A Nov. 6 Student Government Association committee decision barred the official creation of a student secular society, an organization that wants to open discussion between religious and nontheistic students about the existence of God.The reason for the barring? Take a look:
The proposed Duquesne Secular Society is the brainchild of Nick Shadowen, a senior philosophy major, and Colin Stragar-Rice, a junior philosophy and political science major. The DSS was proposed as a group for students who don't believe in God, such as atheists and agnostics, as well as for religious students.
The six to eight senators who made up the group unanimously voted Sunday night not to bring the DSS's approval to a vote in front of the general SGA Senate, according to SGA President Zach Ziegler.Ah now we're getting somewhere. What is Duquesne's Mission Statement? Here it is:
Zeigler said the DSS was denied mainly because it does not comply with Duquesne's Mission Statement.
"This organization has a non-faith-based agenda," Ziegler said. "We never got a real idea what was behind this organization."
Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit is a Catholic University, founded by members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, the Spiritans, and sustained through a partnership of laity and religious. Duquesne serves God by serving students – through commitment to excellence in liberal and professional education, through profound concern for moral and spiritual values, through the maintenance of an ecumenical atmosphere open to diversity, and through service to the Church, the community, the nation, and the world.I guess there are limits to how "open to diversity" the Student Government is and I surmise SGA President Zach gives one one criteria for the limits when he says that the DSS "has a non-faith-based agenda." And then we have:
The Rev. James McCloskey, vice president for Mission and Identity, agreed with Ziegler that the DSS is not a viable student organization for Duquesne.Funny thing, though. When you take a look at the other organizations the SGA has approved, you might think that those same rules might not apply. Again, The Duke:
"They [the DSS] assume positions that are antithetical to belief in God, and belief in God is at the core of our enterprise at Duquesnse," McCloskey said.
Duquesne allowed the creation of other student organizations that do not adhere to Christian doctrine. The Muslim Student Association and Jewish Student Organization are viable funded student groups under Spiritan Campus Ministry. Duquesne also allowed the organization of Lambda Gay-Straight Alliance in 2005, even though at the time some Catholic students protested that the organization contradicted the University mission statement because the Catholic Church does not support homosexual relationships.I am not (NOT) saying that those organizations (or any of the others on Duquesne's list of approved multicultural organizations) aren't fine organizations or that they should not get the full support of the SGA.
I am sure they are and I am sure they should.
What I am saying is that an organization, such as the DSS, whose Constitution says that its intent is to:
...provide a platform for honest and open debate on the merits of secularism and its role in different areas on human society. The DSS encourages respectful relations between non-theistic … and theistic students and through these relationships hopes to alleviate the various stigmas attached to nonbelievers. [emphasis added]Is probably something that should be encouraged on a college campus - yes even on a religious college campus. Clamping down on an idea rather than discussing it is no way for an enlightened community to act.
If it's an "open and honest debate" then what's the problem? Isn't that what a university education is all about?