Diocese of Lansing’s ‘River of Filth’

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by Jay McNally  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 29, 2019   

Bishop Boyea considering implementing course on racism that rejects Catholic teaching

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Editor's note: This is the first of two parts about the consequences of a $50,000 grant issued in 2017 through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) in the diocese of Lansing to an activist group Action of Greater Lansing in 2017. Readers unfamiliar with CCHD should refer to the Church Militant special report "River of Filth" to learn about its diabolical history.

LANSING, Mich. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Lansing Bp. Earl Boyea is expected to announce soon whether he is going to introduce a pilot program to battle white racism this year at Lansing Catholic High School that would be operated by a secular organization called Facing History and Ourselves, which aggressively promotes all the nuances of the LGBTQIA+ agenda and shows no hint anywhere on its extensive website of respect for Catholic teaching on abortion.

Introducing the pilot program was recommended in the final report presented to Bp. Boyea April 16 after a year-long study by a "Task Force on Race and Catholic Schools," which was created eight days after the local chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM) led a protest of 150 people in front of Boyea's office on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 15 last year.

The Catholic Church's ban on sodomy is considered discrimination by her group and the curriculum denounces that teaching on the website.

The chancery protest was preceded by four months of anti-Catholic hysteria in local media that was orchestrated by LaShawn Erby, co-founder and co-leader of the Lansing chapter of Black Lives Matter, as well as executive director of Action of Greater Lansing, a hard-left activist group which has been generously funded by Bp. Boyea with $260,000 in CCHD grants since 2012.

That media hysteria was said to center on the decision of four black athletes at Lansing Catholic High School to "take a knee" during the playing of the national anthem before football and basketball games in the 2017–2018 school year.

But given Erby's comments on other matters, it is easy to see that she — like countless of other activists on the CCHD payroll — is motivated by raw hatred of Catholic teaching on most Culture of Life issues, including abortionhomosexuality and the ongoing genocide against blacks by Planned Parenthood.

Erby and BLM seem to have a special hatred for the Covington high school students.

The rest of this article focuses on the organization Facing History and Ourselves. Part II will deal with the alarming surrender by Bp. Boyea to Erby and BLM.

The release of the task force report was big news for Lansing media, which emphasized the finding that there is indeed racism in the Lansing schools. Local NBC affiliate station WILX's new report featured video of Dr. Joan Jackson stating there is a problem with racism in the schools. 

"Members found one of the biggest complaints is differential treatment of minorities," Jackson said.


The diocese of Lansing's April 17 statement about the task force recommendation notes it would be a one-year pilot program at Lansing Catholic High School followed by taking it to all 33 diocesan schools. The statement notes that "the free program, designed to teach students to value diversity of thought and identity, includes curriculum and resources for students, as well as professional development for educators and administrators."

As of May 15, Facing History's media spokesman told Church Militant the organization "does not have a current, past, or pending agreement to work in Ann Arbor or Lansing, nor do we have or have had any such agreement with the [diocese] of Lansing."

Even a cursory review of the Facing History's website reveals many red flags for faithful Catholics, particularly on its teaching regarding sexual behavior and broader Culture of Life issues.

Images of the covers and titles of the books and DVDs that Facing History recommends tell a story by themselves. Shown below are only a few of the more provocative titles seem to be typical of Facing History's stance which invariably endorses and encourage homosexual behavior.

Here is only a small sampling of some of the tiles copied directly from the Facing History website that should be of concern to Catholics:

Speak Up!: Improving the Lives of Gay, Lesbian Bisexual and Transgendered Youth: "This film explores the challenges of violence and harassment LGBT students face in school and the steps they are taking to transform their schools into safer, more welcoming environments."

Straightlaced: How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up: "With a fearless look at a highly charged subject, Straightlaced unearths how popular pressures around gender and sexuality are confining American teens."

