Saint Mary’s College of Calif. Hosts Roundtable of Same-Sex Marriage Activists

Saint Mary’s College of Calif. Hosts Roundtable of Same-Sex Marriage Activists

March 3, 2016 | By Adam Cassandra | Cardinal Newman Society

Saint Mary’s College of California hosted a roundtable discussion on Monday night “exploring the intersections of LGBT, Religion, Race, Gender and Ethnicity” featuring four activists for legalized same-sex marriage with an understanding of human sexuality not in alignment with Catholic Church teaching, causing a theology professor at the College to severely criticize the one-sided, anti-Catholic nature of the event.

“It seems to me, at a place that claims on some level to still be faith-based, we owe the students more than this,” Father David Gentry-Akin, professor of theology at Saint Mary’s, told The Cardinal Newman Society. Fr. Gentry-Akin said if the College is going to allow students to be exposed to points of view that contradict Church teaching, then event organizers “need to make sure there’s someone there who can speak credibly about the tradition of the Church on these questions.”

The panel discussion featured three speakers from the [“ecumenical” liberal Prot] Pacific School of Religion, Dr. Justin Tanis, Dr. Bernie Schlager and Janice Sommerville, along with Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, the coordinator of Catholic and Latina programming for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

The event was co-sponsored by a number of Saint Mary’s departments and campus initiatives, including: Women’s and Gender Studies,Theology and Religious Studies, Communication and The Roy E. and Patricia Disney Forum, The Intercultural Center, CILSA, Ethnic Studies, English, History, Women’s Resource Center, Justice, Community and Leadership, Anthropology, Global and Regional Studies, Mission and Ministry Center, Student Engagement and Academic Success, and PRIDE.

Each of the speakers has a history of publicly condoning same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage. And Rivera’s employer, the HRC, actively works to undermine Church teaching on marriage and human sexuality across the country.

The Newman Society contacted the professor hosting the discussion, Dr. Scott Schönfeldt-Aultman, to ask if anyone would be presenting Catholic Church teaching on the discussion topics of the roundtable and how the event furthers the Catholic mission of the College. No response was received by press time.

College administrators were also contacted and asked how the discussion is being “conducted in a fashion worthy of a community of learning” per the External Speaker and Public Event policy when the entire panel is openly opposed to Catholic Church teaching on human sexuality. No response was received.

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