Out and proud at Boston College

Out and proud at Boston College

A group of openly homosexual and lesbian professors at Jesuit-run Boston College held a forum last night and decried the Catholic school’s “deeply rooted religious tradition.” Yes, they don’t like the fact that the institution for which they chose to work is Catholic. I’m sorry, but have we legalized slavery and indentured servitude when I wasn’t looking?

If someone I knew went to work for say, Raytheon, the fifth-largest defense contractor in the US, and then complained that they “have a long way to go before overcoming the [company’s] deeply rooted [military-industrial complex] tradition,” I dismiss them as a fool for failing to recognize reality before taking the job.

That is, unless I found out that Raytheon’s recruiter’s had made representations that the company really didn’t buy all the military/defense baloney and that they could expect an atmosphere friendly to pacifists and after all they expect big changes to eventually come in the basic beliefs of the company any day now.

Then I would blame the recruiters and the pacifist employees.

Though it has recently been recognized for accepting increasingly diverse viewpoints, BC’s affiliation with the Catholic Church, which officially condemns homosexuality, often puts the institution at odds with gays and lesbians on campus and has prompted past efforts by the university to discourage or prohibit gay-themed organizations, they said.

Which leads me to ask why they ever believed it would be different?

Accounting professor Theresa Hammond, who has taught at BC for 17 years, said the university is still bound by old ways, citing a December 2005 incident in which BC administrators canceled a student-organized Gay-Lesbian dance.

“You think you belong, but then things like that happen,” Hammond said. “It’s a mixed place.”

But why was the dance cancelled? The college’s spokesman said that it was because it was not open to all students but was advertised as being for gay students, and that they did not seek permission to hold the dance. They also expressed concern that it was not merely a fundraiser for an AIDS charity, but promoted the homosexual lifestyle. With the theme “A Night in Gay Paris”, I don’t wonder. You also have to understand the history of such events at BC. In years past they have been the scene of some extremely vulgar debauchery; just check back issues of the independent campus newspaper The BC Observer from the early 90s.

But back to last night’s event, the organizers say they are hopeful for the future since there are growing numbers of openly gay and lesbian professors on campus. Does that mean they believe they’re overcoming the school’s “deeply-rooted religious tradition?”

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