Sunday, January 18, 2009

Catholic University denies PLAGAL sponsorship of Students for Life conference

The mission statement of PLAGAL- the Prolife Alliance of Gays and Lesbians is as follows: "Gays against Abortion" was founded in 1990 by Tom Sena. In 1991 the name was changed to the current name PLAGAL- The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians. What started out as one voice within the glbt community for the unborn is now over a thousand strong and continues to grow. Plagal works to bring the pro-life message to the glbt community while at the same time tries to set up working relationships with those within the traditional pro-life community. PLAGAL members work very hard to accomplish our mission.

In the past we have been attacked at Pride events and asked to leave. Our members have been spit at, sworn at, flipped off, called traitors and spies, and told that we did not belong equally at both pride events and prolife events. We have been threatened with arrest and even arrested at prolife events. PLAGAL members have not been detoured. Our members persevered because they believed in the mission of PLAGAL. Our hard work paid off or so it would seem.

We’ve been able to participate and bring our message to various pride events with very few problems. There are those in the LGBT community, especially our youth, who have been more receptive to the prolife message. The youth don’t link abortion rights with LGBT rights like older members of the community do. They see a clear distinction between the two issues. This is why we participate in the DC youth pride. We have made major headway in our own community.

In the prolife community is where we still see most of our problems. This is because they cannot get past religion. Religion drives them in the movement. They forget however that religion is not what brings a great number of people to the prolife movement. They forget that there are groups out there that religion is not the basis for why they are opposed to abortion. They don’t look outside the box and see what those in other nontraditional groups can bring to the prolife table. PLAGAL often is one of their targets. The youth within the prolife movement are more willing to work with nontraditional prolifers. They see that there are many different angles that the issue can be worked from. This is why we participate in the Students for Life conference. Our past president Moses Remedios served as president for their organization while he was in college. Current board member Rick Hoffman was also involved with them while he was in college. Other members of PLAGAL too have been affiliated with the group when they were in college.

PLAGAL had plans to participate in the Students for Life conference that is to be held at Catholic University on Saturday January 24th. This year however, instead of participating as we have in the past, I received this from Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life:

I have some unfortunate news to share. Per our contract with Catholic University, they have the right to review our list vendors every year to give final approval. Yesterday, they told me that they will not approve PLAGAL’s sponsorship. I spoke with my liaison at the University last night who told me that the University could not allow an organization on its campus whose part of its mission statement goes against the “teachings of the Catholic Church.”

I am very, very, very sorry about this action. It has never been a problem before this year.

My question is this to Catholic University, our mission statement is against Catholic teachings how? This is exactly why we have so much trouble getting prolife members of the LGBT community involved in the prolife movement. LGBT prolifers don't want to get involved because religion is thrown into the mix. What about the human rights aspect of the issue? Does the university think that when these prolife students are out in the world or on campus bringing their prolife message that they will appeal to everyone on a religious basis? If they are thinking that, they are sadly misguided. Most of these students go to a university where there is a Gay and Lesbian student group. There are members of these student groups who are prolife or receptive to the prolife message. Prolife students need to be able to reach those individuals. They will not be able to do this by pushing religion that will only push them away. There is a rise in unplanned pregnancies among the youth of the lgbt community for a variety of reasons. These young people need reached out to. Who better to reach them than our youth within the prolife movement? They will only scare them away if they go at it from a religious point of view. Remember, much of the animosity that the LGBT community has toward the religious community is based on the treatment that they have received in the name of God. You will not be able to reach them if you use religion as the reasons they should support life. PLAGAL offers the way to reach our LGBT youth. We have been successful. We have been doing it for years.

With the new president elect soon to take office, you would think that those in the prolife community would welcome nontraditional prolifers into the mix. After all, it will be those groups who will most likely make the biggest impact because they will be looking at the issue from a different perspective, one that maybe the new administration will be more willing to listen to.

Currently Cecilia has a call into the University. Hopefully this misunderstanding can be rectified and PLAGAL will be able to participate in the conference. As more information becomes available we will pass it on.


Anonymous said...

Question: what does your Mission Statement say? Is there a place online where we can read it?


Celia said...

Look, even the Pope will agree and be happy about PLAGAL's commitment to life. After all, one can argue with an adult gay man about lifestyle etc, but one cannot argue with a dead potentially gay fetus. A dead fetus has been denied his right to a point of view. This is the reason why right to life is the first right. On the other hand a university that calls itself "Catholic" cannot invite onto campus a person or group who has interesting things to say if that person also has an agenda that is completely contrary to Catholic teaching. For example Philip Nitschke would probably have a problem getting an invite too. Non-Catholics are invited but not those who have views completely contrary, because it would be seen to be an endorsement. There is a distinction here, though I agree it may seem fine.

Cheers Celia