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Georgetown University to defund student group for believing in Catholic doctrine

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)

The Student Activities Commission (SAC) at Georgetown University is holding a hearing on whether to remove recognition and funding from the conservative student group Love Saxa, for allegedly violating the university’s policy against fostering intolerance. Those petitioning to ban Love Saxa are basing their accusations solely on the fact that the group espouses the Catholic doctrine that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The hearing is in direct result of a student-senator from the Georgetown University Student Association, with support from leaders of homosexual pride student organizations at Georgetown, filing a petition to ban the group.

On Friday, the editorial board of The Hoya, the university’s “oldest and largest student newspaper,” joined the chorus advocating, ironically, for intolerance of Love Saxa. The editorial states:

“Love Saxa does not deserve the benefit of university recognition. As a group whose mission advocates against equal rights for the LGBTQ community, Love Saxa fosters intolerance. As such, the club is antithetical to what a university club should be, and it should be ineligible for any university benefits.”

Love Saxa only receives $250 out of SAC’s $330,000 annual budget. However, the group’s critics are looking to strike what is largely a symbolic blow against an organization that holds doctrinal positions in line with the university’s denomination, yet are out of sync with the marching leftward trend of identity politics.

In its purpose statement, Love Saxa says that it “exists to promote healthy relationships on campus through cultivating a proper understanding of sex, gender, marriage, and family among Georgetown students.” It hopes to “increase awareness of the benefits of . . . marriage (understood as a monogamous and permanent union between a man and a woman) as a central pillar of society.”

In an op-ed in The Hoya on September 6, Love Saxa’s student-president Amelia Irvine wrote, “Love Saxa’s definition of marriage does not include same-sex couples, as we believe that marriage is a conjugal union on every level – emotional, spiritual, physical and mental – directed toward caring for biological children.”

Irvine told the Catholic News Agency, “I believe that Love Saxa has the right to exist, especially at a Catholic school.” According to GU’s website, the university “is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning in the United States.”

The university’s Student Organization Standards states that “groups will not be eligible for access to benefits if their purpose or activities … foster hatred or intolerance of others because of their race, nationality, gender, religion or sexual preference, or are inconsistent with acceptable conduct at an American university committed to the Roman Catholic moral tradition.”

Hunter Estes, writing in The Georgetown Review, noted that The Hoya recognizes other student organizations hold the position of traditional marriage. What makes Love Saxa unique, however, is that it seeks to make its views known.

“Thus, The Hoya patronizingly deems that the, so called, ‘bigoted’ views of the Catholic Church, which inspired the founding of our school, may be held behind closed doors in secret. However, the moment one attempts to speak out on these beliefs, they must be shut down,” wrote Estes.

The official Catholic doctrine on marriage still states, “No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman.”

If the SAC agrees with the sentiment of the LGBTQ student groups and removes Love Saxa’s recognition and funding, the Catholic university will effectively be punishing student groups that hold the school’s founding Catholic doctrine.

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