Sunday, May 11, 2014

Harvard's Black Mass: Mocking Catholics and Mocking Education

At Harvard University, President Drew Faust is teaching by example.  Her decision to allow the "Cultural Studies Club" to host a Satanic Mass on campus is an education in poor leadership, faulty reasoning, and institutionally sanctioned bigotry.  This is not a glowing endorsement of academic freedom.  It is bigotry hiding behind the mask of academic freedom.  

The grown-ups at Harvard had an opportunity to teach that not everything that calls itself "academic inquiry" is such.  They had an opportunity to teach that there are, in fact, things that should not be tolerated.  Intervening on such occasions is not akin to "thought police" compelling uniformity.  Intervention here would be an expression of civilized leadership and of genuine authority.  By shirking that responsibility, President Faust teaches that acts of religious bigotry are permissible as long as those perpetrating them do so under the banner of academic freedom.

The Satanic Mass being hosted by Harvard is a direct affront to Catholics.  It takes the central act of worship of the Catholic Church and mocks it.  One does not need to be Catholic to see why this should not be permitted.  One only needs to be human and honest.  

Sometime down the road, another student group will decide to hold a "re-enactment" of its own.  Their re-enactment--done under the banner of academic freedom--will mock some other religious faith or some particular racial group.  It will be unabashedly hateful and filled with vitriol for a particular class of persons.  What will President Faust do then?

From this day forward, there are only two options.  Either every kind of hateful mockery is permissible at Harvard or only the hateful mockery of particular groups.  There is a third option, but the time for that is running out.  The third option is leadership.


  1. I am asking this with all sincerity. I am not Catholic and don't understand the issue as well as I'd like to. I have Catholic friends online who are posting how upset they are with Harvard.

    My question is about tolerance and different religions. We know that in some countries Islamic law is so extreme that fatwas are issued against critics; a teacher was imprisoned for naming a teddy bear 'Mohammed'; and a Danish cartoonist was heavily under fire for mocking Mohammed's marriage to a child.

    What is the line in the sand? If we say we can't criticize religion out of respect -- if we say we can't satirize or mock or offend it -- than does that mean all religions? Where is the room for casual, social discourse then, or non-academic criticism? Where is the room for alternative views or opposing religious (or non) beliefs?

  2. Way to make a statement.. then completely disregard your responsibility as a writer and teacher to provide evidence or at least one example of how exactly this mocks catholicism. One does not need to be human, and honest to see why this is impermissible, but rather, they need to be INFORMED- something YOU, as an honest human being, failed to do.

    1. "It takes the central act of worship of the Catholic Church and mocks it." I thought that was the example.