Could use some advice... college-related


I am attending a secular college and I’m taking social work courses. Over the length of my studies I have encountered briefly (and, no doubt, will encounter more as the courses go on) the presentation of ideas on sexuality and other topics (stem cell research, abortion, contraception, etc.) contrary to the faith being taught as gospel truth. Examples would include the necessity of accepting homosexual behavior and normalizing gay marriage (in the textbook, not from the teacher, but the discussions do and will take place where it’s debated and opinions are given). This is not all that unexpected, but I’m having a worse time dealing with it than I expected. :frowning:

So, my problem is that I feel obligated to speak up for “our side” sotospeak when these things come up. But I am also uncomfortable being made to feel stressed, outnumbered, etc. It’s weighing on me and making me feel tired already.

I’m just wondering what advice any of you would give me on it. I’ve already thought of skipping classes when I know for sure that those topics will be discussed, and also just keeping quiet no matter what, but that’s so difficult! Opinions?


Go into the class with an open mind. Be ready to defend your viewpoints.
Even though it may seem like everybody is against you, there may be alot of people who share the same beliefs as you.

Teachers usually like the students who engage the class and get a lively, civil debate started.
If you are nervous, start off slowly by offering a comment on the issue. When you get to know more of your classmates it gets alot easier to discuss the issue.

I’ve been in the same situation as you.
I had to take a womens study class last semester due to graduation requirements and my schedule. There were only 2 other guys in the class!
The debates were very heated, but I always stood my ground. I actually learned alot from the class and appreciate what was discussed.


The liberal forces dominate textbook publication and professors teaching on college campuses along with other medias. Yes, maybe the Catholics are outnumbered. But i would bet it’s not as bad as we think. Part of Satan’s plan is to make us feel so outnumbered that we don’t even try. i, for one, never knew so many conservative Catholic youths existed until i found these fora. Divide and conquer is a strategy that is admittedly effective for Satan.

However, one must choose their battles wisely. Catholics do not go around baptizing all people even if it’s against their will. The baptism is a good on the face of it, but the bad perception resulting from that would severly damage the entire Church and, thus, is not worth it. (Would you want yourself or your child exposed to some sort of pagan magic spell?).

Speaking out to defend the Gospel is a large grey area. But most of the time i would say go for it so long as you present a clear case and remain calm and respectful in manner. You might be surprised how many people back you up. But of course. . .don’t expect it to happen and be presumptuous either.


It is usually said that most people who take human services courses are there because of their own issues. You will find that to be true. I have an AS degree in Social Work but I went to a community college not to a University. I found there was room for all perspectives and also I have learned it is good to listen to what makes a person think the way that they do…which is a very important part of being a Social Worker, Counselor or in that field period. Because you will be dealing with people in crisis situations and you will have to learn to listen with a 3rd ear. Everything is a matter of perspective…a crisis is an opportunity for growth & change…use this to your benefit. Remember also that if you are young and most of your peers in class are young most of their perspectives are from the media. Also keep in mind that there are lots of professors that are just plain looney…but they will keep their jobs. I started by doing more listening than talking…unless I felt real compelled to speak up. Remember too, that if you continue in this field you will be working with rape victims, child abusers and the abused, substance abusers, women who have had several abortions, post traumatic stress syndrome, mental illnesses of all sorts. But also there are Catholic and Christian social workers, counselors who are great at what they do and perform their service without compromising their faith…we need more of them. That’s my :twocents: if that helps you at all.
But no matter what degree you are going for this is the way it is in most colleges even catholic ones. You have to guard your faith & keep your faith alive & healthy…pray the Rosary, receive the sacraments frequently and read some good catholic books a page or 2 a night.


Definitely do not pass up this oppurtunity to tell people words they have never heard in their lives, and might not ever hear if it weren’t for you. I’d say get a bunch of facts and then pray like crazy that the Holy Spirit guides you when you speak, and gives other students who agree with you to not be wallflowers but to stand up in your defense. Also bring in pictures! This one is so sad :frowning: maybe if they can actually see the results then they’ll think twice. Pic of aborted babies… please only open it if you think you can handle it Also just google abortion is wrong, and click on the images. They really speak for themselves. May God have mercy on their souls

I’m a senior in secular high school and I sympathize! I know we’ll get there soon in government… They actually put abortion under “civil liberties” if you can believe that!!! :mad::mad::mad: Only one look at the textbook and I was repulsed. May God be with you!


