By Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, October 13, 2016
New Ways Ministry comes to you, our readers, with a request for prayers for a dear friend of our ministry and of LGBT Catholics. We learned yesterday evening that Professor Leslie Griffin, a leading scholar on the intersection of religion and law, was brutally attacked while jogging in her home city of Henderson, Nevada, and is now in the hospital in critical condition.
Professor Griffin, who holds the William S. Boyd Chair of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Law School, has written extensively on questions of religious liberty. She has defended the rights of religious institutions, but also the rights of LGBT people and other minorities who suffer discrimination because of an institution’s religious identity. She has also worked on several cases defending people unjustly treated by religious institutions. Professor Griffin is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, “Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis,” at the end of April 2017. She will be speaking on the topic “Religious Liberty, Employment, and LGBT Issues,” an area in which she has done much academic and practical research.
According to police reports, Professor Griffin was attacked while jogging near her home, and her attacker lifted her in the air and threw her to the ground. The brutality of the attack is beyond words. A good samaritan passing by came to her aid and helped convince the assailant to speak with the police.
In addition to her academic credentials in the field of law, Professor Griffin also has a PhD in Religious Studies from Yale University. She has been an associate professor of moral theology at the University of Notre Dame before turning to the study of law. While at Notre Dame in the 1980s, she met New Ways Ministry’s co-founder Fr. Robert Nugent, SDS, while he was studying there, and became a decades-long friend and supporter of our ministry.
New Ways Ministry is heartbroken to learn the terrible news of the attack on Leslie Griffin. Feeling helpless, as many do in similar situations, we turn to prayer. And we turn to you, our friends, for prayers for this woman who has dedicated her life building a just church and world. Leslie is a gentle soul, with a big heart, and who despite her academic accomplishments, is a humble and unassuming personality.
Please keep Leslie and her family in prayer. Please pray for her full and speedy recovery. Please pray, too, for her assailant. Thank you.