OCALA, Fla. (Church Militant.com) - A Catholic teacher in Florida is being reprimanded for providing copies to students of St. John Bosco's negative assessment of Islam.
Mark Smythe, a sixth-grade religion and social studies teacher at Blessed Trinity Catholic school in Ocala, gave handouts in class of St. John Bosco's writings on false religions, specifically the section referring to Mohammedanism. Written in 1853, the tract, titled "The Catholic educated in his religion," provides information about the various Christian and non-Christian religions in a question and answer format.
In the text, St. Bosco refers to Islam as a "monstrous mixture of faiths" and explained that Mohammed "propagated his religion, not through miracles or persuasive words, but by military force."
In a short time, this religion, which favored every sort of licentiousness, allowed Mohammed to become the leader of a troop of brigands. Along with them he raided the countries of the East and conquered the people, not by indicating the Truth, not by miracles or prophecy but with one aim only: to raise his sword over the heads of the conquered shouting: believe or die!
An upset parent alerted the principal, who then contacted the diocese of Orlando. Assistant Superintendent Jacquelyn Flannigan then reprimanded Smythe, though no information was provided about the nature of the reprimand. She provided a statement to the Huffington Post calling Smythe's actions an "unfortunate exhibit of disrespect."
Citing Nostra Aetate, the 1965 document from the Second Vatican Council, she claimed that "the information provided in the sixth-grade class is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church."
The incident was brought to the attention of the media after an outraged mother submitted the material to the left-leaning "Documenting Hate" program. Documenting Hate is a new initiative of ProPublica, created after Donald Trump's election with the intention of "creating a database of reported hate crimes and bias incidents." Anyone who witnesses a "hate crime" or feels victimized can report the incident to the site, which then alerts media organizations, potentially creating a media firestorm that can silence those with differing opinions.
Some of the partners of Documenting Hate include the Human Rights Center of UC Berkeley School of Law, New York Times Opinion, and Google News Lab.
Neither the school nor the diocese responded to Church Militant's requests for comment.