Volume 11, Number 2
Letter to the Editor
The Catholic Vote in '96
The Conscience of a University
Sexual Primitivism: The Pope's War on Women
Step-Children at Our Lady's University
The Comparative Advantage of Exploiting Children
Jeff and Newt: Friends for Life?
Letter to the Editor
To Mark Behr:
I have read your article "South Africa: Living in the Fault Lines" in the last issue of Common Sense. I used to remember you fondly, as a particularly bright and engaging student in the course on "Transitions to Democracy" I taught here in the Fall of 1993. Your article reporting that you were a paid informer "of the South African security establishment from the end of 1986 to 1990" was, of course, shocking. But it was not more shocking than the discovery we made in Argentina under similar corcumstances--too often belatedly, after they had already done much damage--that some of the brightest and more articulate members of resistance and democratizing groups were informants of the repressive apparatus of the state. Since informers are part of the wicked normality of repressive rule, the fact that now you tell us that you were one is not the reason I am writing to you.
The reason is the ghastly sentence in which you say: "While I have not murdered or tortured, and while it is unlikely that my activities on a campus like Stellenbosch led directly to any such atrocities " (p.6, emphasis added). This contradicts, and shows as much less than candid, the statement that immediately follows: "I must and do take responsibility."
You know better. You know that you were a cog in a repressive machinery that fired you when it deemed fit (albeit in a fashion, including a "fake shooting incident," that in the practice of these organizations strongly suggests recognition for good services rendered). You also know (and, indeed, you knew) that what was done to the human beings you reported on was decided by bosses well above you. In this sense, but only in this perverse sense, as you say, you did not have direct responsibility for3 what happened to these individuals. But you know (and you knew, too) that in this kind of regime information on oppositional activities is likely, not unlikely, to lead to the exile, imprisonment, torture, or death of precisely those who are most inspiring or effective leaders in the struggles for freedom.
As you and I sometimes discussed after class, we lived in similar worlds (although now I realize not on the same side) in the recent past of our countries, South Africa and Argentina. You say that this "part confession" is "a selfish act aimed at some form of self-integration, ending or shattering an autobiography of denial" (p.9). Addressed to readers who have not lived through what you and I have lived, your article may succeed in eliciting the sympathy and even the admiration that it pleads for. For someone who knows, it is a ploy that you should not be allowed to get away with.
Your article is regrettable because you refuse to come to terms with your deeper responsibility: the one you owe to the persons whom yes, indirectly but no less really probably your informing sent to various kinds of horrors. I say this because you and I know that informers of cruel regimes do not "directly" torture and kill; this particularly dirty part of the work of the "security establishment" is done by others. We know, too, that informers, torturers, murderers, and their bosses (who, like informers, do not "directly" torture and murder) are all integral parts of a cruel chain of events those who did not touch the bodies of the victims are no less responsible than those who did.
You and I also know that one does not just "become" an informer. We were not stupid; we knew that the repressive apparatus would try to infiltrate every oppositional organization, and that it would try harder, and that its reactions would be crueler, the more successful a given organization seemed to be. In order to turn into a valuable asset of this apparatus, individuals like you had to spend many hours, share (apparently) various risks, and befriend militants and leaders. You must remember, I hope with shame which is not evinced in your article, the personal closeness that sharing ideals and risks creates within these groups, the highly emotional experiences lived together, and the deep interpersonal trust that one needs to develop to keep on going. This is the true measure of the betrayal of the informer, as well as of the particular horror of sending his close affiliates to exile, imprisonment, torture, or death. Since in the sentence I have transcribed you deny responsibility for this kind of event, you allow yourself a terrible omission: you do not give an inkling of thought or signal of repentance about what you probably did to some of these human beings--precisely those who, under exacting circumstances, came to trust you.
You and I know, too, how much duplicity and deviousness an informer must permanently use: You had to wear your mask all the time, you could not allow yourself one moment of sincerity, and most likely (otherwise, how could you reach leadership positions in the movement you were betraying?) you had to use your considerable talents in persuading your affiliates that you were a sternly loyal and highly committed member of the group. You know how much feared the infiltrators were. You had to be really good to get past this fear. Persons who wear this kind of mask are rather peculiar ones; they do not heal easily.
Now, with your article you attempt to wear still another mask, arguably less harmful than the previous one but no less deceitful. Borrowing from the title of your article, the "fault line" that shows the real face is your refusal to acknowledge responsibility toward those you betrayed, in a system that, as you say, "divided, tortured, murdered, and assassinated human beings." How on earth can you assert that in such a system your own victims were "probably" spared this fate? At any event, how "probably," and how many? How can one believe anything else in your "confession" when you try to hide behind this for us who know, at least rather obvious lie? Have you tried to find out what happened to the individuals on whom you reported? Why you do not tell us about this, in a text in which you--just you--are the only human being who apparently matters?
Furthermore, some informers in Argentina (as I gather was the case in your country, too) had at least some reason for what they did ideology, dire material need, or whatever. You tell us, instead, that you did not have any better motive than "having my studies paid." When I read this, Arendt's banality of evil came to my mind: so much infamy for so little! This is so abysmal that it rings true. But in other parts your text has symptomatic holes. One is your continuing acceptance of the euphemistic term by which your former bosses preferred to call themselves the "security establishment." Surely this was the language you used when dealing with them. But now, if the exhibitionistic self-consciousness you display in your article were authentic, wouldn't you have given these agencies of terror and human destruction a more adequate name?
Another symptomatic hole is the cold, bureaucratic tone with which, in a text otherwise highly expressive, you tell us that you "brought this [your condition as an informer] to the attention of the African National Congress in Lusaka." In the files that have been unearthed in Argentina your colleagues used this kind of language when reporting to their bosses in the "security establishment"; is this the style you used, too? By the way: Was the ANC so extremely generous that they did not ask you to do anything? Why you do not tell this part of the story? On the other hand, since your role became known to the ANC, is the text transcribed in Common Sense the entirely voluntary act you depict, or is it a cunning anticipation of the likely public exposure of your role perhaps made unavoidable after the fame that your novel earned for you? I guess that the thrill of fame combined with the anxiety of increased chances of exposure must have been excruciating for you I cannot pity you for this.
You are bright and write well. I suspect in somebody so well trained in wearing masks that when you say that your text is "part confession," you do not really mean what a first reading of your text would suggest, i.e., that the "confession" is part of a whole complemented by the "part therapy" and "part catharsis" that you say you also perform in this text. Rather, it is a "partial confession" because it avoids the core of the truth. It is also a "partial catharsis" because it does not go beyond the narcissistic exhibition of a new mask, adapted to the present circumstances of your country and yourself. And certainly it is not a "partial therapy"; it is the repetition of the syndrome of deceitful presentation of yourself.
I have written this text in rage, under the vivid memory of the many who were sacrificed by persons like you. Respect for the memory of these victims demands, at the very least, that "confessions," "catharsis," and "therapies" begin by acknowledging the full dimension of the horrors of the chain of events in which informers--especially highly educated and articulate ones, corruptio optimi est pessima were indispensable parts. You have managed to gain formal impunity in your country; but you should remember that what your country went through is similar to what happened in other places. Because of this, because everywhere under repressive regimes we run into persons like you, because the masks you wore and the damage you did are the same, nowhere, ever, will you be allowed to get by with fake "confessions." The ghosts of your victims will haunt you at least until you acknowledge them as your victims.
Mark Behr Responds:
I quote again from the edited version of my Fault Lines speech as published in the previous Common Sense:
There was never, and there will never be a way of correcting what I know and knew I did wrong: I must accept responsibility. Ultimately I did not have what hundreds of thousands of South Africans did: the strength to refuse to offer my body and my mind in service of that system. I did, willingly, support a system that not only denied people s most basic rights and freedoms, but a system which divided, tortured, murdered and assassinated human beings, backed by precisely the security system I was involved in ... While I have not murdered or tortured, and while it is unlikely that my activities on a campus like Stellenbosch led directly to any such atrocities, I must and do take responsibility for my contribution to making the system work. There cannot be, and will not be any justification for this.
