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Gender unicorns, BLM, rainbow flags: Jesuit university worships at the altar of ‘woke’ culture

Saint Louis University frequently invokes its 'Catholic' identity. The school is anything but.
Thu May 13, 2021 - 8:46 pm EST
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ANALYSIS

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, May 13, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A student at Saint Louis University (SLU) is dismayed to find that his “Catholic” university openly celebrates gravely immoral sins and is beholden not to a Christian worldview but to secular “woke” culture.

“Saint Louis University’s Indoctrination runs deep,” said Michael*. “I came to SLU because they lured me with a promise. They told me that if I attended SLU I would not only grow academically, at a school with a strong reputation, but I would also grow in my faith. The Jesuit tradition is a holistic approach, one that aims to set the world on fire by crafting men and women for others for Greater Glory of God (AMDG).”

“At least it used to be,” he continued. “Nowadays, Jesuits seem to care more about progressive politics and virtue-signaling than the message of Jesus Christ.”

SLU repeatedly invokes its “Catholic Jesuit identity” in its messaging, and claims on its website that it “ensures that the principles and traditions of Catholic, Jesuit higher education, and the mission and core values of SLU are integrated into “programs and practices” and the “formation of its students.”

However, glimpses of the textbook curriculum, as well as campus messaging, show that the university espouses an ideology that is radically antithetical to the Catholic faith. The examples of this are so numerous, said Michael, that it is virtually impossible to share them all.

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An egregious and telling sign of the university’s secular — and not only anti-Catholic, but anti-Christian and anti-life underpinnings — is found in an answer to an online history quiz that Michael shared with LifeSiteNews, which says that the Christian Coalition has been “successful” in “denying reasonable access to abortion for women.”

Michael decried the course as a “sick joke,” continuing, “They do this to not only minimize the role Planned Parenthood plays in murdering innocent babies, but they also are trying to paint the Christian Coalition of the 90s (and today) as these out of touch, unreasonable, cruel people. Disgusting.” 

A part of Michael’s Human Growth and Development (HGAD) class curriculum also shows that SLU makes no attempt to conform its curriculum to Catholic beliefs or even to a “Judeo-Christian” worldview.

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The book says that “Western society tends to have a Judeo-Christian orientation toward prayer, holidays and values,” which “can result in conflict and discomfort for children with other religions” and “confuse them.”

One slide from the same class says that spirituality “may influence growth and development” by “providing a positive outlook,” helping us to “connect to others” and possibly reducing stress.

“They treat religion as if it is a fun exercise Catholics do for their health. They don’t treat it as it is: The truth, the way, the life,” said Michael.

The homage to Islam at SLU doesn’t stop at its curriculum. Michael shared an email from the SLU provost asking that faculty be mindful of the needs of students observing a Ramadan fast during exam time.

“We have many students, faculty, and staff who observe other religious traditions at SLU, and I want to ensure that we are being respectful to all members of our community,” wrote the provost.

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Indeed, at SLU, the concept of the “sacred” is entirely subjective. Its website reveals that the university “offers two interfaith sacred spaces on campus” that “are open to students, faculty and staff of any faith tradition or of none.”

The most pervasive anti-Catholic and anti-Christian practice of SLU is an active support of LGBT lifestyles and of gender ideology, which is strangely presented as an extension of its “Jesuit” and Christian principles. 

Michael shared that not only are rainbow “pride” flags displayed around the school, such as in its campus Panera, but SLU has a “Rainbow Alliance Club” that aims to “engage the SLU community in a dialogue about the complexity of gender and sexuality” and “empower those who are marginalized because of their sexual orientations and/or gender identities/expressions.” The club’s web page goes so far as to state, “The purpose of the organization” is “in accordance with Saint Louis University’s Jesuit Mission and the principles of social justice.”

Here, the campus culture lines up with the university’s curriculum. One presentation slide for Michael’s HGAD class reads, “Gender and sexuality are socially constructed concepts that vary across place and time,” and “LGBTQ persons experiences family through a variety of biological and social structures that include kinship ties and chosen families.”

The course goes even further to define gender as “Culturally held and transmitted beliefs, attitudes, and feelings that are associated with biological sex.” 

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It continues, “Gender can be conforming (congruent with biological sex) or non-conforming (not congruent with biological sex). Gender identity: Internal sense of being male, female, a combination of both, somewhere in between, or neither.”
The students are presented with a “Gender Unicorn” graphic from “Trans Student Educational Resources” (TSER), which is meant to demonstrate that “gender identity,” “gender expression,” biological sex, physical attraction, and emotional attraction are all completely independent of each other.

The course slides go on to explain that someone who is “gender fluid” “remains open and not limited to the expected social beliefs about themselves.” It then defines “transgender,” “cisgender,” and “agender.”
The students were asked to listen to a talk by a transgender guest speaker as part of their coursework.

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This gender ideology is so deeply ingrained in SLU culture that students are openly encouraged to introduce themselves with their “preferred gender pronouns,” and Student Government Association (SGA) members sign off emails with their preferred pronouns next to their names.

Here, too, far from acknowledging that this ideology is in conflict with Christian belief and natural law, SLU invokes the name of Christ to justify these practices. In one dorm bathroom, Michael found sheets explaining the importance of using someone’s preferred gender pronouns, one of which was issued by “More Light Presbyterians,” a coalition that aims toward the “full participation of LGBTQIA+ people in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church — and in society.” 

