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Hey kids

posted by awelborn

Enjoy the Prom!

And let’s take you to see a movie afterwards!

Yup. I heard about this several weeks ago, and it’s finally made the papers.

A group of Carroll High School parents is outraged that the school’s parent organization is sponsoring a post-prom trip to see the film “The Da Vinci Code” in May.

The parents claim the film’s subject matter is offensive and denigrates the Catholic faith and Jesus Christ. “The Da Vinci Code,” starring Tom Hanks, opens May 19 and is based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown.

The movie and book fictionally suggest that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, who later bore his child. This information was then covered up by the Catholic Church.

Bob Sedlmeyer, parent of a Carroll senior and associate professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, spoke against the movie choice at the Northwest Allen County Schools board meeting Monday night. Sedlmeyer said he was surprised and shocked when he learned the Carroll PTO was selling tickets to take students to see the movie at the Carmike Cinema on Dupont Road for an 11:55 p.m. May 20 showing.

The rest of the story goes on to say that the kids want to go see it, they’re really excited. Etc. That’s not the point. The point is the school system is sponsoring an activity that promotes a religious perspective. Would they take them to see The Passion of the Christ? Well, obviously, not after prom, but even as a school field trip? Nah. Nor should they.

Not to mention that this film promotes stupidity as a valid historical hypothesis. Which, in the end, is the most problematic element.

{Insert  – well what do you expect – punchline here]



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Old Zhou

posted April 26, 2006 at 4:17 pm


Why don’t they just go see Over the Hedge, which opens the same day as DVC, and sounds much more educational and historically accurate, too.



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HAP

posted April 26, 2006 at 4:18 pm


Aren’t you and others who share your opinion claiming that the Da Vinci Code does NOT represent a valid religious perspective, though? That it’s all a bunch of malarky? And isn’t this fictional movie based on a fictional book? I’m not sure you can really play that card.
If parents don’t like it, they don’t have to send their kids. Real simple.
OTOH, I really have to question any kid who is honest-to-God really excited about going to see some movie with a bunch of adults after their prom. Sorry, but I’m thinkin’ these are kind of putzy kids if that’s the case. I mean, they honestly can’t find something better to do after their prom than either get drunk and have sex or go see the Da Vinci Code with other people’s parents…? Is Indiana really that boring and devoid of entertaining things to do?



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amy

posted April 26, 2006 at 4:20 pm


1) You’re confused. It presents a religious perspective. Of course it does. It presents a religious perspective based on bogus history. Like, I dunno. Scientology. Sort of.
2) On the last question: er…no comment.



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Will Barrett

posted April 26, 2006 at 4:25 pm


“But parent Andrea Chapman and PTO President Holly Allen said the majority of Carroll students are in favor of the event.”
Ms. Chapman, that’s why God (or evolution) gave you a brain and reason. Use it. But people want it? So what. Use your reason to make a well-informed and right choice.



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John D.

posted April 26, 2006 at 4:31 pm


Well, all the hype is good for business. Good for the producers of the film. And good for those selling stuff disputing the (fictional) film. A win-win situation.



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William

posted April 26, 2006 at 4:47 pm


“Would they take them to see The Passion of the Christ? Well, obviously, not after prom, but even as a school field trip? Nah. Nor should they.” That would certainly be a teacher’s call. For the past two years, during Lent, after weeks of teaching the Eucharist, typology and salvation history in general I show my senior classes TPOTC. In 22 years of teaching theology in a Catholic high school TPOTC pulls those topics all together for the students like nothing I’ve ever used. The reflection papers are amazing. Very powerful tool in the classroom. I do have reservations about using TPOTC with non-seniors. After the prom? Nah.



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Mary Kay

posted April 26, 2006 at 4:47 pm


Things certainly have changed since I was in high school.
Is the parent organization officially part of the school, something that the parents are obligated to support?
No parent should be mandated to support anything that slaps their religion in the face, fiction or not. If Chapman and students want to go see it, they should pay for it out of their own pocket.
And yes, an alternative after-prom activity does sound indicated.



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meg

posted April 26, 2006 at 4:51 pm


William – it’s a public school. They have different rule about sponsoring religious events.



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Fr. Totton

posted April 26, 2006 at 5:09 pm


Carroll High School? Public or Catholic! I was confused at first too, but apparently it is a Public School!



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Susan Peterson

posted April 26, 2006 at 5:23 pm


People might think it was Catholic because of John Caroll of Carollton..the Catholic signer of the declaration of Independence. A “John Caroll HS” would probably be Catholic. But there are a lot of “Caroll Counties” in various places which would have a Caroll County HS..not Catholic.
I also wondered at first for this reason.
Probably the reasoning of the people who chose it was no more than “This is a popular movie, with a popular actor, which isn’t too sexually explicit.”
SFP



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Nance

posted April 26, 2006 at 5:37 pm


It’s a public school.



