“This is a shot across the bow to anyone who would dare speak out and dare to express a biblical view on homosexuality,” Sprigg said. “This is an indication of what we at the Family Research Center have been warning – regarding the threat to religious liberty that is posed by the homosexual movement.”
Sprigg said the goal of gay activists is to “intimidate people into silence.”
“The world they seek to create is one in which no one ever says anything wrong about people engaging in homosexual conduct,” he said. “The attitude of some of these homosexual activists seems to be that religious liberty has to be thrown out the window for the sake of preventing any kind of situation that might make homosexuals feel uncomfortable.”
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, is urging GWU’s president to take swift action to protect religious liberty at the school.
“It is an attack on the freedom of expression of Catholics on campus to discuss their religious beliefs and practices with impunity,” Donohue wrote. “In short, this is a civil liberties issue involving both freedom of religion and freedom of speech.”
Reilly said he never thought he’d see the day that Catholic priests would come under such assault.
“Catholic priests have an obligation to teach the Catholic faith,” he said. “Those who go to a Catholic center ought to expect them to do that.”
But now, he said, “Simply holding to the moral teachings of the faith are considered to be discrimination.”
Online reaction to the incident has mostly generated sympathy for Father Shaffer.
Michael Sheehy, a 1997 GWU graduate, suggested if the gay students felt uncomfortable with the Newman Center’s teachings – perhaps they should go somewhere else.
“No student is forced to attend Catholic Mass and religious programs at the Newman Center, nor condemned for doing so,” Sheehy told Fox News. “The students in this article are certainly free to avoid this campus center, but also have no right to dictate how other students can or should practice their faith.”
This is “diversity gone too far, and disrespectful to freedom of thought, conscience and practice of established religious doctrine,” he added.