairs, publicly encouraged student leaders to attend the march called to protest Smalanskas)?

It costs over $60,000 per year in tuition, room, and board [6] for a student to attend Providence College. Think about it. Last year, in the middle of the controversy that later led to him walking away from the college where he had taught for many years, I interviewed Anthony Esolen about the scandal.  [7] Excerpt:

I’ve read your forthcoming book, Out Of The Ashes: Rebuilding America Culture [8] — and it’s terrific. You are particularly hard-hitting about the corruption of college life in America. You say it is “an absolute necessity” for faithful Christians to build new colleges, because it is “not enough to reform the old.” What do you mean? Along those lines, what are the lessons of your present trial at Providence College?

Reforming the old schools will take an entire generation at least, if it is even possible; and in most cases the reform will be spotty. Many schools are beyond reform: they are filled with professors who have disdain for the Church, and their courses in the liberal arts are thoroughly secular, and not particularly impressive intellectually, at that — how can they be, when the greatest concern of human life is systematically ignored or belittled? Providence College can tip either way. I don’t know. My lawyer friend used to teach at PC and told me that that fight is lost. I believe it is not lost … but if I had money, I would give it straightaway to the real deals: Our Lady Seat of Wisdom (Ontario), Thomas More (NH), Wyoming Catholic, Dallas, Benedictine, etc.

What advice would you give to young Christian academics? To Christian parents preparing to send their kids to college?

It’s long past the time for administrators at Christian colleges to abandon the hiring policies that got us in this fix to begin with. We KNOW that there are plenty of excellent young Christian scholars who have to struggle to find a job. Well, let’s get them and get them right away. WE should be establishing a network for that purpose — so that if a Benedictine College needs a professor of literature, they can get on the phone to Ralph Wood at Baylor or me at Providence or Glenn Arbery at Wyoming Catholic, and say, “Do you have anybody?”

Christian parents — please do not suppose that your child will retain his or her faith after four years of battering at a secular college. Oh, many do — and many colleges have Christian groups that are terrific. But understand that it is going to be a dark time; and that everything on campus will be inimical to the faith, from the blockheaded assumptions of their professors, to the hook-ups, to the ignorance of their fellow students and their unconscious but massive bigotry. Be advised.

[UPDATE: More this morning from Prof. Esolen [9].]

Over $60,000 to send your kid to a nominally Catholic college where administrators won’t stand up for a student vilified by a mob because he publicly endorsed Roman Catholic teaching, and instead encourage students to attend this public protest against the student:

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44 Comments To "Witch Hunt At Providence College"

#1 Comment By Kawi On March 21, 2018 @ 9:15 pm

Fear of alienating potential matriculants at a sticker price of $60,000 a pop may be one motive for the administration not standing for the principles that Providence College nominally represents. I am sure someone will invoke that argument, even if disingenuously.

In reality, were Providence to take a solid stand against such bullying and distinguish itself from the hundreds of other liberal arts colleges and universities, it would probably find a larger, more dedicated applicant pool among students serious about learning.

But then again, you can be sure the louder elements on the faculty would sabotage any attempt to make Providence more authentically Catholic.

#2 Comment By Anon_for_This On March 21, 2018 @ 9:32 pm

Rod, are you a Russian agent? Because your daily posting about all this sex deviant madness is probably pushing a lot of people to hope that Putin invades us, takes over, and stamps this out. :0

#3 Comment By Robert B Lewis On March 21, 2018 @ 9:38 pm

Michael Smalanskas can easily reaffirm Roman Catholic teachings on marriage by simply saying that, although he opposes offering the Church’s sacrament of holy matrimony to same-sex couples, he DOES NOT oppose civil unions for them, as mandated by current interpretations of the United States Constitution–in EXACTLY the same way, and to the same degree that he opposes offering the sacrament to Protestants and secularists who do not subscribe to the doctrine of the indissolubility of Christian marriage. What you and your cohorts in this culture war are offering here, Mr. Dreher, is another attempt to create a tempest in a teapot, over issues more concerned with “identity politics” than with the actual theology of Catholic marriage, which is, and always has been more seriously challenged by the Protestant idea of “companionate marriage,” originally introduced by Martin Luther, in order to buttress the centrality of the doctrine of “salvation by faith alone” to his heretical system of soteriology. Luther bluntly stated, in his “Table Talk,” that the Savior of the Gospel of Matthew had “his tongue far in His cheek, when He gave us that command” (prohibiting divorce), and this is because Luther did not believe that humans could resist the temptation to divorce, because of their natural and intrinsic “concupiscence” (and therefore might “sin bravely” in submitting themselves to the temptation of divorce–so long as they “threw themselves upon the Blood”). Why can’t you see the inevitability in Protestant and secularist society of all sorts of perversions of “traditional Christian marriage” after THAT? To someone who actually understands the uniqueness, and, in a sense, the revolutionary character of Catholic marriage theology, “gay marriage” poses no more threat to it than do Protestant marriages (made almost universally in America with one eye cocked over the shoulder for reassurance by the “institution of divorce”) or civil unions. I bet that, if Smalanskas had advanced his position in that most orthodox and theologically correct way, his Catholic administrators would have backed him to the hilt; it is certainly the way I would have put it–without, of course, the denigration of the majority’s pseudo-marriages.