And I forgot to say find pictures of the really really small babies, of only a few weeks. That way they won’t get far with the argument that at so many months it’s ok.


Speak up. I bet you a lot of people feel the same way.

Seriously in one of my classes this semester i had a very liberal professor. He did a very good job of not bringing his politics in to class but a few times he would make comments about President Bush and then i would promptly raise my hand and say that President Obama is caring on the same policies or talk about what Presdent Obama has done. I had students after class come tell me they appericated me speaking up. I am just more vocial then others. I figure i am paying for it so i have ever right to be interactive in my classes. (Always always be respectful!)

The key is to know your facts and to listen to the other side. Listen to what they are actaully saying. Don’t go looking for a fight. You might just rebut their opinions with a question that makes someone else in the class think. Remember you may lose the battle with that particular student but you might win the battle with some of the silent students who don’t speak up.

As far as conception. Point out that science tell us that life begins at conception. At that moment the being is different then any other being before or after it. The question is really when does that human being gain the right to live? When do they gain the protection of life liberty and the pursute of happiness guaranteed under the Constitution? Then bring up when a fetus is viable. (Meaning when can it live on its on outside the womb) Bring up the born alive act. Or bring up the federal murder standards. (Think Laci PEterson case. He was charge for the death of two people yet she could have still had an abortion by law.) Bring up all the contridications you see in society. You would be amazed how the questions you bring forth could change the discussion.


I am currently in my last year of college for my bachelor’s in social work and can totally relate to how you feel about the major. Social work is a very liberal field of study and if you’re conservative, moderate, or of another political persuasion, you may feel like you don’t belong. One of my classmates told me just yesterday that the political bias of the social work major has turned her off to the profession and that she plans on going into the business field after she earns her BSW.

I attend a public university and although I often disagree with the political discussions in class, it’s not too bad because we don’t exactly go into lengthy discussions on issues like gay marriage or abortion. The Fall 2008 semester was horrible for me because many of the class discussions were so political due to the November election; however, things haven’t been too bad since then.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Catholic Social Workers National Association, but it’s a great organization to be a part of: There is also a Facebook group for the CSWNA if you are interested in having online disucssions with other Catholic social workers and students. :slight_smile:


Thank you so much to everyone who has replied so far. (I definitely would love more advice if you have it to give!)

I am not a new or particularly young student. I’m 26 and I have been attending this community college on and off for the last 8 years. I’m finally in full-time now (after changing my major over to social work) and will complete at least my Assoc. of Arts in it, if not going on further to get the B.A. and MSW, we’ll see.

I didn’t think about the politics of the major before now. My studies have not involved these important issues until now, and they will from here on out, as far as I can see. Since I wasn’t expecting it, I wasn’t prepared for it.

You all have given me some very good food for thought, and I thank you. I will definitely make this situation a part of my regular prayer time. I normally don’t have a problem speaking up about an issue, but I’ve never had to do it on a continual basis or with people this young (18-20) who are the main ones defending it and (like a poster above said) most likely just getting their ideas from the media and their own sense of “freedom”. They (and we) are made to feel guilty if we “discriminate”. It’s not discrimination to say that marriage is a male/female only institution! One thing I heard a number of times was, “You can’t choose who you love.” Honestly? Complete baloney! grrr…

It’s my first class in the subject matter of s.w., and I was the only person who spoke out against it. There were a few other people who were opposed to gay adoption while not being opposed to gay marriage, but as soon as you have the one, you’ll have the other. And there were a couple ladies (older than me) who said that while they’re not opposed to gay marriage, they don’t agree with it.

Thank you for the link to the Catholic S.W.! I will definitely be giving that some of my time and attention. :thumbsup:

I was reading through Scripture last night to help give me some thoughts to ponder on, and one of the passages I read was from Chronicles I think, about the prophet Elijah on Mt. Carmel, where he was the only prophet of the Lord left against 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah, and they tried for hours and hours to call down fire from heaven through Baal but could not, and then Elijah doused the wood with tons of water and called on the Lord only one time and the wood, stones and water were all consumed, and then the people fell down and worshipped the Lord and the prophets were put to death. It was a good passage for my issues right now. Even though I may be just one, I have God on my side, no matter if I convince anyone or not, if they trap me and seem to “win” the arguments or not. :cool:


In regard to the normalization of gay marriage, you must understand that sin is normal.

