Inconsistent morals from Duquesne University

Planned Parenthood ads advocating sex education, including abstinence education, were pulled from WDUQ, Duquesne University’s public radio station, on Oct. 10. The call was ultimately made by the university’s president, Charles J. Dougherty, who stated that the organization’s goal didn’t agree with the university’s Catholic doctrine. After pulling the ad, the university returned $5000 in donated funds.

While underwriters (organizations that donate money in exchange for on-air promotion) are not the station’s only source of funding, non-profits certainly don’t have room to be picky. And it does not seem that WDUQ is picky — 44 business and organizations are listed on the station’s website as having made a “substantial donation” to WDUQ.

One such business is Reproductive Health Specialists, which offers infertility treatments to women — something that, in 1990, the pope decided did not align with the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. Another is the Bayer Corporation, which manufactures widely used contraceptives Yasmin and Yaz. Under President Dougherty’s criteria, neither of these businesses agree with the university’s doctrine — yet their ads were not pulled.

Furthermore, advertisers engage in an exchange with those who administer their advertisements — they pay the latter group in exchange for an opportunity to promote their goods and services. The station is not expected to support their advertisers on a moral level. WDUQ states that the point of underwriters is to help advertisers reach targeted demographics and communities — not to spread the teachings of Catholicism. In practice, however, the station seems to be singing a different tune.

WDUQ is in need of a divine intervention. The station needs to treat all underwriters as equals. If the station is going to involve morals in its decisions about advertisers, it should at least be consistent and refuse money from all organizations that have values that are in conflict with those of the Catholism.