One of the country’s largest universities has been accused of heavy-handed censorship after it suspended a Catholic society from its campus for distributing alleged homophobic material.
The National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) suspended the Legion
of Mary as a college society last week after the distribution of
posters with the headline, “I’m a child of God. Don’t call me gay.”
In a statement, the university said it would not condone the
production and dissemination of any material by students that
discriminated against other students.
However, one of the main
organisations opposing censorship around the world criticised the
university’s decision to suspend the Catholic lay group’s presence on
Speaking to The Irish Catholic this week, Index on Censorship’s
spokesman and senior writer, Padraig Reidy, said: “While the view
expressed in the flyer may seem out of place on a modern Irish
university campus, it doesn’t constitute intimidation or threats. I don’t think NUI Galway have given any serious thought to the
religious liberty or free speech of the Legion of Mary students.
Universities are meant to be places where people learn to argue and find
their way as adults. The issue at stake here is that they have peacefully put forward
their views, without threat or abuse, and have still been punished, with
even evidence of the Legion’s student society status removed from NUI
Galway’s website. How this can happen when students are ‘protected’ from
even the slightest controversy, I really don’t know,” he said.
The suspension came after complaints were made against the Courage
Community, a Legion of Mary linked group responsible for the posters
pasted up on university billboards around the campus.
The A4-sized posters offered those of “same sex attractions” to
“develop an interior life of chastity... to move beyond the confines of
the homosexual label to a more complete identity in Christ”.