[NFR: “Tempest in a teapot” blah blah blah. You’re telling people to ignore their own eyes as to what’s happening on that campus. — RD]

#4 Comment By Hound of Ulster On March 21, 2018 @ 9:48 pm

That ship sailed long ago. If you want bona-fide Catholic Colleges, stop taking federal money, and stop accepting non-Catholic students and faculty, much less Catholic students and faculty who do not uphold Church teaching. And no collegiate sports.

#5 Comment By bob On March 21, 2018 @ 10:02 pm

Who is silly enough to go to a place like that? The student is learning quite a lot but not what is in the supposed curriculum. If he actually IS learning he will leave. Is there a local bishop involved with the role of the school as a Catholic institution? Whether or not he should be giving them lots of grief. People have themselves to blame if they stick with a stupid institution.

[NFR: PC is run by the Dominican order. I don’t know to what extent the local diocesan bishop has authority over the school. — RD]

#6 Comment By VikingLS On March 21, 2018 @ 10:09 pm

It would be interesting to ask people have either taught at or attended Catholic schools RECENTLY (as in the past 10 to 15 years) if this sounds familiar to them.

I certainly can’t imagine Smalanskas getting better treatment at the one I taught at until recently.

#7 Comment By John On March 21, 2018 @ 10:20 pm

Matthew 5:11 – “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

We might be persecuted on earth, but are racking up plenty of points where it really counts.

#8 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On March 21, 2018 @ 11:08 pm

Phobia? Ain’t nobody afraid of your crazy rear ends. There is a finite possibility you are wrong, that’s all.

“LGBT students exist on this campus

So what? nobody is threatening to shoot you, or even milling around outside your dorm room or posting cartoons about you. So, get on with your life. Don’t you have some homework to do?

And maybe, just maybe, you made a mistake coming to a Catholic college if you can’t handle Catholic teaching.

If you want bona-fide Catholic Colleges, stop taking federal money, and stop accepting non-Catholic students and faculty, much less Catholic students and faculty who do not uphold Church teaching.

Coming from a liberal, that’s a mixed bag. “Federal money” is an elastic concept. Federal dollars are generally not available to fund buildings or endow teaching positions. If you are talking about financial aid dollars, surely an individual Catholic student might choose to use their Pell grant at any college they choose? (And no, teachings about marriage are not grounds to refuse accreditation).

Stop accepting non-Catholic students and faculty… excellent point. Lutherans are quite good at that… every teacher in every church institution is a “called worker” and a communicant member who has made a public profession of faith.

Michael Smalanskas can easily reaffirm Roman Catholic teachings on marriage by simply saying that, although he opposes offering the Church’s sacrament of holy matrimony to same-sex couples, he DOES NOT oppose civil unions for them…

But maybe he DOES oppose civil unions “for them.” Last I checked, the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled on the duties of country clerks does not muzzle the free speech rights of people who disagree. Or did you pop out of an alternative universe where, after Bowers v. Hardwick, nobody dared even float the opinion that maybe the police shouldn’t enforce criminal statutes about what people do in the privacy of their own homes?

I’m a bit agnostic about just how bent out of shape God really is by homosexuality, although I’m inclined toward the hypothesis that two individuals of the same sex simply do not reunite the Adam. But I remain quite open in saying that the reasoning in the line of cases from Goodridge to Obergefell was incredibly sloppy, and will come back to haunt us someday on some controversy having nothing to do with same sex marriage.

Charles Cosimano needs to set up a consulting business to advise colleges on how to deal with this nonsense.

#9 Comment By David J. White On March 21, 2018 @ 11:09 pm

[NFR: PC is run by the Dominican order. I don’t know to what extent the local diocesan bishop has authority over the school. — RD]

I could be mistaken, but I think Catholic religious orders have to have the local bishop’s permission, at the very least, to operate a school or other institution/ministry in his diocese.

#10 Comment By John On March 21, 2018 @ 11:12 pm

“No, lad, you don’t belong in college, and it has nothing to do with your sexuality or your opinions on sexuality. It has everything to do with the fact that you are incapable of dealing with opinions you don’t share.”

Yes. This. Bingo. Well put. College is where ideas are aired and all are open to challenge.

“Here is an image of a pro-lesbian bulletin board that was up in a female dorm for all of February. No problems with it here in this Catholic school. Nobody intimidated the RA who put it up (nor should they have).

And if anyone did the school should rebuke those who do just as they should rebuke Zgyyen for his dip into snowflakery. God wren’t These people going to college so they can learn?

“The Church provides us with an account of the human person and sexuality that is good, true, and beautiful.”

No, no, and no. It provides an account of the human person and sexuality that is at best incomplete and dand arguably does harm and injustice to those whose sexuality is not in line with that account by promoting a view that is bad, false and bleak for those who are gay.

That said, the RA was perfectly well within his right to post the materials (or well, let me rephrase that since this is afterall a private religious school). The school and everyone within the community should have allowed him to post what he posted free of any harrassment because colleges and universities should be teaching these students to hear, reflect on, and challenge ideas they may or may not be comfortable with.

“The pushback was quick and severe and now includes a poster in his dorm (and, of course, on social media), of Dominic being anally raped.”

Oh, how Trumpian of them. Why challenge his ideas and values when you can bully and intimidate him into silence?”

