Thank you for visiting Rod Dreher. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Most Recent Scientology Story on Beliefnet! Happy Reading!!!
A comment from a combox thread:
Scotch Meg, While I am generally supportive of home schooling, it seems to me that if you want children educated in a common culture people should rather be boosting church schools, which of course were a big part of the Catholicism of yore. Home schooling produces yet more individualists each with their own take on things.
Good point, but here’s the thing: many (not all) of the Catholics I know who take their faith the most seriously don’t want their kids educated in diocesan schools, opting instead for homeschooling, private (non-diocesan) Catholic schools, or even public schools. In explaining this choice to me, they’ve all expressed some variation of the idea that they don’t trust diocesan schools to transmit the authentic Catholic faith to their kids. As one friend who has his kids in public school put it, “At least in public school, my kids are under no illusion they’re getting a real Catholic education.”
But it’s also true of the wider community and its schooling. Public schools are no better or no worse than the public they serve. While it’s true that some people are ideologically opposed to the idea of public schools, and no doubt harber ill-founded prejudices against public education, it’s also the case that other people don’t want to put their kids in public schools not because of the school system, but because of … the public. As Caitlin Flanagan put it in a memorable Atlantic essay:
As a parent, I am horrified by the changes that have taken place in the common culture over the past thirty years. I believe that we are raising children in a kind of post-apocalyptic landscape in which no forces beyond individual households–individual mothers and fathers–are protecting children from pornography and violent entertainment. The “it takes a village” philosophy is a joke, because the village is now so polluted and so desolate of commonly held, child-appropriate moral values that my job as a mother is not to rely on the village but to protect my children from it.
Got that? The common culture is now something so alien to many parents that they want to withdraw their children from it. Which brings us, once again, to MacIntyre territory. The problem is such, though, that the dividing line does not exist between sacred and secular, but even divides church communities. As the Catholic screenwriting professor Barbara Nicolosi-Harrington put it in her interview the other day:
I am an orthodox Catholic, a happy Catholic. I don’t dissent from the Church’s official teaching in any area. Many Catholics have complaining to do, but, basically, it’s worked for me.
Much of my professional work has been done by the generosity of evangelicals. If only Catholics understood my vision as well as the evangelicals have! But I would say that I’ve found that things are shaking out historically, so that if you are someone who is a traditional biblical Christian, Catholic or Protestant, you will end up on the same side of the divide. There are many who call Jesus “Lord, Lord,” but in fact they dissent from so much biblical Christianity that they are almost indistinguishable from non-Christians.
So there are Catholics I have very little in common with theologically or spiritually, and there are evangelicals with whom I have a tremendous amount in common. It comes down to, “Are you really engaged in this relationship with Christ?” If you are, then it’s amazing how you will find a whole new community of friends.
A whole new community of friends. The ecumenism of the trenches. This is why I sent my kids to solid Protestant schools back in Dallas.