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Nance

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:00 pm


Oh, and Amy, if you’ve known about it for weeks, do you know what’s been communicated to the PTO leadership and NACS school board about it in that time? Did anyone said anything to them before this board meeting? John Hilger is a high-profile Catholic; did he not know? If the movie is objectionable — and it certainly is, at least to a large minority — the time to start cage-rattling is when you find out and there’s time to make another plan, not when the ball is further down the field.



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HAP

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:10 pm


Around here, the after prom event committee is separate from the regular prom committee and is funded by donations and non-school hosted fundraisers (basically they stand outside Bagel Chateau on weekend mornings with a coffee can asking for money, so “fundraiser” is a bit of a stretch, lol), and participation is completely voluntary. I don’t think the school itself has anything to do with the after-prom stuff.



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William

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:20 pm


Ah, public. Didn’t catch that.



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:24 pm


“You’re confused. It presents a religious perspective. Of course it does. It presents a religious perspective based on bogus history. Like, I dunno. Scientology. Sort of.”
You mean like Raiders of the Lost Ark? HAP is absolutely right.



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amy

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:28 pm


Jimmy:
You may not believe it, running in enlightened circles as you do, except when you condescend to join us here, but there is a proportion of readers of DVC who take the historical assertions seriously.



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amy

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:41 pm


Uh, Nance, my kids don’t go to that school. The woman I spoke with at the Redeemer Radio fundraiser had just found about it the day before, and was going to get on it pronto…so I figured she’d get on it.



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Nance

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:49 pm


Well, I wasn’t expecting YOU to do anything, but you figure, if people know about it, they should be making the calls.
From a closer reading of the story, it appears a few have been rattling cages, but it looks like it’s not much more than a handful.
I’m not sure, but does the PTO fall into a gray area, in terms of the church-state separation deal? That is, if they’re selling tickets to a voluntary event held after school hours, can that be construed as promoting a religious viewpoint?
Maybe they should take everyone to that “Omen” remake I see in the coming attractions.



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 26, 2006 at 6:49 pm


Amy – We’re talking about kids from a public school, some of whom aren’t probably Catholic, who live in a free country, going with parents after the prom to see an action-packed, suspenseful, murder, mystery thriller movie. That’s probably all it is, and I bet much safer than some of the other alternatives being planned. And if they wanted to verify the historical inaccuracy of the movie’s plot line, I trust they have the wherewithal to do so.



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Dan

posted April 26, 2006 at 7:00 pm


It’s just common sense that a public school should not include in one of its events a movie that some find offensive. Including The Da Vinci Code as part of the prom is like including “Triumph of the Will” or “Birth of a Nation” as entertainment for the kids at a school event.



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amywelborn

posted April 26, 2006 at 7:15 pm


So, Jimmy: Any school-sponsored event is beyond criticism as long as it deals in a cultural product that’s popular?
Really? So the parents should just shut up and not voice concerns?
Got it.



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 26, 2006 at 7:47 pm


Amy – Come now, I never said such a thing. And you know it. This meme that one’s contrarian comments equal a condemnation of criticism is old, tired, and always the desperate tactic of last resort.
You are welcome to criticize whatever you want. So are the parents. I support and defend the right to do so. By all means, you and others should bring it on with all the persuasive force you can muster. And if it’s enough to change the outcome, so be it. I’ll congratulate you. Isn’t our democracy wonderful!
But let’s not forget that I, too, can be a critic of what I think is (1) misplaced animus against “a cultural product that is popular,” (2) efforts that seek to limit the freedom of individuals to consume it in ways they see fit, and (3) an authoritarian attitude that ultimately distrusts people with their own abilities to discern the truth about it.
But, rest assured that at least I won’t go around falsely claiming that you think I don’t have the right to be a critic.
Got it now?



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Eileen R

posted April 26, 2006 at 8:08 pm


Who wants to go see a movie after a prom anyway? What’s the point of spending three hundred bucks on a ballroom gown if you’re going to sit in a dark theatre and eat popcorn out of a paper bag?
Basically, this must be a lot less classy event than my prom.



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Kevin Jones

posted April 26, 2006 at 9:00 pm


“an authoritarian attitude that ultimately distrusts people with their own abilities to discern the truth about it.”
Pollyanna, students, by definition, are uneducated and unable to discern the truth.
We’re all authoritarians in one way or another. Public schools themselves exist because we go to jail if we don’t pay taxes. Is it really too much to insist that our money doesn’t subsidize the blasphemous flavor-of-the-week?