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“As those who seek to be welcoming in the name of Christ, we hope to see everyone in the midst as themselves, as children of God. Creating space where people name their pronouns both shows our welcome and invites people to share their full selves with us and with God,” the sheet reads.

Another sheet posted next to it said, “It’s important to respect pronouns, as it validates a person’s identity,” and “Disrespecting a transgender person’s pronouns could threaten their safety. Living a life where people naturally assume your correct pronouns is a privilege that not everyone experiences.”  

The sheet goes on to say, “If you don’t know someone’s pronouns, don’t assume gendered pronouns, and use gender-neutral ones, like they or ze.” 

“Gender non-conforming” students can even be given special housing accommodations, as the school’s LGBTQIA+ Resources page reveals.

The university also embraces the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, and anti-family Black Lives Matter BLM movement. Michael revealed that BLM slogans and messaging are found all over campus, and that students are made to watch Ted Talks from the founders of BLM. The campus has also held a few BLM protests, during which students are allowed to get within distances of each other that would normally violate “social distancing” protocols.

SLU puts a heavy emphasis on “racial justice” in its culture and curriculum. While of course Catholicism is opposed to racism and any other form of hatred or prejudice, SLU president Fred Pestello’s language demonstrates how the university selectively invokes its “Catholic identity.” 

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Pestello sent an email during the deliberation of the Derek Chauvin trial that demonstrates this: “Entering into Christ’s suffering means embracing our broken world for what it truly is and in doing so, suffering with every child of God. This compassion is the heart of the Jesuit Charism, not a faith of just “thoughts and prayers” but a faith that does justice. And it will be in full view during an all-faiths vigil at the Clock Tower on Wednesday, April 21 at 3 p.m.”

Another email announcing “upcoming SLU-approved events planned to process the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial and grieve the endless violence and loss that Black and Brown folks face at the hands of white supremacy” invoked SLU’s “Catholic Jesuit Identity.”

“Let it be known that SGA stands boldly and unapologetically in solidarity with our Black and Brown peers and in defense of their lives. Our university’s mission and Catholic Jesuit Identity calls us to do so.”

In 2020, the SLU’s President’s Office announced a “faculty led” #ScholarStrike to “bring awareness to racial inequities,” with an email that said, “Saint Louis University promotes freedom of speech and expression and views them as foundational to our Catholic, Jesuit identity, as well as to the Academy.”

Just what does SLU mean by “Catholic Jesuit Identity”? That would presumably be described on their “Jesuit Tradition at SLU” webpage, which reads:

“At Saint Louis University, the nearly 500-­year­-old Jesuit tradition inspires everything from the kinds of classes students take to how they spend their free time. But just what does it mean to be ‘Jesuit?'”

The page reads, “Inspired by the Jesuit practice of  ‘finding God in all things,’ students take a broad range of study, which is grounded in the theological and philosophical foundations of the Catholic intellectual tradition.”

“Then there’s the idea of ‘the magis’ (more), which leads to excellence in all pursuits. This ties into the Jesuit legacy of academic rigor, which requires students to go deeper, think critically and solve problems creatively for the glory of God and the service of humanity.”

These statements are strongly misleading at best, as SLU promotes ideas that are totally incompatible with Catholic intellectual tradition and that are directly opposed to the “glory of God,” as St. Ignatius of Loyola and the original Jesuits conceived it, in accordance with Scripture.

Michael commented, “They hide behind, and they justify their liberal politics and stances by twisting our Catholic faith. When it is convenient to be a Catholic, they will talk about how 'It is our duty and mission as a Catholic school to act.' They say that because they know no one can push back on that." 

"This practical incongruence with their self-professed 'Catholic identity,' like that of the majority of so-called 'Catholic' universities today, is largely a product of the 1967 'Land O’ Lakes Statement,' which deliberately severed Catholic universities from 'authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself.'”

As Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick Reilly explained, “Over the course of just a few years following the statement, most Catholic colleges and universities in America shed their legal ties to the Church and handed their institutions over to independent boards of trustees. In the quest for secular prestige and government funding, many went so far as to remove the crucifixes from their classroom walls and to represent their Catholic identity in historical terms (such as, ‘in the Jesuit tradition’).”

Reilly noted that in 1990, the “Land O’ Lakes Statement” was “soundly repudiated by St. Pope John Paul II in Ex corde Ecclesiae, the apostolic constitution for Catholic universities.”

However, violations of authentic Catholic teaching remain the norm for “Catholic” universities, to such an extent that only 15 residential Catholic colleges, and two non-residential Cathoilc colleges in the United States, had made The Cardinal Newman Society’s recommended colleges list for “their commitment to a faithful Catholic education.”

Michael maintains that not only is the school un-Catholic, it doesn’t truly promote diversity and acceptance as it claims to, “because everyone who disagrees with their liberal ideology is bullied into silence. I can't stand up to my teachers, or I will fail the class. I cannot stand up to administration, because they do not care at all what I have to say. They stifle and ignore dissent.”

He warned, “To all those parents considering spending thousands of dollars thinking that their child will receive a Catholic education, I warn them to save their money. Until SLU feels financial repercussions from their indoctrination, they will not change.”

*The source of this story prefers to remain anonymous. Michael is a pseudonym.


  abortion, anti-catholicism, black lives matter, catholic, ex corde ecclesiae, gender ideology, gender pronouns, gender unicorn, islam, jesuit universities, land o' lakes statement, lgbtq curriculum, rainbow alliance club, st. louis university

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