Fault Lines constituted for me -- as the speech explicitly states -- merely the beginning of the public confrontation with my own duplicity. The speech had been preceded and was followed by a number of other initiatives:
1. Hours and often days of private discussions took place with most of the people I directly betrayed. This process of answering questions, interrogating motives, recalling details and trying to come to terms with the damage I did and may have done (and to whom) has been unspeakably painful for all involved.
2. I have compiled an extensive inventory of details related to my spying history. This document is with South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and I have committed myself to appearing at the Commission if required to do so.
3. The inventory will also go to my so-called handlers in both the SA Police and in the ANC. These people will be free to add information I may have neglected to enter, or, they may choose to dispute any of my assertions. Updated copies of the inventory will be available for the scrutiny of those I betrayed directly.
4. I am working with an NGO in South Africa to try and get all files that I might have been responsible for, opened to enable public scrutiny. In this way one might also be able to glean insight into suffering perhaps indirectly caused by my actions.
5. I am involved in consultations regarding how, on my part, at least symbolic actions of restitution towards victims of structural violence may be undertaken.
There has been no South African precedent to follow in this process; it is therefore one of continual trial and error, negotiated by myself in consultation with the people I betrayed. Since going public I have also received advise from people from around the world who themselves have been victims of betrayal, political violence and state torture. It is frequently those who have really suffered in the grinding machinery of oppressive regimes -- who -- in spite of their anger and their pain caused by people like me, are willing to engage in constructive discourses motivated by sincere and passionate concern for a greater justice.
Finally, I have no intention of defending what I said in the Fault Lines speech: it was written, presented and it is now in the public domain. Time and humanity will decide the fate of the speech, of me and of its critics.
The Catholic Vote in '96
It is difficult to pick up a newsmagazine or newspaper without seeing some reference to the Republican courtship of the Catholic vote, or analyses of Catholics as swing voters, or even the claim that the 1996 election hinges on what Catholics decide. Much of this talk is inaccurate.
There is no "Catholic vote." The impact of as a bloc of the electorate is overrated. Nevertheless, younger Catholic voters could well determine the outcome of the 1996 presidential election. These apparently contradictory claims are a function of two factors:
- Voting Catholics live mainly in the large electoral college states where the election will be fought.
- Younger Catholics are less likely to pick up political cues at Mass, less likely to identify with the church's social teachings, and are more likely to be Republican. On the other hand, and more interesting still, these younger Catholics are more moderate on social issues than either their parents or the current Republican party. Finally, the most effective appeal to these swing voters will be more secular than religious.
Has there been a large movement of Catholics to the Republican cause? Pundits tend to focus on the Democratic party loyalties of Catholics in the early New Deal or at the massive Catholic margin for Kennedy in 1960 and conclude from current figures that there has been a shift to the Republican party. Moreover, journalists connect the church's teaching on abortion with Republicans anti-abortion plank and conclude that Catholics are closer to the Republic party's stances on family values and moral issues than they are to the Democrats . These conclusions are both historically myopic and sociologically mistaken.
Catholic political history: An overview
Except for two electoral periods when they rallied to one of their own in the face of religious persecution, Catholic voters have been a diverse lot. Much of this diversity is the result of ethnic migrations and settlement patterns. This story has been told by many historians and needs only a short summary here.
The Irish were the American church's premier power brokers. They spoke English and understood Anglo-American political institutions. They became Democrats in response to religious persecution and second-class citizenship perpetrated by the people who controlled the Whig, Know Nothing, Republican, and Progressive political parties. Their descendants have remained more Democratic than rising social status and economic success would have predicted.
When it came to politics, Italian women apparently listened to their Irish priests. But historically, Italian men tended to be anti-clerical and became Republican. Italian men owned hauling trucks and vegetable farms. These respectively became the post- World War II trucking firms, suburban housing tracts, shopping malls, and financial institutions which shaped the powerful suburban Republican machines that now ring Northeastern cities.
German Catholics moved to the frontier very early, farming the heartland and settling the villages that became cities. Their politics were often the opposite of their German-Lutherans neighbors who were sometimes Republicans and sometimes Democrats. The anti-German hysteria of World War I, the anti-Catholicism of evangelical Protestants, and the Northern revival of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s all connected to the Democratic party did much to consolidate German-American Catholics in the Republican fold.
Other Eastern and Southern European Catholic immigrants first voted Republican because their plant marched them to the polls with instructions to cast the Republican ballot and because the big-city ethnic machines early in this century were often Republican. The reaction to Al Smith's candidacy anchored them in the Democratic party, though some drifted to the Republicans when the cold war heated up. Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan proved more appealing than their Democratic opponents.
Except for Cubans, Latino Catholic immigrants have been heavily Democratic, but they are only now becoming a force in the electorate. Since 1964, African-American Catholics have been solidly Democrat.
One event in modern Catholic political history has shaped everything since the election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency in 1960. Kennedy's disavowal of any prior political loyalty to Rome before the Houston Ministerial Alliance and his subsequent behavior as president did much to allay the suspicions of Protestants and Jews, as well as unchurched Americans. Vatican II s endorsement of religious liberty advocated by many American clergy and politicians was also a significant step.
Conservative and Republican Catholics followed Kennedy s lead. When the American bishops drafted pastoral letters on national defense and the economy, prominent Catholics from recent Republican administrations offered counter-statements. In time, Americans grew accustomed to Catholic political leaders, Democrats and Republicans alike, asserting their independence from clerical influence. Nowadays when the specter of theocracy is raised, it usually concerns evangelical preachers, not Catholic priests.
Kennedy s election is full of partisan irony. An analysis of American National Election Studies data-sets shows that 83 percent of those who called themselves Catholic on national surveys and who actually went to the polls voted for Kennedy. Further, Catholic identification with the Democratic party surged throughout the sixties. Nevertheless, Kennedy's election allowed for Catholics in the Republican party to rise to prominence made ordinary Catholics the target for Republican appeals.
Well before the end of the sixties, political analyst Kevin Phillips had outlined a New Majoritarian strategy aimed especially at Catholic men upset with the long reach of the federal government in implementing civil rights and, later, feminist policies. When statewide ERA referenda failed in both New York and New Jersey in 1975, with crucial negative votes cast in suburban Catholic communities, Republicans devised a strategy to attract those eventually known as Reagan Democrats. Reagan himself was popular with Catholics. He could be forgiven that his drifter of a father had not brought him up in the church. His charm, his upbeat outlook, his loyalty to core values, and his capacity to answer questions with stories, not facts, identified him with a long line of Irish-Catholic politicians.
When Ronald Reagan won with substantial Catholic support in 1980, he filled his cabinet with an unprecedented number of Catholics. New opportunities were opened for Catholic politicians; the stigma was gone. Under Reagan, the earlier political pluralism of Catholics, overturned by the Kennedy surge, returned. Yet the Reagan era also, and for the first time, stimulated a political voice for women separate from that of men. That voice found its home in the Democratic party.
When the Democrats Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as Walter Mondale s running mate in 1984, she faced some of the worst invective ever heard in modern American politics. Innuendoes first about links to lesbians and then to the Mafia marked the campaign. But no Italian-American defense organization came to her defense, as they had for similarly situated men. Even gentleman George Bush said that he had kicked a little butt in the vice- presidential debate. The newly appointed archbishop of New York phrased a statement attacking Ferraro s stance on abortion in such a way that it seemed that a Catholic in good standing could not vote for her. Embarrassed by the transparent endorsement of the Republican ticket by the most visible Catholic prelate, the president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops quickly released a statement reiterating the obligation of bishops to offer general criteria for judging candidates and to refrain from endorsing candidates or parties.