“Would you want your kid to go to a Catholic college where he would be treated that way for publicly affirming Catholic teaching …”

I see where you are going but let’s rephrase this so that those who otherwise can not escape from their tribalistic impulses may see what you and I see.

“Would you want any college student, your kind d or someone elses’“ to go to a college or university and be treated that way for taking a stand for what he/she/they believe in?”

The answer would be the same – or should be the same. No. I woukdn’t Want that.

Oddly enough the students who oppose the RA’s traditional views did offer theee perfectly legitimate responses.

1. “After the bulletin board was fully restored students flocked to social media to share their opinions.”

2. “In an e-mail sent on Tuesday Nguyen encouraged students who wanted to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community to print out the attached pride flag and post it on their door.”

3. “Next Wednesday, March 21, SHEPARD will hold a march against homophobia and transphobia at 6:30 P.M.”

Yes. Yes and Yes. And all of that could be done without threatening the RA into silence and without the hysterical demands that the college silence the offending speech and without the childishishly lame sand Trumpian depiction of the RA getting raped and without giving the offending RA the martyrdom he didn’t deserve or the religious theocrats at the FRC and the AFA and all the other sites the talking points they crave “proving they are being victimized. And if it snowed on the day of the march? Fine. Look at the weather forecast and reschedule it for a beautifully sunny day.

The airing of views on social media, the posting of the pride flags and the march. Fine. I’m with them there (as well as on the views which they have) but no, for $60,000 a year these so-called institutions of hire learning should be preparing them to participate in peacefully in a marketplace of many ideas. If we wanted them coddled they can go back home and live with their parents (assuming they love them).

#11 Comment By Joe C. On March 21, 2018 @ 11:45 pm

Rod, it hurts me deeply for you to say that you “hope Smalanskas sues Providence College into the ground.” Here’s why:

I am an alum of Providence College and I graduated about 15 years ago. I credit Providence College with putting me on the path to becoming an intellectually-grounded, believing Catholic. There were three main reasons, I think, for how PC did this:

1. I made friends with fellow Catholic students who were also on a journey of faith and we have supported each other all these years.

2. I became friendly with professors and Dominican priests who witnessed to their faith, including Tony Esolen, (although he has always tended toward polemic and provocation). I first heard about First Things shortly after graduation because one of my professors had written a piece there. Professors went to Mass on campus and talked about their faith (when I stopped by their offices), not only professors from theology and philosophy, but also in history and English, and, not only Dominicans, but lay people too. There were and are priests and sisters teaching in departments across the college. Faith is partly relationships and my friends and my professors supported me in my faith in countless ways in my years there.

3. Providence College has a required 2 year course, called the Development of Western Civilization. We learned many things in this course, but, as I look back on it, I see now that it was for me an introduction into the Catholic intellectual tradition. Obviously, intellectual assent to the faith is not faith, but it is something, and, by the time I graduated I felt like I was part of a living tradition that was not only a faith but a way of looking at and living in the world that had answers to many of out problems as humans today.

I know that this was 15 years ago and I know PC has changed, perhaps not all for the better, but many of the people I know are still there…

As upset as this poor student is right now at how he has been treated, I bet he loves Providence College, too, and has no desire to see it “sued into the ground.”

#12 Comment By Ben H On March 22, 2018 @ 12:02 am

Honestly, college students are a bunch of boring losers nowadays. Imagine throwing a hissy fit, and going to all this trouble because you are convinced you must be butt-hurt on behalf of your imaginary gay friend!

Maybe we can arrange it so all these surly African migrant move to America and attend, teach in and administer universities, while our students, academics and administrators get to study abroad in Africa until we need them? (if you disagree with this you are racist)

#13 Comment By CMPT On March 22, 2018 @ 12:04 am

John: “We might be persecuted on earth . . . “

You’re kidding, right? This post is about one college kid tearing down a poster put up by another college kid and you believe this counts as persecution?

You guys are really funny.

#14 Comment By Old West On March 22, 2018 @ 12:37 am

This is the direction Roman Catholic institutions have been going since the 1970s at least. I’ve seen it in schools, colleges, and hospitals. This is only a logical extension — not any kind of radical break with the past worth wringing hands over.

Part of why I dont buy into the whole JP II “The Great” business is that this trend, if anything, accelerated and was allowed to solidify under him rather than the opposite. I watched it happen, and listened to traditional Catholics verbally squirm in the 1980s as I quizzed them about what their Pope was doing about it. I ended up skipping the whole RC step and went straight to Orthodoxy. (Not that I am claiming that our institutions will be immune from this nonsense, mind you, but we don’t have any infallible bishops, either.)

There would have been no need for any of the recent conservative colleges to ever have been founded had it been otherwise.

Had JP II spent a fraction of the energy combating this nonsense that he devoted to fighting the SSPX types, the RCC might be smaller, but it would at least be the real deal.

#15 Comment By Erin Manning On March 22, 2018 @ 1:56 am

I’m going to disagree with Dr. Esolen on one point: your children may very well retain their faith better after four years at a secular college than they will if they endure four years at a CINO college that costs everything and teaches nothing. It helps if they can live at home while attending that secular college and if they make their school decisions based primarily on economics rather than prestige.

