FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 3, 2019
In an unusual step at restricting speech and assembly, Gonzaga University has banned Jesus from appearing as an itinerant preacher at their campus. Judith Biggs Garbuio, Gonzaga University’s vice president of student development, said Jesus' presence on Gonzaga University grounds violates Gonzaga’s Events Policy.
In his travels through the State of Washington, Jesus has drawn plenty of crowds, who listen to his many talks and stories. He typically does not have a planned itinerary, so his whereabouts are sometimes hard to track. Yet, his impromptu appearances and stories have made him all the more popular and have drawn a great following in the Spokane area and beyond.
Still, Mary Joan Hahn, Gonzaga’s senior director of community and public relations, said the university would not be able to provide a suitable venue for Jesus because of the controversy surrounding him.
“There are some people who are violently opposed to Jesus and we simply can’t ensure the safety and security of people who want to hear him speak,” Hahn said.
Some have criticized him, though, for preaching against and calling out orthodox religious leaders for sin and hypocrisy.
He recently criticized the Catholic Church for not being as forthcoming in how they have handled Catholic priests who have abused children and young adults. One of his friends, the more radical John, has said some of the priests should be emasculated, or castrated.
In one of his talks, Jesus said it would be better if a millstone were tied around their neck and be tossed into a lake, if they caused a young child to sin.
It’s ironic that Jesus would be banned from the university, since it was founded by the Society of Jesus. At the same time, despite his general popularity, Jesus has not been well received in his home town.
Still, Hahn said "as a private, faith-based, mission-driven institution committed to the human dignity of every individual, we stand in solidarity with people who may not like his message or think it is too harsh."
Hahn said Jesus’ language and speech discriminate against those who disagree with the exclusivity of his message. She added that some of what he says could be considered hate speech.
For more information, call Gonzaga University at (800) 986.9585
© 2019 Larry Ingram
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