Despite its claim that it adheres to the Catholic and Jesuit principles upon which it was founded, Georgetown University is boldly defending its decision to invite Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) President and CEO Cecile Richards to speak on its campus next month.
Stressing its commitment to “the free exchange of ideas,” Georgetown University officials clearly indicated that they are pleased to open their campus to speakers who promote different values — even when they go against the school’s supposed core beliefs.
“As the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university, Georgetown University is proud to be a university that deeply values our faith tradition and that encourages the free exchange of ideas, “Georgetown officials announced in a statement. “We respect our students’ right to express their personal views and are committed to sustaining a forum for the free exchange of ideas, even when those ideas may be difficult, controversial or objectionable to some.”
The explanation did not sit well with Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly, who says that Georgetown University selects speakers who oppose Christian values more often than those who advocate biblical teachings and morality.
“They said the same thing when Larry Flynt and Barack Obama spoke at Georgetown,” Reilly shared with CNSNews.com after the university attempted to justify its decision. “Besides a clear bias in the choice of speakers, there’s no sense of moral truth, which is the central point of a Catholic university. Either you accept Catholic moral teaching as true or you do not. In the case of Georgetown, they simply do not.”
Reilly could not fathom how Georgetown officials could bring in a radical abortion activist, especially in the wake of Planned Parenthood’s notorious selling of aborted baby body parts scandal.
“In bringing in someone with such a horrendous record of not only advocating ideas that would be contrary to Catholic teaching, but is herself responsible for the deaths of more than 2 million babies under her watch, Georgetown demonstrates that it does not understand the nature of a Catholic university,” the Catholic leader contended, according to LIfeNews.
Annual reports publicized by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America divulge that since Richards assumed leadership of the abortion provider back in 2006, she has overseen more than 2.8 million preborn babies killed by the organization’s practitioners. It is noted that from 2006 to 2011, the number of abortions administered under Richards’ leadership steadily escalated — yet with the resurgence of the pro-life movement after 2011, numbers have dropped in recent years.
Furthering its attempt to quell any backlash for its decision to move forward with the head of Planned Parenthood’s invitation — to promote the pro-abortion cause across campus — Georgetown officials noted that the university is not financially compensating her for the upcoming speaking event.
“Ms. Richards is not being paid to speak,” the statement issued by the university added. “Student groups may invite any outside speakers and guests to campus.”
Campus officials tried to make it clear that they do not necessarily support the messages given by those who speak at the university.
“An appearance of any speaker or guest on campus is not an endorsement by the university,” Georgetown University continued in its announcement. “We work very hard to ensure that [Catholic and Jesuit] values maintain a privileged place in our community while at the same time providing a forum that does not limit speech either in the content of the view being expressed or the speaker expressing the view.”
However, the Newman Society has documented a long history of Georgetown’s “Catholic identity abuses,” with many taking place during the current academic year.
Regardless, Georgetown ended its statement by giving itself accolades about how it continues to uphold its religious values like never before.
“Our Catholic and Jesuit identity on campus has never been stronger,” Georgetown’s statement concerning the Planned Parenthood speaking issue concluded.
Breaking its own rules?
Running contrary to its justification for moving forward with Richards’ speaking engagement on campus, Georgetown University’s Speech and Expression Policy clearly stresses that certain expressions will be restricted by the administration regarding free speech on campus.
“The right of free speech and expression does not include unlawful activity or activity that endangers or imminently threatens to endanger the safety of any member of the community or any the community’s physical facilities, or any activity that disrupts or obstructs the functions of the University or imminently threatens such disruption or obstruction,” the university’s speech and expression policy states. “Moreover, expression that is indecent or is grossly obscene or grossly offensive on matters such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation is inappropriate in a university community and the University will act as it deems appropriate to educate students violating this principle.”
However, it is noted in the policy that “these qualifications are naturally subject to interpretation.” It also explains that if students think the policy has been applied incorrectly, they can appeal to the vice president for student affairs through a “Speech and Expression Committee.”
It is argued Richards definitely fits the description for making an exception for Georgetown’s free speech policy.
“Many would argue that Richards, as the head of an organization that kills human beings on a daily basis, is a far more controversial speaker than pornography tycoon Flynt, whom the Georgetown Lecture Fund hosted in 1999,” LifeNews’ Adam Cassandra reports. “During that controversy, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, who at the time was Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, criticized Georgetown and then-President Father Leo J. O’Donovan, S.J., for allowing Flynt to speak on campus.”
In regards to the fairly recent Flynt speaking engagement, Lori said the university is without excuse.
“[Inviting Flynt to speak is] utterly contrary to the Catholic identity of Georgetown University,” the Archbishop of Baltimore argued. “The university’s actions are indefensible.”
Many believe that Richards’ invitation is no better.