Over at the website of Time, Jon Meacham praises Georgetown University president John DeGioia, a Catholic layperson, for coming to the defense of Sandra Fluke. You may recall that Fluke is the Georgetown law student who Rush Limbaugh recently called a “slut” and a “prostitute” for her testimony before Congress in support of the Obama administration’s proposed requirement that religiously affiliated institutions cover contraception for their employees.
I have a hunch (and I am only guessing here) that DeGioia, as president of a Catholic university, may not agree with Fluke or Obama. Nevertheless, his call for civility and his own example of civility is worth noting. Here is a taste of Meacham’s piece:
DeGioia invoked St. Augustine to seal the point. “In an earlier time, St. Augustine captured the sense of what is required in civil discourse: ‘Let us, on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim that we have already discovered the truth. Let us seek it together as something which is known to neither of us. For then only may we seek it, lovingly and tranquilly, if there be no bold presumption that it is already discovered and possessed.’ If we, instead, allow coarseness, anger—even hatred—to stand for civil discourse in America, we violate the sacred trust that has been handed down through the generations beginning with our Founders. The values that hold us together as a people require nothing less than eternal vigilance. This is our moment to stand for the values of civility in our engagement with one another.”
All of us should take that stand with DeGioia.