Marian Universitys Statement

Dear Members of the Marian University Community,
During the past few days, several people have asked me whether I plan to comment on the
controversy surrounding Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I've given this a lot of
thought. People I respect on both sides of this issue have contributed their ideas, and I wanted to
take the time to give careful consideration to the fundamental values that are at stake here.
As a Catholic university, Marian University is deeply committed to the value of religious freedom.
We strongly support the position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which says,
"If religious liberty is not properly understood, all people suffer and are deprived of the essential
contribution to the common good, be it in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights,
and social services that individuals make every day, both here at home and overseas."
We also believe in the dignity and civil rights of every person regardless of race, religion, age,
disability, ethnic heritage, or sexual orientation. We support the action called for by the CEOs of
nine major Indiana corporations asking the governor and the legislature to "make it clear that
Indiana is the welcoming state we all believe it to be" and to "take immediate action to ensure that
the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will not sanction or encourage discrimination against any
residents or visitors to our state by anyone."
Both values--religious freedom and civil rights for all--are important to us, and we want to work
with people of good will in our home state and everywhere to make sure these values are
protected for the benefit of all.
After careful consideration and consultation, I am asking every member of the Marian University
community to pray that leaders in our state will come to a successful resolution of the issues that
divide us now. I also ask every one of us to respect the opinions and values of others--especially
those we disagree with--so that we can work together to find common ground and solutions to the
challenges we face as individuals and as a community.
The Franciscan values that distinguish Marian University commit us to the dignity of the individual,
peace and justice, reconciliation, and responsible stewardship. These values speak directly to the
controversy facing our state today. As we enter Holy Week and the Easter season, let's do
everything in our power to affirm the values of religious freedom and civil rights for all. Let's pray
for the intercession of our patron, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi
as we work to foster the values that distinguish us as a community of faith dedicated to preparing
transformational leaders for service to the world.
Daniel J. Elsener
President of Marian University