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Friday, March 05, 2010

Imagination Time: The Catholic School v/ Lesbians Edition

Okay, let’s play Imagination Time for a moment.

Imagine that you are a lesbian living in the Denver area (imagining liking girls is pretty easy for me; imagining the change in plumbing is a little tougher). Imagine that you are also a parent of a pre-school age child and are looking for a good school for your kid. Now, tell me what that school would look like?

Would it be a Baptist school? Why or why not?

Would it be one of the Denver Waldorf schools or a Montessori school? Again, why or why note?

Lastly, would it be a Catholic school? Why or why not?

Whether I like them or not, the religious schools very well could have policies against accepting or keeping students who are living in families that don’t adhere to their standards of conduct. Not only is it legal, it’s entirely understandable. Yes, I also understand why the parents might have wanted their kid in a religious school, but that doesn’t really change the other side of the equation.

The story of a lesbian couple whose kid is not being allowed back into a private Catholic school is raising a bit of noise around the area, though. Even school staff is voicing (anonymously) disappointment in the Denver Archdiocese decision.

According to the Archdiocese, parents who enroll their kids at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School are expected to follow the Catholic Church’s beliefs.

“No person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school’s philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and Archdiocese,” the statement said.

Because this student’s parents are homosexual, the Archdiocese says they were in clear violation of the school’s policy.

School staff members, who asked to remain anonymous, say they are disgusted by the Archdiocese’s decision.

For those staff members who disagree so strenuously, I suggest that you tender your resignations. For parents who disagree, I suggest you withdraw your children. Register your disagreement in the best way you know.

Still, the “disgust,” especially on the part of the staff, is either incredibly naive or merely over-dramatic. What did they really think would happen? They do happen to work in a Catholic school. For that matter, for the parents, I feel fairly sure that they must have been actively subverting any code of conduct and policies that they had to agree to before placing their child in the school.

I say again: what did they really think would happen?

Last year when I was looking for a new job, I came across one that I was reasonably well-qualified for at a local Christian college. I started the application process and came to the code of conduct that I was expected to agree to and live up to as a requirement of employment.

Now, I really wanted a job and the idea of working on a Christian college campus appealed to me to. I know that this will be shocking to some folks out there, but I truly do take my religion seriously; I mean it when I call myself a Christian. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to find me to be a perfect fit for the teaching of any one church, and I have a hard time reconciling the areas of disagreement with my desire to be involved in a church.

When I came to that code of conduct, though, I knew that I would not be able to sign it in good conscience. It might not be readily apparent to anyone at the school and I might well be able to talk my way into the position, but it would be starting my employment based on a lie. I could not sign that code of conduct because it would have been a lie.

I have enough respect for myself to stand up for those things in which I believe. I have enough respect for others to not lie to them about the same.

Read the rest.

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My Imagination Time can get pretty strange.

Being a lesbian? What if I’m a lesbian trapped in a man’s body? Would I be Mr. Lady? And yeah, the licking girls part, I’m with ya there. The plumbing part, not so much, but having a pair to play with all the time, kinda sounds fun. Maybe it’d get old after a while.

I once worked for an Irishman. He maintained that if you could deal with the Catholic part, the Jesuit schools were the best. My general belief, based in part on experience, is that schools run by a church tend towards higher academic standards.

Don’t know anything about Waldorf schools. Do they offer a salad education? I’ve heard good things about Montessori.

I once applied at a local Christian College for a Sysadmin position. After the 1st interview, I became disinterested, and didn’t follow up.

on Mar 05 2010 @ 04:23 PM

I am not saying it doesn’t exist here, but I never heard of a code of conduct for parents. Perhaps they want the money to keep the schools afloat.

on Mar 06 2010 @ 03:49 AM

The school is (would be) teaching the child, not the parents, so the decision should be based on the child, not the parents.  That said, if its teaching includes the idea that the conduct of the child’s parents is fundamentally wrong, I think it is probably good for them to deny enrollment—that sort of thing would tend to damage the family and thus the child.  In addition, of course, if the child were vocal about disagreeing with the school’s teachings, it could be disruptive for the other students, which I consider a, shall we say, cardinal sin.

Now, why would the parents want to put their child in a school where the child is being taught that the parents are evil?  I don’t understand that at all.

I think the diocese’s policy is wrong, but that’s primarily because of my disagreement with the underpinnings of that policy.  My disagreement does not impose an obligation on the Roman Catholic church. (People are allowed to be wrong, otherwise there couldn’t be a Democratic Party, neh?) Given the policy, the school is quite possibly making the best decision for both school and student.

As to whether religious schools are good?  Some are; some aren’t. They mostly get their teachers (and to a lesser extent administrators) from the same godawful Ed. Schools that other schools get their staff.  Some use decent curricula, some not so much, though the odds are probably better in church schools, and better in Catholic schools than (say) Lutheran schools.  They do tend to treat discipline seriously, which is good, and the parents of kids in the school have a demonstrated willingness to spend their own money to improve the education of their kids, which also helps the culture.  They also spend time on religious instruction, which might be counted as a plus or a minus, depending on your views.

As to codes of conduct: If you have one but never explicitly ask me whether I will follow it, well, “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” works in places other than the military, at least so long as the expectations aren’t too odious.

on Mar 06 2010 @ 10:17 AM

Reminds me of the gay atheist communist whateverists who try to get their kids into the Boy Scouts. Usually successfully, since the Scouts start with a presumption that new members are attuned to their values.

Then they’re outraged that the organization isn’t just about interesting knots and camping.

It’s not like this stuff is secret. You spend twenty years in the Catholic Church, grinding out Mass achievements, working your way towards the inner sanctum, where a secret voice whispers in your ear “psst! we don’t approve of the gays! don’t pass it on!” Shocked, you reel out. The Catholic Church, opposed to homosexuality? NO!!!!

Doug, the Catholic schools are successful for one reason: they cling to an older educational ethos, one that is not even slightly concerned with a student’s self-esteem or delicate feelings, a hierarchical ethos that says: I know this. You don’t. That makes me better than you. Aren’t you lucky that I will share this knowledge? Damn right you’re lucky. Sit your ass down and put that iPod away.

It’s a mean, fascist, grasping ethos that has as its sole merit the fact that it transmits information and makes the stupid little bastards learn.

on Mar 06 2010 @ 07:20 PM

"Doug, the Catholic schools are successful for one reason: they cling to an older educational ethos, ....”

Less true now than it used to be (more’s the pity), though more true for the Catholics than for most schools, and more true for SOJ schools than most Catholic schools.

on Mar 06 2010 @ 09:36 PM
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