Mike Adams

Dear President Spitzer (spitzer@gonzaga.edu):

Recently, I received a letter from two third-year law students at Gonzaga University (GU) School of Law.  The students described your law school as one that is ?secular? and which fraudulently holds itself out to be Catholic. They also stated they had experienced first-hand the school?s trampling of the rights of Christian students.  Specifically, they accused GU of violating the rights of their first Christian pro-life group.

As a preliminary matter, I understand that your ?Catholic? law school has the words of Matthew 22:35-38 emblazoned on one of its walls:  ?One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question, ?Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses?? Jesus replied, ?You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.?? 

Furthermore, I understand there are crucifixes hanging on the wall of every classroom of GU Law School. In fact, I believe there is a chapel on the third floor where noon mass is conducted four days a week.

Nonetheless, GU does seem to allow for tolerance of views not in line with Catholicism. In fact, many professors promote and/or support homosexual and abortion rights and the student clubs that support these causes. In fact, for two of the last three years, the student bar association was run by openly homosexual student presidents.

However, your tolerance for those who directly oppose Catholic doctrine is not always extended to those who support it. That is odd, given that you claim to be a Catholic University.

For example, I understand that the only two Christian clubs recently formed at the law school have been refused official recognition. In addition, members of the unofficial Christian club at your ?Catholic? law school have reported that promotional signs have been regularly defaced, and that members have been falsely accused of honor code violations.

I am sure you are aware that, as a private university, Gonzaga is technically exempt from granting students freedom of religious expression under the First Amendment. But you must surely be aware that this exemption functions primarily as a way for religious schools to practice and promote their unique religious faith in all facets of institutional governance.

So, why then is Gonzaga using its exemption from the First Amendment to punish its religious students? These students merely seek to advance the same beliefs the school?s mission statements purport to advance.

Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.