It all depends upon how one defines the word “bigot”…

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on delicious
Share on digg
Share on stumbleupon
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on print


Taken at face value, the logic appears sound: Bigotry is “bad” and, as a consequence, bigots must not be tolerated on diverse and inclusive university campuses.

And so, at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC, the Reverend Gregory Shaffer—who has served at GWU’s Newman Center for the past five years—must be removed because he is…well, um…a bigot.

GWU Newman

The Reverend Gregory Shaffer presiding at GWU’s Palm Sunday Mass

According to the GW Hatchet, GWU’s independent student newspaper,it has been alleged that Fr. Shaffer’s “bigotry” is reflected in his anti-homosexual and anti-abortion beliefs and statements.

For example, after President Barack Obama performed a pirouette regarding so-called “homosexual marriage” in May 2012, Fr. Shaffer posted the following statement in the GW Catholic Forum:

As Vatican II states, God is the author of marriage. He has defined marriage as between a man and a woman. So, marriage is between a man and a woman. Period. This is not just divine law, it is natural law (the law imprinted on each of our hearts about good and evil). Every single rational person knows that sexual relationships between persons of the same sex are unnatural and immoral. They know it in their hearts. And, yet, they go against what their hearts tell them when they try to argue for same-sex relationships and “gay marriage”. President Obama is the latest person to enter into this with his comments this week in support of same-sex marriage. He knows in his heart that marriage is between a man and a woman; he stated this as recently as a few years ago. Neither he nor anyone else has the authority to redefine marriage. God is the author of marriage; He has the sole authority to define marriage. No human being can redefine marriage, especially a politician in an election year.

Statements like this—which restate the Catechism of the Catholic Church—are said to have alienated at least 12 students to the point they have quit GWU’s Newman Center.  It is reported that they  have said, “Oh, I would go to church all the time, but I don’t like Father Greg” (emphasis added).

Could it have been about young people like these GWU Catholic students that St. Paul instructed Timothy:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.   (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Even worse yet, one GWU senior—Damien Legacy—took offense with Fr. Shaffer’s counsel.  According to the Hatchet, Legacy spent considerable time at the Newman Center during his first two years at GWU, serving at Mass and even considering the possibility of becoming a priest after graduation.  However, after Legacy told Fr. Shaffer that he and another GWU senior—Blake Bergen—were involved in a homosexual relationship, Legacy claims that Fr. Shaffer accused him of immorality, lacking in faith, and called him “intrinsically disordered.”

Legacy said:

To have my faith leader view me that way, just because of one piece of the way that God made me, and to think that one part is responsible for the destruction of my human dignity, it just didn’t…I can’t even begin to describe the mental conflict that it creates.

Legacy and Bergen are now coordinating a campaign at GWU seeking to have Fr. Shaffer ousted.  Plans include:

  • Creating a video containing the statements of several students who have left GWU’s Newman Center to arouse anger in the student body, thus forcing school officials to act.
  • Filing a formal complaint with the administration and conducting prayer vigils outside the Newman Center.
  • Distributing a letter to high-ranking administrators, citing research that connects homophobic behavior to loss of appetite, insomnia and other detrimental psychological consequences.
  • Requesting GWU’s Student Association defund the Newman Center which reportedly collected $10,000 in funding this year.

For his part, Fr. Shaffer believes that religion and unrestricted speech “play a vital role at a diverse university like GW.”  But, Legacy wants GWU administrators—similar to their peers at other institutions, like New York University—to vet and evaluate religious leaders before allowing them to work with campus-affiliated groups.

So why shouldn’t Fr. Shaffer be allowed to restate Church teaching at GWU?  After all, GWU’s Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Terri Harris Reed, told The Hatchet:

GW strives to maintain a community where individuals’ are free to express their religious beliefs and also respect the rights of others who have differing beliefs…[and also] supports free speech and takes seriously the role a university should play in encouraging expression of many points of view, even those we dislike or disagree with.

With GWU’s Office of Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion in the “early stages of a review,” Vice Provost Harris Reed said, “…it is premature to speak about the possibility or feasibility of any changes.”

Will the “tolerant” be “intolerant” of Church teaching in a diverse and inclusive community that “supports free speech and takes seriously the role a university should play in encouraging expression of many points of view, even those we dislike or disagree with”?

Time will tell just how tolerant, diverse, and inclusive the GWU community really is.




To read the article in The Hatchet, click on the following link:

To read Fr. Shaffer’s post in the GW Catholic Forum, click on the following link:



More to explorer

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I have not yet adequately expressed the more than anxiety that I feel at the ever increasing scope given to the Fourteenth

PopeWatch: AntiChrist

Sandro Magister minces no words:   While the controversy rages on in view of the synod on the Amazon, which in reality


Good video featuring noted Civil War historian Allen Guelzo on Reconstruction.  Once Lincoln was assassinated Reconstruction was probably doomed.  He wanted to


  1. They have nothing except their evil and witless minions.

    They end the debate by condemning the truth. The credentialed cretins and imbecilic students-in-name-only think it’s brilliant.

    “Woe to unto those that call good evil.”

  2. Legacy, yet another witless product of the American educational system, “God made me this way.” Tear down the confessionals and watch society collapse. “Your honor, I know I raped 30 women, but remember, God made me that way.” “No I’m not going to look for a job, God made me lazy.” “You may not like me sleeping with prostitutes and bringing VD into our marital bed, but your problem is with God because he made me this way.”

  3. “Spokane’s Gonzaga University has denied a Knights of Columbus group application to be recognized as an official student organization. Those seeking the status were notified of the University’s decision at a meeting on March 7.

