Georgetown University finds itself in hot water again, thanks to the controversy over Sandra Fluke, the law student who appeared before Congress at the invitation of Roman Catholic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi and Fluke both support President Obama’s mandate to the Catholic Church on contraception and abortion drugs. The Georgetown law student highlighted what she and Pelosi deem a great social injustice: that is, Republican opposition to the executive decree.
“Just last week,” lamented Fluke, “a married female student told me that she had to stop using contraception because she and her husband just couldn’t fit it into their budget anymore. Women employed in low-wage jobs without contraceptive coverage face the same choice.”
The Georgetown law student was aghast. In today’s progressive America, she protested, that female student ought to have “free” access to contraception—compliments of all federal taxpayers, regardless of religious objection.
Ms. Fluke’s statement, and thinking, is bad enough. It is patently outrageous. It requires no elaboration here.
Unfortunately, it got quite a bit of elaboration from Rush Limbaugh, who was so justifiably angry at Fluke’s statement that he unjustifiably called her some nasty names—and later apologized. Ms. Fluke, for the record, refused to accept Limbaugh’s apology. Why would she? Limbaugh gave Fluke and her liberal friends precisely the ammo they need in their campaign of agitprop—agitation and propaganda against Georgetown and the Church.
An unlikely participant in that campaign is the president of Georgetown. In response to the hoopla, the president blasted not Ms. Fluke, but Rush Limbaugh, and used some very harsh language against Limbaugh. The president rightly criticized Limbaugh for his language.
Yet, I would like to know why the president of Georgetown hasn’t asked for an apology from Ms. Fluke. After all, as Rush Limbaugh noted, Georgetown University is a Catholic institution. It has been for over 220 years. Imagine the presumption, the self-righteousness, of Ms. Fluke to demand that this Catholic institution suddenly reverse its values to conform to her values. She demands that Georgetown violate its sacred, long-held Catholic beliefs to fit her beliefs. And she is making a national example and mockery of Georgetown in the process.
So, how about an apology from Ms. Fluke? Or, for that matter, from Nancy Pelosi? Or President Obama? They started this; they’re pushing this. They prompted Rush Limbaugh’s outrage in the first place. Why must only Limbaugh apologize?
For that matter, Georgetown itself holds some responsibility for this. After all, why is the college admitting students that are so diametrically opposed to the college’s values and mission? Most religious colleges make clear their values, and ask applicants to explain how they support those values. The college where I teach does that. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s common sense, and especially if you’re a university with a mission.
Institutions have a mission. It’s best for everyone to have people at the institution who support the mission, or at least don’t seek to actively undermine it.
Does Georgetown have a Catholic mission or not? If it does, does it support it? When it doesn’t, students like Ms. Fluke arrive and aggressively undermine the institution with their own set of values.
Aside from the Sandra Fluke episode, another Georgetown moment sticks with me:
It occurred in April 2005. It was related to me by a former student of mine who was attending graduate school at Georgetown. It was shortly after the death of John Paul II. My student was among other students awaiting the announcement of the new pope. When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger stepped out, my student—excited to see Ratzinger as the new pope—was just as suddenly horrified at the litany of obscenities and insults shouted by his fellow Georgetown students. “Fascist!” one student yelled at the new pope, adding another choice “f” word to his insult. “Nazi!” screeched another.
My student, a former Baptist considering converting to the Catholic Church, halted the conversion process right there. If this was Catholicism, he wanted none of it.
Again, one wonders: Why would Georgetown have such students?
Let’s be honest: This is the doing of “social-justice” Catholics, of progressive Catholics. Such students—Ms. Fluke among them—are the natural, toxic byproduct of modern Catholic higher education. That education has corroded the Church, and now it corrodes America.
You reap what you sow. Georgetown is now reaping what it has sown.