The Ferraro candidacy confirmed three trends:
- A Catholic candidate will not always rally Catholics to the cause.
- Catholic women do not routinely view politics the same way as Catholic men.
- Men sometimes get ugly about successful women in politics.
After Ferraro, Catholic women began to take a long look at an emerging alliance between Catholic leaders and Republicans. They sensed they would come out on the short end of cultural politics, or "wedge issues," and fought back in 1988 and 1992.
While young Catholic men, like some of their fathers' generation, have been attracted to the Republicans stances on affirmative action, women s rights, crime, etc., young Catholic women are increasingly pulled to the Democrats. A fundamental economic revolution accounts for this. Young Catholic women are the least likely of any Christian group to be full-time housewives. In twenty short years, the proportion of Catholic women who are housewives has dropped from 48 percent to only 16 percent. It has plunged for Protestants too, with only 21 percent of evangelical Protestant women and 22 percent of mainline Protestant women remaining outside the labor force. But there are differences.
More than a generation ago, Catholic women began receiving higher educations at rates higher than the general public. A much larger proportion of Catholic women than of evangelical women are in professional and managerial occupations. Currently the gender gap is closing in these ranks; 47 percent of all professional and managerial jobs are filled by women. The income gap is closing, too. Instead of earning 71 cents on every dollar that a man earns, women in professional and managerial ranks earn 90 cents on the dollar. Men no longer have the huge advantage over women in the economy. Affirmative action and equal pay policies have reduced labor-market discrimination. It should come as no surprise that younger white men, including Catholics, are mobilized by Republican wedge-issue appeals. Or that women, including Catholics, are drawn increasingly to the Democratic side. Women have developed a political voice different from that of men.
1996: The year of reckoning?
The Grim Reaper is claiming the New Deal generation. In 1968, when the first group of the baby-boom generation entered the electorate, 74 percent of all Catholic voters were still from the New Deal generation. Twenty years later, when George Bush gained a majority among Catholics who identified with a political party, only 39 percent of the Catholic electorate was from the New Deal generation, a loss of half of that Democratic and faithfully Catholic generation. That is why Republicans smile about the future of the Catholic vote. But the celebration may be premature maybe even for 1996.
None of the generation that claimed to be the true and heirs of Ronald Reagan Jack Kemp, Patrick Buchanan, Dan Quayle, Newt Gingrich, Bill Bennett won the Republican presidential nomination. Instead, Bob Dole, a career politician who was in Washington while Ronald Reagan was still in Hollywood, is the current hope of the party. And the party has moved a long way to the right of the historic Senator Dole and Governor Reagan. When the New Majoritarians first tried to attract Catholics and evangelicals to the Republican fold, they had no idea that there would be a massive realignment of evangelicals, who now control a majority of Republican state party organizations, or that the generation of Catholics most attracted to the party would be cultural moderates or liberals, not conservatives.
They also had no idea that Catholics would pay less attention to the advice of their religious leaders than evangelicals would pay to theirs. Our research routinely shows that evangelical Protestants are the religious group most likely to be aware of political cues from their leaders; Catholics are far less likely to be similarly aware, and mainline Protestants least likely. Work by Lyman Kellstedt on the 1994 congressional elections tells a compelling story. Forty-three percent of church-going evangelicals felt their church leaders were advising them how to vote; 71 percent went to the polls, and 94 percent of these voters selected the Republican candidate. That is a kept flock. You probably would have to go to New York City s Irish parishes over a century ago to find anything like it among Catholics. Evangelicals and the Christian Coalition say to Republicans: We can deliver and we have the track record to prove it. That is both the opportunity and the problem that Bob Dole faces in 1996.
Dole s political experts know that previous Republican candidates have reached about all the Catholic Democratic crossover voters of the New Deal-generation that they can. President Clinton's veto of the partial-birth abortion act may attract a few more. But abortion is only one item in the Republican effort to paint Bill and Hillary Clinton as the full-grown progeny of the 1972 Democratic convention: Remember, the party of amnesty, acid, and abortion? Dole has to reach the Republican-leaning, post-New Deal Catholics who are far more moderate (or permissive, depending on one's perspective) on the social issues. How can he do it and keep the Republican foot soldiers of the Religious Right loyal? The year-long struggle to moderate the abortion plank, and the Republican convention s avoidance of anti-abortion rhetoric, were symptomatic of this dilemma.
There have been increasing efforts to unite evangelicals and Catholics under the Republican tent. To recruit Catholics, the Christian Coalition set up a special organization that appropriated Catholic labels the League of Catholic Voters and the Catholic Alliance. Parish lists have been used for direct mail appeals that give the appearance of common interests. Ralph Reed, executive director of the Christian Coalition, has quoted selectively from social-science research that shows common political interests. But other research by Ted Jelen shows that parts of the evangelical coalition don't trust Catholics any more than they trust Jews or atheists. And the Bishops are not about to turn over their teaching authority to Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, or to the Catholics among the coalition's executives and volunteers.
Given these facts, why are the press and politicians paying so much attention to Catholics in 1996 especially when a "secular Catholic" strategy is the one most likely to yield votes? My research shows that the importance of Catholics as Catholics in the electorate has diminished since 1960. In 1960, 41 percent of all adults were mainline Protestants, and 17 percent of the voters were active churchgoers from mainline Protestant bodies. By 1992, these figures had shrunk to 22 percent and 4 percent. The mainline is the sideline. But active Catholic churchgoers have not filled this vacuum. In 1960, non-Latino, white Catholics were 18 percent of the adult population but, like mainline Protestants, regular churchgoing Catholics were 17 percent of the voters. By 1992, they had grown to 20 percent of the population but had shrunk to 8 percent of the electorate. (Latino Catholics who regularly attend Mass are still less than 2 percent of the electorate.) Who has filled the vacuum? Evangelical Protestants who attend church regularly are 10 percent of the voters and unchurched Americans are 15 percent. The power to define the American political agenda has shifted from centrist religious groups like mainline Protestants and Catholics to the more polar groups of evangelical Protestants and secularists. Therein is found much of the current story of American elections and the so-called "culture wars."
If there is a Catholic story in 1996 it will not be found among the faithful Mass-goers of the dying New Deal generation, but in the less-involved younger Catholics who have little in common with other religious groups now prominent in the Republican party.
Have yourself some fun. Keep a list of every issue in the campaign. Ask: Is that a symbol of something Catholics hold dear, or one they reject? Is the appeal aimed at reinforcing the New Dealers or at attracting the post-New Dealers? What appeals will more effectively court young Catholic women? Which appeals are aimed at the fears of men? Who is using Reagan nostalgia most effectively Dole, Kemp, or even Clinton? In which states do the campaign advertisement buys occur and which themes appear in the ads? When someone else campaigns with the candidates in the crucial states, what kinds of Catholics do they hope to attract? Answering these questions will give you a pretty comprehensive outline of the campaign discourse in election 1996. And you might even have an interesting voter guide.
David C. Leege is a professor of government and international studies and the director of the Program for Research on Religion, Church, and Society at Notre Dame.
The Conscience of a University
Much ink has been spilt in recent years trying to define the Catholic nature of Notre Dame. In I994, President Emeritus Fr. Ted Hesburgh edited a collection of essays -- The Challenge and Promise of a Catholic University (University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame and London) -- intended to advance the debate. One of the contributors, Notre Dame Law Professor Robert Rodes, in a piece entitled "Catholic Universities and the New Pluralism," charted the direction the University will have to take if it is to fulfill its promise to be Catholic and Christian. Basing himself in the documents of Vatican II and a liberationist reading of the Gospels, Bob Rodes gives us the tools to critique the path Notre Dame is taking in becoming a citadel of capitalism. I shall return to this essay.
