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Controversy looms over choice of pro-abortion rights Tutu to speak at Gonzaga University commencement

By   /   April 14, 2012  /   No Comments

By MEGAN DRISCOLL
For Word News

SPOKANE, Wash. (WordNews.org) April 14, 2012 – Officials at Gonzaga University have invited the controversial Archbishop Desmond Tutu to deliver the school’s 2012 commencement address in May. The school also will present the archbishop with an honorary doctorate.
Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, has a long history as a political activist and defender of human rights. He earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his work fighting racial injustice and violence in South Africa.
Though a lifelong humanitarian, his views on fundamental Christian principles have conservatives questioning Gonzaga’s decision to invite him to speak at their commencement. Gonzaga has a Catholic heritage.
Tutu is an outspoken supporter of abortion and same-sex marriage, two principles that the Catholic church opposes. On several occasions he has also made derogatory, anti-semitic comments related to Israel and the Holocaust.
Those in protest of Tutu’s invitation say that he is in direct violation of the 2004 bishops’ mandate, titled “Catholics in Political Life.”
This doctrine clearly states that, “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”
Patrick Kirby, a 1993 alum of Gonzaga Law School and practicing attorney in Spokane, Wash., is heading up a petition campaign. The petition has been circulating the Christian community since the end of March calling for Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh to withdraw his invitation to Tutu.
McCulloh wrote in a Gonzaga publication that “as an undergraduate during the mid-1980s, I was actively involved with our own campus efforts against apartheid in South Africa. Many of us watched your [Tutu's] tireless efforts from half a world away and were overjoyed when you received the Nobel Prize for Peace.”
The petition states: “Gonzaga has chosen prestige over principles and popularity over morality.” The document urges Gonzaga to take action “before further damage is done to its reputation as a Catholic school.”
Kirby has not heard any response from the school.
“Those at Gonzaga have been silent,” Kirby told WordNews.org. “But we’ve had a very positive response from Christians. I haven’t heard anything negative.”
With over 600 signatures already on the petition from people around in the world, even so far as Ireland and South Africa, Kirby is hopeful yet pragmatic about the outcome.
“I’d be surprised if the petition actually stopped Tutu from speaking,” Kirby said. “Our goal is instead to turn the tide on Tutu. The petition is more of a wake-up call for Gonzaga.”
Though Tutu’s humanitarian efforts in Africa and the U.S. are admirable, petition-signers agree that his blatant support of abortion and other liberal agenda items make him unsuitable to accept an honorary degree from Gonzaga or speak at its commencement.
“He did some great things in South Africa, but you just can’t overlook the person,” Kirby said.
The Gonzaga University commencement with occur May 13, 2012. For more information on the petition visit www.gopetition.com/petitions/gonzaga-scandal-protest-pro-abortion-commencement-spe.html

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