Gonzaga University is rejecting calls by social conservatives to find a new commencement speaker because of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s support for abortion rights and gay marriage. Critics say the apartheid era hero and Nobel laureate’s social views contradict Catholic teachings, and more than 700 Gonzaga alumni, staff, faculty and students have signed petitions protesting Tutu’s campus appearance in May and the university’s plans to award the Anglican archbishop an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. “It goes against Catholic teaching and so much of what Gonzaga stands for – or at least should stand for,” Spokane attorney Patrick Kirby said in a letter to GU President Thayne McCulloh.
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Tutu has posed for a picture on behalf of and endorsed the “invaluable work” of Marie Stopes International, the world’s largest abortion provider. The endorsement, which was discovered by pro-life activist Peter Thorp as he logged one of his more than 1,200 hours of prayer in front of the Cape Town abortion clinic, praises Marie Stopes South Africa for “empowering people” and “giving people the opportunity to make informed decisions about their future and a choice.” Neither Marie Stopes nor the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Foundation would confirm whether Tutu had been paid for the statement. However, his support for abortion spans decades. He said in the 1990s that it is “immoral” for the law to protect unborn children conceived by rape or incest.
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