Tina Beattie is a academic theologian at Catholic influenced, secular school in Britain. She has recently given her opinion on several controversial issues within the catholic church and in doing this has upset many practicing Catholics. Beattie has questioned Catholic teaching on two major issues: Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage. Her views on both matters were publicly and professionally displayed and in no way attacked Catholicism but merely questioned their views, opening the two issues up for an academic discussion. Shortly after, many bloggers, namely religious heads of the Catholic church and others, began to attack her and reference broken pieces of her writings and slandering her to be a heretic. Beattie is a practicing Catholic and a loving wife and mother and the images portrayed in these one-sided remarks are currently defaming her to be a defiant rebel who publicly denounces catholic teachings. Beattie has respectfully stood her ground amidst all of this slander and as an educator and woman she has both academically and personally stood by her views in these controversial topics. Below are some links to both defaming blogs as well as Beattie's response to the chaos.
Tina Beattie was scheduled to arrive at the USD campus this past Tuesday and was to stay for 6 weeks and give three lectures: On November 8th, “Visions of Paradise: Women, Sin and Redemption in Christian Art.” On November 12th, “Women in Catholic Education since Vatican II.” And on November 29th, “The Catholic Church and Human Rights: Debates, Dialogues and Conflicts.” These lectures have been planned for months and were a great honor for USD to have such a distinguished theologian. About a week ago, Mary Lyons, President of USD, rescinded her invitation on accounts that Tina Beattie was not following Catholic teachings (this letter can be seen in Beattie's response link above). There are a number of speculations as to why this was done; donor support, influence from the Cardinal Newman Society, support of Catholic officials and others. The issue does not lie on the fact that Beattie has publicly questioned Catholic laws but more importantly it addresses academic freedom.
As a Catholic 'influenced' school with core values that state creating an inclusive environment and fostering academic freedom how does this act by our president follow our university's values. In response to this event, not only have we been put in bad standing with the Association of American Educators but we have also become the laughing stock for other schools (including UCSD and SDSU who are now trying to invite Beattie) and several news channels. Tina Beattie was not coming to USD to oppose her views on students she was merely coming to lecture on different theological topics. I ask you, is this discrimination against a knowledgeable and distinguished professor worth the money and support of those who cannot separate opinion with education?
Regardless of agreeing with her views or not, we should all support Tina Beattie not only because we are an inclusive campus but because we believe in academic freedom and that an opinion whether agreed with or not should be allowed to be voiced and the person not discriminated against because of it.
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