Sadly, students can and do lose their faith at tiny Catholic colleges, too (the rampant underage drinking doesn’t help). Parents who think that there’s a tiny perfect Catholic college out there should be aware that this isn’t really true. And if your family can’t afford 30K to 60K a year in tuition, room, and board so your son or daughter can read the Great Books and get a degree in philosophy, theology, literature, history/political science/political philosophy, etc., then you really need to think seriously before you start taking on student loans.

Of course, the point that the even more expensive, not-really-Catholic schools are a bad deal for nearly everybody is still a good one. After all, there are some families for whom the small Catholic colleges are affordable, and the world does actually need philosophers, even if it rarely pays them enough for them to pay off an average student loan debt in anything like a reasonable amount of time.

#16 Comment By zosimas On March 22, 2018 @ 2:23 am

Rod, the thought occurred to me today that what you are largely posting upon here, day in and day out, is anecdotal evidence of either the Apocalypse, or the Great Apostasy.

I would urge Michael to sue PC for a 100% refund of his 2017-2018 tuition and room and board, and for his transcript for this year to reflect that the PC administration failed in its legal and religious duties to provide him a college-level education in accordance with the Catholic tradition, and for the school to issue a public apology and plea for forgiveness, not to him, but to the Vatican, for committing apostasy and openly denying the teaching of the RC church regarding Christian anthropology, thus leading many confused souls into sin. My guess is PC would rather pay him a million dollars than issue an apology and beg Rome to forgive them, which is exactly why his lawsuit should insist on the public apology. Like it or not, Michael is a prophet now, and prophets are usually called to strongly rebuke in highly symbolic ways the people of God when they go astray.

Then he should withdraw from PC, and head to Thomas More and Anthony Esolen.

[NFR: He’s graduating this spring. He told an interviewer the other day that his final gesture to PC will be to marry his fiancée in the college chapel. — RD]

#17 Comment By Eric Todd On March 22, 2018 @ 4:17 am

Bottom line: go to a real Catholic college or Christian college that is blatantly counter cultural. Like Christendom College or Thomas Aquinas.

Or better yet, Hillsdale.

#18 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 22, 2018 @ 5:50 am

Isn’t amazing at how quickly organized religion so often collaborates with the evil of whatever the latest tyranny happens to be? From times ancient to present, they follow more in the path of Judas than Peter. Why is that, do you think?

#19 Comment By Elijah On March 22, 2018 @ 7:58 am

“is another attempt to create a tempest in a teapot”

First, Rod isn’t “creating” it, the PC administration is by not dealing with this kerfuffle as leaders should.

But more importantly, it isn’t a “tempest in a teapot” when Catholic teaching at a Catholic college becomes anathema. When a student has to be moved and security assigned to him for standing up that that teaching, it isn’t a tempest in a teapot anymore. When the safe space for a group of students takes precedence over the very ideals and mission of a college, it isn’t a t in a t anymore.

Finally, in regards to the whole “federal dollars” thing: it is a useful description, but there is no such thing as “federal dollars”. There are “taxpayer dollars”, though, and it seems to me that taxpayers of all descriptions have a right to share in the pool of money they created.

#20 Comment By KevinS On March 22, 2018 @ 8:05 am

From the picture provide here, I see nothing threatening or intimidating about the bulletin board. Might I disagree with it? Sure. At a university, however, the appropriate response is to ask to present an alternative view after this display comes down. As a gay man who supports SSM, had I seen this at my (public, not private or religious) university I would have taken note and walked right on by. Had Mr Nyguen come to me I would have told him to get a grip and relax. Gays have won the culture war on this issue. He can get married to a man when he chooses. He does not have a right to go through life or college unoffended and unchallenged (he does have have a right not to be genuinely threatened…and I am not talking about “micro-aggressions”). Indeed, if you get through four years of college unoffended and unchallenged, you did not get much of an education.

#21 Comment By Northmoor On March 22, 2018 @ 8:15 am

“I hope Smalanskas sues Providence College into the ground.” [RD]

Is that really how the Benedict Option works – or is it more of a “shake the dust off your sandals” kind of thing?

I can’t help but think sometimes that what you really want is the St. Michael Option.

#22 Comment By Robert B Lewis On March 22, 2018 @ 8:21 am

NFR: “Tempest in a teapot” blah blah blah. You’re telling people to ignore their own eyes as to what’s happening on that campus. — RD]

I’m not on that campus, but neither are you, and much that is being discussed there–and being discussed by you and Douthat–is simply wrong about Roman Catholic theology, and wrong about Pope Francis:

[10]

[NFR: Michael Sean Winters wrote that piece. I’m just going to leave that right there. — RD]

#23 Comment By V On March 22, 2018 @ 8:33 am

“You’re kidding, right? This post is about one college kid tearing down a poster put up by another college kid and you believe this counts as persecution?”

Look either you read one or two paragraphs and then jump straight down to the comments section or you you are being dishonest on purpose.

#24 Comment By Elijah On March 22, 2018 @ 9:26 am

“Is that really how the Benedict Option works – or is it more of a “shake the dust off your sandals” kind of thing?”

This is offensively stupid. Do you think the BenOp precludes people from pursuing their Constitutionally guaranteed rights? Or are you just playing an infantile game of Hypocrite!

#25 Comment By Captain P On March 22, 2018 @ 10:34 am

CMPT says:
March 22, 2018 at 12:04 am
John: “We might be persecuted on earth . . . “

You’re kidding, right? This post is about one college kid tearing down a poster put up by another college kid and you believe this counts as persecution?

