Tiny Catholic School Sues City to Protect Civil Rights and Religious Freedom

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.

About marklangley

Academic Dean at The Lyceum (a school he founded in 2003, see theLyceum.org) Mark loves sacred music and Gregorian Chant and singing with his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their twelve children.
This entry was posted in aeschylus, catholic education, Herodotus, Religious Freedom and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Tiny Catholic School Sues City to Protect Civil Rights and Religious Freedom

  1. petranchmom says:

    Well said, Mark Langley! What a noble spirit you possess and encourage! Know that you, your intrepid Headmaster, the students, faculty, board, families, and ADF have our payers. We are forever grateful for your bringing a Classical Catholic Education to Northeast Ohio.

    The irony…and such an obvious political ploy! They found this necessary–basically an anti-discrimination ordinance that discriminates against the Catholic Faith? Also, while your school teaches students how to think for themselves being grounded in the Faith, these politicians will not tolerate anything beyond groupthink.

    I must confess, I originally misread where you wrote, “…though the city’s coffers and resources are relatively legion…” I didn’t see the word relatively. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

    God bless you all!

  2. Pingback: FRIDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  3. stephen Lamgley says:

    Mark,

    Watched the video with great interest. Hope you win that legal battle not only for the sake of the students there but for other similar schools
    That are
    Out there…Trivium and even Seton the homeschool system we use here in Japan comes
    To mind. Thought this kind of persecution was finished when Obama was dethroned.
    Do send a request to the Trump since I think he would be behind
    You 100% and if nothing else may be able to donate towards your legal fees 🙂 God bless
    And will keep your school in our prayers.

  4. This is very recent of efforts at college campus across the country to force religious student organizations to open up leadership positions to people who did not hold — or were even hostile — to the principals that the organizations were founded to promoted. Happily, the federal courts did the right thing and came down on the side of the organizations. I pray that you succeed in your fight against South Euclid, and, more importantly, the organizations and personalities that are in the deep background that are pushing this nonsense! Please keep us/me posted as to how this goes.

  5. Pat Costello says:

    God bless you for standing up against the evil of our day which threatens our natural
    rights. Besides the fact that the rights of freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly, and petition for redress are guaranteed by our Constitution, these rights are God-given.
    They don’t come from governments. Any government that tries to infringe on these rights is evil and must be stopped.
    My prayers are with you! Faith and Freedom Forever!

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