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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

Viewpoint


The Observer

What's really important

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I have been totally surprised and utterly disgusted at the gross misinterpretation of Catholic social teaching in viewpoints last week. Therefore, I believe a little refresher in Catholic teaching taken straight from the Catechism is in order. Several people have argued that the Church teaches there is nothing wrong with the fact that someone has homosexual inclinations.This is false, and the Catechism says so: "The [homosexual] inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial." Homosexuality is wrong in that it is objectively disordered, based upon the natural law and human nature. However we must be clear, homosexual inclinations are disordered, not sinful in themselves. The sin only occurs when an individual takes action on these inclinations. For heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, engaging in impure sexual thoughts or engaging in sex acts outside marriage are mortal sins. Since homosexual inclinations are not sinful if they are not acted upon, we should not condemn a homosexual person simply because they are homosexual. We need to support our homosexual brothers and sisters, not condemn them. "They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every unjust discrimination should be avoided." We must not be homophobic or encourage hateful attitudes towards homosexuals. At the same time, we should not promote or encourage homosexuality or homosexual behavior. In permitting homosexual groups, or recognition in the non-discrimination policy, we must not simply create a culture of "toleration" and leave it at that. That would be a failure of our Catholic Mission. We should help our homosexual brothers and sisters to live chastely (like we all should), and encourage them that "by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection." This is what groups like Core Council should seek to accomplish. Notre Dame is still a Catholic university, and as such, it has a solemn duty to teach and impart the teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly with regards to the natural law, on its students. And until Notre Dame comes toppling down from the golden dome, it should remain that way.




The Observer

USC pep rally

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Dear whoever is in charge of pep rallies, Why is the pep rally for the biggest game I will ever witness as a student being held at Irish Green? Those things are pathetic excuses for pep rallies. Any pep rally that does not include the whole team, the whole band and the largest portion of the student body is not worthy of any game, much less this game. What happened to holding it in the stadium? Or better yet, if the powers that be want some nice little carnival to cater to kids and old alums, go ahead and have that for them. Have a coach go speak down there. Let the students and team have another one in Stepan. Beat SC! Sincerely, Tara Pillai senior Pasquerilla East Hall Oct. 8

The Observer

Crossed out

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Late Thursday night while walking back from DeBartolo Quad, a friend and I stumbled upon something quite shocking - a graveyard in the middle of South Quad. And I thought Halloween was at the end of October! I'm just kidding. As soon as we saw the crosses, the myriad blue and pink flags and the signs extolling the horrible nature of abortion, we both immediately knew what we were seeing. The annual public protest staged by Notre Dame's Right to Life Group originally shocked me when I arrived as a freshman two years ago. Since then the act has become repetitive, to the point where my only reaction this year was to keep on walking. The major issue that I have with the annual graveyard protest has nothing to do with my views on abortion. Rather, my opposition is based on the grounds that radical protests, such as the South Quad display, totally transform what could be an intellectual discussion about a serious issue into a screaming match on par with what has recently been seen at "town halls" around the country. If the goal of the graveyard is to convert pro-choicers on campus or at least encourage them to consider a different point of view, then allow me to be the first to tell the Right to Life Club that they are failing miserably. My pro-choice friends have generally all have the same reaction. Most of them just laugh it off, considering it one of Notre Dame's many quirks while postulating about the stability of the mental health of those responsible. The problem with just "laughing it off" is many pro-choice people label the other side of this debate as crazy, religious lunatics who believe condoms are the devil's latex gloves. But, as someone who has talked to numerous people about the issue, I have found that many of the points made by both sides are legitimate and informed by extensive scientific research and moral reflection. Believe it or not, Notre Dame actually does have a history of supporting academic debate on this issue (although allow me to stress the word academic). And I am not simply talking about President Barack Obama's Commencement address last year. On Sept. 13, 1984, then-New York Governor Mario Cuomo gave a speech at Notre Dame about how his identity as a politician sworn to uphold the Constitution might be in conflict with his identity as a Catholic. Cuomo said his private beliefs as a Catholic did not allow him to curb what he considered to be a right under his interpretation of the Constitution. The speech was met with extreme criticism, but was a legitimate examination of the abortion question from one man's perspective. And, in the end, it was more persuasive in forming my opinion on the issue then the graveyard taking place on South Quad will ever be.


