Integrity: Something Catholic Schools *Shouldn’t* Teach?

Sometimes, I read something that’s really quite awesome, like a bunch of High School kids protesting against the firing of the Assistant Principal of their school. Why was he fired? Because he was gay. I think that it’s a credit to those kids that they felt they should stand up against an injustice and a credit to the school for instilling a sense of civic responsibility and ethics into their students.

However, some incredibly ignorant folk (like Rebecca Hamilton, 18-year member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives) believe that the job of a Catholic School is to raise mindless drones. In her own words:

It also points to a failed Catholic school. Based on the behavior of its students, this school appears to have failed in what most people think is the real mission of a Catholic school, which is raising up young people who can stand for the faith.


So I was raised Catholic. Sure, sure, not “American Catholic” (whose public members seem to share a lot in common with the Protestant Evangelicals), but Irish Catholic. As in “in Ireland”, where pretty much every single school is a Catholic School.

And the primary goal of these Catholic Schools is to be schools. To educate their students. To prepare them for a world where they will need to understand mathematics, geography, history, and all those other things that make an educated adult. Not an ignorant fool, raised to be a warrior for religion.

Some of her statements are just so ridiculously ignorant, like:

We live in a post Christian America and we need Catholic schools to equip our young people to follow Christ in a hostile world.

Firstly, there is a deep confusion here between what is “needed” and what is “wanted”. That you want to increase your numbers, and to push a religious agenda on the world: that’s ok. You’re allowed to want incredibly short-sighted and self-serving things. No-one is saying that you can’t want that. But you don’t need it, except in the sense that you ‘need mindless drones in order to carry out the plan of world domination’, which isn’t a “need”, but (again) a “want”.

Secondly, there is a deep confusion here between what the ignorant, self-serving adult Catholic community “needs”, and what these kids “need”. These kids need an education. They need to be able to evaluate the world on their terms, and they need to be able to decide what’s in their own best interest, and the best interest of the community in which they reside. And yes, they get to disagree with the ignorant, self-serving community leaders. Because Free Will. Remember that one? I thought that that was taught to Catholics. Just maybe not in Oklahoma….

And finally:

The students who have walked out should be dismissed from the school.

So let’s recap: Representative Hamilton, of the Oklahoma legislature, thinks these students have been improperly taught. She states, clearly, that the school has failed to ingrain in these students the necessary programming. She believes that the school is at fault. So her response is to dismiss all the students who walked out? That, right there, is a microcosm of the issues with Catholics the world over: don’t fix the problem with the institution, quickly get rid of the symptoms of that problem.

Seriously, Oklahoma, what the hell?

(Thanks to Hemant Mehta at The Friendly Atheist for letting people know about this terrible person)

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