Late twentieth century capitalism, we are told, has created a "global village." Certainly the free movement of capital, the reach of transnational corporations, the range of US military power and satellite telecommunications have successfully penetrated cultures around the globe, limiting the sovereignty of nations. At the same time, free trade or "free market" ideology - triumphant in the aftermath of the cold war - has numbed moral sensitivities and caused an unprecedented polarization between rich and poor. Subservience to the free market is also thwarting the efforts of those working for the common good at national and international levels - people who seek through politics to meet the basic needs of all human beings. We may be a global village, but as yet there is no global pursuit of the common good.
The industrialized world and rapidly urbanizing, severely stressed societies in Africa, Asia and Latin America have all been subjected to the morally blind forces of the market. On every continent, communal values and theological wisdom are being overwhelmed by greed and a reckless pursuit of profit. Philosopher Richard Rorty has argued in a recent article (New York Times Magazine,, Sept. 29, 1996) that capitalism in the US has brought about an erosion of fraternity. The resulting dog eat dog society, he predicts, is likely to usher in a new dark age as violence increases, putting pressure on the Constitution to the point of collapse - followed by recourse to military rule. The political culture has already deteriorated considerably as both major parties are steadily suborned by corporate interests. What is not so widely acknowledged here on campus, is that these same market forces have come to dominate the University. Our hope lies in the resulting contradictions which are generating a growing sense of crisis and enough anxiety to make us rethink our priorities.
As the campus struggles to discern the essential attributes of a Catholic university, blame for the crisis - the advance of secularization - has focused on the relationship between faith and science, liberalism, individualism, license, the scourge of the Enlightenment, the collapse of an inherited moral consensus, etc. etc.. What is missed - because it would be far too uncomfortable to confront - is the nature of the capitalist enterprise that has been embraced by Notre Dame. Capitalist values and the financial clout of corporate leaders prevail. Instead of witnessing against the cultural hegemony of capitalism, Notre Dame reflects it. Notice our market generated income differentials (the huge discrepancies that exist between faculty colleagues), the composition of our Board of Trustees, our monuments to capitalist heroes, the corporate salaries paid to our top administrators and our unwillingness to take up certain justice issues: for example, the longstanding opposition to trade union activity on campus, whether among groundskeepers, dining hall staff, secretaries or faculty.
Nothing is more important in shaping the ethos of a university than the priorities set in hiring faculty. At Notre Dame the market rules. Not having the assurance generated by a steady record of witnessing to justice, lacking the confidence to establish our own distinct sense of community and unwilling to attract women and men of goodwill on the basis of their wishing to join a university committed to the renewal of society, we all too often fall back on the market and go for mere professional expertise. Time and again, faculty are attracted through the power of the purse. With our eye on academic fashion, we bribe "stars" to come to Notre Dame, often by outbidding other institutions.
A major casualty of this approach was the Department of Economics. In an earlier decade it had begun to establish a national reputation as a place where unfashionable value issues were taken seriously. Hesitating to continue down this road, the strategy (under pressure from the Provost's office) changed to one of employing au courant, (largely mathematical) model- building faculty, which has made the Department much less interesting.. In an interview in Common Sense last month, Douglas Kinsey drew our attention to a comparably disquieting situation, pointing out that market determined salaries are heavily skewed against the Art Department where a distinguished senior professor will earn a salary below that of incoming junior faculty in the Business School. (Next time the Business School hosts a conference on business ethics it might care to use this situation as a case-study.) Another example of the malaise comes from the Department of Government which earlier this year set out to lure a successful British academic. Toying with the Department, he visited the campus on several occasions, negotiating for the top dollar, only to decline the offer - for which the Department had gone out on a limb to make in a context where there was an urgent need to appoint women and minorities. (I suspect he had second thoughts about being stranded in an Indiana cornfield, or possibly a better deal was made elsewhere.) Such cases, and the maneuvers of already appointed and well compensated faculty to pressure Notre Dame into yet further pay hikes, are not unusual. The sad fact is that we have naive administrators who lack confidence and are easily dazzled by high profile academics - particularly those from Latin America and Europe - ready to take advantage of the University's insecurity to squeeze out inflated contracts. The result is a chaotic pattern of salaries which is an affront to sorority and fraternity.
However, to discern the full impact of monied power, we need to look beyond the issue of recruiting and remuneration. Take the board of Trustees, our governing body; it is weighted with extravagantly paid corporate CEOs and their lawyers. Where are the doctors serving in our inner cities, the devoted social workers, trade unionists and leaders of service-oriented NGOs - someone like a former student of mine from the early 1970s, Ray Offenheiser, now President of OXFAM America.? Notice too, how the corporate caste, rather than making their financial contributions in a discreet manner to the University's general revenue, line up for honorary doctorates, give their names to buildings, have their portraits installed and present themselves as role models for our students. One consequence of such trends is the fusing under the Golden Dome of this executive mentality with hierarchical clerical attitudes. The result is an unattractive, elitist blend of male dominance which is deeply resistant to participatory forms of community self-governance. Moral imagination is at a premium: for all the money that swills around Notre Dame, when I requested $100 for textbooks for a course on African history and politics I teach in Michigan State Prison, a top administrator turned down the proposal saying there was no budget line for an item of this sort.
In the context of such a corporate-oriented culture, President Malloy's decision to honor Helen Suzman with the Notre Dame Award in I994 was not surprising. South Africa, having pulled itself back from the brink of civil war, was in the midst of an almost miraculous political transition. Suzman had played an honorable role in earlier decades as an opposition member in the apartheid parliament. She had not, however, been an active member of the liberation movement; her career had been a relatively safe one, representing corporate interests and opposing economic sanctions against the racist regime. She was hardly an heroic example of brave leadership during South Africa's agonizing decade of the 1980s, nor was she an important figure during the country's fraught transition to a non-racial democracy. Of course there were distinguished alternatives: for example, South Africa's eminent theologian, Fr. Albert Nolan, O.P., and his close colleague Rev. Frank Chikane, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Both had been in the forefront of the struggle; Chikane was arrested and tortured several times. He also survived a very near miss in an assassination attempt at the hands of a state hit squad. But Suzman suited Notre Dame admirably with her corporate connections and her opposition to divestment from South Africa - which confirmed the University's own shameful history of investment in the apartheid system. The Suzman award at the moment of South Africa's triumph was simply one consequence of our priorities. There is a pattern here. Take the Laetare Medal. It usually goes to a figure already well celebrated and no threat to economic interests. This year it went to Sr. Helen Prejean for her admirable stand against capital punishment - but only after Hollywood had bestowed its recognition. On the other hand, Caesar Chavez (a devout Catholic), was never honored for his work organizing marginalized migrant workers, starting in the vineyards of California. One of Chavez's early targets, Gallo wines, contributes to Notre Dame's coffers - which could explain the neglect.
While the public image of Notre Dame's clerical and pro- capitalist leadership projects a certain assurance, there is, nevertheless, an underlying sense of unease. Secularization is seen as a constant threat: the fate of Harvard, Yale, Princeton etc., all formerly religious foundations. Currently on offer as an alternative to this outcome, is an attempt to reassert clerical control while emphasizing the exclusive nature of a Roman Catholic institution. The brute fact, however, is that the University is well into a process of secularization, and the responsibility for this lies with top Holy Cross administrators themselves. It is they who grafted a greedy corporate culture onto Notre Dame's academic enterprise. (Mercifully, Roman Catholic fundamentalism - the religious right on campus - is not a serious contender in the debate. Its model of seminary orthodoxy would take us back to the bad old days of pre-Vatican II triumphalism.) Then there is the contradiction (yet to be fully grasped) engendered by Notre Dame's women undergraduates, graduates, faculty and staff. When we went coed, the very nature of the University changed. In the aftermath of this decision, going back to anything that resembles a clerical, Vatican model is unthinkable and unworkable. There is also a deception being practiced, possibly for the benefit of our Trustees, when it is assumed that Moreau Seminary will supply a stream of vocations capable of offering effective leadership. In reality Moreau is largely empty, suffering from the malaise of seminaries everywhere, having only a trickle of qualified candidates. Moreover, if past trends continue, a number of seminarians will opt for service in Africa, Asia or Latin America, where they can still give credible witness to the Gospels rather than trying to live out their vocations in the compromised and materialistic Notre Dame environment.
