James Lang’s essay (“Coming Out of the Catholic Closet”) is baffling. Before moving to Notre Dame in 1995, I spent 25 years in four quite different secular universities, including a decade at the Big Ten’s premier research university, Michigan. My catholic colleagues and I never hid our faith, nor did non-Catholic or non-believing colleagues ever sneer at out Catholicism. Conceivably the English department at Northwestern is a hotbed of old-fashioned anti-popery, though, I would want more evidence than Lang’s anecdotes. Over-generalizing from one young man’s experiences results in a slander on secular academe.
Notre Dame, IN
In his essay James Land writes about being in a classroom when someone says, “There are no absolutes in the world, there is no right or wrong, and there is no God.” He then says no one objected because “it was hardly the time or the place.” Wrong. That was exactly the time and the place. If we are going to be true Catholics, it is necessary to profess not only to being theists in general but Catholics in specific. When God or the Catholic church is denied or reviled, silence is not golden – it is yellow.
-Herman Domangue ‘66
Colorado Springs, CO
As a gay alumnus, I read with dismay that University officials had prohibited The Observer from publishing additional advertisements from the Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae of Note Dame and Saint Mary’s (GALA). The “controversial” ads merely congratulated homosexual graduates and invited them to join GALA. University officials claimed GALA is “an outside group that espouses positions contrary to the Catholic church.” I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the Catholic church only recently acknowledged the Earth revolves around the sun and has yet to give women an equal place in church leadership.
-Dave Ellison ‘81
Contrary to administrators’ claims, GALA-ND/SMC has never adopted positions that contravene official church teaching, nor will it in the future. To do so would undermine the organization’s mission and our proud history of service support and advocacy. We are pained that Father Malloy and his agents have mischaracterized GALA, its mission and the faithful lives of its nearly 800 members to defend a policy of exclusion. We look forward to the day when Notre Dame’s leaders can find the moral courage to embrace the diversity that is one of the University’s – and the church’s – greatest gifts.
-John M. Blandford ’83, ‘99Ph.D.
And That Gun Story
Ed Cohen’s “Public Enemy No.1” typifies the lack of critical though exhibited by gun control proponents. The book referenced in his article, More Guns, Less Crime by John Lott, documents the most exhaustive study done on the relationship between gun control and crime. The study proves two basic truths. Bad people fear good people with guns and modify their behavior for the better as a result. And gun control laws do little if anything to prevent criminals from obtaining the weapons with which they perpetrate their crimes. Because gun control laws restrict law-abiding citizens from defending themselves, they have the opposite of their intended effect.
-Louis J. Ghilardi ’81 J.D.
Before President Clinton I, too, though that the National Rifle Association was a bunch of gun nuts. Then Clinton tried to destroy my right to protect my family, while his administration presided over government atrocities at Ruby Ridge and Waco. Cohen asks, “Who would you rather put your trust in – democratically elected representatives or the high commander of the Michigan militia?” Perhaps he should ask the people at Waco whom they would trust. In response to Clinton’s despotism I joined the NRA.
-Peter M. Farb ’83 J.D.
Nowhere in your tirade against gun ownership did the suggestion rise that the 99 percent of the millions of gun owners use them for sporting pastimes rather than killing people. And what is that tired retreat to pronouncements from the Vatican and bishops? What are their credentials to speak on gun control?
-T.A. McDermott ‘54
I must disagree strongly with the argument that banning all guns would somehow help to prevent violent crimes like the massacre at Columbine High School. A single school administrator, counselor or teacher in possession of a firearm might have ended the horrible attack in a couple of minutes. Instead, the unarmed victims were left at the mercy of their attackers and were forced to endure a lengthy wait for police help that arrived far too late to save any lives. Banning the possession of guns would only exacerbate the problem of violent crime. As our nation’s disastrous “War on Drugs” has demonstrated, any demanded commodity will become widely available on the black market, making guns easily available to anyone (like the Columbine shooters) with a premeditated willingness to break the law. Innocent citizens, on the other hand, will be left helpless against violent criminals and completely dependent on the state for protection. If we are to remain a free people, the individual right to bear arms must be protected.
-Joe Laxague ’00 J.D.
South Bend, IN
Thank you for the article on gun control. It was so refreshing to read such a decisive stance in favor of aggressive gun control in a forum that is bound to offend some readers. I found it ironic, however, that in a Catholic university’s magazine that was no mention of Christ and his challenge to love and live a life of nonviolence. How sad that in a nation where coercive force is the norm, whether it be through guns, nuclear weapons or an oversized military, we can no longer fight against these developments with what should be the most powerful weapon of all – concern and love for our fellow human beings.
-Debby Reelitz-Bell ‘92
Highland Park, IL