Governor Edwards visits Loyola


Anna Hummel

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards talks to students and faculty at Loyola’s law school on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. Catholic Studies invited Edwards to be the first guest for their inaugural Twomey Lecture.

Maria DiFelice, Assistant News Editor

Governor John Bel Edwards, a born and raised Catholic, said being a governor isn’t the only thing that defines him when visiting Loyola’s campus to discuss his faith and politics.

Catholic Studies hosted their inaugural Twomey Lecture on Wednesday, March 22, which featured Edwards. Father Gregory Waldrop moderated the event and asked questions about abortion, separation of church and state, and public service.

“I think of myself as a Catholic-Christian first, an American second, and a Democrat no higher than third,” Edwards said.

During the event, Edwards was interrupted by Loyola’s charter of Young Democratic Socialists of America protesting against anti-transgender legislation recently passed by the Louisiana legislature permanently eliminating transgender athletes from competing in sports.

The students protesting held up a sign that said, “will you veto hate?” Edwards explained how he has signed an executive order to protect transgender people’s lives, and shifted blame to the attorney general who has filed a suit to challenge the executive order in court. The protestors were escorted out of the event by LUPD while chanting, “protect trans kids, veto hate.”

Edwards said that he doesn’t “believe that we ought to discriminate against individuals.”

Waldrop explained how Edwards’ appearance has been long awaited. Edwards was supposed to come to campus in 2022 during the international Ignation year, but they could not schedule anything due to timing conflicts, so the Catholic Studies Department was more than excited to have Edwards come and talk to the school.

“I was delighted to hear that Catholic studies has worked it out,” Waldrop said.

The interview was supposed to show Edwards on a more personal level and share how he uses his faith in his everyday life and work.

Edwards explained his views on the separation of church and state. Edwards’ Catholic faith is a big part of his identity and who he is, but he said he believes the government should not force any religiously motivated policies on people. Though he did admit that there are different degrees to which people will agree or disagree.

Along with explaining his views on separation between church and state, he explained how he is “pro-life” and how he has signed orders against abortion, but he said he cannot see how a victim of rape or incest should be forced to keep the pregnancy to term and be prevented from having an abortion.

“It is hard for me to believe that the power of the government ought to force that decision,” Edwards said.

Michael Martelly, an attendee and economics freshman, said the event went well and he learned a lot about how American politics work, particularly decision making.

“I’m so glad I went. This was one of the better experiences I’ve had this semester, and I think it informed me,” Martelly said.