Column: Judeo-Christian morality is the bulwark of successful democracy

Kathy O'Hara is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.
Kathy O’Hara is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.

by Kathy O’Hara

Dear friends of Catholic schools,

Even though three of our five children live within a few miles of us, because they are adults with families of their own, we have been reserving a “Family Brunch Day” to be sure we all connect on a regular basis.

Recently, at our brunch, we were discussing the very explicit — and now infamous — “sex education” poster that was adorning one of the halls of the local public middle schools. My kids could not believe that something so inappropriate could be displayed. One of them made the comment, “That’s one of the things that makes Catholic schools worth it!”

This led to a discussion of what children experience today, and I relayed what one of our principals told me. This principal has a relative who teaches in a local public high school and who has told her daily member that many of the freshmen she teaches already have experienced some of what was described on that poster. In my mind, this is even greater support for the importance of Catholic schools. We are free to teach right from wrong, but, more importantly, why wrong is wrong. We are free to teach our students about their innate dignity as children of God and how certain behaviors violate that dignity of the human person. We are free to say what should, if nothing else, be common sense — that we should not be teaching behavior that is wrong and unhealthy just because students are “already doing it.”

The question is: How could something like this poster incident happen? I recently read a book in which the author talks about how good Christian people often inadvertently allow their morals to be compromised. The author suggests that often Christians accept or even embrace what the author refers to as the erosion of morality in our country in the name of Christian tolerance and/or our desire not to judge others.

This author suggests that this way of thinking is dangerous for our country because democracy is based on Judeo-Christian morality and cannot be sustained without this foundation. The author quotes John Adams when he said “that our Constitution was ‘made only for a moral and religious people.’”

So what does all of this have to do with Catholic schools? Just as we can teach right from wrong when it comes to a poster, we can teach the essential relationship between democracy and Christian morality. For these reasons, Catholic schools are of critical importance, not just for our families, but for our nation. Catholic schools are, indeed, “worth it.”

¡Vaya con Dios!

Leave a Reply