Pro-life leaders defend Gonzaga University president, say recent reports are false

.- A group of well-respected national and international pro-life leaders issued an open letter yesterday defending Gonzaga University president Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, from recent reports, which the leaders say, are based on false information.

The pro-life leaders say they feel recent reports “have been resurrecting a two-year-old attack campaign aimed at Fr. Spitzer.

“Sadly, these attacks are originating from pro-life agencies, which are spreading categorically false information and confusing good people about Gonzaga’s commitment to pro-life ethics,” it said.

The leaders state that the “news sources are reacting to an inflammatory letter by columnist Mike Adams (published 2/22/05 at who compares Fr. Spitzer to the KKK.” The Catholic News Agency filed a report on the issue March 4.

“Fr. Spitzer has long been a champion of the pro-life movement,” wrote the leaders, referring to Fr. Spitzer’s track record. “This alone should have caused the editors to pause before publishing the attacks that they did.”

The leaders say they feel the matter “has caused slander to [Fr. Spitzer] personally, and harm to the greater pro-life body.”

The story is based on the fact that the Gonzaga Student Bar Association denied funding to a group of law students who sought to form a pro-life club, called Gonzaga School of Law’s Pro-Life Caucus. In the club’s charter, these pro-life students chose to exclude non-Christians from holding leadership positions.

“Such a discriminatory policy against non-Christian pro-life students violates the policy of the Gonzaga Law Student Handbook, which entitles all law students to participate in Student Bar Association-sponsored activities,” says the leaders, adding that it is unreasonable to think that pro-life leaders must necessarily be Christian.

The leaders say Fr. Spitzer assured these students that they could meet on campus, apply for individual event funding (distinct from operating funding), and choose to receive Student Bar Association operating funding “at any time by opening [their] leadership to full participation by all law students.”

The leaders also sought to correct the “categorically false charge” that Gonzaga University has granted recognition to a pro-choice group on campus.

“A little bit of research at Gonzaga reveals that, although there are some pro-choice students who gather at Gonzaga’s Law School (something which is impossible to prevent), no group which promotes or advocates abortion has received recognition or financing from the university,” the letter reads.

The letter’s 29 signatories include Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute; Denise F. Cocciolone, president of the National Life Center; Holly M. Smith, adviser for the National College Students for Life/National Right to Life Committee; and John Crabbe, director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children Trust in London, England.

For the full letter, go to:

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