08 November 2011

Replies to a Trustee

Here are my replies to thoughtful questions from a trustee:

1. I do not really fear a "take-over" of Vanderbilt Catholic, although that is a possibility under this change of policy. What I do fear is the inconsistency of the university in applying its policy. Having religious qualifications for leadership in religious groups had been an acceptable practice only a short while ago. Now it is declared discriminatory. I fear what the university will decide is discriminatory tomorrow. I do fear this inconsistent and arbitrary application of policy by the university.

2. Let me frame the issue differently. I believe that religious organizations should be allowed to be authentically religious and not have to "cloak" what are really religious qualifications in some of the ways you describe. Vanderbilt Catholic must act with integrity, not figure out a way to "get around" unjust policies. A religious organization should be able to establish qualifications for leadership based on its core beliefs and mission. Religious organizations should not be singled out and told that they cannot be what they are -- religious. The one sin that Jesus was harsh about was hypocrisy. I am not willing to take a hypocritical pose for the sake of this policy.

This is a matter of principle. I have only so much room, or I lose my integrity as a religious witness. To paraphrase St. Thomas More, I am a good servant of Vanderbilt...but God's first.

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