Audacity of Ignorance, Manipulation of Religion

It was only a matter of time before ignorance and closed-mindedness claiming the backing of God surfaced at Cornell.

http://cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2009/04/23/outcry-erupts-alleged-homophobia

It’s upsetting, as a Catholic Christian, to hear about the injustice and discrimination imposed on Chris Donohoe. I’m sure it takes courage to come out to a group you’ve been a part of for four years, is close to your heart, is part of your life, and know that they might not approve. While I’ve never met Chris, I have nothing but admiration and respect for his choice. I am ashamed that this story and ones like it are always how Christians make the news.

With comments like, “I think that a lot of times Christian organizations do get a bad name for taking a stance against homosexuality because it looks like we are condemning a person but I want to make it clear that we have nothing against Chris or another person for choosing to be a homosexual,” it’s hard to not look down in embarrassment, knowing that I am a Christian just like them, at the obvious hypocrisy. ‘We have nothing against a person for choosing to be a homosexual’ but we just have enough against that person to not let him/her be part of our group. That’s elementary reasoning. False logic. Idiocy. Stupidity.

The defense, “Because the Bible says so” doesn’t work either. So the Bible says in Lev 18:22 “You shall not lie with another male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination,” and goes on to say in Lev 20:13 “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives.” Pretty strong statements. Apparently some Catholics forgot that we see the Bible as a symbolic book divinely inspired by God. We forgot that we should be able to discern that an actual dragon with seven diadems which came down and ate first born children didn’t actually occur even though the Book of Revelation (the most entertaining and enthralling in my opinion) explains the event with such detail and suspense. We forgot that homosexuality and abomination are part of a culture described in the Bible that predates us, that accepts slavery and the favorable treatment of men over women.

Apparently we Christians, those who believe the Bible literally and those who believe it selectively, can pick and choose which “rules” to follow. We can take the two versus in Leviticus seriously and chastise, discriminate, and punish all those who are homosexuals (Emphasis on the fact that the word ‘choose’ is omitted. Danielle D’Ambrosio, when did you choose to be straight? Did you wake up one day in seventh grade, look in the mirror, and say I think I’ll be straight for my entire life?) but disregard the teachings of Jesus Christ demanding that the most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Ignore that Exodus 21:7 allows the father to sell his daughter into slavery. If my dad could do that every time my sister stole the tv remote from me, I’d have at least 20 different siblings by now. Ignore that Exodus 35:2 says those who work on the Sabbath shall be put to death. I would bet my life that at least one member of Chi Alpha has gone to the library and studied on Sunday. Or how about Leviticus Chapter 11 in its entirety, not being able to eat rabbit or camel or touch the skin of a dead pig. Ironic because how many of us love sports, especially sports with balls, especially sports like football. In fact, I recall Notre Dame being one of the most dominant college football programs (at least back when Lou Holtz was coaching). Should we declare all past and present ND football players unclean (at least those who played back when a football was literally a pigskin)?

Why is it that we come to ignore these arbitrary, outdated rules, but stand steadfast to the one about homosexuality? Why is it that a gay person cannot be ordained a priest? Why is it that Chris Donohoe can’t hold a senior position in a Christian group because he met a boyfriend? Why is it that Jessica Longoria believes that homosexuality is a biblically based sin and by committing such a sin one can’t enter the kingdom of God? Why is it that people still parade around on their horse to heaven, and in the name of Christianity, say if you’re gay you’re going to hell? Don’t they know they’re taking a way of life – an eternal belief that embodies and has represented an ideology of respect, empathy, high-mindedness, and self-sacrifice – throwing it on the ground, spitting on it, and rubbing it in the dirt, not to mention the dignity of millions of people?

Relax

The busy week that was fretted over the past two or so blogs is complete. One pre-lim…check. One lab practical…check. Two papers…check and check. Now I just wait for the results. In the mean time, I’m grading pre-lims in the class I TA and I sure hope these grades I’m recording aren’t the same ones I’ll be receiving.

It’s clear sailing now until finals week!

An Unwanted Invitation

Once again, I am writing as a means of putting off (not necessarily procrastinating) studying for my Politics of Violence pre-lim that is tonight.