The Observer

Beat SC

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Dear Students, We're still losing to SC. If you're like me, then you hate this. You hate them. The time has come for the Irish to resume their place in this rivalry. Southern Cal is the only program that matches our history and our mystique. That sentence does not please me. It is time to knock them down a few pegs. If you don't think this game is important, then consider that nearly 20 recruits are going to be at this game. We go toe-to-toe with SC on recruiting nearly all of these men. We can beat them in recruiting and on the field. A lot of it comes down to you. Starting Monday, show the team that you are behind them 100 percent. Newspaper ads, posters, signs, cheers at dinner, 'greeting' SC, seeing a player and letting him you know you will be there, etc. I cannot be there on Saturday, but my wife will attest to the fact that I will stand and cheer in front of my TV for the whole game. The crowd at the 1988 Miami game helped the Irish win that day. You can do the same. Be loud. Be heard. Be Irish and fight for them all week long. Bury SC! John L. Morris alumnus class of 2002 Oct. 8



The Observer

I am woman?

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I used to think being a woman was not so bad. Apparently, it's awful! Locked out of the priesthood and locked into providing the moral ideals for all of America! Worse than the weather, but more beautiful than men. Sex object in any setting, but ugly when smart, über-professional, and yet, coldly catty. No respect from men and too much deference from men, having doors held open for you all the time and other such nasty things. Thank goodness I've now been enlightened as to just how horrible womanhood is. Otherwise, I may have quietly continued on in a situation I didn't even realize I needed to get out of: getting free things, discriminated against, berated for the body I do have and yet discouraged from the alternative; possessing infinite freedom in our new age while resisting infinite pressure to be everything. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to announce my resignation of womanhood. I have enjoyed it tremendously and I resign quite hesitantly, but I cannot continue to lie to myself about the state of our gender. The results of my inquiries have been too inconclusive to support continuing on unchanged. In researching what it means to be a woman, the evidence has pointed to the label as repressive, freeing, sexual, prudent, stylish, bland, endearing, overbearing, seductive and revolting. It doesn't take an English Major to realize how antithetical those characteristics are of each other. You can keep arguing, trying to decide which opposite wins, but if you do, you may be missing the larger point: Women don't actually exist! Many things contradict themselves. Water bottles give people in third world countries water to survive, but they also create pollutants and unmanageable expenses. The Dining Hall puts the salad bar right next to the donuts. The football team simultaneously gets better and worse every year. These things can all be very confusing. But when a girl is trying to grow up, trying to establish herself as a woman and she hears from every side that women are too [adjective] while also too [opposite adjective], who is she supposed to be? It's easy to be cute, girlish and also a little tomboyish when you are still young and unaccountable for the definition of "woman." But when you hit college, womanhood becomes a necessarily defined state of being. Do you value a career or children? Do you spend time on fashion or books? Are you seductive or bubbly? Do you "get things done" or have lots of time for friends? Or do you manage to attempt them all, like so many women unable to pick between the diametric opposites and end up exhausted, confused and without feelings of individuality? Being a "feminist" apparently is too obnoxious to exist in today's world - that was only part of the radical, pot-smoking, peace-loving (and therefore God-less?) decade of the 1970s. No, today, that women's rights stuff supersedes acceptable social behavior, and for some reason isn't worth saving women from unfair discrimination, assault or domestic violence. But could that be wrong? How about when you consider that between 1998 and 2002, according to the American Bar Association, 84 percent of spouse abuse victims were female and 86 percent of victims of dating partner abuse were female? Debating so much about what women are, and in what ways they are discriminated against or favored, enables the same gender inequalities that so many women and men spend their lives combating. Overly debating the intrinsic nature of women introduces an unmanageably paradoxical set of criticisms and expectations for women to meet, making them even more vulnerable to feelings of low self-worth that make abuse so difficult to prevent. And it's exactly those feelings that make it seem like being a woman is not worth it. What dignity am I trying to uphold, if womanhood contradicts itself to the point of absurdity? What if I don't want to choose between a family, a career and making a difference, and I instead just want to retain a little bit of myself in the fold? I'm too exhausted to figure out who I am right now, and trying to figure out what type of woman I am adds too much stress to be helpful. I'd like to call myself a woman again someday, but until I figure out what that is, I'm just going to be plain old Jackie for a while. Jackie Mirandola Mullen is a senior history and German major. You can contact her at jmirando@nd.edu The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.





