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REPORT CARD: ‘War on Christmas’ on Catholic Campus; School Choice Victory in Florida; Georgetown’s Love Saxa Still Targeted

Loyola Chicago students claim bias in Christmas celebration

Some students are upset that Loyola University Chicago goes all out decorating for Christmas but doesn’t do the same for other religions’ holidays, according to The Washington Post. [1]

They know they’re attending a Catholic university, right?

Sajid Ahmed, a 19-year-old Muslim student and prayer coordinator for the Muslim Student Association (MSA), told The Loyola Phoenix (Chicago) that he likes the Christmas decorations but wishes Muslim holidays were equally celebrated on campus.

Shweta Singh, associate professor in the school of social work, said it’s the responsibility of both student organizations representing other faiths and cultures and the university to celebrate publicly as many religious holidays on campus as possible.

What war on Christmas?

Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., dean of the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, appears to be sympathetic to the “war on Christmas,” saying, “we have to be careful about the language we use in a pluralistic society.”

“I don’t think Jesus would care much about whether we say ‘Merry Christmas’ or not,” he said in a video according to California Catholic Daily [2]. Fr. O’Brien claimed that Jesus “was not concerned about promoting himself.”

“It’s not just about promoting or protecting Christians,” he added. “If I am to be called ‘Christian’ or a good citizen, I need to be as protective of the rights of Muslims, for instance, in this country, to practice their faith.”

Are we to understand that saying “Merry Christmas” is somehow offensive?

Christmas not ignored at tree lighting

The Blaze published a story [3] about how colleges across the country are taking Christ out of Christmas in the name of inclusivity. Sadly, their story included a Catholic college.

According to the report, Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., leaves out the word “Christmas” in promoting its tree lighting, calling it the “annual holiday tree lighting.”

However, I went to Mercyhurst’s website and found “Christmas” alive and well. Perhaps the College corrected its language.

“Mercyhurst University will hold its annual Christmas tree lighting,” the website said. “This year, the administration decided to invest in a 30-foot artificial tree that could be positioned in the front of Old Main, where it would illuminate the statue of Mary.”

God bless them for celebrating “Christmas.”

Benedictine College creates beautiful Christmas video

At most Catholic colleges, of course, students and faculty love the opportunity to celebrate Advent—especially at the faithful Newman Guide colleges.

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., has created a beautiful video [4] of the Christmas story with St. Joseph played by the college’s chaplain, Father Simon Baker, OSB, and the Blessed Mother played by Sister Joan Kolbe Kjerstad, MS, a nursing student.

The Newman Guide [5] college’s video features the Holy Family’s journey, a living nativity scene, and the angel’s visit to the shepherds while a narrator reads excerpts from the Gospel of Luke as musicians play “What Child is This” on piano and cello.

“After doing this video,” Sister Joan Kolbe said, “I realized how much Mary and Joseph had to go through on their journey to Bethlehem and how joyful they were on the first Christmas night holding the Baby Jesus.”

Victory for school choice in Florida

In a victory for school choice, a Florida appellate court rejected arguments [6] that sought to end two school choice programs that have helped more than 100,0000 children attend private and Catholic schools throughout the state.

Anti-school-choice advocates argued that Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program and the McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities were unconstitutional, but the First District Court of Appeal affirmed otherwise. [7]

Interestingly, Chief Judge Bradford Thomas not only affirmed the programs’ constitutionality but said that school choice, besides benefitting students and families of those attending private schools, also helps public schools themselves “in terms of lessening the incentive to over-identify students and by increasing the quality of services of the students with disabilities in the public schools.”

The Institute for Justice [8] represented six families whose children use the programs.

UK says religious schools clash with ‘British values’

Arguing that some of Britain’s private religious schools may “clash with British values,” the country’s school inspection body—Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted)—is seeking to both register homeschooled children and to restrict religious schools, according to The Catholic Herald. [9]

In its annual report, Ofsted said that a rising number of “highly conservative” religious schools employ a curriculum at variance with more secular “British values,” such as “tolerance” and “inclusivity.” It also expressed concerns that there are no legal requirements to register children as homeschooled.

The head of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, said spreading “shared values” would be one of the department’s main priorities for the coming year. “Inspectors have also found sexist and sectarian literature in some schools.”

Clearly, the “British values” agenda could be used to usurp Catholic schools’ freedom to teach the faith.

Group unfurls anti-Columbus banner in Notre Dame Library

An activist group from Michiana, Ind., unfurled banners at the University of Notre Dame attacking the display of Christopher Columbus murals on campus, calling them “KKKolumbus murals,” according to Notre Dame’s student newspaper. [10]

“White supremacy must be dismantled as part of the fight to preserve life on Earth,” the group Rising Tide said in a statement. “We will take further actions in support of indigenous people’s demands to address these racist murals.”

The demonstration comes on the heels of a protest by the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame, which advocated removing the murals.

University spokesperson Dennis Brown said the university doesn’t plan to remove the Columbus murals.

Georgetown’s Love Saxa still targeted

Love Saxa is still a target of hate. The Georgetown student group’s detractors recently labeled Love Saxa a “hate group” for its commitment to traditional marriage, and it narrowly avoided a student commission stripping it of official university recognition.

Love Saxa President Amelia Irvine told The College Fix [11] that animosity towards the group hasn’t abated. She said, “some of our haters attended” the group’s most recent meeting.

“I’m not sure why they were there, but we suspect that it was to intimidate our membership,” she said. “The Georgetown ACLU has promised to protest all of our public events or provide ‘safe spaces’ during our public events.”

Despite it all, however, Irvine says the group will not shy away from its beliefs. “We view all people as equal in human dignity,” she said, “and our views of marriage affirm this.”

Catholic school allows violent music video to film on campus

Blessed Sacrament School, a Catholic elementary school in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, allowed rapper Lil Pump to film on campus a music video featuring drug activity, alcohol consumption, and violence against a teacher.

Electronic Urban Report says [12] school officials were supposed to let the archdiocese know video’s content beforehand but failed to do so. An archdiocesan spokesperson said the school failed to follow procedures.

I would link to the video itself, but something tells me you’d be appalled.

Students criticize Notre Dame’s insurance decision

The Irish Rover [13], a conservative student publication devoted to preserving Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, has criticized the administration’s decision to offer insurance that covers contraceptive and abortifacient drugs at no cost to employees.

The newspaper’s editorial rightly points to how the university argued in a lawsuit that such coverage was inconsistent with its Catholic identity, even through a third-party provider, but then did an about-face and offered the coverage on its own after the Trump administration exempted religious institutions.

“This reversal has left many dumbfounded—shocked that after a long and costly lawsuit in which Notre Dame asserted that it was against its Catholic values to play any part in providing contraceptives and abortifacients to employees and students, it would abruptly reverse course and willingly participate in such action,” the Rover said.

At this point, I find it not so shocking as it is revolting.

Fordham coffee shop evicts Republicans

A shocking new video at Campus Reform [14] shows members of the Fordham University College Republicans wearing “Make America Great Again” hats getting booted from an on-campus coffee shop because their hats violated the shop’s “safe space policy.”

“This is a community standard; you are wearing hats that completely violate safe space policy,” said the self-identified president of the coffee shop, which is run by a student club. “You have to take it off or you have to go.”

Sounds like an unsafe space to me!