JesusLand Schools

02-03-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

We just completed another annual observation of Catholic Schools Week. The first Catholic school was opened by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the early 1800’s (yes a woman with serious power in the Church that long ago) and then soon after St. John Neumann started the Catholic School system in the US. But right on cue, the scolds at the NY Times couldn't resist defecating on the Parade with a Twitter feed: #exposechristianschools. We all know that when a journalist wants to “expose” something they are not looking for virtuous deeds or random acts of kindness. No, it’s much more sinister than that. Strange how the subject of attack is Christian schools, don't the prisspots in the media know there are lots of Hebrew schools and Muslim schools? #exposemuslimschools anyone? Not happening.

This all started with Karen Pence, wife of the Vice-president who is volunteering at a Christian school. Apparently, it was earthshattering news to journalists that the school requires staff members and teachers to sign a code of conduct that comports with Christian faith and morals. How medieval, Torquemada would be proud! Well, Codes of Conduct and Statements of Faith are normal operating procedures and have been for a long time in religious schools of all stripes. Yes, we have our staff sign them as well. Not sure why that is so surprising, after all, why would you hire someone who doesn't believe in the product?

Of course, the journalist could easily look at our graduation rates, the percentages of students who go on to college, our math and reading proficiency levels, our standardized test scores and compare them to other schools and see how successful our schools are. But it’s not about any of that. Rather it’s about exposing all those inbred freaks that populate Jesusland.

But in terms of “exposing”, there is nothing to expose. Everything we do is out in the open. This includes our curriculum, our teaching methodology, our Human sexuality curriculum, our philosophy of discipline, our extracurricular programs and the ways in which we integrate faith with reason. We have no secrets. Maybe if the journalist wants to hear about people’s experience in Catholic schools, he could interview five of the nine US Supreme Court Justices (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Sotomayor, Roberts, Thomas) who attended a Catholic High school or even Lady Gaga. Or maybe even the Obamas, they sent their daughters to a Friends Select School (Quaker). None of them seem like illiterate half-wits.

But I do thank the journalist for firing a warning shot. Now we know they are coming after us. I realize that many in the media have a special disgust for homeschooling and hold lots of venom for Charter schools but Christian and Catholic schools are not far behind. The strategy to take us down is pretty commonplace: use the Courts and Law to close us or regulate us out of existence, rescind any tax credits or school vouchers in states that have them. When that doesn't work file endless lawsuits that squeeze us into bankruptcy. If that doesn't work find a Court that will rule that the Constitution demands only government-run schools. If that fails to enjoin the Twitter mob to spread lies, horror stories, cult-like narratives about religious schools. Finally, scare parents to death that their children will be shamed out of polite society if they send them to a religious school. This is not the first time Catholic schools have had to fight against bigotry. The anti-Catholic Blaine Amendments of the nineteenth century were designed to shut us down. But they didn't. In many ways, the history of the Catholic school system in the US is like the “Little Engine That Could”, despite the uphill climb we are still chugging along.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it was the Protestants that wanted to shut us down. Today we have a new foe, the secularist who believe religious people are “on the wrong side of history” and that religious ideas are so outdated. Instead they want to replace the outdated religions and their apocalyptic warnings with their own secular revelations: warning us that the world is about to end (12yrs, climate change) and climate deniers need to repent and pay a carbon tax which is a big improvement on the idea that the world was ending because of sin, sinners need to repent and pay for an indulgence. Gone are the days when religion told you what behaviors were immoral and now the enlightened editors of the Times and the Post get to tell you instead. Glad they straightened all that out! #exposepatheticjournalists

Love, Fr. John B.

PS: The bishops of Covington and Louisville apologized for joining the mob against the Covington Catholic students. Funny how they want us to give them the benefit of the doubt when they didn't give the students the same?