Instead of circling the wagons defensively, the Holy Cross could try entering a partnership of equality with the rest of our community. In recognition of Notre Dame's founders and generations of Holy Cross dedication, an honorary Chancellorship of the University (without executive authority) might be instituted and reserved for a member of the Order. One obvious advantage of this would be to open up the executive Presidency to a woman. And , of course, they should retain a major role in campus ministry. But what of the future, is there an alternative path? I think there is, but it would require a reformed constitution designed for self-governance, more egalitarian and published salary scales, and a full partnership between women and men, laity and clergy. There should also be a commitment to ecumenism which would welcome other Christian denominations while opening the doors to a vital Jewish and Muslim presence. And why not welcome agnostics and atheists into the dialogue about humanity's religious experience? Such a Catholic university might enjoy international eminence and even make a contribution to heading off the prospect of religious wars in the next century.
The cornerstone for such an endeavor has been described by an old friend (and most orthodox Catholic), Robert Rodes, in the essay mentioned at the top of this piece. There are no appropriate Ivy League models for us to emulate. More alarming for some, in our predicament there are no historical precedents to fall back on. He is also clear that a contemporary and mindless eclecticism will not do. Drawing on Gaudium et Spes, Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution of the Church, he reminds us that: "Human beings, Christian and non-Christian alike, are embarked on a common spiritual journey to which the church stands as witness. At the consummation of history, everything good in human experience will find its place in the kingdom of God." In the political and social order, the church must safeguard "the transcendence of the human person." In more recent church documents, he points out, "this calling has been articulated in terms of a preferential option for the poor." To fulfill this calling, "Christians are to study the world carefully and to read the signs of the times."
Forming Notre Dame as a truly Catholic university means answering Bob Rodes' most telling questions: "Do our teaching and research priorities reflect a preferential option for the poor, a concern for the margins of society?" Or do we set out "to impress the biggest employers," court the wealthiest foundations, publish in the most prestigious journals, become dependent on outside funding and its research agendas - "to the point of exercising a preferential option for the rich?"
Peter Walshe is a Professor in the Department of Government and a Fellow of the Joan Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He is a founding member of Common Sense.
Sexual Primitivism: The Pope's War on Women
The Pope is said to be praying for a miracle. He is after a remission from whatever ails him, so that he will be around in three years to frog-march the Roman Catholic Church into the next millennium. It is a daunting prospect, and quite enough to have considerable numbers of the dissenting faithful hoping that this time God will remain sitting on God's hands. The damage this sacred old monster has done around the world to the cause of women's emancipation from poverty, ignorance and male hegemony, has been quite enough already. He hasn't confined himself to his own sandbox; unhappily this Pope's reach has been global.
Now there is a new book out, His Holiness: John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time, written by two journalists, Carl Bernstein from the Washington Post, and Marco Politi who writes for the Italian daily, La Repubblica. Bernstein and Politi make the case that in return for the Pope's help in bringing down Communism in Central Europe, and preventing its spread in Central America, the US government under both Reagan and Bush permitted this meddlesome, ideological celibate to shape US policy towards organizations that supported or promoted family planning. UN agencies were particularly hard hit.
When John Paul II ascended the "throne of Peter" in 1978, women, particularly in the US, had begun to consolidate their gains following a decade of feminist activism. Catholic women were just as eager to see "men behaving badly" get their come-uppance. Optimism was in the air. John Paul's election did not immediately ring alarm bells; people had the not wholly unrealistic expectation that his experience of living under Communism would have made him a champion of liberty. The trouble was, most of us hadn't a clue about Polish Catholicism or the Pope's personal history. Actually, even observers somewhat more in the know gave him the benefit of the doubt, anticipating nothing much more untoward than the rebarbative impatience of bachelor uncle from the ghetto. No one had plumbed the depths of primitive religion the guy represented. He came to the job carrying an age-old contempt for women, while at the same time projecting oedipal fantasies onto the idealized mother in the person of Jesus' parent. (The result, perhaps, of losing his own mother when he was still quite small, and being raised by a military father who dealt with the loss of his wife by dragging the young son off on pilgrimages to Marian shrines.)
A lot of energy has been spent over the past eighteen years by both governments and individuals, trying to claw back some control from the Pope as he came increasingly to set the agenda on human sexuality. He was also quite perversely supporting population growth rates in parts of the world where they could only lead to disaster. Entreaties by concerned and experienced personal who knew that getting a handle on the population explosion was a sine qua non for development, fell on deaf ears. Any UN conference on the subject has had to contend with a Vatican delegation out on a search and destroy mission. At the national and local levels, the Pope's infantry in the Right to Life Campaign kept the focus exclusively on abortion, shunning or disparaging birth control education. They simply refuse to deal with the unprotected sex that leads to unwanted pregnancy. Some distance hence, we shall doubtless look back on this period with horror, the way we do on other obstructionist tactics the Church has used. Intransigence on birth control today is not really very different from the obscurantism with which the Papacy dealt with the Copernican revolution in the 16th century. On the other hand, one could argue that a flat-earth Pope was relatively harmless when compared to the present chap's encouragement of feckless fecundity.
Remarkably, very little scrutiny has been paid by the mainstream media to John Paul's thinking on the "Second Sex." A woman, he says again in a new pastoral document, "cannot find herself except by giving love to others." Now, at an ontological level, that dictum should hold true for men and women alike; when it is applied solely to women it acquires a sinister edge intended, surely, to undermine a woman's agency. The woman conditioned to think selflessly of "giving love," easily falls into the trap of submissiveness; and one of the inevitable consequences of submissive sex is the unwanted pregnancy. This could explain why Catholic women have a higher abortion rate than their Protestant and Jewish sisters - according to statistics published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Then there is the profound male mystique which lies at the core of Roman Catholicism, and which the Pope himself so stridently symbolizes in his person. This is what we are in fact talking about whenever we refer to his charisma. From the beginning of her life, to its end, all the sacraments of her Church will be mediated to a woman by a man whose essential qualification for the job is his capacity to have an erection. (A male member is not enough; it must be in working order for ordination). It really is as primitive as it sounds. Catholic opposition to birth control is rooted in this fantasy of the penis unbound; so it should come as no surprise that it is easier for a Catholic woman to say "Yes" to an abortion when things go wrong, than "No" to the unsheathed phallus.
Any Right to Life position worth its salt would actively seek alliances with those of us who would teach women to value their sexuality and bodily integrity, and not allow it to be plundered by men who think a condom is an insult to their manhood. (My dear old mother - an experienced midwife - when it came time to give me the facts of life, confided gravely that a standing penis has no conscience.) There is no way a pro-life movement in thrall to the mystique of masculinity can speak effectively to women on sexual matters. Dealing realistically with male sexuality and its dangers means, necessarily, puncturing the mystique.
Those of us who thought there wasn't much to choose between the Ayatollahs in Iran and those in Vatican City will have to think again. While abortion is still outlawed (save in cases where the mother's life is in danger), birth-control clinics are popping up all over Iran. Seems the poor dears were being overrun by progeny. At least 45% of the population is under seventeen. (Imagine living in a country bursting at the seams with all that juvenile energy.) Since the revolution at the end of the 1970s, the population went from 35 to 60 million. So Koranic texts were mustered to legitimize, inter alia, the condom and the vasectomy. Iranian couples are now required to take a course in family planning before they get a marriage license. At last, two cheers for the old mullahs....
Nothing like this is going to happen in the Roman Church until after the present Pope has popped his clogs. And, as he has packed the College of Cardinals with clones, it is quite likely that he will be succeeded by a real turkey. But it won't matter much, because history will have moved on and the new fellow is not going to be allowed the grace period that was given to J P 11. A chastened public will think twice before jumping on the next Popemobile; words like charismatic, holy and visionary will be quietly shelved.
