NY Times vs. St. Junipero Serra

In its 2015 Annual Report on Anti- Catholicism, the Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights discusses in detail a front page story in the 9/30/15 issue of the NY Times by reporter Laura Holson who wrote that Fr. Junipero Serra, who was just canonized as a saint last year, had been involved with “torturing Native American Indians”, and that historians agreed with this accusation.

Dr. William Donohue, head of the Catholic League, recently wrote a book about Fr. Serra and could not find a single historian who made such an accusation. So Dr. Donohue wrote to NYT reporter Holson asking her for the names of some of these “historians.” Holson never responded. He then wrote to Gregory Brock, Sr. Editor for Standards at the NY Times and asked him to provide the names of these historians. He replied to Donohue but never provided any names of historians.

We then wrote to both Greg Brock and Laura Holson to see if Dr. Donohue was correct. We asked them to please provide us with the names of historians claiming that Fr. Serra was involved with “torturing Indians.” We received a reply from Mr. Brock, and just as he did with Dr.

Donohue, he refused to provide the names of any such historians.

In our view, the NY Times has a “problem” with some of its writings on matters dealing with Catholicism or Christianity. We would not recommend the NY Times. Instead, we would recommend the Wall Street Journal.

NY & LI Teacher Pensions

For the past school year, the average pension for a PS teacher or other professional who retired after at least 30 years, was $67,476. For teachers in upstate NY, the pensions averaged about 20 % lower. For teachers retiring on Long Island the average was $86,800. (Empire Center for Public Policy)

Cost of Living on LI: Alarming

A report by Reclaim New York states that while Long Islanders have a median income twice the national level, families here are still struggling to get by because of high property, income and sales taxes, as well as high costs of food, transportation and housing. (Newsday, 10/14/15)

“The system is really built against taxpayers,” said Reclaim NY’s Executive Director, Brandon Muir. According to the Tax Foundation of Washington, DC, the 2010 median property tax in Nassau was $9,289 and in Suffolk $7,768. The national average was only $2,043.

Life Expectancy is Rising

Over the past century life expectancy has increased dramatically. In 1915, the average life expectancy for men was 52.5 years and 56.8 for women. In 2015, these increased to 76.9 for men and 81.5 for women, an increase of over 24 years!(www.amac.us) Worldwide, we see life expectancy also rising, and is now 69 years, or 10 years below that in the US (WSJ, 9/24/15).

Child Abuse – Huge Problem

Occurs 100x more often by Public School Employees than Priests

Decades ago the issue of child abuse was rarely discussed or even considered a major problem. But today we know otherwise. This issue has been discussed often in the media when it relates to abuse by priests. Sadly, some Bishops did not deal with the issue properly, sometimes believing denials by priests over allegations made by abused children.

But there is another area where child abuse is far, far more common—child abuse in our public schools. Based on key studies done in recent years, abuse by priests amounted to about 11,000 cases over a period of 50 years, or about 220 abuse cases per year. However, based on a major 2004 study by former Hofstra University Professor Charol Shakeshaft done for the US Dept. of Education (Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature), there were 290,000 cases of child abuse in our public schools over a 10 year period, or about 29,000 cases of child abuse per year committed by public school employees, mostly teachers. In other words, for every one case of child abuse by a priest, there were 130 cases of child abuse by a public school employee. What’s surprising is that in spite of the fact abuse by public school employees occurs more than 100 times as often as priestly abuse, this is rarely, if ever, discussed in our media or newspapers. Why is this ?

And, according to Dr. Shakeshaft, “in only 1% of the cases did Superintendents follow up to ensure that molesting teachers did not continue teaching elsewhere.” So public school superintendents have apparently made “mistakes” far more often than many Bishops did, but this also is rarely discussed. Again, “Why is this?”

The U.S. is World’s Greatest Country — But We Have Major Moral Problems !

