*** Update: The University claims that Miner did indeed refer to homosexual persons as “subhuman” rather than only homosexual acts.
PITTSBURGH, PA, October 28, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Duquesne University, which describes itself as “one of the top ten Catholic universities in the nation,” has punished a 19-year-old sophomore for statements made on a website which had no connection to the school.Â While the mainstream media has frequently repeated that political science and pre-law student Ryan Miner is being sanctioned for calling gays and lesbians ‘subhuman’, Miner told LifeSiteNews.com in an interview he used the word ‘subhuman’ to describe homosexual acts, not homosexuals themselves.
The University was considering a request to begin a Gay-Straight Alliance club on campus.Â Such clubs, known for promoting the acceptability of homosexual acts, are not proper in a Catholic university according to Miner.Â Writing in the university paper yesterday, Miner said, “The goal of this proposed immoral alliance is an endorsement of a homosexual lifestyle, which is undeniably precariousÂ . . . As a practicing Catholic and a staunch supporter of the Catholic Church, I find it completely appalling that Duquesne University would even consider the idea of this uncanny and so-called ‘alliance.’”
Miner formed a group of students to counter the proposed club via a national website for students on which he posted comments.Â After reading the comments on the site, four students found them offensive and brought them to the attention of the university judicial affairs department.
After Miner was sent a letter notifying him of the complaints a hearing was held by three faculty members and two student representatives.Â Miner was refused the names of the university faculty judging him.
Miner was found guilty of offending the university’s anti-discrimination policy which prohibits discrimination based on “sexual orientation” among other things.Â Miner told LifeSiteNews.com that he explained at the hearing that his use of the word ‘subhuman’ was meant towards the homosexual act and not homosexual persons.Â Moreover, Miner read the Catholic Catechism in his defence as the Catechism refers to homosexual acts as, “acts as acts of grave depravity”, “intrinsically disordered” andÂ“contrary to the natural law.”Â His was nonetheless found guilty of the charges.
In conversation with LifeSiteNews.com, Miner said that his use of ‘subhuman’ to describe homosexual acts “certainly wasn’t the most prudent of words”, but what he meant to say was the gist of the teaching in the Catechism.
As punishment, Miner was ordered to remove the comments from the website and to write a ten page “objective, expository essay on the viewpoints for and against homosexuality using specific readings.”Â While Miner removed the website comments he refused to write an essay in support of homosexuality as he said it was a violation of his faith.
Miner is willing to stand by his position even if it led to expulsion from Duquesne.Â When asked if he’d be willing to accept that sentence to stay true to his beliefs he responded, “Absolutely.”
An appeal of the initial hearing is forthcoming.Â
LifeSiteNews.com contacted Duquesne officials seeking comment, but no calls were returned.
In a press release today the American Family Association of Pennsylvania (AFA of PA), a statewide traditional values group, urged Duquesne University to reconsider the sanctions posed on Miner.Â The AFA contends that beyond the squabble about wording, Miner “has a First Amendment right to express those views on an off-campus blog.”
The AFA release said, “The late Pope John Paul urged Catholics not to be afraid of publicly defending traditional family values in modern society.”ÂÂÂ Diane Gramley, president of the AFA of PA commented, “Apparently Mr. Miner took the words of Pope John Paul to heart and is now being punished by a Catholic university.”
To express your concerns
Charles J. Dougherty, Ph.D.
Duquesne University President
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Phone: (412) 396-6000Â
Toll Free: (800) 456-0590