NPR Joins Biased Campaign Against Franciscan University

Franciscan University of Steubenville

The Franciscan University of Steubenville was unfairly slapped Monday with a biased National Public Radio (NPR) report citing complaints from two homosexual alumni who graduated more than a decade ago.

As reported by The Cardinal Newman Society last week, a group calling itself Franciscan University Gay Alumni and Allies issued a news release questioning why a sociology course titled “Deviant Behavior” lists homosexuality among the discussion topics. The University explained that “deviant” is a sociological term and not intended to offend anyone; moreover, Franciscan University is committed to upholding Catholic teaching, which describes homosexuality as a morally “disordered” inclination.

Now NPR has published an extremely biased report, claiming that the University “links homosexuality with crimes like murder, rape and robbery” simply because all those behaviors—as well as alcoholism and heterosexual deviance—are discussed during the “Deviant Behavior” course. NPR presents no evidence that the course “links” these behaviors as having comparable characteristics, causes or consequences.

NPR contacted The Cardinal Newman Society for comment, but we declined to be interviewed, expecting a biased report—and we were right. We provided the following statement, which was not cited in the article:

The Franciscan University of Steubenville is known for its loving, caring community which fully embraces Catholic teaching. We wish that more Catholic universities would stand by their Catholic mission.

The NPR article by reporter Jeff Brady, headlined “College Lumps Homosexuality, Rape, Murder,” quotes complaints from 1991 alumna Elizabeth Vermilyea and 1990 alumnus Gregory Gronbacher, who repeats the mantra that Franciscan University puts homosexuals “in the same category as murderers.”

Brady quotes an official at the Council on Social Work Education and reports that “Franciscan University now faces questions from the group that accredits its social work program.” But it’s not clear whether the accreditor is asking questions, or was it Brady who approached the accreditor hoping to report more trouble for the University? The official’s statements do not, in fact, indicate that accreditation is in serious jeopardy.

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  • AnnaMarie53

    I have two questions: 1) Why is it that it always seems to be that any of the suits against God through colleges, public fixtures, etc. always seems to come from just ONE person (usually gay, lesbian, or atheist), or at the most, TWO, and everybody runs away in terror, fearing lawsuits galore. So what? 2) Why do people who are so inclined, choose to go to such schools of higher learning, or whatever the fracas is about when it is CLEARLY marked in the name, such as the FRANCISCAN University of Steubenville, that the institution is NOT secular? The only answer I can come up with is that the point all along was to make trouble and hopefully bankrupt the institution with lawsuits in yet another attack upon God! Which begs the question, if don’t believe in God, why not just ignore whatever? When there is a TV station, magazine, or radio program that I do not care for, I use that good old American invention: the off switch, or the change channel switch…and POOF! problem solved.
    So why don’t more of these sorts avail themselves of this, rather than making all sorts of pointless trouble? They MUST have found some way of making big money off this Ponzi game!
    Oh, and don’t bother telling me they felt “honor bound.” If they had any honor in the first place, they would not bother with feeling “bound.”

  • JMC

    Well said, Anna! There is no doubt that their only reason for going to a school which is going to “offend” them is purely to make trouble. And yet there are those who would have you believe that modern atheism is “not a threat” to Catholicism. Puh-LEEZE! Pull the other one! ;D

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    Also I beleive financial incentives have a lot to do with these “complaints”…afterall…why did they wait over 10 years to have a “LBGTconscience” regarding this particular class ?

  • Miguel

    AnnaMarie, I feel proud of you! You put it very well! May God continue to bless you in what you do and remember “the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.” Thanks again for your comment.

  • neiders

    No surprise here, but not too much to really worry about- no one listens to NPR except those who are already hate the Catholic Church and schools like Franciscan anyway.

  • nah

    Scandalize and shame the moral torchbearer, it’s a tired and transparent tactic that is meant to distract intellectual discovery of truth, and impose silence by financial terror. Basically, it’s all the evil one has to make us become his mindless sheep. God wants souls to carry crosses to glory, not money to pay for curtains to hide them. What is more important, material wealth and wordly reputation or eternal life?

  • JTLiuzza

    NPR can blather on all they want. That’s what they do. The real travesty here is that NPR continues to receive federal funding. Why is the federal government, which is broke, in the radio business?

  • Mick

    As a child I felt proud of my Catholic heritage. That’s who my family was through and through. By the time I reached high school, my counselors felt I was a good candidate for priesthood and I thought so too. My dad was enormously proud when I went to seminary. After about two years I realized that I was gay. It was part of me just as much as being Catholic. On several occasions this became a point of conflict with my instructors. They expected me to support the Church, yet they were unwilling to support who I was. So, in response to AnnaMarie and the others; I entered seminary without realizing I was gay as have many others in the past. There are thousands, hundreds of of thousands of people like myself who attend non-secular schools and half-way through the program realize that their principles are at odds with the those of the school’s. And yet these people choose not to try and file lawsuits. For all of us, except for the handful who do file lawsuits, It’s too complicated and we’re not vindictive. What I would like, as I imagine the thousands of other gay Catholics would too, is to be respected as a person.

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    To be a true faithful Catholic is not an easy road when one follows the teachings of the Magisterium. As harsh as it may sound, homosexuals are called to chastity within the Catholic Church. What you are asking for is acceptance by Mother Church and to prove that she still loves and values( you are still both in HER eyes) you by changing Her teachings for the Catholic LGBT community regarding the nature of homosexuality and its proclivity to lead to sin by engaging in homosexual activity. This will never happen Mick so perhaps it is by your acceptance of this fact that your soul may reach a conclusion that you can personally live with. Lifelong chastity is a very hard cross to bear.
    I would recommend that you read Mr. Steve Gershom’s article, “The Truth Same Sex Attraction”. You can find it here on Catholic Exchange in the category “SSA” in the index of subjects. He also identifies with being gay and Catholic. Maybe his words can help you.
    God Bless you always


    This is what happens when a lawsuit is filed against the Obama administration. First the City of Steubenville was attacked for their welcoming sign, and now this. We’ve seen it before, the manufactured war on women, Sheriff Joe in AZ, and I am sure there are many more examples to be found. This administration and its troops operate like Chicago thug lawyers.