A CATHOLIC philosopher who authored a paper titled Law, Morality and “Sexual Orientation” that discusses the “evil of homosexual conduct” will be a guest lecturer at Fremantle’s Notre Dame University this week.
Professor John Finnis, a Rhodes Scholar who nominated his friend Aung Sun Suu Kyi for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, authored the paper in 1997.
His June 4 public lecture at Tannock Hall (starts 6pm) will discuss “opposing ‘death with dignity’ and ‘same sex marriage’: faith or reason?’”.
Equality campaigners are planning to protest the lecture, labelling Prof Finnis’ appearance a slap in the face for gay and lesbian students.
“There’d be a climate of fear coming out of this, especially if it’s unchallenged,” says Equal Love convenor Sam Cavallaro.
“A university should consider what sort of message it’s sending its students by inviting someone like that to speak.
“This person is promoting these homophobic views that are really to the detriment to someone who is of a diverse sexuality.”
In his paper, Prof Finnis remarks: “Can [my arguments] be defended by reflective, critical, publicly intelligible and rational arguments? I believe they can.
“The plain fact is that those who propound ‘gay’ ideology have no principled moral case to offer against (prudent and moderate) promiscuity, indeed the getting of orgasmic pleasure in whatever friendly touch or welcome orifice (human or otherwise) one may opportunely find it.”
Faith, ethics and society
Prof Finnis was invited by the university’s centre for faith, ethics and society.
“We have no further information or comments to add to this,” Notre Dame media handler Michelle Ebbs said, directing the Herald to a press release from Prof Finnis’ visit last year, and noting he would answer media questions via email and after his lecture.
Earlier this year the Herald revealed Notre Dame had refused requests from a number of left-wing and pro-equality marriage groups to affiliate with the student body.
“I think it’s hypocritical of the university to disallow student clubs which have a position of marriage equality, but then sponsor a speaker with opposing and quite bigoted views on that issue and others,” socialist student Alexis Vassiley said. “The point of our protest is to register our opposition to bigoted views, to show our support for equality for LGBTI people, but also more generally… to point out the hypocrisy of Notre Dame.”
Greens south metro MLC Lynn MacLaren says universities should host a variety of views and not provide just one side of a debate: “Fremantle is no place to whip up homophobia under the guise of academic theory or theology,” she says. “We have too much respect for diversity.
“To achieve the high ideals of a university, Notre Dame should be hosting alternative views, too.
“Polls in the US reveal that most Catholics support legalisation of same-sex marriage.”
by DAVID BELL