In Defense of the Student Body

Guest Commentary
James Lewis
Class of 2016

On April 6th blogger Matt Walsh came to The Catholic University of America to speak on ‘religious freedom’. Quickly, the students of Catholic University discovered, from reading Mr. Walsh’s blog and twitter, that the speaker held beliefs that were disturbing and counter to CUA’s culture, to say the least.

The content many students found troublesome were openly on display predominately on the blog Mr. Walsh writes professionally. Titles include: “In Order To Save America, We Must Legally Prevent Oblivious People From Voting,” and “Sorry, Girls Just Have to Deal With Being Assaulted for the Sake of Trans People,” and “Democrats Are Godless Heathen Tyrant Maniacs Because That’s What Voters Want.” These titles are attention grabbing for sure, but the articles themselves are even more outrageous. Even if you subscribe to a more conservative viewpoint, many of these articles would shock you. And, that might be Matt Walsh’s intent, to shock, to be outrageous, to get ad-views, and to spread a message of fear; fear of Muslims, fear of gays and lesbians, fear of transgender people, and fear of roving liberal hit squads searching for good Christians to throw in the lion’s den.

So, on the day of the prospective speech hosted by the Counter Culture Society, a new CU org promoting conservatism as the new counter culture, Cardinals began to organize. Catholic University students have a long history of protest, from the Father Charles Curran protest and strike of the 1960s to the Milk protests of 2015, and the Pro-Life March each January, Catholic University student, staff, and alumni have taken action in defense of academic liberty, the dignity of life, and the humanity of others. This time, CU students arrived at Mr. Walsh’s talk and silently stood in the back of the Great Rooms in the Pryz, holding a Human Rights Campaign flag. There were no interruptions, no walk-outs, and no chants. The CUA students who protested were challenged directly by Mr. Walsh but stayed silent. This was not about ‘safe-spaces’, or sensitive millennials being offended. It was protesting CUA inviting a speaker who is directly against CUA’s mission. As cited in the official CUA pledge:

“The Catholic University of America is committed to recognizing and celebrating the human dignity of every person.”

When the speech turned to a discussion period, there were many questions, from the protesters, the audience, for Matt Walsh’s opinions, and against. When students asked pointed questions, directed at the veracity of Walsh’s claims and logic, they were dismissed with a ‘Shut up’ or were called a ‘little girl’. I guess Mr. Walsh needed his own ‘Safe-Space.’ After the speech Mr. Walsh called CUA the, ‘Most hostile audience I’ve ever had.” I am proud we, CUA Cardinals were so “hostile.” It runs in our blood.

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