BC Prof Quits-Rice's Actions Mock Jesuit Tradition
A Boston College adjunct English professor has left his position, with tremendous regret, because he says Condoleeza Rice has lied to the American public. In an open letter to William P. Leahy, SJ, president of Boston College, Steve Almond says that he believe Rice has committed acts that were not at all in keeping with the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and that the broader humanistic values derived from those traditions are far from what Ms. Rice, in her positions as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, has represented.
Battle lines have been drawn at Boston College over Rice's invitation by the college president to deliver the commencement address BC's graduating class of 2006. The college newspaper [The Observer] has reported that prominent BC faculty members have begun a petition campaign to rescind Rice's invitation.
These professors hold that Rice's view that countries should act in their own self-interest "stands in disturbing contrast with the Catholic and humanistic conviction that all people are linked together in a single human family," they write. They contend that her support for the "tragic war in Iraq...cannot be justified in light of the moral values of the Catholic tradition or the norms of international law." For these reasons, they object to her speaking and honoring at BC's 2006 commencement. Close to one hundred professors have signed the petition so far.
Excerpts of Almond's comments from the Boston Globe:
She has lied to the American people knowingly, repeatedly, often extravagantly over the past five years, in an effort to justify a pathologically misguided foreign policy.
The public record of her deceits is extensive. During the ramp-up to the Iraq war, she made 29 false or misleading public statements concerning Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda, according to a congressional investigation by the House Committee on Government Reform.
[...]Like the president whom she serves so faithfully, she refuses to recognize her errors or the tragic consequences of those errors to the young soldiers and civilians dying in Iraq. She is a diplomat whose central allegiance is not to the democratic cause of this nation, but absolute power.
[...]To be clear: I am not questioning her intellectual gifts or academic accomplishments. Nor her potentially inspiring role as a powerful woman of color.
But these are not the factors by which a commencement speaker should be judged. It is the content of one's character that matters here -- the reverence for truth and knowledge that Boston College purports to champion.
Rice does not personify these values; she repudiates them. Whatever inspiring rhetoric she might present to the graduating class, her actions as a citizen and politician tell a different story.
These professors likely experience disappointment, and possibly failure, when they see their example of strong conviction and commitment to truth lost upon the morally flaccid response from students who are more concerned for their graduation day being marred by those who would protest what are quite possibly the greatest lies ever told to garner U.S. citizens' public support for an immoral and unjust war. One student's comment [from The Observer]
Most graduating seniors..are opposed to anything that would disrupt their graduation ceremony. Amanda Grey '06, Phi Beta Kappa and soon to be Investment Banking Analyst at Revolution Partners, said, "My parents didn't pay $160,000 to watch students protest on my graduation day. I hope that the students who are opposed to [Rice speaking] remain quiet and sit throughout the ceremony respectfully."
How has "silence" or "respect" been a benefit to any of us while we've been willing subjects to the Bush administration? What can we expect by offering them more silence and respect? As for myself, they lost my respect when they lied to me, and I shall never again be silent about it.
The Observer editorial claims that Rice should be welcomed as a "a walking piece of history." I would imagine that those who would uphold Pope John Paul's opinion that the Iraq war was unjust would call Condi a walking piece of something else, and they'd best be careful lest they commit the sin of cussing. ;)
Others are saying...
Jonah Goldberg Reduces Catholicism to a "Cudgel"
That ever-steadfast Catholic boy [not] Jonah Goldberg, with a taunting fifth grader's approach, calls those who would respect their faith traditions a name that robs his argument of all intellectual honesty. He uses the tired and over-used moniker "left-wingers" to please his rabid right wing crowd. He defends a nasty position of comparing Catholic belief to hypocrisy by saying that it's just a shield to politically hide behind. He uses the "fine moral example" of defending a child-abuser in order to attack Catholicism and the academic environment at Jesuit institutions.
Last year, a student at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., was kicked out of the school's education program for arguing that corporal punishment — i.e. spanking and the like — could be useful in classrooms.
Jonah reduces Catholicism and our freedom to express ourselves as faithful Americans to a "cudgel". As a Roman Catholic living in a country where my freedom to speak about our common values (many that are derived from our faith traditions) is welcomed, I'm free to tell Jonah that I don't think he made a good case. In fact, I think he was insulting to those who believe the Commandment from the Bible that says: Thou Shalt Not Lie. Attempts to render a sacred belief meaningless by blurring the moral issue with paranoia about "the left" is, to my Christian sensibility, an evil stunt. Nice going, Jonah.