Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bigotry in Blue

Perhaps the signature characteristic of modern leftism rests on its fundamental inability to distinguish between that which one ought to do as a matter of moral imperative and that which one must do as a matter of legal command. Hence, leftists employ such absurd usage as: “ask people to pay more in taxes.” Um, no. Government does not ask people to pay more in taxes; it shows up at your door with guns and demands.

Of late, Bluejersey has gotten its panties in a bunch about Governor Christie’s refusal to discuss where his kids go to school. It’s no particular secret: they attend(ed) Assumption in Morristown and Delbarton. Catholic schools, in other words. As it happens, my own kids attended Assumption for a while and I attended Delbarton. So it’s amusing to hear the folks at Bluejersey characterize – or disparage – the education provided there as “elite” with one fellow – who apparently hasn’t done the research – wondering (in a manner so as to evince more than a little doubt) if the Christie boys will get a grounding in Catholic social doctrine at such an “elite” school like Delbarton.

Another columnist derides a Delbarton (and presumably any Catholic) education as “myopic”, in part due to the absence of a Lesbian/Gay club. (One might inquire why one’s sexuality ought to be the subject of public discussion at all, let alone a matter properly involving a high school club, but that would be terribly old fashioned and politically incorrect. One might further note that a recent class president at Delbarton – in keeping with the times which, alas, apparently require that the personal, at least as respects one’s homosexuality, must be trumpeted from every rampart – “came out” before a convocation of the student body, apparently to raucous applause.) A Delbarton education, the columnist avers, represents an attempt by the Governor “... to inculcate his children in his conservative ideology and to minimize their exposure to broader points of view.” He then proceeds to compare a Delbarton education with that offered by Peronists in Argentina.

I know nothing more about these columnists than what they wrote, but their ignorance of – or deliberate misrepresentation of – Delbarton in particular and Catholic education in general is astonishing and seems undergirded by more than a hint of ugly hatred.

Anyone who believes that Delbarton – or Assumption – aims to create good little conservatives has never met Fr. Giles -- Delbarton's soul and noone’s idea of an ideological Republican. Delbarton has been inculcating Catholic values – including the "preferential option for the poor" – since long before those words appeared in a pastoral letter in 1986; I remember school-sponsored trips to Appalachia in the early 1970's, bringing truckloads of donated clothing, food, furniture, etc., which continued and increased long after I graduated.

Indeed, consider the following from the Delbarton guide on “Campus Ministry”:
"Students, blessed with many gifts, learn that “more will be expected of a man to whom more has been entrusted” (The Rule of St. Benedict 2:30, Luke 12:48), and are provided with a wide range of opportunities to “give back.” Any student can find a place to serve and a cause that captures his heart – from helping the hungry and homeless, to tutoring children, to providing food, clothes, and Christmas gifts to the poor, to working with the mentally and physically handicapped, to promoting respect for human life through pro-life work. And there is a project that can match even the most rigorous of student schedules – from ones that occur every week, to a few times a month, to only once or a couple of times a year. (Click here for the current Community Service Brochure for a list of our offerings.) Although there is no “formal” community service requirement at Delbarton, all students are expected to participate, and in a given year approximately 95% of our students do so.”
In short, a Delbarton student is told that, consistent with Catholic doctrine, he is “expected” to “give back”, but that no one will issue marching orders. (Perhaps, the voluntary nature of one’s moral obligation is precisely what set the leftists off; can’t permit people to actually have the freedom to decide for themselves how much to “help”, as they might not voluntarily do enough. So we need government to “ask”.)

I rather wonder, what percentage of students at the local public school “give back”? My children attend(ed) Morristown High where they received precisely the sort of “... exposure to a broader experience of diverse students and ideas” than that assertedly available at Delbarton. (MHS even offers a Lesbian and Gay Club); I absolutely guarantee that a minuscule proportion of that “diverse” student body “gives back”, no where near 95%. The school most certainly doesn’t “expect” it and one can only imagine the ACLU's reaction if it did.  My children were "expected" to volunteer -- in conjunction with receiving Confirmation; those pesky Catholics again, with their "expectations".

“Christie's choice” of a Catholic education for his children, Bluejersey harumphs, “is myopic, and relevant to public discussion. It suggests his general intolerance for other views, and his undeterred insistence on promoting ‘his way or the highway.’” Oh?  Query precisely which side in the debate demands a lockstep-conformity, one-size-fits-all, "my way or the highway" educational system (presumably with every school offering its own Lesbian and Gay club)?

While the left has a long (and dishonorable) history of anti-Catholicism – indeed, much of the left’s passionate opposition to school choice finds its genesis in animus against Catholics – rarely is it displayed so blatantly. Catholics are “intolerant” of opposing views, their schools devoted to “... inculcating ... children in ... conservative ideology and ... minimiz(ing) their exposure to broader points of view...”

Really?  This isn’t the Delbarton I know. Indeed, it’s not Catholic education as I know it. Having experienced both Catholic and public education, both personally and as a parent, in my experience, a student is much more likely to face “indoctrination” at the hands of a public school teacher (my children encountered several with open and profound animus toward Republicans, but that must be aberrational among members of the NJEA, right?) than at the local Catholic school.

The only "myopia" evident in this story is that displayed by the Bluejersey authors, who can't see beyond their own bigotry.