Writing in the New York Review of Books, John Judt, Director of the Remarque Institute at New York University, draws a telling parallel between John Paul 11 and Innocent 111, who became Pope in 1198. "Energetic and authoritarian, Innocent set about centralizing power in the Medieval Church... preached and organized an unsuccessful Fourth Crusade against the Infidel in 1204, and a brutal and utterly effective Crusade against the Albigensian heretics of southwest France..." Besides, he subordinated his bishops and meddled extensively in European politics (he brought down one medieval Emperor, Otto V, and raised another, Frederick II). Judt writes: "With Innocent III, the medieval papacy attained the zenith of its secular and theological influence." Nemesis, however, was around the corner. Innocent had vastly overreached himself and "set in motion those forces - secular and spiritual - that would lead to the downfall of the medieval church." Thus began the process that culminated in the Reformation.
Ann Pettifer is an alumna of Notre Dame.
Step-Children at Our Lady's University
You are probably already aware of the ordeal that Nikole Hannah and her roommate Tiana experienced on the night of September 7- unless you are one of the many typical Domers who avoid the Viewpoint section of The Observer escape the reality that all that glitters at the University of Our Lady is not Gold.
The prevailing sentiment is that Viewpoint articles are for those who whine and complain about life at Notre Dame, rehashing the tired questions of race, equality, and other typical minority concerns . The advice commonly given to Nikole and others who have chosen to bring attention to the ills affecting relations among ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, and Native American) students and Caucasian students: You pay to be here; if you don t like it leave!
On the night of September 7, Nikole and Tiana encountered racism first hand. These two Black females found themselves stranded when their car died on Bulla road, at the last stop sign before D-2. Being relatively close to campus they expected offers of assistance from their fellow Notre Dame students and Security; instead they were greeted with the bitter fumes of exhausts as people hurriedly continued on their way. Then as thy continued to push their car in the dark, they met two vehicles full of white, athletic-looking students, yelling at them to get out of the way. While the first vehicle drove around them, the second stayed and continued to harass Nikole and Tiana. One of the athletes (later identified as a ND football player) hurled the racial slur that would spur a Three-Day Forum (Racism, Who s the Victim?): Get out of the way, you g--damn niggers! The two women then failed to receive common courtesy from ND Security, who were surprised to find that Nikole and Tiana were ND students (despite their ND parking decal and Domer 97 license plates). To the women s great dismay, Security seemed to take pleasure in being exceptionally rude. The experience, Nikole points out in her article lead her to the conclusion that she and others like her are not meant to be a part of the Notre Dame family.
Earlier I referred to the Three-Day Forum which addressed Black Students Only (Day 1), White Students Only (Day 2), and All Students (Day 3). At the first meeting eighty-two out of three- hundred and fifteen Black undergrad and graduate students attended. On the second night, there were roughly less than forty Caucasian students. On the final night there was a large and diverse assembly. If there is any meaning in these numbers, it is this: Racism is an issue for ALANA students; majority students need not get involved! The sad fact happens to be that while ALANA students are taught the culture of the majority, the majority is not inclined to expose itself to other cultures.
What will the Notre Dame community learn from this episode? So far Nikole Hannah has learned that she has the support of many ALANA students, faculty, Campus Ministry and Student Government. She also discovered that once her case went to a hearing she was no longer was a victim but a witness- and therefore not entitled to know the decision made regarding the accused. So while she has lost all anonymity, the accused receives protection from the University. Notre Dame is not a color-blind university, in spite of our love for football and our predominantly Black Defense. It is time to recognize that differences between the races are not bad; it is our biased interpretations of those differences that lead us astray. Diversity is not always easy to accept because it requires respecting things that one maybe utterly unfamiliar with. But if we claim to be a community with a moral conscience, it is necessary to seek a fuller, more complex and more beautiful vision of society. Otherwise ALANA students will forever be the neglected step- children of this institution. My hope is that this incident has shed light on the need for our community to deepen its awareness of all of its members, improve relations between Security and students and provide additional safety measures such as Emergence Call boxes to offer more protection to women. But above all else, I hope that more and more Domers will stop negating cultural differences, come to appreciate them and strive to treat people with the respect and love that being a part of the University of Notre Dame demands.
Cheryl Igiri is Diversity Commissioner for Student Government.
The Comparative Advantage of Exploiting Children
In 1817, the political economist David Ricardo argued that a country tends to manufacture commodities whose production costs are comparatively lower than the cost of producing the same commodities in another country. "It is this principle," he wrote in his book Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, "which determines that wine shall be made in France and Portugal, that corn shall be grown in America and Poland, and that hardware and other goods shall be manufactured in England." Ricardo's principle of comparative advantage suggested that, due to the low cost of corn-growing, it was advantageous for the US to persist in selling corn to countries like France and England. France, likewise, should continue to specialize in wine. England, enjoying the advantages of early industrialization would continue to produce and export manufactured goods.
While over the years economists have developed and modified Ricardo's notion of comparative advantage, it is still considered to be the fundamental rationale of free trade. Today for example, the US is a large exporter of hi-tech products, while India is a major exporter of silk. Free trade among countries is one of the cornerstones of the capitalist ideal, and Ricardo's notion of comparative advantage is at its very core.
The theory of comparative advantage's weakness is that it is static. It does not explain how countries shift from one specialization to another --how their economic institutions, skills and cost structures can be changed. Likewise, it fails to acknowledge that political decisions ought to eradicate extreme patterns of economic exploitation and human rights abuses. For example, it is precisely the notion of comparative advantage which exacerbates and helps sustain child labor.
Allow me to explain: In India there are between 60 and 115 million working children. In the book Small Hands of Slavery, Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims that at least 15 million of these are bonded, which is an especially brutal form of exploitation. "Bonded child labor" refers to the phenomenon of children working in conditions of servitude in order to pay off a debt often incurred by a parent. It is not unusual for a seven year old child to work 14 hour days in a sweat shop, a field or a stone quarry so as to pay off such a debt. Due to outrageous interest rates and pitiful wages, a child may work for ten years and still not be able to pay off a $35 loan taken out by his or her parent.
Kali is a bonded child. She is nine years old and has been working in a silk factory since she was six. HRW explains that following the death of Kali's father, her mother accepted a $100 loan so as to pay for the funeral and also to help feed the bereaved family.
Kali is a slave. She leaves home each morning at 7:00 and returns at 9:00 in the evening. She earns 3 cents an hour, or an average of 8 dollars a month for her 14 hour days. Kali told HRW that her employer scolds her fiercely if she is late and beats her if she asks about her wages. She can't leave this job until the $100 are repaid, but she and her mother do not earn enough to cover the family's monthly expenses, let alone pay back the debt.
HRW points out that girls "are often treated worse than boys, as they are subject to gender-specific forms of abuse from their employers, including rape." More than half of the children will never learn the barest skills of literacy , while many have been "working since the age of four or five, and by the time they reach adulthood they may be irrevocably sick or deformed -- they will certainly be exhausted old men and women by the age of forty, likely to be dead by fifty."
In other words, within the existing global economy, a child is merely a commodity. The vulnerable girl or boy is India's comparative advantage, producing a great deal in proportion to the pay received -- often no more than 40 cents for a 14 hour day. It is therefore no surprise that children are utilized in the production of many export-related industries such as silver, synthetic gemstones, silk, and leather. The handwoven carpets industry alone employs 300,000 children. Most children, however, actually work in agriculture, indicating that children are also a comparative advantage within the domestic market.
Although India's government is responsible for this horrendous phenomenon -- primarily by neglecting to enforce child labor laws - - it is not only up to India to arrest the exploitation of its children. The unconstrained market place, which treats everything and everyone as a commodity that can be exchanged for money, is also to blame. Until the world economic order is deliberately changed, as we human beings make a political decision to provide the basic needs for each new generation, it will always be comparatively advantageous for the poorer countries with whom we share this planet to employ and exploit children.
