Knights misunderstand free speech
Letter to the Editor
The letter from the Knights of Columbus printed Feb. 18, entitled, "`Monologues' deny Catholic values,'" shows a complete misunderstanding for the concept of free speech. While the letter makes the claim that the group celebrates free speech, it is clear from the letter that they celebrate only speech with which they agree. Complaints about the legitimacy of "The Vagina Monologues" as art and claims that the play expresses views which oppose the Church simply lead me to believe that the Knights of Columbus wish to censor those views with which they disagree.
Free speech is not valuable because every instance of its use is admirable; free speech is valuable because it creates an environment for discourse in which individuals may freely make an informed decision about which idea is best. If "The Vagina Monologues" is trash, then we ought to welcome it here so that we may have an open disussion about why the play's thoughts do or do not coincide with Christian teaching.
Likewise, if a pro-choice speaker wishes to come to Notre Dame, I welcome that speaker. I welcome that person not because I am pro-choice, but because I believe the discourse that follows makes it all the more apparent why one ought to be pro-life.
Father Sorin wanted this to be a Catholic institution. The University is where the Church can do its best thinking. We are talking about the same church that, at one time, persecuted Galileo, forbid Catholics from reading "The Catcher in the Rye," and now some members of that church would like to forbid us from seeing "The Vagina Monologues." Do we ever learn from our mistakes? God help us if the Knights of Columbus become the authority on what is and is not art.
Feb. 18, 2002
All Viewpoint Stories for Thursday, February 21, 2002