My main point of contention is not with The Varsitarian’s stance on the RH Bill for it, indeed, is a controversial issue. A decade’s worth of debates have been exhausted for the matter, so I choose not to engage with the Lemon on that level. Instead, I am determined to address The Varsitarian on another matter: Intellectual Freedom.
Mainly, I would like to address this point made by The Varsitarian in the latter parts of its article because I feel it sums up the whole thing:
“In short, over and above academic freedom, the Catholic university exists for evangelical purposes. By going against the stand of the bishops, the Ateneo and La Salle professors are saying they don’t agree with the Church’s mission. If so, they’re free to leave. In fact, they must leave. They must resign if they have the courage of their conviction.”
Surely, this is a very bold statement regarding a very controversial topic. It is very critical that we dissect before we digest. How is academic freedom de-prioritized in favor of evangelical pursuits within Catholic Universities? Where is the logic in this? The very term “Catholic University” in itself is a paradox. Wherein “Catholic” means to be orthodox and dogmatic, whereas “University” means to be intellectually free to discover. It is to no one’s doubt that some of the best schools available to Filipinos are Catholic Universities. And in order for one to be competitive academically, one tends to seek out these Catholic Universities, but NOT for religious education. That is NOT a university’s purpose. If we turn our catholic universities into havens for evangelical pursuits, then what will differentiate these universities from the hundreds of churches, orders and ministries located around our country? If I wanted to learn about God, I’d go to a church, not a school. In De La Salle University, and most probably in Ateneo as well, there is room for intellectual debate and political and moral disparities. There is no such thing as moral impositions. The Green and Blue believe in the values of perspective and allowing their students (and faculty) to grow in these academic areas however they see fit. Apparently, in UST, it’s “Believe or get out”. And The Varsitarian refers to ADMU and DLSU professors as intellectual cowards?
Who’s the bigger coward here? The one who stands his ground firmly and shouts his beliefs at the top of his lungs knowing full-well there may be repercussions? Or the one who refuses to be questioned about his beliefs on the grounds of some deluded sense of religious gratification?
In DLSU, we don’t welcome argumentative pursuits with hostility. We engage in intellectual sparring because we know that a different perspective is key in academic success. We do not squander a person and propose he leave just because he has a different opinion. We believe this is what our country needs right now. The Varsitarian seems to believe in its Catholic mission of unity through uniformity. DLSU proposes that we be united, albeit not through uniformity, but rather, united in diversity through a toleration for each other’s differences.
In the end, I’d rather make moral mistakes as a human being, rather than succeed in life as a church’s puppet.