Neve Gordon is a graduate student in the Department of Government.
What Price Does it Cost to Silence Queers at ND?
An Address given by Kathleen Biddick at the Gender Studies' Critical Issues Roundtable, October 9, 1996.
Today I want to talk about economic aspects of the production of knowledge. I want to ask the very troubling question: are intellectual positions which should be arrived at through critique and dialogue actually being bought with outside money on this campus. In plain talk I can restate this question as follows: What price does it cost to silence queers at the University of Notre Dame? A penny, a dollar, or perhaps a lot of money? Before I lay out my concerns about the production of knowledge regarding gender and sexuality at the University of Notre Dame, bear with me and let me go over some facts.
I think by now that you all know that GLND/SMC receives no funds from student government, since its applications for student group status have been repeatedly denied on grounds of Catholic character. I think you all know too that the group for gays and lesbians constituted by Student Life and Campus Ministry, called ND/LAGS provides the students with neither budget nor the civil right to invite speakers to campus, a right enjoyed by other student groups. safely defined by their sexual identity as heterosexual. Nor can students in either GLND/SMC or ND/LAGS represent themselves collectively as a student group in the campus media, namely The Observer and the radio station. In short administration policy which in fact goes against the considered and democratically argued mandates of elected constituencies of this campus ranging from Student Government to Faculty Senate silences gay, lesbian and bi-sexual students, strips them of their intellectual civil rights, and imprisons them in a closet by virtue of their sexual identity. Those are facts.
It is also a fact that the Gender Studies operating budget, that is the fund out of which we sponsor and co-sponsor visiting scholars to this campus amounts to $4,000. Gender Studies is proud of its record in using this money tactically to open up urgently needed scholarly conversations about gender, sexuality, and race on this campus. The excellent student reports presented to the Board of Trustees last spring on multiculturalism and co- residentiality underscored the urgency of curricular dialogue and reform supported by Gender Studies, that is the reform of how knowledge is produced on this campus and by whom. I hope those reports have not been buried. If so, go ask your representatives in Student Government to resurrect them with the utmost urgency and put them where they belong, front and center in the discussion of alcoholism on this campus which has been mandated by President Malloy for the Campus Life Council and the Academic Council.
Keep this background in mind, the economic constraints on campus intellectual debate around the issues of gender, sexuality and race, as I change gears and bring you on a tour of the Bradley Foundation located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I want to offer you some facts about this Foundation and then make some observations about their traffic on this campus and then ask you to go back to your dorms and dining halls and talk among yourselves about the way knowledge is coming to be bought and sold at Notre Dame.
The Bradley Foundation came to prominence in 1985 when the assets jumped from less than 14 million to over 400 million dollars. It disburses annually approximately 25-30 million dollars. It is now regarded as the largest of the leading 4 conservative endowments in the country which include the Smith Richarson (endowment of 367 million) the Sare Scaife (208 million) and the Olin Foundation (139 million). Together these "four sisters" largely front the conservative Washington think tanks: the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. What kinds of specific projects does the Bradley Foundation fund-- here is a partial list and I ask you to draw your own conclusions:
(I) they supported Dinesh D'Souza as he finished his recent book, The End of Racism which argues among other things that (1) slavery is not racist; (2) segregation was not racist since it "permitted african americans to perform to the capacity of their arrested development"; (3) that racism is no longer a problem in America
(II) they supported Charles Murray, co-editor with Richard Herrnstein of the book The Bell Curve which discussed the genetic inferiority of blacks
(III) they helped to fund Davic Brock's 1992 book The Real Anita Hill, which characterized Anita Hill as "slightly nutty slightly slutty" and so on
(IV) they donated $83,000 with no strings attached to Christina Hof Sommers to write her book Who Stole Feminism (feminism is definitely an obsessive topic with the Foundation)
I think you get the drift here--the Bradley Fund and its cross- linked affiliates at the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and the Olin foundation in NY seem to derive special pleasure in targeting blacks, especially black women. One of their cohort, Clint Bolick, wrote the well-placed editorial in the Wall Street Journal that helped to bring down Lani Guinier, Clinton's choice to head the civil rights division of the Justice Department.
These are big national potatoes. The Bradley Foundation is also very interested in forming conservative (racist? homophobic? misogynistic) intellectual elites among students at leading universities. They have interests in the Institute of Education Affairs which funds students on scores of US college campuses to begin and continue publication of right wing campus newspapers through a front known as the Collegiate Network. The Bradley Foundation also donates to the Coalition for Student Awareness which also has links to Collegiate Network. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison this kind of foundation support caused problems. The right wing student publication The University of Wisconsin Times funded by the Bradley Fund has became embroiled in campus controversy for using racial invective several times. The University Chancellor John Schroeder denounced the newspaper but said that student newspapers are constitutionally protected. The paper was put on probation by the university in 1994
The story could go on. Let me turn now to my final fact. Did you notice when you opened volume I, #1 of Right Reason last November 1995, and #2 in Feb 1996 and #3 in April 1996, that the masthead ends with, and I quote, "special thanks to the Bradley Foundation." Is this the Foundation we want to invest in the intellectual elite at Notre Dame. Who could be funding the Right Reason lawsuit, I wonder, against senior Tony Silva?
Let me conclude--the production of knowledge at Notre Dame is not an even playing ground--and the issue of who gets funded and who does not get funded and silence does not end at the campus gate! It goes to Milwaukee, to Washington and New York. The time has come to fight for the democratic, contested production of intellectual knowledge at Notre Dame--do not yield to silencing! It is not Ok for gay and lesbian students to be silenced--I urge you to join actively with them to ensure their civil rights, their civil rights are your own civil rights!
Kathleen Biddick is an Associate Professor in the History Department and the Director of the Gender Studies Program.
Watching the PBS series "With God on Our Side: the Rise of the Religious Right" has proven to be a seriously painful for an innocent teacher of Bible like me. One figure after another pronounced biblical fulminations on matters fully as distant from the biblical authors as Star Trek, with an assurance that reminded me of Jim Lehrer summarizing the news. Alyssa Katz appears to have accepted their assertion that they know what the bible means; in her review of the series for The Nation, she writes: "The value of the Bible has been well established in literary, historical and spiritual terms; as a Rules for Radicals for the Christian right, it can't be beat" (October 14, 1996). In her view, the claim that the bible literally interpreted is the word of God gives the Right a permanent weapon in the culture wars. Liberal and Left views that the Bible, like other books, is subject to a multiplicity of meanings she finds politically useless.
The recognition of multiple meanings may be politically ineffective, but the right-wing claim to abide by literal interpretation of the text remains no more than a claim. When the Christian right produces a rulebook from the Bible, it must use the same sort interpretive methods that other Christians use: context, recontextualization, analogy and even allegory are required even to find a mention of many of the causes that are so dear to right-wing hearts. It would be difficult to show that abortion is ever referred to in the Bible. The texts that demand submission from wives are vitiated by also requiring obedience from slaves (Col 3:9-10, Eph 5:21-6:10). Even the supposedly clear interdictions of homosexuality (Lev 20:13, Rom 1:18-31, 1 Cor 6:9-11) require some work to make them prohibit twentieth-century lives or practices. In the case of the NT, they are not prohibitions but rather offhand examples of immorality, and at least in 1 Cor 6:10-11 the Greek words cannot not translated with direct equivalents, but rather are given meanings considered by the interpreters to be the analogous contemporary practices.
One of the most shocking moments in "With God on Our Side" is footage of a Billy Graham sermon from the fifties; during which Graham announces that Jesus was on the side of private property. Huh? Jesus, the guy who is supposed to have traveled with a common purse? to have expected recruits to the movement to sell everything and give to the poor? to have boasted about having nowhere to lay his head? to have suggested giving away your shirt to anyone who stole your coat? It's hard to tell much for certain about the Jesus behind the gospels, but while they don't claim that Jesus ever said "property is theft" they certainly give the very strong impression that he would have found that a nice précis of the situation.