The Observer

What would you fight for?

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There comes a time in everyone's life where they are witness to something that violates everything they believe in. Whether it is racism, fascism, abortion, etc., we face a challenge to which we are summoned, summoned by some higher power to speak out, to rise against tyranny and oppression. This University pushes us to become leaders and stand up for our beliefs. They ask us every week, "What would you fight for?" For the first time in my four years at Notre Dame, I have been challenged and refuse to go gentle into that good night. On October 11, Saint Edward's Hall will attempt to defend its honor and title as Interhall Dodgeball Champion, but a major rule change has set the dodgeball world ablaze. Kerry Kemp, in his first year as Assistant Director of Intramurals, has decided to change one of the core rules of dodgeball. This season, when a player catches a ball, one of his teammates is not allowed to enter the playing field. This not only defiles the sport, but robs it of the emotion that goes into a catch. If a team is outnumbered, a catch provides a momentum swing which can fuel an epic comeback. The risk of attempting a catch is too great if there is no comparable reward. The rule change is comparable to an interception in football being ruled an incomplete pass. As a student of the game I am outraged by the rule change and livid from Mr. Kemp's indignant demeanor. Kemp is ending a tradition. He claimed he was making changes in response to feedback from previous years and, in his words, preventing teams from cheating by allowing their best players to skip the line and come back in. However, the order of the line is the responsibility of the team, not RecSports. Never in my three years has this been a problem. This is not first grade PE, this is collegiate dodgeball, a six-on-six test of pride and valor, and I will not stand by and watch it be debased by Kerry Kemp. I will fight for dodgeball. Adam Fonseca senior St. Edward's Hall Oct. 7  


The Observer

Students stand up to discrimination

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When I first read the letter "Don't ask, don't tell" (Oct. 7) I felt sick and frustrated with this university where somehow archaic beliefs proven inconsistent with the Church can continue. However, reading today's Observer gave me hope when all the letters to the editor were united in exclaiming how incredibly misinformed and misguided Sean Mullen must be. The Notre Dame Spirit of Inclusion states: "We welcome all people, regardless of color, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social or economic class, and nationality, for example, precisely because of Christ's calling to treat others as we desire to be treated. We value gay and lesbian members of this community as we value all members of this community." I am glad that people are willing to speak out for these students who should not be treated like a minority or fringe group on this campus. However one has to question whether or not gay and lesbian students really are included if they are not given the same rights of other students I specifically refer to SAO's continued denial to give permission for the formation of groups and organizations for support and community. Why is including homosexual students in the Notre Dame community openly considered acceptable by the University and yet acknowledging the existence of a club for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and allied students considered not? Sometimes it feels as though Notre Dame's desire to maintain a specific image to the outward world is more important than the needs and desires of the students who are here.


