I like Gonzaga University, especially now that its basketball team has stopped being everyone's Cute Little Underdog every March. (Go VCU!) The campus in Spokane is lovely, and Jack And Dan's, the campus watering hole once owned by the father and uncle of Hall of Famer John Stockton, is maybe one of the best college joints ever. Which is why I don't appreciate the fact that a bunch of censorious incense-junkies with time on their hands have dedicated some of it to making Gonzaga look like a holding pen for the terminally intolerant. So far, the Gonzaga administration is standing up to the pressure, and I promise to buy university president Thayne McCulloh a cold one at J&D's the next time I'm in town if he doesn't give in to the carping.
Desmond Tutu is a genuine hero. He evinced more courage on any particular afternoon of the 1980's than these people collectively have demonstrated in their entire lives and then, when his work for justice was done, he helped put his country back together again. In addition, he happens to be a high-ranking cleric in his own church. He won a Nobel Prize, his views on abortion and gay rights — as if opposition to them were the encompassing definition of Catholicism even for most Catholics — are as irrelevant to his life's work as are his opinions on the designated hitter and the future of high-speed rail. Are these people seriously arguing that any speaker at any commencement at any Catholic college must adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church even if said speaker is, you know, not Catholic? This is an appeal back to the stifled, bell-jar, We're-the-Only-Path-to-Salvation-So-Don't-Sing-with-the-Protestants Catholicism of my youth. At my graduation from Marquette in 1975, an honorary degree was given to Elie Wiesel. Strangely, the heretic Jesuits involved never asked him about The Pill.