Saturday, February 28, 2009

End of a Teaching Stint

Ear - by Julian Horner

At the end of December, just before the Christmas break, I was hired as a temporary substitute librarian in an inner-city charter school. The job involved providing library classes and activities to 28 classes of elementary school students K-6th grade, each visiting the library for a period of 40 minutes. Does that sound easy? Hard? Impossible? I don't know what I thought when I arrived, but by the time I had been there a few days I had to ask myself: is this really as hard as it seems, or am I missing something? The teachers would drop their groups off for a much-needed break, and of course, the students had little incentive to "behave themselves" with a substitute. Not that they had much incentive in any case. The main activity of these children, in my class or any other, as far as I could tell, was talking to each other. The great imperative: socializing! But the great feature of the library, the student computers, did allow for some merciful (relative) quiet at times, although there were only 8 computers, and sometimes as many as 26 students... The students liked playing games and looking at fashion shows, when they could get away with not doing "Study Island."

I really liked the school, the staff, and I liked the students too - overwhelmingly African-American. It's just that no one was teaching them how to refrain from expressing impulses, or to keep still, or maintain quiet. The school was doing all these tests, tests, tests, and the students worked at something called SFA ("Success for All") which I gather was some sort of language arts program. The library was a large room, pleasant and well-stocked with juvenile literature; but the school had no playground (it was a reconstituted shopping mall) and the students had almost no recess or organized games. No wonder they'd rather play tag or hide-and-seek in the library than read print-outs of stupid little stories. I can't say I blamed them!

I suppose we spend our lives learning how to pay attention. Learning to listen, to hear, follow directions, obey - it comes from the ear, this "obedience," this learning-to-hear. In this respect the students I met were already severely disadvantaged. Only in America, where everything is the opposite that you would expect, a "disadvantaged" child is a child who expresses himself all the time. I did not meet any vicious children, and some I met were loving and affectionate. But they could not learn, or did not want to learn, or what they were being given to learn lacked relevance for their lives and consequently was dull. I grew weary, day after day, of shouting at them to be quiet. I was not a great teacher. Maybe I was not the worst. But I was glad when my stint ended - yesterday. I decided to leave; the administration decided to hire a man who had taught in a reform school. It seemed like the right conjunction of events, arrived at mutually and independently and simultaneously by both parties. So it was.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Remembrance of Ashes

My letter to First Things of March, 2007, has been reproduced here. The letter was a
response to George Weigel's article on the Just War teachings of the Church.
I have also re-posted my article of August 23, 2006, "The Zionist Face of First Things."
Thanks to Andrew for suggesting I re-post my letter to the editor.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

More Bad News from Pope Benedict

On October 25, 2006, I posted in this space a reflection on Pope Benedict XVI's speech at Regensburg, in which I expressed misgivings at the Pope's choice of words and example with respect to the religion of Islam. Once again, I find myself expressing some disappointment with this undoubtedly intellectual and educated Pope, whose capitulation to the Jews in the matter of Bishop Williamson I regard as nothing less than presaging the end of a viable Catholic faith.

Bishop Williamson may be impolitic, but he is no fool. He has allowed himself to express doubts concerning the fairy tale narrative of 9/11. But he has really blundered into the stew by expressing skepticism on the issue of the Holocaust, which is now apparently the stick used by the Jews to beat the masses into line. Where the rubber meets the road is the issue in any religious faith, and lo! - Auschwitz has been substituted for Golgotha, and no one apparently notices that the dogmas of religion have been transformed by sleight-of-hand into secular articles of faith. And with the blood of the children of Gaza not yet dried upon the fangs of the Zionist priests, the good Pope had the temerity to address those same rabbis in this wise, on the occasion of their gathering at the Vatican yesterday:

"The Church draws its sustenance from the root of that good olive tree, the people of Israel, onto which have been grafted the wild olive branches of the Gentiles (cf. Rom 11: 17-24). From the earliest days of Christianity, our identity and every aspect of our life and worship have been intimately bound up with the ancient religion of our fathers in faith."

But who, honored Pope, are our "fathers in faith?" Were they not those ancient Hebrews? These same ancient Hebrews who disappeared long ago into the sea of humanity? They elected to cast their lot with mankind, unlike those Pharisees and Zionists who claim, falsely, to be descended from them. Even the Enclyclopedia Britannica says that Judaism developed "long after the Israelites merged themselves with mankind, and that the true relationship of the two peoples is best expressed in the phrase, 'The Israelites were not Jews.'" But here is the very Pope of the Catholic Church conflating the two - in other words, proving himself a complete dupe.

The Jewish historian, Dr. Josef Kastein (himself a zealous Zionist) describes very clearly the difference between Israel and Judah:

"[After the death of Solomon, ~ 937 BC] the two states [Israel and Judah] had no more in common, for good or evil, than any two other countries with a common frontier. From time to time they waged war against each other or made treaties, but they were entirely separate. The Israelites ceased to believe that they had a destiny apart from their neighbors and King Jeroboam made separation from Judah as complete in the religious as in the political sense... [Then, the Judahites] ... decided that they were destined to develop as a race apart... they demanded an order of existence fundamentally different from that of the people about them. These were differences which allowed of no process of assimilation to others. They demanded separation, absolute differentiation."

The Catholic Church is a great charity and a great educational institution. But is it - still - a religion? Perhaps it was only a matter of time. With Holocaust memorials everywhere, most newspapers and media in Jewish hands, and undeniable Jewish influence in foreign policy and preponderance in the financial sector, how long could the Catholic Church have been reasonably expected to hold out? Now the Jews have entered the halls of the Vatican in triumph, bringing their burnt offering. But it would be more true to say they come bearing the ashes of the Christian West.