The Observer

Understanding the Obama haters

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We routinely complain that we hate this or that in our everyday conversations. Sports fans of rival teams famously disdain each other, so much so that in Europe, for example, their "football" fans regularly riot in the stands. I personally hate that song the University of Southern California band quickly plays during their football games constantly at each pause of action on the field. For me, it's repetitive and monotonous tone is like Chinese water torture: Da, da, da-da, da-da, da, da, da-dum, da-da da, da-dum. That said, I do not truly hate Coach Pete Carroll or the USC fans. I just don't like them. I have little in common with them. I live a different lifestyle on the east coast, and I never tan for as long or as golden brown as they appear to be upon arrival at Notre Dame in late October. However, I must admit that I admire the way Carroll transitioned from the pro football ranks to the college game as a multiyear national champion and contender, infinitely much better than Notre Dame's head coach, Charlie Weis. Not too long ago - around the year of birth for today's high school sophomores - national politics deteriorated to a level of incivility. In 1994, Republican house leader Newt Gingrich strategized a way for his party to gain a majority status in Congress. He correctly reasoned that the only way to convince the American public to vote for Republicans was for him to tear down the political status quo on Capitol Hill through a national political campaign. However, he carried his war-like campaign outlook into his style of governance as the new Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. It was an action that polarized the political process from one of dislike to hate. His rule of governance simply rejected compromise, the operational status quo for decades, to a principal that he was always correct, and his opposition was always nefarious. Gingrich poisoned the well of political discourse by refusing to compromise in an institution founded on serving the public through consensus. In the process, he began to cleanse his own party of the "Rockefeller Republicans," moderates named after former New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Gingrich ignored a tradition that for half a century, ever since World War II, treated the minority political party as the "loyal opposition." Thus, under Gingrich's rule, Republican Party policies evolved into a more homogeneous and less tolerant political vision. To them, Democrats had become their enemies. That change in Gingrich's outlook, combined with a dwindling of moderate Republicans, also ended the traditionally civil level of disagreement a party voiced against their opposition party's president. Instead, Republicans displayed an absolute rancor against President Clinton. Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, presidents had enjoyed a modicum of respect from the "loyal opposition." Even Richard Nixon, who became ensnarled in a congressional impeachment, could work with the Democratic majority to create new environmental initiatives and change foreign policy to include opening diplomatic relations with Communist China. But under Gingrich, feelings of hatred for Clinton and Democrats replaced civil expressions of disagreement. Today President Obama reaches time and again to the Republicans in an effort to solve problems in a bipartisan manner. Reminiscent of the Democrat's 40 years of majority status prior to Gingrich, Republican leaders like Gerald Ford and Bob Michel or Everett Dirksen and Bob Dole shared a slice of the legislative pie through compromise. Some argue that they perpetuated their minority status by not drawing dramatic distinctions between themselves and the Democratic majority like Gingrich had done. Polls show that the American public as a whole seems to prefer action in Washington, but when further polled, individually reject specific solutions from the opposing political party. Obama's opposition also stems partly from a 24-hour news cycle reduced to hourly segments on cable channels that feature more partisan perspectives. The media stage has become an entertainment theater catering to like-minded audiences. Those audiences cling to certain beliefs which in turn encourages others to find supporting facts regardless of the truth. It is now possible for some to say absolute falsehoods in hopes that it becomes accepted as truth if repeated enough times. Perhaps critics of the president, like Ann Coulter, really believe the mean-spirited accusations spurting from their mouths. Or do they posture on the political stage to create television drama? In days past, no media personality dare espouse vile comments like Rush Limbaugh blurts with regularity in an effort to discredit Obama and wish the president's failure. But we are living in the post-Gingrich world of politics where Obama's opposition can be as bad as getting that damn USC song stuck in my head. Gary Caruso, Notre Dame '73, serves in the Department of Homeland Security and was a legislative and public affairs director in President Clinton's administration. His column appears every other Friday. He can be contacted at GaryJCaruso@alumni.nd.edu The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


The Observer

Drunken homophobia

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Sean Mullen, I am interested to know more about your state of mind when you wrote this. Your bigoted tirade can only be the result of A) a complete misunderstanding of Catholicism, education and logic or B) black-out drunkenness. You repeatedly used the term "openly practicing" in your letter. As far as I know, the only means by which someone could "openly practice" homosexuality is by having sex out on the quad and, in four years, I have yet to see that (homosexual or otherwise). You claimed Obama is the "biggest pro-choice advocate in the world." I appreciate this comment in that it discredits most of what you say. Your use of hyperbole is exactly what Father Jenkins criticized in his own address. As a "hard-hitting Roman Catholic" (or so Facebook says), you probably know, but misunderstand, that the name of the nation that God created, Israel, translates to "he struggles with God." Varying perspectives facilitate that struggle. I also assume that you've heard, and misconstrued, the Great Commandment: love thy neighbor as thyself. Asking someone to hide a legitimate aspect of themselves is not loving. Your last misconception lies in the Catechism, which condemns the sexual acts and not any public admission of homosexuality nor homosexuality itself. Finally, I object to your reference to "gays." Gay is an adjective, not a noun; it describes one facet of an individual. Please show minimal respect to people who are different than you are. At the very least, I would expect an Arts and Letters major to understand the difference between a noun and an adjective. You are a modern day Pharisee. People like you distance Notre Dame from its Catholic identity with narrow-minded beliefs that starkly contrast the open-mindedness that marked Jesus' life. Prostitutes, tax-collectors and lepers; these are the people with whom Jesus spent his time; in other words, the marginalized. I am embarrassed that you speak your hateful words under the name of the faith that I love. I am embarrassed to be affiliated with you. Your understanding of Catholicism is objectively wrong and I can only hope that it was the result of many shots of tequila. Beth Daley and Tati Estrada seniors off campus Oct. 7  


