Last week, Gonzaga University School of Law opened up the Lincoln LGBTQ+ Rights Clinic. This center will work in tandem with the School of Law's Center for Civil and Human Rights. The clinic will help pair students with people who identify as LGBTQ+ to give legal aid in a variety of different areas.
This is an amazing feature that will help a disenfranchised population receive equal and proper respect under the law. I am sure most people would say that is a good thing.
However, not everyone is as thrilled about the new clinic as I am — most notably, the Bishop of Spokane, Thomas Daly.
Almost immediately after the Lincoln Clinic was unveiled, the Catholic Diocese of Spokane released a statement. Here, Daly expressed his concern about the new legal clinic.
Daly fears the center could “bring the GU Law School into conflict with the religious freedom of Christian individuals and organizations.”
Further, Daly said, “there is also a concern that Gonzaga Law School will be actively promoting, in the legal arena and on campus, values that are contrary to the Catholic faith and Natural Law.” Daly concluded his statement and said he “hopes Gonzaga will continue to be a partner in the Catholic mission of faithful education in the Church.”
After he received well-deserved backlash for this statement, Daly contacted GU President Thayne McCulloh to have a conversation about the new center. Daly said he “looks forward to speaking with the Law School to find a resolution to the concerns posed by the new legal aid clinic.”
Any reasonable person should find Bishop Daly’s comments concerning. It is absolutely appalling that a person would so openly and brazenly declare such statements.
The Lincoln LGBTQ+ Clinic can only be described as a good for the world. Its sole purpose is to help those who are marginalized and ostracized receive proper and fair treatment, something that Jesus himself preached was most important. Care for the poor is the best way, the only way, to act like Christ.
Bishop Daly can throw around Thomas Aquinas' antiquated “Natural Law” as evidence of wrongdoing on Gonzaga’s part all he wants, but beliefs like that do not belong in a modern church. Natural Law is supposed to help guide a person to understanding about God’s divine laws and interpret what is truly good and evil.
It is unfathomable to me that a person can look at a center devoted to helping and caring for the poor and ostracized and see it as evil. Evil solely on the basis that sex should only be for the purpose of reproduction. The mental gymnastics required to make that leap in logic truly astounds me.
I am grateful that GU is able to withstand the prejudice it faces. I am proud that we foster a safe home for the LGBTQ+ and are not bending a knee to Bishop Daly. The fact this school can look past the hateful beliefs of the Catholic Church and strive to create space and representation for everyone is admirable.
Bishop Daly, I am sorry you have been indoctrinated by the fear and hate of the old Church to continue bigotry and ideologies that actively contradict God’s true mission: creating peace and community among all people. If anything is going to be damaging to GU's reputation as a Jesuit institution, it would be outdated hate to a marginalized group that has done nothing wrong but find love.