EDITORIAL: Join the fray

Working as editor for the only faith-based newspaper in Southcentral Alaska gives one the opportunity to encounter some of the most inspiring people and stories in our state. It also presents the more difficult task of looking squarely into ways that faith and morals are under attack in our communities and schools.

That Christian morality is increasingly undermined by the broader culture is not seriously debated. Many parents know the challenges they face in mitigating the influences of a culture that seems to have come unhinged regarding sexuality and respect for the long-enduring faith and morals of Christianity.

The point here is not to review general threats, but to call attention to a very specific challenge that should be on the radar of all parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, godparents and others in positions of responsibility over today’s youth.

As reported in the January issue and on page 18 of this issue, the State of Alaska’s Department of Education and Early Development is very actively working to establish graphic, detailed sex education curricula and materials for K-12th grade students across Alaska. The aim of most of these efforts is to provide exacting information about how to obtain and use contraception and where to go for an abortion. Added to this agenda is the specific task of indoctrinating our children into thinking that being male or female is not a given reality for a person. Indeed, the proposals for Alaska’s schools teach that male and female are merely social constructs, which one can and should experiment with, even from very young ages.

This is not a theoretical or distant threat. These courses are currently being prepared for introduction in classrooms across Alaska. In some cases they are already underway.

Naturally, most of us would rather not be bothered with this news. It’s not easy to read or write about, but the reality is that this indoctrination will continue unabated unless thoughtful, courageous men and women step up and draw a line.

How to proceed?

The vast majority of us don’t have time to pour over proposed curriculum standards, attend school board meetings, track legislation in Juneau and attend state-sponsored educational conferences. But many hands make light work. We can form parent committees that keep each other appraised of educational proposals. We can attend the occasional school board meeting, sign up for a three-minute public testimony and let the elected board members know where our priorities lie. We can read the textbooks our children pour over daily and vocalize concerns when they arise.

If we fail to engage in these and other ways, we should not be surprised to find it difficult to pass down the faith and morality which we treasure.

With the Catholic Church celebrating Catholic Schools Week later this month it must be noted, as well, that Catholic schooling is an option. Before writing this off as the privilege of the well-off, consider that many children from lower income homes attend our Catholic schools. There are payment options, scholarships and other means to reach this goal. Each school works with families on a case-by-case basis. It’s worth at least checking out. These schools are grounded in faith and offer excellent academics.

The point here is not to stand by and hope for the best when it comes to the faith and morals of our children and grand children. There are influences already at work on them — we must join the fray.

The writer is editor of the Catholic Anchor, the newspaper and news website of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska.

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