Letter to the Editor: Response to “Seeking moral ground”

By: Emily Boutilier

In the spirit of education, there was a more tactful way and time this information could have been presented without calling out a major program on our campus on a sensitive day of the year.

How could any ROTC cadet not feel “any less a member of this community for being in the program?” To say ROTC should be discontinued at Xavier because it doesn’t align with Catholic ideals is to say other clubs like XU Alliance should not be permitted at Xavier because of the Church’s stance on gay marriage.

Because the military is such an “inherently violent institution,” who could be better leaders in our Armed Forces than those educated at a Jesuit Catholic university? Aren’t the morals and values instilled in us at Xavier qualities we want in our military leaders? We cannot ignore that the reason Xavier produces fine army officers may be the fact that we are a Catholic university. These are people who are taught to think critically with their hearts and minds, leaders with integrity who are willing to challenge the status quo and lead soldiers in a way that would make Xavier proud. I would implore that our military could benefit from more soldiers and officers of the Catholic, and Jesuit Catholic, faith.

I am interested to hear more from Xavier ROTC cadets, both Catholic and non-Catholic, and hear how their faith plays a role in their decisions and actions as a cadet, and their future in the military.

What do Jesuit priests at our school have to say about this? Is Fulkerson’s opinion shared by Catholic leaders at our institution? What resources do we have for cadets navigating their desire to serve in the military and their faith?

There are problems that exist in the U.S. Army and our military today — I cannot and will not deny that fact.

Who should we call upon to be agents of change in promoting a culture of caring and acceptance in our Armed Forces? Could it be those who attended a four-year Jesuit Catholic University? We need military leaders with strong morals and conscience.

It is a responsibility of Xavier to help our Catholic and non- Catholic students, ROTC and non-ROTC, navigate the difficult questions that arise when talking about our religion and war. Don’t military personnel need our love and prayers? To say “no” to Xavier’s ROTC program is to say “no” to Xavier students supporting loved ones in the military, such as myself. It says “no” to students who have parents, grandparents, family and friends who served in the military.

The members of our military need our prayers and love, regardless of whether or not we agree with the fight they are fighting. I am proud to support a leader in our Army and believe his Catholic faith is a huge part of what drives him to be a morally sound individual who leads with integrity.

My boyfriend Dan, a second lieutenant infantry officer in the U.S. Army, was deployed to Afghanistan this summer. He is also Catholic.

I survived the deployment with one word: faith. Faith in God, faith in love, faith in Dan. His faith grew during the time he spent overseas, and he was affected by his interactions with Afghan children and the extreme poverty they live in. His heart was opened to consider a career in inner-city education after his service in the Army. Dan’s service in the Army has deepened my faith in God.