I received an invitation in my Human Ecology student mailbox today offering me “to celebrate [my] last days as a student in the College of Human Ecology at Ice Cream in the Courtyard.” Really! Could they make it any more obvious!? They don’t think I already know these are my last days?! Why don’t they just hit me over the head with a 2×4! Their bluntness might just make me in the appetite for ice cream, a whole gallon of it (Bavarian Raspberry Fudge please!). And I might just down the whole thing if it weren’t for the 50 degree weather outside. C’mon Ithaca, it’s halfway through April, where’s the warmth? Last year it was 70 at this point in time, just give me a good last two weeks.

Oh and who schedules a pre-lim with two weeks left in the semester, might as well call it a final. Can someone get me that 2×4!

This Isn’t Good

I think it takes more effort for me to open my notebook and study than it takes to actually read the material. The two papers, one pre-lim, and one lab practical that I had mentioned in the previous post are still hanging over my head. I finished one paper (on the photograph in Life Magazine by Robert Capa of the dying Spanish soldier from the Spanish Civil war back in 1936), wrote the outline for my philosophy paper, and just wrapped up studying for the night on my Politics of Violence course. By the time I exert the oomph to open my book and review the material, I’m exhausted and can’t concentrate/ read a couple pages and call an intermission. My brain is so out of shape, gees. This state of mind brings back fond memories of senior year in high school. I guess I should cherish it now because it will never happen again…oh my mom is going to be so mad at me.

On another note, I found a $5 bill blowing in the wind on my walk up to my Ethics and Healthcare course. I figured I’d be ethical and put the money in the poor box when I go to church. Maybe that’ll give me the karma necessary to get a good grade on the test. Kant and his deontological argument would say that’s not very ethical whatsoever. Kant didn’t understand the concept of a senior slide.

An Analogy…or Two

This semester has been very relaxed in terms of work load. It’s probably safe to assume that 13 credits, three of which are for TA’ing a class and another two are for a cooking class, will do that to you. Problem is actual work is starting to present itself. Two papers, a pre-lim, and a lab practical all due within the next week (a cooking lab practical…what!!??) hearkens back to the days of sophomore year and 16 credit semesters. The problem is back then I was in the busy mindset. Senior year, getting a job, and getting into grad school, has erased even remnants of those underclassmen thoughts from my mind. So when such a slew of work amasses into one week, it feels like I’m a pinch hitter, some washed up vet who only has name recognition coming up in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, no runners on base, and four run deficit to face Mariano Rivera. I’m rusty. I’m not in the groove. I’m the sacrificial lamb. Two years ago I was the starting shortstop and lead off hitter going to the ballpark everyday knowing I’m going to play and being mentally prepared to get my four at-bats and be in the field for 27 outs. The rhythm made such work doable. The senior slide makes it seem ridiculous.The handicap created is more than a batting doughnut can cure.

I wonder back during freshman year how I handled the significant course load and adjusting to college at the same time. Today, it’s like I’ve been hitting Tim Wakefield knuckleballs for the past year and all of the sudden Wakefield’s on the bench and Joel Zumaya is chucking his 104 mph fastball at me. Maybe I’ll just pull an A-Rod, hack at three pitches, have it look like I made an effort, then walk back to the bench looking like I care I just struck out. Enticing. But the better angels of my nature will get the best of me and I will work to save my pride.

Look at that! I just took a quote right from my American Political Thought class from last semester! How do you like that Kramnick?! I’ve still got something in the tank.

I Liked That One

The Cornell Design League (CDL) held its annual fashion show at Barton Hall last night. Most of the entrants are Fiber Science and Apparel Design (FSAD) majors, but any Cornell student can enter their design and many from other majors did. The fashion show had the runway, lights, music, big screen tv’s and other miscellaneous amenities to create an authentic vibe. Cornell students were models, and the show was divided into four levels.

The first level consisted of students who are new to the fashion show. This show was their first time entering a dress, suit, etc. These students designed one set or piece of clothing. The second level grouped students who were coming in with one year of experience and they designed two different clothing pieces to be worn on two separate models. You could see the growth from level one to level two – more intricacies, a more understandable and better communicated meaning, and a more attractive design.

Level three is where the serious fun began. Designers had to present a line of clothing. These lines ranged anywhere from five to eight pieces. Examples ranged from airline stewardess inspired clothing for the 21st century to five nights of disco. You could hear the ooh’s and ahh’s and the that’s my favorite or I really liked that one. Friends and family of the designers would purchase bouquets of flowers and then walk up to the runway to hand to the designers as they walked down the runway with their prospective model and dress (this was after the model first walked down the runway alone).