    The group was notified of the decision by Dean of Students Kassi Kain and Assistant Director for Student Activities Dave Rovick.

    “The Knights of Columbus, by their very nature, is a men’s organization in which only Catholics may participate via membership,” says a letter obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society written by Sue Weitz, Vice President for Student Life. “These criteria are inconsistent with the policy and practice of student organization recognition at Gonzaga University, as well as the University’s commitment to non-discrimination based on certain characteristics, one of which is religion.”

    The letter continued:

    The discussion at the meeting touched on formation of a Catholic Daughters student organization at Gonzaga. Such a group would address the gender exclusivity issue. However, it would not address the requirement that all members of a student Knights of Columbus group must be Catholic.

    Individuals who spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society only on condition of anonymity explained that the group has been stalled by the administration for the entire academic year. Efforts were made by students to apply for official student group status beginning in September. The group was told they would have a response by November. The group wasn’t notified of the University’s decision until March.

    Weitz did not return the call from The Cardinal Newman Society seeking comment on the decision. ”

    How long before a “Catholic” college or university bans the Catholic Church from campus on the grounds of non-discrimination? Do not think these people are merely idiots. They know precisely what they are doing.

  4. Reading that description the gay student gave, I can almost make out the actual words of the conversation that he interpreted that way. Except the conversation was completely different than he heard it.

    As for Don: “They know precisely what they are doing.” I always hope they don’t. I can see most people, at least, finding themselves in this situation, having to obey a policy that was instituted with good intentions but wasn’t thought-through. Some “crank” spoke up at a meeting 25 years ago and said that if we implement this policy, we’ll be forced to discriminate against Catholic organizations, but everyone else in the meeting laughed under their breath and said that Tom always says stuff like that. There’s got to be a law like that: Over time, every possible misinterpretation of the original policy will become established precedent.

  5. “I always hope they don’t.”

    But we know that is not the case Pinky due to the one way rulings of the Tolerance Policy at colleges and universities. These policies are weapons to use in the Culture War by these people and nothing else.

  6. Many people have been successfully convinced that this is the same in principle as Bob Jones University in the ’80s and the Southern Baptist church originally supporting slavery. so trying to out-tolerance ’em is completely ineffectual

  7. There is nothing new under the Sun. What has been done will be done.

    Nero charged Christians with burning Rome.

    Ferdinand and Isabella ordered every muslim and jew to convert or depart Spain.

    Henry, Elizabeth, Cromwell, et al outlawed Catholicism in England and went to Ireland and massacred untold thousands.

    Orwell wrote that a mass movement cannot exist where the freedoms of the press and of assembly/free association are denied.

    Modern police states, such as Nazi Germany, Lenin’s/Stalin’s USSR, and American universities are stark proof of Orwell’s statement.

  8. Why mention Elizabeth and Cromwell? I really don’t think Elizabeth was that bad! And Cromwell was probably more stubborn than anything else. I wouldn’t mention them in the same breath with the other examples you provided.

  9. Elizabeth had the blood of hundreds of Catholic martyrs on her hands during her reign Jon. As for Cromwell, one of the strongest Irish curses is wishing someone that he has the curse of Cromwell on his head. His massacres of Irish at Drogheda and Wexford are still remembered. Massive confiscations of Irish lands occurred with the owners given the choice of going to Hell or Connacht. Due to Cromwell the Irish were reduced to being helots in their own land. Come Judgment Day I think Christ will have a good deal more to discuss with Cromwell than his stubborness.

  10. Jon,

    The English were worse for the irish than the Nazis with their mechanized, industrial genocide machine.

    St. John 15: is truth on university campuses today as it was 2,000 years ago:

    “If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. [19] If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. [20] Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.”

    The English and protestants here wrote the histories which omitted a lot.

    The English “treatments” for Catholics were equivalent to the propagandized horrors exaggerated for 400 years, 24/7 regarding the so-called Spanish Inquisition.

    Garrett Mattingly in his excellent history of the Armada touches on the Elizabethan English violent suppressions of Catholics.

    Read up on what they did to St. Edmund Campion and thousands of not memorialized martyrs. They were merciful to St. Thomas More. He wasn’t tortured for a week before they beheaded him.

    Drogheda and a thousand other massacres of Catholics occurred all over the British Isles. Read The Twilight Lords and learn how the Elizabethans first tried to colonize Ireland, but met such resistance they defaulted to Virginia. When the saxons finally broke the Irish at Kinsale, they murdered all the Irish soldiers, women and children in the place. They reportedly spared any pregnant women. After that occurred the famous flight of the earls.

    The 1845 potato blight was not limited to Ireland. Poland also had a famine. The so-called autocratic czar of the Russias ran Poland at the time. He closed the ports and forbade exporting food out of Poland. English planters were exporting grain out of Ireland while 2,000,000 Irish starved.

  11. The church has been preaching against pre-marital and non-marital sex for centuries. This applies equally to hererosexuals and homosexuals.This isn’t bigotry it’s just teaching God’s plan for raising a family in a stable culture as He designed it.

  12. Jon, my first name is Welsh my last name is Irish. My extended family back through time have fought so many good fights in each of their situations in each of their times. I don’t want their sufferings and their gains to be lost on a generation unaware.
    What they lived through and what they offered to God mattered. Have enough intellectual curiosity to look into history… search for truth. We can see far from the shoulders of the giants, but if we never bother to clamber up on those shoulders and learn from what they learned- what a waste. What a loss. You seems so intelligent and curious about life, if your school system has not taught you history, do it yourself.

  13. Jon-
    How the Irish saved civilization by Thomas Cahill.
    My mothers family are from County Armagh.
    Thank God for the Irish folk.

Comments are closed.