Colombian Catholic university cancels LGBT events amid protests

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After protests from hundreds of Catholics in the Colombian city of Medellin, the Franciscan University of St. Bonaventure canceled events planned by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered groups. 

A series of events were set to begin on campus Sept. 23, including a conference on gender ideology by the anthropologist and university professor Walter Alonso Bustamante Tejada, as well as a show by a well-known transvestite.

Radio personality Fernando Velez, who is also a member of the Antioquia Pro-life Network, sent a letter of protest to Professor Carlos Cardona, who heads the department organizing the events.

Hundreds of listeners also joined the protest, expressing outrage that the Catholic university would give a platform to views in direct contradiction to Church teaching.

As a result of the protests, the university’s rector, Franciscan Brother Miguel Angel Builes Uribe, announced the definitive cancellation of all such programs through the rest of 2011.

The cancellation led to the resignation of Professor Bustamante, who accused Catholics of leading a “violent boycott.” He claimed the decision to cancel the events signaled a “move away from the humanistic character that is part of being a Franciscan.”

However, in his protest letter, Velez argued that with gender ideology, “Nature is replaced by ‘cultural constructs’ in which male being (masculine) and female being (feminine), the concept of the family, etc., end up reduced to something ethereal and confusing that lends itself to subjective constructs of any kind.”

He also noted that the promotion of such perspectives defies the university’s self-defined identity as a “center of life” that “promotes the Christian presence in universities amidst the great problems of society and culture.”

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