You guys are really funny.

———-

Your attempt at an insult falls flat when anyone who read the piece saw that Mr. Smalanskas had to be removed from his dorm by campus security after threats were made against him.

#26 Comment By bc3b On March 22, 2018 @ 10:39 am

I am a graduate of two so-called Catholic colleges – Detroit (now known as Detroit-Mercy) and Dayton. I sent my children to a very traditional Catholic high school, but when it came time for college, Catholic colleges were not a consideration. 95% of today’s so-called Catholic colleges are as bad as state schools and many are far worse.

First Things magazine ranked Detroit-Mercy as the second least Catholic Catholic college in the US.

Parents, unless it’s one of a handful of true Catholic colleges (Ava Maria, Stubenville, University of Mary, etc., save your money and send your kids to State U.

#27 Comment By Cavin On March 22, 2018 @ 11:18 am

The student’s position would make sense if Providence closed its doors to students who were not of the Catholic faith. In that instance, he would merely be reiterating what the terms of Catholic marriage. But because Providence accepts students from a variety of non-Catholic backgrounds, who lack access to Catholic marriage for other reasons, the statement is open to misinterpretation and could reasonably be construed as expressing opposition to same-sex civil marriage.

Such an expression is problematic because the battle over same-sex civil marriage was never just about that narrow issue. After all, nearly every state that passed bans on same-sex civil marriage also barred any kind of civil recognition of same-sec relationships. Whether intentional or not, the question of same-sex civil marriage became symbolic of the related question of whether gay people should be forced back into the closet. Yes, there were a few quiet voices like Rod’s that opposed same-sex civil marriage but otherwise opposed trying to keep gays in the closet. Even so, the overwhelming majority of those who opposed same-sex civil marriage did so as part of a broader program to perpetuate the legal and social stigmatization of non-heterosexual people. In my opinion, that was a strategic error on the part of social conservatives. But choices have consequences. To many people, opposing same-sex marriage is viewed as a code language for promoting the legal and social stigmatization of non-heterosexual people.

It’s unclear what this student is seeking to do. He failed to qualify his presentation as limited to Catholic marriage and not applicable to civil marriage. Certainly, if he intending to promote the legal and/or social stigmatization of non-heterosexual people, he ought to be expelled.

#28 Comment By CMPT On March 22, 2018 @ 11:30 am

Captain P: “Your attempt at an insult falls flat when anyone who read the piece saw that Mr. Smalanskas had to be removed from his dorm by campus security after threats were made against him.”

You mean this:

[Smalanskas] has been publicly singled out, targeted for vilification, physically threatened, forced to leave his dormitory room, attacked in the campus newspaper, and slimed by the administration . . .

This also is not persecution. It is agitation. Most of those things are socially acceptable tools for argument in the public square. Only one part of it is illegal and the perpetrator would, if found, be arrested, most likely prosecuted and almost certainly kicked out of Providence College. I don’t think when Jesus warned his disciples they would be persecuted that any of them thought this was the kind of stuff he was talking about. If they had, they would have told him to grow a pair because he’s about to get got on wooden stick. Agitation, offense, social opprobrium and even illegal threats that are prosecuted by the state are not persecution. If they were, then practically every single child and college kid in America has been “persecuted” at one time or another.

The inclination of Christians to view as persecution the everyday slights that everyone has encountered at one time or another is not healthy. It distorts their understanding of the hard road of self-sacrifice Christians are actually called to follow. A bunch of college kids who differ (however impolitely or, in one instance, illegally) over theology, but are all serious enough about their faith to pay $60,000 to attend a Catholic university are not persecutors of the faithful.

I understand how intoxicating the thought of standing up for what is right against the fury and threats of an opposition determined to destroy you can be, but that simply isn’t the state of things today and most serious people know this.

#29 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On March 22, 2018 @ 11:59 am

From times ancient to present, they follow more in the path of Judas than Peter.

Peter? The man who denied Jesus three times and then had the temerity to demand primacy in organizing the post-resurrection Christian community? At least Judas had the integrity to hang himself.

You’re kidding, right? This post is about one college kid tearing down a poster put up by another college kid and you believe this counts as persecution?

CMPT has obviously never tried to communicate to his fellow citizens a message that some other of his fellow citizens had strident objections to.

Freedom of speech relies on a certain minimum of courtesy, where we all refrain from tearing down each other’s posters, because we don’t want people tearing down ours. The antidote to offensive speech is more speech, not less.

Some years ago, a San Francisco weekly ran a front page graphic that was highly disrespectful to the newly appointed police chief. He had some officers pick up all the issues on street racks around town and destroy them. He was fired — only weeks after taking the job and taking out a huge mortgage on a beautiful new home that several years of the salary he expected to received would have paid off. He was in tears. And he deserved to be fired.

(The headline was “Dick’s Cool New Tool.” You can picture the graphic for yourself).

Salvor Hardin often remarked that “violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” I would add that the crude graphics mentioned in this post are the last refuge of the incoherent.

#30 Comment By The Other Eric On March 22, 2018 @ 12:23 pm

The reason for the tempest is that Gay marriage is still being resisted. If he had posted that birth control is a sin, he would merely be laughed at.

#31 Comment By Tony On March 22, 2018 @ 12:42 pm

I’d like to comment upon Joe’s comment above — I don’t know who he is, but I am grateful for his kind words.

