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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CUA chapter.

Why I Stood

As one might assume, The Catholic University of America tends to lean towards the conservative side. As a general rule, we are not allowed to have anyone come to campus to speak on a subject which does not fall in line with Catholic Social Teaching (i.e. no pro-choice speakers, no pro-gay marriage speeches). Even though the University claims to celebrate their students with religious, ethnic and ideological diversity, they come up short when it comes to making those students feel comfortable within the majority Catholic community.

For three years I have rolled my eyes and avoided attending any events which did not agree with my beliefs. After holding my tongue on countless occasions, I decided that I needed to embrace my differences and be proud of my opinions and my right to voice them. I know that I am not the only one who has felt suppressed, and by making myself known (as a LGBTQIA+ ally, and feminist) I hope that others may feel more comfortable voicing their differing views and feeling less alone.

This past week the ISI CounterCulture Society, a new student org which analyzes movies, tv shows and books “from a conservative-minded perspective,” hosted an event where they invited conservative blogger Matt Walsh to speak about a recent article he published on the website The Blaze in which he condemned Georgia Governor Nathan Deal for vetoing a bill which would have allowed private businesses’ to deny service to customers who are members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The speech, titled “Pay Attention, Christians. They’re Coming After The Churches Now” included sentiments such as that “This is why you cannot compromise with leftists. They do not want to come to an understanding — they want obedience.” And “Christianity itself is bigoted and hateful, they believe”. Some titles of his other blog posts include “I Will Not Allow My Daughter to Become a Victim of Gender Equality” (What?!), “Sorry, Girls Just Have to Deal With Being Assaulted for the Sake of Trans People” (Excuse me?), and “#ShoutYourAbortion Proves That Modern Liberalism Is A Satanic Death Cult” (Ok sorry I’m done)


Once we found out that this hateful man was to be present on our campus, me and a few other people decided that something needed to be said and done about it. Rather than construct a boisterous chant, or block Walsh from entering the room, we took the higher road and decided to band in solidarity at the back of the room, silently making our presence known, yet not shoved in everyone’s faces.

I didn’t stand in protest so that this man wouldn’t speak. Nor was our intention to take all of the focus away from him so that we could get the spotlight. I stood up because it was something I felt needed to be done, and I wanted to prove to the school that there are safe spaces, and people who support those whose lives may not always fall exactly in line with the majority. I kept thinking, what if there was a gay student in the audience, attending the event for extra credit for a class (which was a large population of the attendance) and he/she was to hear this and assume that this truly was the Christian/ Catholic University stance?

So what were the highlights of this speech? Well it began as soon as myself and about 5 other students silently pulled out a flag bearing the equality sign of the Human Rights Campaign. Walsh took immediate notice and called us out, trying to provoke us into having an argument with him over the rights of Gay marriage 5 minutes into his speech. My friend respectfully declined and informed him that we were not here to stoop into a petty argument. He later informed the audience that the first Liberal was named Satan. Then, he turned to violence, using phrases such as “impaling enemies” and stating that if he saw someone disrespect his religion (such as by throwing a communion host on the ground) he would commit first degree assault and make them pay. He encouraged the Catholic audience to have this same mindset when defending their religion.  In short, he was preaching a message more similar to that of radical ISIS members rather than the lessons of compassion and forgiveness found in the Bible.

I am glad that this event happened. Reflecting back, I am grateful that this man spoke on campus, because it gave us open-minded students a chance to establish ourselves and show that we exist and care for each other. I would not want to deny someone else the chance to express their beliefs, no matter how much I disagree with them, because in doing so I lose my rights to share my alternate opinion.

From this experience I have gained the most amazing confidence, and I cannot encourage everyone enough to jump at any opportunity to be a voice for what you believe in. It is one of the most important lessons one can learn, especially in the college years before adulthood. Stay strong and slay on, ladies.


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