Here’s something to chew on. An atheist man has sued his Catholic ex-wife. At issue is the school their 14 year old son will attend. Mom and the son have chosen a Catholic school, but Dad wants him to attend a public school:
As a practicing Catholic whose eighth-grade son, Michael, has always attended parochial schools, Susan Bisig says it would be best for him to attend St. Xavier High School.
The 144-year-old Catholic secondary school also happens to be Michael’s first choice.
But Bisig’s ex-husband, David Ryan, an atheist who has joint custody of their 14-year-old son, wants Michael to attend a nonreligious high school.
And he says the Kentucky Constitution is on his side because it says no one shall be “compelled to send his child to any school to which he may be conscientiously opposed.”
The battle between Ryan and Bisig, both commercial pilots, has landed in Oldham County Family Court, where Judge Tim Feeley has said he will decide within the next couple of weeks where 14-year-old Michael Ryan will attend high school next year.
Whichever parent wins will pay Michael’s tuition, Feeley said.
As the mother of a five year old, I’m quite grateful her father and my husband is also an atheist. I can’t see either of us ever converting to any religious belief short of a lobotomy so I doubt we’ll ever have to walk that tightrope.
That said, Michael is 14 years old and should have the final say as it is his life we’re talking about here. Sure, there’s the issue of the judge postponing this battle (the judge from the divorce case told them to wait until Michael was a teenager) and going with leaving the then young Michael in the religious school, but that’s water under the bridge in my opinion.
As for Michael being taught that Dad’s a big ole sinner, I don’t think that holds much water. For starters, the school doesn’t appear to be a nutball training facility as it lists as goals these things which appear to be consistent among all the St. Xavier schools in America:
- Provide a school that nurtures spiritual and humanitarian values.
- Promote self-disciplined, conscience-based and personally accountable young men.
- Prepare students for critical thinking and responsible decision making in an interdependent world.
- Recognize the importance of exposure to and respect for the Catholic faith expressed in word and deed.
- Recognize the importance and dignity of each individual.
- Affirm a commitment to academic excellence and further develop a curriculum that challenges each unique individual.
- Expand instructional techniques in recognition of the diversity of the world today.
- Promote active involvement within the community through extensive extracurricular and service programs.
If you happen to actually know the difference between shit and shinola you probably also know that everything I’ve bolded is largely considered to be sinful by the nutball brigade. Chief among these sins is critical thinking and academic excellence. Heaven forbid a nutball actually thinking about much of anything or – worse – considering it important that children should know that pi does not equal 3.
I do take one issue with the article though. A law professor states that forcing Michael to attend a public school would be “establishing atheism”:
Stenger, who previously taught in the school of religion at University of Iowa and has a doctorate of theology from Catholic University of America, also noted that the father’s constitutional argument cuts both ways.
“The mother has equal constitutional rights not to have the court forbid a school because it is religious,” he said.
“If the father were to win, it would put the authority of the court against religion, which both the federal and state constitution forbid,” Stenger said.
“It could be called establishing atheism.”
This is just wrong. For a public school to be atheistic in it’s teaching it would have to actively teach it’s students that (all) theistic belief systems are wrong. It is ridiculous to argue that failing to instruct children to believe in (a) god(s) is the same as instructing children that there is(are) no god(s).
Furthermore, as America is a country that is dominated not just by the religious in general, but by the Christians who also have a controlling share of the nutball brigade, I’m quite sure we’d have heard about such a school by now what with “happy holidays” being solid evidence that America is out to get Christians. They’d actually have a “war” to bitch about, wouldn’t they?