Having devoted more than twenty-five years of study and teaching New Testament, I have a deep engagement to its connection to a world of justice. But I am not trying to argue that the Bible is "ok," safe for women, people of color, gays. In fact, I've spent quite a lot of ink unveiling its patriarchal commitments. Nor am I trying to argue that we of the left have the true and only interpretation of the Bible. Indeed, I don't much believe in arguing about the Bible at all, especially not with those who are sure what it means. Instead, I want to put forward my conviction that biblical interpretation is best known by its investments, often enough quite literal investments.
Despite my awareness of the degree to which every interpretation of the Bible is bound to the horizons and the concerns of the interpreter, I find it startling how far the right has managed to highjack biblical ethics by convincing their audience that God is more worried about enforcing the missionary position and advancing the date of dinosaurs than in economic equity. The supposed issues of the 1996 campaigns (and in fact of every campaign since 1980) help clarify their motivation for this. By making sex, drugs and rap lyrics the cause of US economic woes and by coding them racially, the right has deployed a smokescreen over the steady sixteen year progress of the upward distribution of wealth.
This smokescreen has not come cheap, but no matter -- it has found willing funders in right-wing foundations based on corporate fortunes and corporate interests. One of these is the Olin Foundation, whose tame chaired professor at Harvard has busily obscured the drastic effects of its depleted uranium shells on Gulf War Vets. Its intellectual interests are shared by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which provided funding for the first issues of our very own ND-focused right-wing rag, Right Reason, whose October issue truly earned the originally humorous sobriquet "White Wheezin". The Bradley Foundation intends to make funding for conservative papers in schools one of its priorities for the future. It's interesting that Right Reason's latest issue does not acknowledge their help; can it be that the devoutly Catholic president of the foundation, Michael Joyce, was made just a touch nervous by wild-eyed attacks on so distinguished an OWM cleric as Ted Hesburgh? The foundation certainly wasn't worried by the racism and sexism the paper has displayed; direct or indirect grants from Bradley have supported such monuments of racist and anti-feminist screed as Dinesh D'Souza's The End of Racism, Murray and Herrenstein's The Bell Curve, Christina Hoff Sommers' Who Hijacked Feminism? and Clint Bolick's scurrilous The Real Anita Hill.
Seeing Bradley and Olin among the credits for the PBS series gave me a real jolt; obviously, the Right finds itself adequately represented. On the basis of the first two episodes, this is frightening; the series proceeds by letting movers and shakers of the religious Right talk, juxtaposing them with their opponents, and using archival footage. I found the resulting portrait devastating; they seem to like it. I wonder whether they see "With God on Our Side" as a triumphal progress toward the elections. That would help to explain Ralph Reed's compromise with the formerly secular Republican Beelzebubs. But it should not distract the rest of us from what happened at the Republican National convention: the "moral" commitments and "Christian" values of the religious right were welcomed into the supposedly inclusive platform, while the economic issues that originally won Buchanan his following were safely excluded. One of the all-time great misappropriations of scripture occurred when Pat Buchanan, at the point of delivering over the benighted populists of his so-called patriot movement to the Republican nominee, predicted of himself, "one day, the stone the builders rejected will become the cornerstone" (Ps 118:22; applied by Jesus to himself in Mark 12:10- 12; cf. Acts 4:11, 1 Pet 2:7).
My point here is not that religious commitments and biblical interpretation should steer clear of politics; on the contrary, I believe rather that all interpretive activity is political. Nor do I believe that all appeals to the Bible in politics are made to coerce, muddle or deceive citizens. But it behooves all of us to keep an eye on the sleight of hermeneutics: whose politics, and whose economics, are biblical references being made to serve?
Mary Rose D'Angelo is an associate professor in the Department of Theology and is a member ofCommon Sense.
Jeff and Newt: Friends for Life?
In February, 1995 1 was fortunate to join some of New Jersey's political and business big shots for a dinner in Washington. This annual affair, which attracts a variety of the biggest names in American politics to speak at a dinner in the Washington Sheraton, has been an outlet for some good old fashioned schmoozing by state political junkies for over 60 years.
It was also the first time I met Newt.
Outside the ballroom a vendor was hawking those celebrity portraits commonly found in shopping malls and amusement parks. Customers could choose a variety of political figures, from Rush Limbaugh to Bill and Hillary to New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman. However the most popular personality chosen by the dinnergoers was overwhelming: Newt, Newt, Newt.
I couldn't pass up a chance to be seen with the harbinger of the Third Wave, the John Adams behind the Contract With America, and the focal point for the empowerment of the individual, so I joined the crowd and asked to be photographed with Newt.
Now the Cobb county Congressman wasn't sitting alongside the camera like any old cardboard cutout. I had to sit in a chair and the photographer then took my picture with a video camera. Superimposed on the photo was a computer-generated image of the Capitol and a virtual head and shoulders belonging to a jovial, beaming Newt Gingrich. Not knowing how to react, I foolishly pointed my left hand at Newt's open, laughing mouth, drawing the attention away from my awkward grin to Newt's provocative puss.
So I now have this souvenir photo of a cyber-Newt, housed in a cardboard frame reminiscent of those visits to the shopping mall Santa as a kid. This time, however, my picture was not with jolly Saint Nick but with the Grinch himself, the one who I'm told would emphatically tell the residents of Whoville he was pilfering their Christmas goodies to get the welfare state of Santa Claus off their backs.
Still, I craved more Newt.
During the dinner, the business folks made their round of introductions, pointing out New Jersey's Congressional delegation and other state figures. I then heard a murmur spread through a section of the crowd as beams of camera lights emanated from a nearby corridor. The Speaker was approaching. The mostly- Republican crowd of small business owners rose to their feet, cheering their new liberator.
During all the hoopla, Newt took the dais bathed in a blue spotlight, hounded by a few fans bent on meeting the junior revolutionary. Turning to my friend, a plan began to hatch.
"Jeff," he said eagerly, "let's go up there and get our pictures signed by Newt. What chance is there that we'll never be able to do this again?"
He was right. Either Newt would be thrown out of office and be forced to host a talk radio program for all eternity or I would be imprisoned for illegally harboring an atheistic welfare mother without an internet-ready laptop computer. This was my prime opportunity.
We confidently strode up on the dais, weaving our way through the wide-eyed well-wishers. Governor Whitman, who was seated next to Gingrich, looked up at me and realized that I was NOT the evening's hired help.
"Excuse me Governor," I said politely but as a-matter-of-factly, "but we're here to see Newt."
Without even looking at my silly photograph the Speaker scribbled something on the frame with his pen and handed it to me:
"To Jeff -- Your friend, Newt Gingrich."
I was awed. I was no longer some minute obstacle to the Republican Revolution. I was Newt's friend.
I held the picture close to my heart in my breast pocket and proudly transported it back home to New Jersey where I prominently displayed the image on my desk.
Eighteen months later I still enjoy the reaction people get when they spy the small picture in the cardboard frame. I would bet that about half of them are stunned, with a percentage of them asking me why the heck I would put that [obscene scatological reference] on my desk. The remainder of the desk viewers look puzzled at first and then join in with the two grinning idiots in the photo. They get the joke. I tell them that it's my "get out of jail free" card when the Speaker lines up his enemies along the proverbial execution wall in the waning days of the Republican Revolution. They wish they too could be a "Friend of Newt" and walk off.
As with the Speaker, it takes gumption, and on that cold February night in the Washington Sheraton, my gumption resulted in the beginning of a new friendship with Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the House.
Jeff Jotz is a 1992 Graduate of the University of Notre Dame and occasional contributor to Common Sense. He resides in Jersey City, NJ.