By Vatican standards, there are human-rights violations in American schools

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Apr 20, 2016

Reading the address by a Vatican envoy to an OSCE meeting on religious minorities, your first inclination is probably to think that Msgr. Janusz Urbanczyk is speaking primarily about Christians in Islamic countries. No doubt he is. Still, as I read his defense of the rights of parents in the education of their children, I couldn’t help noticing that his argument applies to the situation right here in the US. Msgr. Urbanczyk said that the parental prerogative:

… requires states to ensure that instruction in public schools does not pursue an aim of indoctrination and to ensure that children are not forced to attend lessons that are inconsistent with the convictions of their parents.

So if state schools require students to read the Qu’ran and renounce all other faiths, that is an offense against fundamental rights. But if the schools require students to attend classes on gender theory and condom use, that’s an offense as well. We Americans tend to think about human-rights violations—particularly violations of religious freedom—as problems that arise only in other countries. That was true in the past. No longer.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: rdennehy8049 - Apr. 25, 2016 9:06 AM ET USA

    We have no one to blame except our generation, meaning people born in the late 30s and early 40s. We accepted the changes and did not protest. We bought Playboy "for the articles" and accepted films like The Moon is Blue.

  • Posted by: mclom - Apr. 22, 2016 5:28 PM ET USA

    We are in a heart breaking situation. Just 70 years ago, film makers were making films with Catholic nuns and priests as heroes. Families were depicted as having several children and being mostly stable happy. Exceptions proved the rule.