The Observer

Weather: Why we endure it

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The last thing I want to write about is the weather, but in light of today's wonderful temperate climate and the fact I stood outside in it for two hours without any jacket, I feel it must be addressed. Being from Texas, my idea of cold weather came once a year when my family would go to Colorado for two weeks each Christmas. One year it got into the teens. It was awful. Another year I can remember playing an agonizing lacrosse game where the temperature was in the 30s and it was sleeting. I never thought it would get any worse than that. When I started looking at colleges, I wanted big sports and a large body of water nearby, preferably a warm body of water. Then I wound up at Notre Dame. Don't get me wrong though, I love Notre Dame. At first, I even loved the weather. I liked South Bend's version of summer. It was a pleasant change from the heat of Texas. I loved when the leaves changed. I was the first one outside for the first snowfall. And the second. But that was when it was still relatively warm and the snow was still new enough to be seen as beautiful. At Christmas, I raved to my friends about the seasons, how winter was not at bad as we'd been warned. It was 80 degrees at home the day I left for spring semester, at the time I couldn't wait to get back to the beautiful winter wonderland of Notre Dame. That's when the real winter came. Where the 20s, the 30s, even the teens really were an oasis of warmth. There were mornings I'd wake up and the temperatures were lower than I imagined was possible outside of Antarctica. One night as I walked home I wore both my guy friend's and my parka. It was negative 40 with windchill that night. Lovely. It was a little after midnight and campus was dead. It was the fastest I've ever made it from North Quad to South. I might have even set a record. Too bad everyone else was smarter than to venture out or else they might have witnessed my amazing dash. This year as the weather steadily descends on its downhill slope towards the worst weather and each day grows a little colder, I fill with dread. I still love Notre Dame. I hate the weather, but I love thee Notre Dame. Why do we do endure the cold though? My answer came last week. After the Washington game, a game ringing true to South Bend's charming weather, I saw a little boy crying as his mom attempted to usher him out of the stadium. She begged him to stop crying so they could get to the car, saying, "You just got over pneumonia. I let you stay the whole game but I am your mother and now I say its time to go. You don't want to be sick do you?" He replied, "I'll never make it to Notre Dame if you make me leave, I have to be the last one here. I don't care if I'm sick." Notre Dame students are very much like this little boy. We endure the weather. Not just for the games, but also for the school. To many, Notre Dame was a dream and now its finally come true. To others, they came and fell in love despite the weather. Still even if you aren't on the bandwagon, you aren't sure you love Notre Dame or can endure the weather, you take it. You take it because it's Notre Dame. And really, deep inside, you know its worth it. Notre Dame is infectious. You can't help but love it.




