Providence College, a Catholic university run by the Dominican friars of the Province of St. Joseph, has refused to condemn the harassment, targeting, and threatening of one of its Resident Advisors (RA) who created a bulletin board promoting Church teaching on marriage.
Michael Smalanskas has been vilified mercilessly for putting up a bulletin board stating, “Traditional marriage: God ordained it. Nature reveals it. Science affirms it.”
In his dorm bathroom, someone even posted a cartoon of Michael being anally raped.
But Providence College President Father Brian Shanley has not condemned this.
Instead, Shanley issued a weak statement saying, “those of us who profess what the Church teaches need to do so in a charitable way that recognizes the human dignity of every person as created in the image and likeness of God and in a way that does not foster the exclusion or marginalization of members of our community, like LGBTQ people or divorced and remarried Catholics, who find the Church’s teaching difficult to accept.”
The bulletin board has been repeatedly vandalized. Other student employees have been threateningly congregating outside Michael’s door – requiring campus security to move him to a safe, undisclosed location in the middle of the night.
Another administrator, Vice President of Student Affairs Kristine Goodwin, sent an email to student leaders on March 14 encouraging them to attend a protest “against homophobia and transphobia,” quoting Pope Francis’ now-infamous claim that the Church should apologize to gays, and quoting Father Timothy Radcliffe, a Dominican priest who has suggested sodomy can be “eucharistic.”
Michael says the college’s mis-handling of this incident shows the bias it has toward Catholic beliefs and those who express them.
Professor James Keating has asked if this is how the school would treat a student threatened with rape for a pro-immigration poster.
“The example that I gave to Kristine Goodwin is, let’s say a young Mexican-American student had put up a poster that said, ‘God loves the dreamers,’ that poster had been torn down, and [the student who created it] felt unsafe in her own dormitory because kids who tore it down were milling outside her door,” said Dr. Keating. “Then, a poster is put up of her being raped. How would the college react?”
As Michael comes under attack for defending Biblical truth on marriage, we need to show him he is not alone in this battle and encourage him to continue standing up to LGBT bullies.