The Lord does work in mysterious ways!
When I founded The Lyceum in 2003, along with a couple of other teachers, a handful of adventurous students and their daring parents, none of us ever envisioned that our small school would ever be involved in a serious battle to “protect civil rights” and “religious freedom.” Back in 2003, we thought that the only battle we would have to wage was with the intellectual customs of the day that frowned upon teaching things like Latin and Greek, Euclid and Homer, the Great Books of the Western World, and the Catholic Faith.
We knew it would be a hard sell to persuade parents and students to attend a school which prized the teachings of ancient authors like Aeschylus, Aristotle and Aquinas and simultaneously proposed to make singing sacred polyphony mandatory.
But now, sixteen years later, confronted with a local law masquerading as an “anti-discrimination ordinance,” our little school is fighting for the simple right to exist. Now, the school has a bigger challenge than simply recruiting students who want a classical liberal education.
Essentially, the ordinance would make it illegal for The Lyceum to operate as a Catholic school in a number of ways but particularly, by curtailing its right to hire Catholic teachers and recruit students who espouse and embrace the Church’s teachings concerning human sexuality and marriage. Here is a summary of the ordinance.
And here is an illuminating video presentation of the challenge that the school faces:
Ahhh, those were the days when making the case for studying dead languages was our biggest challenge! Now, the school is forced to defend fundamental civil rights and religious freedom.
Fortunately, our little school is led by a strong, principled, and intrepid headmaster and a wise Board of Trustees. Thankfully, it also has the help of an incredible legal team, The Alliance Defending Freedom!
I suppose if the Lyceum’s battle with city hall is reminiscent of David’s battle with Goliath, at least The Lyceum has the Alliance Defending Freedom as its slingshot! Nonetheless, God always seems to use the weak things of the world to accomplish His work. As Saint Paul says in Corinthians,
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men…But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.”
I just finished reading Herodotus’ account of the Battle of Thermopylae with my ninth grade students. This was the famous battle in which 300 Spartan Hoplites famously held back two and a half million soldiers of the ‘barbarian’ King Xerxes. Ultimately, though vastly outnumbered, the Greeks prevailed for the cause of freedom! Those 300 Greeks preserved democracy and freedom for the entire western world.
Though our little school is tiny, though it may be insignificant in the view of the city, though the city’s coffers and resources are relatively legion, nonetheless may God, too, choose the weak things of the world to confound the strong. May our school prevail if for no other reason than to preserve the right for schools, such as ours, everywhere to maintain their religious liberty and Catholic identity.