Hineini: Coming Out in a Jewish High School: "A lesbian student at a Jewish high school confronts her identity as a Jew and a lesbian, and is determined to establish a Gay-Straight Alliance at her school."

The Times of Harvey Milk: "Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person elected to political office in California as a San Francisco City Supervisor. He was assassinated in November 1978, along with Mayor George Moscone."

Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community: "In 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village, leading to three nights of rioting by the city's gay community."

After Stonewall: "After Stonewall, the sequel to Before Stonewall, chronicles the history of lesbian and gay life from the riots of Stonewall in 1969 to the end of the 20th century. Narrated by Melissa Etheridge, it captures the hard work, struggles, tragic defeats and exciting victories experienced since then. It also explores how AIDS complete changed the direction of the movement."

 

In response to questions regarding how Facing History deals with Catholic Church's teaching on abortion and homosexuality, Linson gave a short two-sentence reply: "We do not comment on, teach, or evaluate the tenets of any religions or religious practices. Our organization equips teachers to help students think critically about pivotal moments in history to inform their own individual decision-making process."

Linson missed the point. Of course her group evaluates the tenets of religions! The Catholic Church's ban on sodomy is considered discrimination by her group and the curriculum denounces that teaching on the website.

Perhaps most damning for Catholics who recognize abortion as intrinsically evil is the failure of Facing History to include in its resources any narrative about Planned Parenthood and its war on blacks.

I was unable to find anything at all about Margaret Sanger. Yet, there are many excellent resources available, including the documentary Maafa 21, which could be used in the spirit of "critical thinking."

I also asked Linson for information about specific Catholic schools that use her organization's services and if I could visit any of them either in Michigan or a nearby state. She ignored the request.

Faithful Catholics may find the background and opinions of Facing History's Board of Scholars chair, Kwame Anthony Appiah, of interest. He is married to his longtime partner of more than 20 years, Henry Finder, who is the editorial director of The New Yorker. Appiah also is a revolving columnist for The New York Times Review of Books of a Q&A feature titled "The Ethicist."

Appiah's advice to a pregnant woman in his Aug. 2, 2017, column as "The Ethicist" was in response to her inquiry: "Can I Keep a Baby My Boyfriend Doesn't Want?" 

Appiah offered no pro-life defense of the child and said the final decision was up to the woman, who might keep in mind "the interests of the child," which might weigh in favor of the abortion. 

He wrote: "It may seem odd to say that consideration of someone's interests may count against continuing his or her existence, yet that's sometimes the case."

The Q&A is here, and readers can make their own judgments. And this 2014 TED talk shows Appiah citing Christianity as mainly an organization that kills people who believe the wrong thing.

On its website, Facing History describes itself as "is a nonprofit international educational and professional development organization" with offices in nine cities: Chicago, Cleveland, Memphis, London, Los Angeles, New England, New York, Toronto and San Francisco.

Founded in 1976, the group has 180 employees and had expenses of $26.8 million in the 2018 accounting period. The recent annual report lists more than 1,000 donors to the group; some have given $15 million over the years.

On June 17, I asked the diocese of Lansing's media spokesman, Patrick O'Brien, to arrange an interview with the individual who is leading the process to decide whether to use the Facing History program.

O'Brien declined to arrange the interview and instead sent the following note in which he acknowledges implementing the Facing History program of creating "confusion or even scandal among the faithful."

Here is the full text of O'Brien's reply:

Diocese of Lansing Catholic school administrators are in the process of reviewing all of the recommendations and they are vetting this program in particular. Though the elements of the program related to the primary topic of race seem to be beneficial in a way that the Task Force intended, there are other lesson plans from this organization that focus on LGBTQ issues, which are contrary to Church teaching.

Administrators are also exploring other programs that will achieve similar goals to address issues around race without entangling the diocese with an organization that has messages that could cause confusion or even scandal among the faithful.

Coming in Part II: Bp. Boyea genuflects before Black Lives Matter.

 

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