Those who argue in favor of redirecting local taxpayer money away from public schools and into vouchers for private religious schools may want to rethink their position after learning of a recent incident in Boulder, Colorado. The Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School there refused to allow a child to be enrolled in Kindergarten because the child’s parents are lesbians.
So, parents of children at the school came together to protest the school’s decision yesterday morning. They said the decision was against their values. The school, run by priest Bill Breslin, was unmoved, and would not change its mind. After all, it isn’t a public school. It isn’t run democratically, by the parents of the children, as a public school would be.
Breslin offered a rambling explanation of his decision, saying that the goal of the Sacred Heart of Jesus school is not to educate children so much as to mold them into obedient Catholics: “our reason for existence, both as a parish and as a Catholic school, is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.” Part of being a disciple of Jesus, according to Breslin, is that you have to hate your parents: “Unless you hate your mother and father, brothers and sisters, you cannot be my disciples… I chose to protect the faith over doing what would have looked like the loving thing to do.”
Breslin insisted, however, that the decision was not simply in opposition to homosexuality. It was in opposition to anyone who defies the Catholic Church. “If people are living other conflicts with our faith and publicly defend that conflict (for example someone publicly encouraging divorce) we would have the same problem.” Parents of Catholic School children aren’t allowed to live in a way that’s different from what the Catholic Church teaches, apparently.
So, if you’re a child living in Boulder, and one of your parents speaks out in favor of divorce in public, you’re not allowed at the Sacred Heart of Jesus School. If you speak out in public in favor of contraception, your child cannot attend the Sacred Heart of Jesus School. If you’re an atheist, or any other sort of non-Christian, and perhaps even a non-Catholic Christian, your children are not welcome.
Why should local taxes, gathered from everyone in the community to support education for every child, be taken away from public schools, to support a private school that refuses to serve so much of the community it takes from?