The New York Times is reporting that Marquette University, a Catholic institution, has come under fire after rescinding an offer it made to an openly gay woman to become dean of one of its colleges. The university stated that, after making an offer “prematurely,” they came to the realization that the individual in question lacked “the ability to represent the Marquette mission and identity.”
Critics of the university say it is a case of “discrimination based on sexual orientation.” But Marquette’s president, the Rev. Robert A. Wild, said that the decision to recsind the offer was motivated by objections to the candidate’s academic writings, not her sexual orientation. “We found some strongly negative statements about marriage and family,” Wild said.
In view of the fact that the candidate is open about her sexuality, and that her CV included numerous articles and book chapters on topics such as “Queer Christian Identities” and “Queer Christian Social Movements,” it is hard to believe that the candidate’s sexual orientation came as a surprise to the administration. I’m inclined to take the Rev. Wild at his word when he says it was the candidate’s writings that caused them to withdraw the offer.
Even so, I can’t help wondering whether, in the future, religious universities will be legally prevented from basing hiring decisions on a candidate’s adherence to doctrine. It isn’t hard to imagine a future in which universities like Marquette will be forced to hire “indiscrimiately” — no matter how contrary the moral or religious views of a candidate are to those of the institution.
Of course, this kind of ideological discrimination happens all the time to politically conservative professors. Try getting a job in the biology department of any secular university if you are an ouspoken skeptic of human-caused global warming. You won’t even get an interview. Liberal academics only advocate diversity when it means hiring more people like themselves.