Monday, January 26, 2009

Catholic schools - when "education" is not education

[Poster from Natural Book Craft]

The Huffington Post carried an article about a month ago about a Catholic priest in Blue Springs, Missouri, who "removed books related to President-elect Barack Obama from the Catholic school's library because of his position on abortion."

The priest's name is Ron Elliott. The school is St. John LaLande School.

Evidently, "someone" [that same old "someone"] complained about the content of the books, and he [Elliott] wanted to look them over to see, I suppose, if they contained any dangerous heresy that would put the immortal souls of his kiddos in danger.

The reverend, being a Catolic, is very concerned and very opposed to abortion. He is very pro-life.

So, someone complained. Elliott removed the books. Without reading them!!!

Then he did read them. Concluded they were OK. He's going to put the books back in the library "after the dust kind of settles."

This, hopefully, is not illustrative of all Catholic education. But it's instructive, still. When one believes they hold the "truth" in their hands and that "truth" is of eternal significance, one can justify a variety of unhappy, even dastardly actions.

A most extreme example, would be the Islamist suicide bombers, called by Allah to kill infidels. In that light, Elliott's action seems almost benign. But it isn't benign, for it represents the same approach to education that turns out Islamist suicide bombers.

And that approach to education means that those in your charge must be "protected" from any information which might lead them to question the "truth" that you possess. So, if there are books in the library about President Obama that could possibly lead a student to conclude reasonable people, Christians even, disagree about abortion, one must do everything possible to keep such inflammatory material out of the children's hands.

Education, thus, becomes indoctrination. Indoctrination leads to ignorance and sometimes to fanaticism.

Unfortunately, this is too often exactly what happens in the religious schools of our country, and in the homes where children are being home-schooled. Home-schooling has gained prominence and popularity precisely because it allows parents to indoctrinate their children in their own prejudices and keep them ignorant of any facts which are contrary to those prejudices.

Again, that is not education, that is indoctrination.

Of course, in this, the land of the free, religions have the right to teach their flock whatever they so desire and parents have the right to teach their children whatever religious quackery they believe in.

The problem, of course, is that some of these people will achieve positions of power and authority in our society. We have enough fools in those positions already.

The Huffington Post article is here.

1 comment:

Bob Poris said...

That could lead some reasonable people to avoid voting for any Catholic. That was once a real problem when Al Smith ran for president years ago and was considered a problem when Kennedy ran. It could happen again and that would be loss for our democracy. We found that a Mormon had some difficulty although we found that a black man could win, even if he was only half black. (I wonder which half is black. I suspect that he looks black therefore he is considered black)

All this bigoted stuff is very sad, when so many people of a variety of faiths have fought and died for all of us and still are. The bigots should move somewhere where everyone thinks as they do. I would not miss them.

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