New Technology, Ancient Opinions

Facebook-Circling-the-DrainBy Elizabeth Turco — Facebook. While it is simply a social media website, it has taken over the globe.

As a 21 year old college student, I use it quite frequently. This is also (what I hope) true of all other people my age. This site is not uniquely popular among people my age. From my middle school cousin to my elderly grandmother, everyone is using this site to connect with others around the world. It is the most modern form of communication; letter writing and phone calls are almost a thing of the past in this age of technology.

The other day, during one of my many viewings I found something quite shocking. A Facebook friend of mine posted something about how she was excited about a certain republican politician who has announced his running for president in 2016. This is not uncommon. Facebook has become an outlet for people’s political excitement and frustrations. The comment conversation that ensued, however, was appalling. When asked about why she liked him so much, she responded with a very discriminatory and crude statement about how she agrees with his distaste for homosexual people. She then proceeded to continue in her bigoted comments. The first amendment gives her free speech, and she was taking advantage of it.

At a Jesuit university, the issue of gay rights is a very hot issue. Some use the church to defend their opposition. Did the Bible not condemn homosexuality? As a Catholic, I look to Pope Francis. He has made many statements on this issue. His most famous was when he said in regards to gay people, “Who am I to judge them if they’re seeking the Lord in good faith?” Even though he is the leader of the church, he understands that he is not God-like in his ability to judge others. He preaches that no one should be the judge of others. Living a religious and godly life is what should be important, not something as meaningless as sexual attraction.

As a future educator, I fear this debate. I am confident in my beliefs, but understand that the classroom is no place to voice them. The role of a teacher, to me, is not to teach beliefs and opinions, but to teach the ability to form them for one’s self. As a history teacher, this will be a constant struggle. Historically, discrimination is on the down turn. From slavery to civil rights to now, racism is slowly declining. Thanks to the Nazis, discrimination against Jewish people is socially unacceptable. It will be necessary to teach these types of prejudice and how they are being eliminated. It is easy to relate these issues back to homosexual issues, but hard to do so without putting my own beliefs into the mix. I can encourage kindness and compassion, but I cannot force it.

I can only hope to find a good balance in my classroom: offering my Jesuit education gained insights to social justice issues, yet providing them in an informative, but not forceful, way.

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