No other nation on earth provides as much freedom to its citizens as our nation. Nevertheless, we do have three major fundamental moral “problems” :

  1. The “right” to abortion, i.e., to kill your unborn child.
  2. Denying the right of a state and its citizens to define “marriage” as the union of 1 man & 1 woman
  3. Denying the fundamental right of a parent to choose their child’s school with a fair share of the educational tax dollar, if it’s accredited by the state, with a cost below public school costs.

People are legally “free” to engage in many activities that may be deemed immoral by others, so long as it does not do harm to another “person.”

In 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 7-2 decision said, “black people are not legal persons” according to the US Constitution (Dred Scott Decision). A slave was viewed as property of the owner and could be bought or sold, used or even killed by the owner. Obviously, the USSC was dead wrong. In 1868, the 14th Amendment was enacted to correct this dreadful wrong.

In 1973, the US Supreme Court, in another 7-2 decision, said “unborn babies are not legal ‘persons’ according to the US Constitution” (Roe vs. Wade). Anyone who has seen pictures of a fetus 10 weeks old knows that this is clearly a human person, and science has confirmed every human life began at conception. Yet, in our nation, we have legally approved the killing of over 50 million unborn babies through abortion. That is 1/6 of our entire current US population! And, this is five times the number of killings performed by the Nazis in the 1930’s and 1940’s !

The number of abortions performed throughout the world since 1970 is about 1,400,000,000, or nearly 1/5 of the world’s total population of 7.3 billion. Yet taking innocent human life is still viewed by half our nation and half the world as an acceptable “choice”.

Last year the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision changed the definition of “marriage”, a right belonging to the states and not to the USSC. As USSC Chief Justice Roberts said, “the universal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is no historical coincidence. It arose in the nature of things to meet a vital need: ensuring that children are conceived by a mother and father committed to raising them in the stable conditions of a lifelong relationship….The human race must procreate to survive, and procreation occurs through sexual relations between a man and a woman.…a child’s prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together rather than going separate ways….Society has recognized that bond as marriage.”

Finally, there is the fundamental right of a parent to guide their child’s education. Indeed, this fundamental parental right is part of the Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Most western nations provide this basic right to parents. But not the United States.

The problem started in the 19th century with an anti-Catholic proposal Cong. James Blaine tried to use to amend the US Constitution to prohibit parents from selecting Catholic schools for their kids. While Blaine failed to amend the US Constitution, his amendment (the Blaine Amendment) did get passed in 37 states, including NY. Its history of anti-Catholicism is well known and admitted by both liberals and conservatives.

Clearly a state has the right to require its children to be educated and to set basic standards to be met. But if some parents want their kids to say a prayer at the beginning of the school day, that is a right of the parent. If some parents favor passing out condoms while others oppose this, that’s for the parents to decide. Half our states have now begun moving towards parental choice in education, granting funds for children to attend private or religious schools, so long as they meet the basic state educational requirements, and they get less money—usually much less money—per child to spend at the private/religious school. This ensures huge tax savings for all property taxpayers and state income taxpayers.

Based on a 1991 study by Ron Lauder for the NYS Senate, the savings with school choice in 1991 for NY taxpayers would have been $4 Billion/yr! Today that savings would exceed $8 billion/yr for NY taxpayers (property and state income taxpayers). This would also put pressure on our public schools to improve, as this is what happens with choice and competition. Everyone wins—students, parents and taxpayers. The largest opposition comes from the public school teacher unions that want to keep their educational monopoly.

The largest advocates of school choice are low and middle income parents, especially minority parents. What’s especially sad, however, is that these low income parents who overwhelmingly want school choice have no idea it’s the Democrats in the Assembly they vote for who are stopping the Education Tax Credit bill (A.2551) from even coming to a vote in the Assembly. The NY Senate has approved this legislation 4 times. But the Assembly Democrats will not even allow a vote, bowing to teacher unions who oppose school choice by parents.

These 3 issues — (1) abortion, (2) marriage & (3) parental choice in education—- are related to 3 of God’s Ten Commandments—the 4th (parental rights), the 5th (killing/abortion) and the 6th (marriage).