Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quotes of the Day

The online comments regarding the editorial and the opinion piece in question were creating a disrespectful environment as well as confusion about the teachings of the Catholic Church; therefore, the administration exercised its prerogative to have the material removed from the website.

– Dr. Bob Tift
President, Benilde-St. Margaret’s School

I think you're abrogating one of your responsibilities as an educator, which is not to ban controversial topics but to encourage civil discussion about them. This is a time for students to explore those difficult issues, and educators should not discourage that.

– Jane Kirtley
Director, University of Minnesota's Silha Center
for the Study of Media Ethics and Law

NOTE: Both Tift and Kirtley are quoted in today's Pioneer Press article “St. Louis Park Catholic School Pulls Op-Ed on Gay Issues from Website” by Mila Koumpilova.

My thoughts on the latest developments in this story: If it was certain online comments in response to the
two pieces in question that the administration felt were getting out of hand and creating, as the school president says, a "disrespectful environment" for LGBT students, then why weren't just the offending comments removed? The two editorials could have remained on the school's website.

Also, it's doubtful that the content of the offensive comments entail anything that LGBT students haven't already heard or experienced. Simply removing the comments isn't going to address the homophobic attitudes behind them. What is the school administration doing about such attitudes?

As to the idea of other comments causing "confusion" about church teaching . . . well, I agree no one should be confused about the true nature of what the church's clerical caste teaches about homosexuality. We all should recognize how uninformed, dysfunctional and damaging this teaching really is.

Sadly, an educational facility on land owned by this same caste and often heavily funded by wealthy alumni supportive of this caste, is rarely the best place were such confusion can be dispelled.

Thankfully, young people today, along with the majority of adult Catholics, simply reject the clerical caste's warped perspective on sexuality. And encouraging and supportive efforts that reflect a healthier understanding of sexuality are being made in Catholic schools, albeit "under the radar."

Bottom line: As disappointing as the school administration's actions are, I think it's encouraging and hopeful that this Catholic school community acknowledges that it has LGBT members and that at least one of these members was able to share (albeit briefly) his story on the school's website.

See also the previous Wild Reed post:
The Two Editorials that Benilde-St. Margaret’s Catholic High School Doesn’t Want You to Read

Recommended Off-site Link:
Catholic School Paper Deletes Student Editorials on Catholic DVD, Gay Teens – Sasha Aslanian (Minnesota Public Radio, November 16, 2010).
Sean Simonson's Benilde Censors Explain Themselves, Sort Of – Nick Pinto (City Pages, November 16, 2010).

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