I have said pretty consistently that Providence College is not beyond salvaging, and until about three or four years ago I believed that I had the best academic job of anyone in the country. My Catholic friends in other departments looked on me as something of a Pollyanna in that regard, because the shoe was pinching their corns before it pinched mine. Wherever I went, I praised the college and I encouraged faithful Catholics to send their children there.

Things have changed since, but it is still a very different place from, let’s say, Holy Cross or Georgetown. Much will depend upon crucial decisions to be made in the near future; at the least, a new administration will need to recover the authority to hire professors, with a healthy measure of independence from or governance over the individual departments and their choices.

I began publishing articles in the fall of 2003, after Joe graduated. I would say that the great bulk of what I have written since that time is not at all polemic or provoking; some has been, but most has not. At Providence College, I stayed out of campus politics, never attending college-wide meetings; I believe I attended four or five such over the course of 27 years, and in those cases only to defend the Western Civilization program against the attackers, who never let up.

In the classroom I kept contemporary politics or Church controversies out of my lectures and out of discussions. What I might say privately to students such as Joe, well, that’s a different thing, in a different context.

I want now to give a cause to the younger Dominicans who do not want to lose the college, and who might have the will and the clear vision to undertake the necessary reforms. These will be bloody, but they can be won.

#32 Comment By Jefferson Smith On March 22, 2018 @ 1:03 pm

Maybe it’s a small point, but this doesn’t make sense:

“This kid has had to move to another dorm for safety….”

How would he be better off in another dorm? Do the SJWs not care enough about social justice to police every dorm? It’s a small college, so it’s not like the kid can show up in a different dorm and somehow go unrecognized. An obviously wrong detail like this makes me wonder if we’re getting at least parts of this story from people who don’t really know what’s going on. (Bear in mind that small colleges are also rife with unverified gossip, especially when something “big” seems to be happening.)

That said, Smalanskas seems to be a person of admirable character. I say this even though I disagree with him on the underlying issue. I’ve said before that I think the RCC is ultimately going to climb down on that issue — while finding some way to finesse this change as nonetheless eternal consistency in its “doctrine” — because the situation we’re seeing described here is untenable. You can no longer do what the Church has so long done, i.e. seek prestige on the secular world’s terms and interact with that world like just another of its big leading institutions, and at the same time be opposed to homosexuality and gay marriage, and least in any active or meaningful way. The latter position — which has come, fairly or not, to seem like bigotry to large numbers of people in the West — will lead colleges like this one into Bob Jones territory, and I can’t see the Church and its various orders opting for that.

#33 Comment By Jefferson Smith On March 22, 2018 @ 1:04 pm

Correction: “…..AT least in any active or meaningful way.”

#34 Comment By Steven On March 22, 2018 @ 1:07 pm

“…we are here, we deserve the same respect and rights that every other student has on this campus,” stated President Mallari Bosque ’18. “We are here and we deserve to be supported the same way that every other student is supported.”

That seems a bit disingenuous when we hear about the “respect” and “support” being extended to Smalanskas. Is that really what they’re asking for?

#35 Comment By JEinCA On March 22, 2018 @ 1:58 pm

Rod my Orthodox Brother I will not pay for my children to go to attend any academic institution run by the SJW’s especially if it falsely advertises itself as a Catholic university. We have been blessed at my children’s Catholic School (K-8) with a very orthodox priest as the spiritual leader of the school. Of course as you know our family is not Roman Catholic but I am grateful that this school remains faithful to the Catechism of the Catholic Church because if it did not I would not send my children there.

As for the SJW’s running amok at PC with the Administration looking the other way (if not approving) this appaling behavior to intimidate, silence and coerce a faithful Catholic student (in a supposed Catholic institution no less) I think a more militant and confrontational approach is needed. Why were these SJW’s on the fringes for so long? I will tell you why. It’s because there was a time in America when such disgusting behavior was met by brute force. Could you imagine the response would have been in the 70’s and 80’s in places like Providence or Boston if authorities didn’t intervene? Those SJW’s would have been beaten bloody by the locals who were not long ago unapologetically Catholic. It would have been the SJW’s that needed police protection in Boston or Providence of the 70’s or 80’s. I’m not arguing that times haven’t changed but I am saying the inability of traditionally minded people to meet force with force, fists with fists and clubs with clubs only emboldens our enemies. Im ready to fight and get bloody to defend what is sacred to me. Am I the only one.

#36 Comment By TR On March 22, 2018 @ 4:00 pm

There’s a very interesting comment above about how Catholic institutions became latitudinarian while JP II was in office. That’s a very interesting observation.

Does it mean JP was blind to the problem, as he seemed to be late in life to the pedophile scandal, or does it indicate how powerless the Pope really is?

(Not to muddy the waters, but it isn’t just Catholic institutions–there are many Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist liberal arts colleges that have also become far less doctrinal in the last half century.)

#37 Comment By The Mysterious Stranger On March 22, 2018 @ 4:26 pm

Re the criticism of JPII above: I was present 20+ years ago when the Jesuit president of the Jesuit college where I worked discussed Ex Corde Ecclesia in a faculty/staff meeting. That was the document issued under JP’s authority requiring that theology profs in Catholic colleges be approved by the local bishop (or some other church authority). ECE was only one item on the agenda. It got very short shrift. Can’t remember his exact words but they were something like “We let them know that this was not going to happen.” A wry chuckle, next topic.

