This is a toughie for me. Still not exactly sure where I stand.
Keaton Fuller, a senior at a Catholic High school in Iowa, was awarded a $40,000 scholarship by the Eychaner Foundation. The award, named the Gold Matthew Shephard Scholarship, caused an uproar because of it's overtly homosexual basis. Originally, the bishop had refused to allow this award to be given publicly during commencement, fearing it would cause confusion and scandal among those present.
However, after speaking with the Eychaner Foundation, he reversed his decision with the caveat that the Superintendent read the script for presentation instead of a member of the foundation.
Here are the things I don't have a problem with:
The Eychaner Foundation has a Scholarship award that falls in line with its core mission to promote acceptance and tolerance of the LGBT community. Common sense.
Fuller, a student of a Catholic school, successfully applied for this award with the help of faculty members. Scholarships are open to anyone regardless of where they're from, and considering the basis for this scholarship isn't the promotion of something that goes against dogma, faculty members were not at fault for putting him at risk for supporting heresy. In fact, this scholarship aims to curb bullying and promote the love and acceptance of people who are homosexual - something that does fall in line with Church teaching.
The Eychaner Foundation desiring to publicly award this scholarship to Fuller at his commencement. Can't fault them for realizing the marketing victory this would be for them.
There being public pressure put onto the Bishop to reverse his decision. Free speech, after all, is still supposedly free in this country.
The Bishop agreeing to speak with the Eychaner Foundation to reach an amicable solution. This is, after all, how one responds with love, especially when his own flock is so up in arms about the issue. In all honesty, I believe (from the quotes) that he responded graciously, thoughtfully, and with charity.
Here are the things I DO have a problem with:
The Eychaner Foundation expecting to force its way into a private school's commencement ceremony. Asking politely and accepting a decline is normal behavior. Getting pushy and demanding you gain entrance as a SPEAKER is ludicrous.
The Bishop reversing his decision. I got several scholarships / awards upon graduation. Plenty of other students did, too. No one ever came to speak about these things considering they're private awards. We had our various scholarships listed in the program, I think, but there wasn't any singling out of students because the commencement was for ALL of us. Unless you were the valedictorian (or saludictorian), there was no real singling out for random awards. It'd've taken forever.
I'm all for this young man being recognized for his achievements. I really am. I have no issue with how he got the scholarship, what the scholarship represents, or even the faculty responsible for helping him apply. That's all well and good.
I am a little iffy on having that recognition overshadow the entire commencement ceremony due to all the protests, pressure and talks. I mean, are any of the other students having speakers for their scholarships? Would anyone have even cared if two or three of these speakers were turned away? Doubtful. The only reason this issue became an issue is because of the push by the homosexual agenda to be accepted everywhere and anywhere.
Once again, this isn't an issue of homosexuality. It's an issue of common sense. Most speakers for high school graduations consist of faculty, students and a particular person who is brought in to reflect on success and opportunity for ALL those graduating. This person was brought in to highlight the achievements of a homosexual student for academics and his work in promoting peace and tolerance for homosexuals. While that's a noble thing for sure, why must we have a commencement speaker highlight this as opposed to the student who raised funds to help a no-kill shelter survive? A student who raised awareness for those with Down-Syndrome? A student who stood outside her local Planned Parenthood every Saturday afternoon, rain or shine, to wage a silent war with her rosary in hand?
In my mind, this is a ploy to once again push the homosexual agenda onto Catholic schools in a very publicized, marketable way. Fuller is a perfect poster-child for something like this, and I can't help but wonder if that isn't at least part of the reason he was chosen. Maybe it's all those years of public relations courses that has jaded me, but I can't help but think if I were in their shoes, I'd've chosen him as well. He'd provide the perfect excuse to gain entry to a plethora of conflict that could very well kick the dust up at the Catholic Church.
I really hope they make the full script available as I'm curious to know what, exactly, the bishop signed off on.
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