I am Catholic. My entire life I was part of the private school, plaid jumper education. Attending Marquette, I was under the impression in such a collegiate, academic setting students would be allowed to “Be the Difference.” Being the difference: not using our religion as a crutch or a blindfold, but rather, the backbone to our beliefs and value system.
There is a time and place for everything. Religion should be latticed throughout the moral fibers of our life- it should not, however, conflict with what should be taught in the school curriculum and should not be hindered by a person’s belief system.
I know students who believe that we should be instilled with our Catholic value system not only in our morals, but in our school curriculum. Although this is a Catholic school, is there room for acceptance amidst diversity? Marquette says it believes in diversity, but in reality, it believes so long as it does not impede or trample any ideals of the Catholic identity.
We need more classes that beg students to look beyond the blinders of a typical homogenous religiously inspired education system. This is not the 1960s where classrooms are forbidden to teach evolutionary theory. In the same way, Marquette should feel free to teach beyond the narrow focus of theology curriculum that is often force-fed to students. Theology, as the term is defined means “theos,” which is God and “logos,” meaning word. Combined, theology is not just the study of a Christian God; it encompasses all aspects of what religion, whether it be Christianity, Buddhism, or even Atheism.
Take for instance the masses offered on Marquette’s University homepage. The only masses advertised fall under the broad umbrella of Christianity (Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc.) Aside from these resources, there is no additional information listed of other faith opportunities that are in Milwaukee such as mosques, temples or Zen Centers (all within blocks of Marquette’s campus).
An obvious indicator of Marquette’s overbearing Catholic attitude is firmly evident in student health services. Health educators are not allowed to address relevant issues of women’s health, such as birth control. Although Marquette is a Catholic school, it’s safe to say that most students are not strict Catholics, who prefer to read the Catechism by night, rather than checking in their significant other minutes before 2:00 a.m. A bigger issue to address here is that women who use birth control many times are on birth control for other reasons outside of being sexual active. Some women go on birth control to regulate their periods, alleviate cramps or ovarian cysts or even to help clear up acne. Instead of recognizing the fact that birth control is not a black and white issue, Marquette’s Catholic identity is thrust upon half of the student body who are coerced into believing that if they are on some form of birth control, they are a slut.
I am not here to tell students that being Catholic is not bad- at Marquette, however, our Catholic identity is many times, used as a blindfold to what is really going on in Milwaukee and with students at Marquette. We need students to look at their faith system and use it as a means to reinforce their beliefs, not be the only point of reference in making decisions. Marquette needs to look beyond their Catholic identity to enhance their diversity and acceptance, realizing that once and for all- being Catholic means being inclusive and not judgmental.