As far as I know the local bishop let it go. There’s only so much a pope can do when people simply refuse to obey.

#38 Comment By VikingLS On March 22, 2018 @ 7:14 pm

@CMPT

Look everybody here, even the liberals, know this simply a who/whom for you.

That cartoon can, and definitely would if it had been directed at woman or gay man, be seen as a rape threat. The fact that security had to be brought in isn’t simply “agitation” the guy was being threatened.

Let’s be honest, the issue for you is not whether Smalanskas was being persecuted. You just want Rod to shut up about it.

#39 Comment By Du Bartas On March 22, 2018 @ 7:27 pm

Let us suppose a civilization whose most characteristic features had for many centuries been based upon the predominance, among those who shared it, of the belief that truth was the most important thing in the world, and that consequently scientific thinking, systematic, orderly thinking, theoretical and practical alike, pursued with all the energy at his command and with all the skill and care at his disposal, was the most valuable thing man could do. In such a civilization every feature would be marked with some peculiar characteristic derived from this prevailing habit of mind and not to be expected in a civilization differently based.

To take a few examples. Religion would be predominantly a worship of truth in which the god is truth itself, the worshipper a seeker after truth, and the god’s presence to the worshipper a gift of mental light. Philosophy would be predominantly an exposition not merely of the nature of thought, action, &c., but of scientific thought and orderly (principled, thought-out) action, with special attention to method and to the problem of establishing standards by which on reflection truth can be distinguished from falsehood. Politics would be predominantly the attempt to build up a common life by the methods of reason (free discussion, public criticism) and subject to the sanction of reason (i.e., the ultimate test being whether the common life aimed at is a reasonable one, fit for men who, no matter what differences divide them, agree to think in an orderly way). Education would be predominantly a method for inducing habits of orderly and systematic thinking. Social structure would be predominantly of such a kind as to place in the most honourable and commanding position those who were intellectually the élite of the people, the priest-kings of the god of truth, men of science and learning on the one hand, men of affairs on the other. Economic life would come into line with the prevailing habit of mind by converting customary methods of production, distribution, transport, &c., into “scientific ones”; that is, by applying the notion of orderly and systematic thinking to economic matters no less than to any others. These half-dozen instances should suffice.

Now let us suppose that such a civilization had been in existence for a long time, during which the application of its fundamental principles had reached a somewhat elaborate development. Suppose, for example, that the rationalization of economic life had reached such a point that its populations could not be kept alive at all, or protected from starvation and disease, let alone kept in the degree of comfort to which they had become accustomed, except by the ceaseless exertion of innumerable scientists. And suppose that now within this same civilization a movement grew up hostile to these fundamental principles. I will not speak of a conspiracy to destroy civilization; not because I shrink from a notion so reminiscent of a detective novel, but because what I am thinking of is something less conscious, less deliberate, less dependent upon the sinister activities of any mere gang, than a conspiracy: something more like an epidemic disease: a kind of epidemic withering of belief in the importance of truth and in the obligation to think and act in a systematic and methodical way. Such an irrationalist epidemic infecting religion would turn it from a worship of truth to a worship of emotion and a cultivation of certain emotional states. Infecting education it would aim at inducing the young to abandon the habit of orderly thinking, or to avoid forming such a habit by offering to their imitation examples of unscientific thinking and holding up the ideals of science to contempt by precept and example. Infecting politics it would substitute for the ideal of orderly thinking in that field the ideal of tangled, immediate, emotional thinking; for the idea of a political thinker as political leader the idea of a leader focusing and personifying the mass-emotions of his community; for the ideal of intelligent agreement with a leader’s thought the idea of an emotional communion with him; and for the idea of a minority persuaded to conform the idea of unpatriotic persons (persons not sharing that communion) induced to conform by emotional means, namely by terror.

Next let us suppose that the tissues of the civilization invaded by this irrationalist disease are to a considerable extent resisting it. The result will be that the infection can progress only by concealing its true character behind a mask of conformity to the spirit of the civilization it is attaching. The success of the attack will be conditional on the victims’ suspicions not being aroused. Thus in educational institutions an explicit proposal to abandon the practice of orderly and systematic thinking would only bring those who made it into disrepute, and discredit them with the very persons they were trying to infect. But so long as nothing like a panic was created, liberties could be taken which would quickly have proved fatal among persons whose faith in scientific thought had not already been weakened. Let a sufficient number of men whose intellectual respectability is vouched for by their academic position pay sufficient lip-service to the ideals of scientific method, and they will be allowed to teach by example whatever kind of anti-science they like, even if this involves a hardly disguised breach with all the accepted canons of scientific method.

The ease with which this can be done will be much greater if it is done in an academic society where scientific specialization is so taken for granted that no one dare criticize the work of a man in another faculty. In that case all that is necessary to ensure immunity for the irrationalist agents is that they should put forward their propaganda under the pretence that it is itself a special science, which therefore other scientists will understand that they must not criticize. Thus irrationalism will avail itself of the privileges accorded to science by a rationalist civilization in order to undermine the entire fabric of that civilization.

The reader is lastly to suppose, if he will, that the situation I have described is the one in which, together with the rest of the world, he now stands. I do not wish him necessarily to confine this to a matter of mere supposition; I will confess that to myself it is more than a supposition, it is a fact, and I think the reader might be well advised to consider it in the same way.