Level four was very similar. Designers had one more year of experience and also made the presentation of their lines into more of a show. For instance, one designer brought out an old toy box and would pull different props out. Each time she did a new model would walk down the stage in an outfit resembling the prop. The designer would hand the prop to the model as she was walking off stage. Another one created this picnic scene where all the models walked onto the stage posed as if they were a bunch of friends hanging out in a field and one or two at a time would walk down the runway and then go back into the still scene.

Yesterday was my first time going and it was very enjoyable though the intermission was slightly long and the show started about 25 minutes late. It’s one of those events where it’s entertaining going once a year, but twice a year is once too many…the novelty wears off.

Ideological Pluralism

As mentioned before, David Plouffe will be speaking at this year’s Cornell commencement. Joe Biden will be only an hour north, at Syracuse imparting his wisdom to that college’s graduating class. Barack Obama is scheduled to be about 10+ hours west of Ithaca, in South Bend, IN speaking to the graduating class of Notre Dame. As soon as I found this out I called my friend from home who goes to Notre Dame and immediately made clear my excitement and envy for him (though I’ll take David Plouffe any day…seriously) to which he responded with sheer excitement…and frustration.

So I asked him about the protests, and he confirmed what a Cornell professor and ND alum had mentioned to me about a year ago: the division amongst ND alum and the ever growing size of the one camp that would like to see Notre Dame move towards a more conservative mission as an academy of higher learning. As a result, the President, Fr. Jenkins, who invited Obama to speak has been criticized and chastised by this group of alumni and a small but vocal contingent of the Notre Dame student body because of Obama’s pro-choice political stance. Now, many alumni are threatening to stop donating to the university if Obama comes to give the commencement address and some students are protesting consistently and one time shouted during mass to get their disapproval voiced.

As a Cornell student writing for a Cornell blog it is not my place to verbalize my opinions on Notre Dame’s issues. As a Catholic, I would like to say this ignorance and belief that Catholics hold an absolute hold on what is moral and the suppression of voices from those who disagree must stop. Barack Obama the man is pro-life; Barack Obama the politician is pro-choice for obvious political and policy related reasons (imagine the black market created with the illegalization of abortion). As a result, he takes the centrist approach (and responsible/moral one) of trying to prevent women from ever having to make the decision of whether to have an abortion by arguing for a more comprehensive sex education program, counseling services to explain the process of adoption, calling out absent men who abandon the women they once “loved” instead of focusing on a reactionary, short-sighted school of thought.

But let’s assume Barack Obama the man and politician where both pro choice. Let’s say he were the male version of Rosie O’Donnell. There is a universal right in America to think and say what one believes is right. And when one does it in a scholarly, intelligent, enlightening manner as Obama can do in his sleep, that paradigm of thought should be voiced on a college campus that’s liberal, conservative, Catholic, Jewish, all-female, etc. That is one of the driving principles Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers sought in creating the United States. In fact, without that belief, a Catholic university, like Notre Dame, would cease to exist. Instead, we Catholics wear blinders, looking at one topic and ignoring the big picture. There’s more to the sanctity of life than just abortion, like an unjust war or capital punishment, both of which the current Christian president opposes and former born-again Christian president supported. With Obama, there’s support for the poor through welfare programs, unemployment benefits, support for homeless policies that help those who have a place to live, a progressive tax system that tells the rich you have a responsibility to support those who aren’t as fortunate as you, a foreign policy that says talking and mediation are the best strategies, not violence. It would be near impossible for anyone to tell me these aren’t also Christian/Catholic teachings. So by prohibiting a President who supports these positions from talking to you, your children, your student body, your colleagues, coworkers, or fellow students, one is also making a statement about how much he/she values those stances and not just the most important American value of freedom of speech and thought. I support Fr. Jenkins’ invitation to Barack Obama. His actions (as well as both priests of the Cornell Catholic Community) remind me that not all clergy of the Catholic Church are as narrow as our leadership suggests.

And hey, President Obama, if you find yourself looking for a place to talk, come join your campaign manager at Cornell and pay homage to the only county in New York state that voted for you in the Democratic primary.