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January 09, 2005



Yeah, I have to love these parents who think that somehow the parents should be so pure. I don't think I've known a Catholic school to turn away a tuition-paying student for reasons other than severe disciplinary issues. I fully expect my divorced sister to be able to enroll her son in Catholic school should she move here to New York (he's autistic, and the Catholic-school method is a great fit for him); I also know many, many Jewish, Protestant and Hindu folks who attended Catholic school because it was the best option. So gay parents? Riiiiiight.


I had several friends who went to Catholic school whose parents weren't Catholic at all, and as such were agnostic and/or in open violation of numerous Catholic rules (notably birth control; I didn't have any friends with more two children in their family). It was always my understanding that such a practice was entirely ordinary. Changing the rules to pick on gay people is bad enough, changing the rules to pick on gay people's children is downright shameful. This seems like about the most clearcut case of bigotry hiding behind theology I've ever seen. I'd actually like to hear this parents group defend their position, as it seems utterly indefensible to me.


"Why on earth would you send your sons to school in an environment where your children are very likely to be taught that their parents' relationship is unnatural and sinful? "

As someone who attended Catholic school for a decade despite the fact that my family was outright nonreligious, the reasoning was obvious: Catholic schools' tuition often cost a fraction of other private schools. Since the parents decided against Costa Mesa's public system for whatever reason, they could pay $3,100 for St. John the Baptist --- or about $9,000 for the nearby nonreligious Page Private school.

And although the recent uproar has certainly emphasized the so-called-"sinful" nature of their parents' relationship, my experience with Catholic school seemed to mention nothing about personal lifestyle. Instead, it was a typical elementary school that strangely excelled in testing beyond even the public school across the street. We merely happened to have a daily class about Jesus, whom we studied like so many other history lessons -- a class of great interest to our young Monterey Park student body, which was roughly 85% Buddhist!


My parents considered sending me to a Catholic high school, even though we were extremely nonreligious, because I'd had such a miserable experience in the public middle school. I think they were hoping for a more orderly and protective environment than the public schools offered.

I think that secularists often don't just deny religion, but relegate it to an unimportant corner of life. So even though the school included some religious education, we were like, oh well, whatever. As the theologians might put it, we accepted modernity's compartmentilization of religion into a "spiritual" sphere apart from the rest of life. I imagine the gay couple might have been doing the same thing.


I grew up in Catholic schools in NYC, and the reason was very simple- the public schools sucked. Catrholic schools were 1/3 the cost of the non-religious private schools, and I ended up with a full scholarship to a Catholic high school, so that ended up free, too. (My family does happen to be Catholic, but I remember the primary reason for Catholic school being education, not religion.)


This may have no bearing on the Orange County case, but it may provide insight to people's reaction to it:


"Yes, school choice proposals includes parochial schools, but I know at least some Catholic school veterans who tell me that, unlike at many public schools, gay baiting and bashing simply would not have been tolerated at their alma mater, regardless of the Church's teachings about sexuality. Richard Sincere of Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty (GLIL), a libertarian gay group, says his all-male Catholic school was a far cry from the hate-and-fear-filled hallways of Columbine High. In fact, demonstrating respect for fellow students was ingrained and fostered by the faculty on a daily basis, with an affirmative attempt on the part of administrators to make sure different sorts of students mixed with each other, so jocks worked on the school play and musicians assisted the basketball coach."

There are many misconceptions about how various religious traditionalists treat people with whom they disagree.


Yeah, Catholic schools in this country evolved as an alternative to the private-school system only open to WASPs; as recently as the late 1950s, my uncle was rejected from several medical schools because they'd already filled their "Catholic quota." Georgetown is now considered a very good school, only incidentally a Jesuit school, but way back when, it was the only way for Catholics like my grandfather to get a good education.

Odd, considering the Jesuits were the ones who branded Galileo a heretic.

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