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Anonymous

posted April 26, 2006 at 9:13 pm


Eileen R said, “Who wants to go see a movie after a prom anyway? What’s the point of spending three hundred bucks on a ballroom gown if you’re going to sit in a dark theatre and eat popcorn out of a paper bag?”
Good point. Let’s let our kids spend hundreds of dollars on clothes, makeup, tuxedos, limo rentals, hair and nail appointments, etc. so they can go to their prom. Let’s ignore the blatantly immoral music, the immodesty of many of the dresses, the blind vanity, the sickening materialism and the potential occasion of sin this whole experience is. But let’s make sure they don’t go see DVC afterward, because that might actually do some spiritual damage…



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 26, 2006 at 9:49 pm


“Is it really too much to insist that our money doesn’t subsidize the blasphemous flavor-of-the-week?”
No, it’s not too much to insist at all. Just show me how “your” money is subsidizing this particular blasphemous flavor-of-the-week. [Though, I can show you how "our" money is financing what I think is an unjust and immoral war in Iraq that actually kills people.] The news article indicates that this event is simply something organized by some Parents through the PTO and that there is no taxpayer money being put into this at all. They’re selling tickets, and no one is required to buy, participate, attend, support, engage, or even “dialogue.” Come to think of it, I’m not quite so sure why this whole thing is a matter that demands being raised as a complaint to the School Board in the first place other than as an expression of opposition. Can the School Board legally do anything to stop the event, even if it wanted to?



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Jimmy Huck

posted April 26, 2006 at 9:52 pm


Posted by: Anonymous at Apr 26, 2006 8:13:54 PM
Ouch.



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Mike Petrik

posted April 26, 2006 at 9:52 pm


Anon,
Plenty of contemporary pop music is not immoral, blatant or otherwise; and most prom dresses are perfectly modest within reasonable Western standards. Of course many songs and dresses are out-of-bounds. I see no reason that Proms cannot be wholesome affairs if organized and chaperoned properly. We are Catholics; not Puritans.



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Peggy

posted April 26, 2006 at 10:04 pm


Dan,
You’re forgetting that it’s okay to offend Christians.



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Anonymous

posted April 26, 2006 at 10:37 pm


Mike,
Yes, we are Catholics, and this places a certain responsibility on us.
I’ll take your word that contemporary pop music isn’t immoral; when I used to listen to it many songs seemed to be glorifying sins against the sixth commandment. It’s good to know this is no longer the case.
On the dress issue, I’ll have to disagree. Maybe “reasonable Western standards” include low-cut strapless gowns, gowns with sheer mesh panels loosely connecting the bodice to the waistline, dresses slit to the upper thigh, and so on, but I’d be willing to bet these gowns would constitute an occasion of sin for the average teenaged male prom date.
True, proms can be wholesome affairs. So can spring break trips to Cancun, if “organized and chaperoned properly,” but the problem is that so often they aren’t. Besides, should Catholics really want either of these extravagances for their children?



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Eileen R

posted April 26, 2006 at 11:14 pm


Who goes to a prom with a date anymore? Seriously. Is that still the thing to do in your parts of the world?
The prom here is about taking your parents and grandparents. And they get to be proud about how you’ve scraped through 12 years of school, and you look really, really grown-up. The first dance is for dancing with the parent of the opposite sex.
As for blatantly immoral music, it was more like blatantly sappy. Particularly having to listen to “Forever Young” and “I Hope You’ll Dance” for an eternity.
If you put a lot of money into grad, which my rich public high school did, the result is that the parents want to get something out of it.



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Sonetka

posted April 27, 2006 at 12:24 am


I went to the prom (ten years ago) with a date. And I wore a sleeveless dress :). I can’t speak for whether my date was inflamed by the sight of my bare arms, but mostly we hung around and talked with friends, admired each other’s clothes and rolled our eyes at the music, which was indeed very sappy. (Somewhere I still have the souvenir candle from that prom – the theme was “Everlasting Memories”, which should give you an idea). If the prom in question is at all like mine was, I can’t imagine the kids really wanting to go to a movie afterwards; for us, part of the big deal was that we were seeing ourselves dressed and made up for pretty much the first time. What’s the point of hiding all that grown-upness in a movie theatre? The parents are probably pushing this because they’re afraid their children will get up to post-prom naughtiness otherwise. They’d do better just to give them a curfew and watch a movie at home.



