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On January 17, Santa Clara University will welcome Amy Tan, a novelist who has made no secret of her support for abortion “rights,” as well as the unfettered use of contraceptives. Ms. Tan has used her novels as a means to promulgate erroneous opinions, with abortion featuring prominently in one of her books, The Joy Luck Club.
Additionally, Ms. Tan has not shied away from announcing her anti-Catholic position. In a public Facebook post sprinkled with obscenities, she harangued pro-life politicians, accusing them of “wanting to pervert the lives of women.” 1
However, Santa Clara University — a Catholic institution — has invited Amy Tan for a lecture and book signing on campus. “Tan’s work speaks to millions,” claims a university statement, “with its universal themes of family relationships, generational change, and personal history.” 2 It is unclear how abortion and misguided feminist theories could possibly qualify as a legitimate “family relationship.” 3
In light of the author’s avowed opposition to Church teaching, combined with her attack on the right to life, is she the type of role model the university wants to present to its students? Should abortion advocates like Ms. Tan be given a platform on any Catholic campus?
On this issue, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is clear: “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”
Santa Clara University’s decision to feature an outspoken opponent of Church teaching in its Presidential Speaker Series throws a dark shadow over its Catholic identity. Ironically, the theme of the 2012-2013 speaker series is “Enlivening the Whole Person: Head, Heart and Body.”
“Abortion destroys the whole person,” said TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie.
“Abortion deliberately destroy heads, hearts and bodies. It destroys God’s plan for children. It shatters motherhood, fatherhood, and families. That’s why I’m hoping that Santa Clara University will reconsider its invitation to pro-abortion supporter Amy Tan and replace her with a better speaker, a true role model, someone Catholic students can look up to and imitate, someone who respects the right to life,” he said. “I can’t fathom why a Catholic university would give Amy Tan a platform.”
According to its web site, Santa Clara University is “committed to faith-inspired values and educating leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion who will help fashion a more just, humane, and sustainable world.” 4 Surely, in pursuance of those “faith-inspired values,” the University ought to maintain an environment in which Church teaching is respected, upheld and defended.
In the spirit of charity, for the sake of the Santa Clara’s Catholic identity, and for the unborn, please join TFP Student Action in calling for the cancellation of Amy Tan’s scheduled appearance on January 17.
Politely voice your peaceful protest with a phone call to: 408-554-4100
Santa Clara University
Fr. Michael E. Engh, S.J.
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053