The Observer

Take a stand

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As a Viewpoint columnist I often find myself compelled to address serious issues that other people shy away from, it's like my job. Do I get paid to do this job? I am not even sure, I think I just do it because I like for people to hear my opinions on things. But this isn't necessarily important. Issues are important. So without further ado I plan to talk about an issue. Read on and think for yourself about this issue. Often in the busy 24-hour news cycle stories of real importance to real people go unreported. I am writing to call attention to a crusade that has not received its fair share of media attention in The Observer, this crusade, of course, is the fight for five dollar footlongs at the Lafortune Subway. As nobody seems to be willing to speak up about this I have taken it upon myself to write a public protest. Of course in the world today there are many great struggles going on. The ongoing genocide in Darfur is one. Our continuing involvement in Iraq is another. Another one might be that we elected a president who is running our country into the ground (I'm talking to you Hussein). Also there are social issues like the high rates of sexual assault. But amidst all these issues it is easy to overlook something of real importance, namely that we are paying slightly more for a certain type of sandwich than other people do who buy the same sandwich in different places. This is a serious problem. It's natural that on this campus which is full of activism for various good causes something humble like sandwich prices would go overlooked. But I think it's more than just sandwich prices, this is a question of our rights and thus something that even our Constitution talks about. Now I'm going to throw out a few interesting points to consider about the footlongs. You know how women get paid 76 cents for every dollar men get paid for the same work? I did the math calculation and people at other Subways pay 71 cents for every dollar that we pay for footlongs, and since 76 is bigger than 71 that means that we're worse off than women. Maybe that is fine for another university but this is Notre Dame, the finest Catholic school in the country. We're not paying $50,000 a year in tuition to be inferior to women! Not even women would be dumb enough to do that. Here's something else to consider, that I thought of when I was paying for laundry with coins. Does anyone else here have a coin bank? Well I do. You know how much money we would save if footlongs were five dollars? $1.99. That's almost eight quarters, or 19 dimes, or 39 nickels, or even a 199 pennies. That's a lot of coins to put in the coin bank! I bet I could wash my clothes with the money I saved, though I probably wouldn't have enough to dry them afterwards if I paid with coins. Here's another aspect of this issue to think about: food. To live, everybody needs to eat food. But if food is too expensive, how can people afford to eat it? The answer is that they can't afford to eat it, and so they won't eat it. So they'll starve. I guess the strongest point in favor of making footlongs at the Lafortune Subway cost five dollars is that it's a question of equal rights. The Bill of Rights guarantees everyone in America the same rights, so if we're paying slightly more for a specific type of sandwich than other people do, that's discrimination. It's like apartheid, only it's not in some faraway Third World country, it's right here in America's Heartland. And yet this grave and important issue has gone overlooked by our Observer. So next time you're out volunteering for an organization that fights sexual assault, or manning the suicide center crisis hotline, or participating in environmental activism, or working at a homeless shelter, keep in mind that there are bigger things out there than the little causes you work for. Jesus said "the poor you will always have with you," and that goes for all the other causes, but this cause is something that affects everyone who purchases a footlong sandwich at the Lafortune Subway. I implore you: Fight for footlongs! Brooks Smith is a junior math and english major at Notre Dame. He can be contacted at bsmith26@nd.edu The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


The Observer

Appalled

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I'll start by saying that I have nothing against Sean Mullen (Don't ask, don't tell," Oct. 7). If that's the way God made you, then that's the way you are. Let me ask you, Mr. Mullen: Have you ever masturbated? Have you or any of your friends engaged in any sort of premarital sexual activity? If so, then the University, by your standards, has just as much of a right to discriminate against you as it does against a sexually active homosexual. It has more of a right to discriminate against you than it does against an abstinent but open homosexual. If we delve into the personal and sexual lives of every member of the University's staff, faculty and student body and proclaim that it's acceptable to discriminate against sinners, then who is left? But getting to the more important point, Mr. Mullen, do you have any sort of idea what it's like to live in the closet that God and society have so lovingly fashioned for homosexuals? Do you have any idea of the amount of unnecessary pain and suffering undertaken by vast numbers of homosexuals because of you and others like you who think they should "keep to themselves?" You don't, and it shows. One of the many missions of this University is to foster growth and development not only within the realm of the Catholic Church, but within society as a whole. Notre Dame is not a seminary, and the United States is not a theocracy. You'd do well to come to terms with those facts. Your attitude is repulsive and flies in the face of common human decency. Your disgusting and narrow worldview has no place in a discussion about a non-discrimination clause. Another thing, Mr. Mullen, do not give a transparent disclaimer about how you "have nothing against" homosexuals before launching into a nonsensical diatribe about how homosexuals here should remain in one of the most psychologically damaging places that exists in our society. It insults everyone's intelligence and is the oldest trick in the playbook of the bigot. Chris Doyen senior off campus Oct. 7