R.G. Collingwood, An Essay on Metaphysics (1939), pp.133-137

#40 Comment By Joe C. On March 22, 2018 @ 10:48 pm

Hi, Dr. Esolen,
I should clarify my comments above. You were never political or polemical when you taught Civ (I still remember you virtually performing Chaucer’s Miller’s Tale!) I’ve followed your work over the years (I’m loving the series you are doing for Magnificat!) and I think I conflated your Crisis pieces, which are sometimes polemical, with our time at PC. I’m sorry about that. You were a brilliant teacher (everyone agreed on that) and a witness to the faith when I was there and PC is much the worse without you. I’ll drop you a line sometime.

#41 Comment By CMPT On March 23, 2018 @ 11:49 am

@ VikingLS

I can’t understand much of your last comment, but it seems as if you’ve moved from discussing what I said to discussing something I haven’t said. My basic claim is a simple and narrow one: Although some of the reaction to Smalanskas was rude and, in one instance, illegal, he has not suffered persecution, and Christians should not believe he and they are suffering persecution.

What he encountered is typical of what practically all kids and college students have encountered at one point or another when they’ve made controversial statements. The fact that Smalanskas’ statement happened to be on the subject of theology does not transform the harsh verbal pushback he received into “persecution.” Nor does an anonymous threat that, if the perpetrator could be identified, would be severely punished by both the police and Providence College constitute persecution.

You either agree or disagree with this straightforward and narrow claim. If you disagree, you should explain why these kinds of annoyances now qualify as “persecution.”

You just want Rod to shut up about it.

If Rod is going to write about these kind of things, I’d like him to think and write about them intelligently, which would require him to place these things in their proper perspective and recognize they are not examples of Christian persecution nor are they harbingers of future persecution.

In his own words, Rod claims Trump is a “vulgar, cruel, stupid, corrupt con man.” He’s also called Trump insecure and injudicious. Additionally, Trump has now appointed one of the most prominent warmongers of our time to be his national security advisor. Yet, Rod thinks in 2020 it may be prudent for Christians to make Trump the most powerful man in the world so that they will be protected from liberals and LGBTs. Bestowing presidential powers on an insecure, injudicious, vulgar, cruel, stupid, corrupt con man who has surrounded himself with warmongering lackeys and people who aspire to take health insurance away from millions has severe, real-world consequences that greatly outweigh the everyday slights conservative, SSM-opposing Christians encounter because of the excesses of liberals and LGBT activists.

If someone wants to vote for Trump because they believe, however incredulously, that he will improve the lot of the working poor or because he’s good on their pet policy issue, that’s fine. If someone votes for Trump because they think he knows how to make the country better and do not believe he’s stupid, vulgar cruel, etc., well, they’re wrong, but I can’t fault their motivation. However, for a follower of Christ to be willing to countenance all the tremendous real-world suffering likely to flow from a man of this kind just to annoy liberals or to limit their political power is unbelievably selfish.

It is also sinfully selfish. That is why I said the inclination of Christians to view these everyday slights as persecution distorts their understanding of the self-sacrificing they are called to do by Christ.

#42 Comment By VikingLS On March 23, 2018 @ 7:33 pm

“I can’t understand much of your last comment”

Really? Okay I’ll explain it more carefully. Everybody reading this knows you are reacting the way you are because of whom the actions were done to.

You just confirmed that. The whole thing needs to be rationalized away as not a really a big deal because Smalanskas is a Christian, and Christians MUST NOT claim they are being persecuted.

Therefore it’s very important for you to deny the abnormal violent aspects of the story because it’s VITAL that Christians NOT claim they are being persecuted.

That’s who/whom.

“If Rod is going to write about these kind of things, I’d like him to think and write about them intelligently, which would require him to place these things in their proper perspective and recognize they are not examples of Christian persecution nor are they harbingers of future persecution.”

First of all there’s nothing intelligent at all about claiming that Christians aren’t being persecuted now nor will they be in the future. That’s arriving at a conclusion in advance and insisting on its correctness. That’s not intelligent.

Second of all, since you know this IS what Rod believes, and it IS how he understands them. So yes, you are telling Rod to just shut up if he isn’t going to tell you what you want to hear.

Trump has nothing to do with this, and you bringing Trump up is just weird. And no the problem isn’t that I don’t understand the connection.

#43 Comment By Moone Boy On March 23, 2018 @ 8:42 pm

I was a member of a student allies group, American southern university, way back when.

People wanted to not be afraid, to just be regular people. Sure they had some strong opinions. But I don’t remember all or any of this freak show.

That’s a point your readers and commenters ought to bear in mind: this is a cultural thing, a specific political thing that hinges on the ultra left and liberal capitalist orders, but it’s not actually determined by just being on the gay spectrum somewhere – nor for that matter, by being just left wing.

#44 Comment By Joseph On March 29, 2018 @ 9:35 am

I was an RA and Theology and Philosoophy major at Providence College in the late 90’s. I experienced an almost identical situation in my senior year as an RA. I received NO support from administration. In fact, the Residence Life Director, “Fr.” Kenneth Sicard, threatened punitive action if I were to maintain my affirmation of Catholic doctrine. Nothing much has changed. We send our support and prayers to Michael!