I have some experience with debating proponents of gay marriage and sodomy. In this regard, be careful with how you use and define “natural”. Depending on how you use that word, sin is natural (but that does not legitimize sin). They may often prove that sodomy is natural by citing observed homosexual behavior in animals. However, rape, polygamy, murder, and theft may also be “natural” is the sense that they occur in nature because they all, including sodomy, have been observed in animal behavior.

My overall advice is to analyze the premises for their moral claims. You said that you are taking social work courses. The field of social work does not encompass the objective principles of morality, but only the subjective situations in which they are to be applied (if you understand what I mean). Because of this, you have to look to a field outside of social work (or any other scientific study) for morality.


Yes, I do understand what you mean, and those are very good points. Thanks for your input. :slight_smile:


Once, in a sociology class in college, I actually gasp spoke out against pornography, while everyone else defended it. (I wish you could see my furiously-scribbled notebook from that day.)

After class, a guy actually came up and thanked me for speaking up.

You may never know how many people actually agree with you, but don’t want to speak up either, out of fear or whatever.

Stay strong.

:heart: Love is Patient


From the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics (see here):

Social workers should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability.

Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate domination of, exploitation of, and discrimination against any person, group, or class on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability.

This may not be the right profession for you.


I am an agnostic who is, I will admit, not at all opposed to gay marriage. However, I accept that people are for various reasons, often religious. I think you need to understand that whilst your views are valid, and make sense within your religion, they are often void to an atheist or a member of another religion.

That being said, it isn’t right for people to make you feel out of place or victimised either. Just try to state your views with compassion - remember, there may well be (although I do not know the size of your class) gay members of the class, and it is more hurtful to be told that you cant marry or that your relationships are wrong, than it is to be slighted in your beliefs as you are.


While I appreciate your concern, I would like to point out two things. First, that being opposed to certain lifestyles does not preclude someone from serving those clients, nor does it necessitate “discrimination”. Secondly, there are numerous careers and fields within social work where those issues would not come up or would very rarely come up. As an example, I am still trying to figure out where my place is in the long run, but right now my focus is on family planning and pregnancy counseling. No need to worry about running into the homosexuality issue there! :wink: And also, homosexuality is just one issue of the many other moral issues that have come up (and will continue to come up) in my class(es).


me too,thanks for sharing


Would you be able to deal with it when it did come up though? For example, a pregnant woman with a lesbian partner?


And suppose that this pregnant lesbian women was also a drug abuser, who was in danger of having her child taken away by CPS as soon as it is born due to her drug abuse. Would you be able to advocate for her keeping her child as effectively as you would for a pregnant married heterosexual drug abusing woman?


I think it’s a bit premature to be throwing out scenarios. And should I come across a case I felt I could not handle, it is perfectly acceptable in current practice to ask the case to be transferred. You scenario is also a case that would be dealt with outside of what I am referring to when I mean pregnancy counseling. To further define that, I mean in a family-planning clinic, helping woman choose what they need to do, etc. That kind of thing. Or administration.


The word “discrimination” has been understood in too much of a negative way lately. To discriminate is to make a judgment or distinction between two or more things at hand. We do this everyday. We discriminate when we decide what we want to eat for dinner.

Discrimination is only wrong if it is prejudicial in a harmful way.

I think the fact that “discrimination” tends to be abused as a word, and sometimes even misused so as to defend certain agendas, is demonstrated in the following:

Many times discrimination based off of some of these factors can be very harmful, while other times there are extremely good reasons for discriminating, even on some of the factor listed above. For example, a person who suffers from a physical disability would obviously not qualify for most athletic competitions (except for something like the special Olympics).

I guess my point is is that stating that we shouldn’t discriminate against various things is a way to arouse convergent thinking, getting everyone on the same page and agreeing in matters in which they might not agree to otherwise if all of the consequences (explicit and implicit) of that convergent thinking were lad out otherwise. It can be a clever move by a group, say for example, gays, who would make themselves look like martyrs if people are opposed to what they do (sodomy) after they have stealthily shifted everyone’s approach to issues due to “discrimination”.

On the other hand, people should not mistreat gays (active homosexuals) or celibate homosexuals.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit