By Kathleen Gilbert
AUSTIN, Texas, September 7, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Catholic liberal arts college has rejected the application of a local homosexualist group to participate in a campus nonprofit internship fair, because the group's views directly conflicted with Catholic moral teaching. However, the school's own homosexual support group has said it is "investigating" the affair.
The student newspaper Hilltop Views reported last week that Equality Texas, a local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) advocacy group, had applied to recruit students at the Internship Fair for the coming school year, but was denied.
Equality Texas lobbies against laws that uphold traditional marriage in the state. The group decried as "uninformed, outdated and homophobic" a recent decision by a Dallas appeals court that struck down gay divorce, and reaffirmed the constitutionality of true marriage.
“In reviewing the mission of Equality Texas it has come to our attention that promoting your organization and volunteer opportunities will be in direct conflict with the mission of St. Edward’s University," wrote Lou Serna, Director of the Office of Service and Community Involvement and Assistant Director of Campus Ministry, in an email correspondence to Equality Texas published by the Equality Texas blog. "As a Catholic University, we are rooted in and uphold Catholic Church teaching."
In response, Equality Texas deputy director Chuck Smith objected that, "We do not view our missions as being in conflict with the university’s Holy Cross mission ‘to deliver a personalized, transformative educational experience in a diverse and supportive community,’” as reported by Hilltop Views.
University spokeswoman Mischelle Diaz confirmed that, although there was some confusion over whether Equality Texas was truly a non-profit organization, its views on homosexuality precluded it from participating in the fair.
“As a Catholic University, St. Edward’s cannot be expected to endorse any organization that may advocate on issues that are inconsistent with Catholic Church teachings,” said Diaz in statement.
However, the school's own LGBT group, PRIDE, released a statement September 3 saying that the group was "aware of the situation" regarding Equality Texas' rejection and was "investigating the matter."
Diaz told the newspaper that St. Edward's Campus Ministry works closely with PRIDE to ensure that the group does not conflict with the university’s Catholic mission.
Rev. Rick Wilkinson, C.S.C., St. Edward's University Director of Campus Ministry, told LifeSiteNews.com that he was not surprised that PRIDE might disagree with the school's treatment of Equality Texas. "University campuses always conflict and disagree - and even disagreement on Church teaching, that's what makes it such a vibrant community," he said.
Whereas the school rejected Equality Texas for lobbying against the Church's teaching on same-sex "marriage," said Wilkinson, PRIDE is focused on anti-discrimination and does not engage in such lobbying, and thus passes muster as an official student group. The group, he said, would be disqualified if it began officially advocating same-sex "marriage."
Wilkinson said the group is "not legitimizing the gay lifestyle as much as legitimizing [them] as a child of God." "It's wrong to assume that a gay pride group would necessarily be advocating the gay lifestyle," he said.
When asked whether the group promotes chastity, Wilkinson replied, "That's not something we would ask of any student group." "We hope that they are not sexually active, but we don't ask them," he added. "We promote a holistic and spiritual component to human sexuality, [as well as] Church teaching that sex belongs within marriage."
PRIDE did not return LifeSiteNews.com's request for comment as of Monday afternoon.