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Anonymous

posted April 27, 2006 at 1:11 am


Sonetka, I’m sure your dress was lovely, and I don’t want to come off sounding like a prude. But around here, schools have had to come up with dress codes that specify how low the dress can be cut in front or how high the slits in the skirt can go, and to forbid dresses with bare or see-through midriffs. Last year this made the news, because some girls were sent home for violating their prom’s dress code, and both they and their parents were mad that the girls’ extremely skimpy dresses were deemed inappropriate. As far as music/dancing, it’s stories like this one that have some parents concerned:
http://www.10news.com/education/8958503/detail.html
Eileen R, from the story linked to above I’m assuming kids still take other kids in many parts of the country! I’ve not actually heard of people taking their parents and grandparents, although with all the money involved, it’s not a bad idea–sort of like practicing for your child’s future wedding, complete with tux rental or expensive dress. But maybe, as you indicated, this is more of an economic issue, with “rich” schools needing to give parents something more tangible for the money they are being asked to spend on graduation.
In any case, arranging to take kids to DVC following prom might or might not be more dangerous than the prom itself, though I suspect that the average kid who has been at a prom all night, either with a date or with Grandma, will probably just sleep through the movie.



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Maureen

posted April 27, 2006 at 7:45 am


For the Victorians, ballgowns were bare- shouldered and often bare-armed. (Although the ladies of that time did commonly wear gloves, so at least they weren’t barehanded.) So I don’t think that’s unsuitable in a formal gown; and a prom is indeed a sort of ball.
(Although I do think a typical Victorian or Edwardian show of evening gown decolletage would be way too much for a high school girl. And indeed, the marriageable girls of the day wore their ballgowns lowcut, but not as low as the older married women’s.)
The things which make some prom dresses unsuitable are not the bare shoulders and bare arms. It’s how they’re presented. Heck, you could design an Amish dress that was hugely immodest, and I bet there are Amish girls who have.



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HAP

posted April 27, 2006 at 8:02 am


Mmmmmkay…proms where the girls wear flour sacks and take their grandmas as “dates” and then go to the movies afterwards…
Good times…good times…
/eyeroll



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austin

posted April 27, 2006 at 8:45 am


Somehow I don’t think the school would have endorsed this movie if it was about the Islamic understanding of Muhammad being false. Remember all the tears of regret shed over the cartoons in the Netherlands? I don’t think they’d see this movie if it was about Buddhists radically misunderstanding their faith. There would have been an outcry and perhaps hate crime talk. There would have been helpful lectures about respecting the diversity of faiths.



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Catholic Mom

posted April 27, 2006 at 10:42 am


My prom at a small Catholic high school was several decades ago. Went to prom, went to an after-party at a friend’s house, then our favorite priest (not the official school chaplain but a local priest who had befriended our high school) celebrated Mass at 3:00 am so we could then all go home and sleep in and not get up for Mass the next morning.
In this case we are talking about a public school. My guess is the money for this event does not come from taxpayer funds but rather from private money raised by the PTO from dues and fundraisers. Therefore, these funds can be used for anything they want.
Lots of things go on in public schools that are offensive to our faith. I opt my children out of the sex-ed classes because of the immoral perspective they offer. I review their textbooks and reading lists and provide additional information to them as needed. The AP World History reading list was a catalog of anti-Catholic screeds. My kids know the school’s standards are not our standards. An activity or idea promoted and approved of by the school is not necessarily in concert with our values. We have to learn to discern and act according to our own moral code, even when it is out of sync with the popular culture.
Therefore, don’t go to the Da Vinci Code. (Go to Over the Hedge instead!)Don’t join the PTO if they are going to use your dues to support objectionable activities. Don’t support their fundraisers if you don’t like the way they use the funds.
Southern Baptists don’t believe in dancing.(or at least that used to be the case) That doesn’t stop the public schools from having proms with dancing. I would be much more alarmed by this if it were a Catholic school sponsoring the outing.



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Ken

posted April 27, 2006 at 12:02 pm


So, Jimmy: Any school-sponsored event is beyond criticism as long as it deals in a cultural product that’s popular?
Actually, Amy, that should be pronounced “Ooooooooo! (squeal) POP-U-LAR!” Like the character Quinn from the MTV series Daria.
Somehow I don’t think the school would have endorsed this movie if it was about the Islamic understanding of Muhammad being false. Remember all the tears of regret shed over the cartoons in the Netherlands?
Austin: That’s because Muslims go into a killing-spree frenzy every time they think they might possibly be getting dissed. If Christians did the same, everyone would tiptoe-on-eggs around us, too.



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Pius

posted April 27, 2006 at 1:44 pm


I’m a young Catholic. I think “The DaVinci Code” is more dangerous, particularly to a high school audience, than some people realize.
For many culturally illiterate, non-Catholic high schoolers, this movie will be the only thing they learn about the Catholic Church. Many young people are taking DVC seriously, and it’s breeding a new anti-Catholicism among the masses that creates hatred and misunderstanding among my peers unlike anything I had seen before DVC. Before the DVC, it seemed many ignorant people didn’t know (or care) about what Catholicism was. Now they think they know–and they’re hostile to the faith.



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Richard the Adequate

posted April 27, 2006 at 10:23 pm


HAP ponders: “Is Indiana really that boring and devoid of entertaining things to do?”
Yep…



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