Kitchener school board situation serves as a sterling example
The elevation of an “open mind” to the status of an unchallengeable moral principle is, as a matter of plain fact, a perfect example of being closed-minded. Professor Allan Bloom made this point in his best-selling critique of higher education, The Closing of the American Mind, a book that offended a legion of teachers who were labouring under the assumption that they were open-minded.
Having an open mind, of itself, is no more useful than having an open mouth. As Chesteron reminds us, when it comes to eating, the purpose of the mouth is to close on something edible. The purpose of the mind is to close on something true. The person whose mouth is always open suffers from malnutrition; the person whose mind is always open suffers from intellectual starvation. The completely open-mind is functionally indistinguishable from no mind at all.
So open was his open mind,
Above, below, in front, behind,
That every thought, perception, too,
Would, on arriving, rush right through.
The typical open-minded person is really an agnostic (which literally means, “one who knows nothing”). His mind is forever waiting for ideas that never arrive. His “open mind” inevitably leads to an empty head. The strange and inconsistent feature about such open-minded persons, however, is their utter intolerance of those who know anything.
A disagreement, bordering on a feud, has taken place between the Waterloo Catholic District School Board and the Defend Traditional Marriage and Family group. The centre of the controversy is a teacher resource book entitled Open Minds to Equality.DTMF objects to its treatment of homosexual activities as being “equal” to conjugal relations within marriage.
The book’s homosexual bias is evident by the fictional situations it offers. For example, a grandfather explains to his grandson the difficulties he faced when he and his partner had to live in the closet because of fear of rejection at work and church. The pure sentimentality of such examples is made strikingly apparent when contrasted with true-to-life facts involving early deaths of those who became HIV positive as a result of homosexual adventures.
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, in his book Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, offers irrefutable evidence concerning the lethal consequences of the defining features of male homosexual activities. He refers to a psychiatric publication stating that 30 per cent of all 20-year-old homosexual men will be HIV-positive or dead by the age of 30. To think that such figures represent “equality” between traditional marriage and male homosexual adventures is to hide within a cloak of political correctness. According to Dr. Satinover, “There is no doubt that a cold, statistical analysis of this epidemic would lead you to believe that this attitude of political correctness is killing a substantial proportion of these people. I think that there is an element of denial, in the psychological sense, of what gay-related illnesses really mean.”
The DTMF approached the Catholic school board with the intention of bringing to its attention a resource book that contradicted Scripture and Catholic teaching. WCDSB’s response, however, was hardly one of gratitude. Board spokesperson John Shewchuck called the DTMF “an extremist hate group” and “a hate group with their (sic) own agenda that’s making stuff up and lying.” The DTMF also expressed concern about who should deliver counselling to impressionable students. The board’s family life committee has approved a homosexual-activist to serve as a counsellor, one who is raising a male child with his same-sex partner.
The board is not exactly taking an “open-minded” approach to the DTMF. Its precipitous actions have raised questions that go far beyond the book that inaugurated the controversy. Is the board open to dialogue with people whose “agenda” is no more assailable than defending marriage and the family? Is it able to champion truth when it is being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness? Is it able to distinguish between people who are “willing to help” and “hatred”? These are grave concerns that question the competence of certain members of the WCDSB.
Jack Fonseca, spokesperson for the DTMF, states that, “Unable to defend his position on this inappropriate teacher resource, the Catholic school board spokesman has resorted to character assassination and a drive-by smear campaign against the DTMF and the Catholic parents who are concerned about this inappropriate resource.” He also pointed out the irony of those who claim to love homosexuals, yet do nothing to warn them about the serious risks they assume when they engage in homosexual activities.
Approval is not the same thing as love. Mere approval separates itself from truth. But love never abandons the truth. An education without truth is no education at all, no matter how much its leaders proclaim to be open-minded. Parents have a right to see to it that the education of their children combines love with truth and avoids the dangerous sentimentality of approving dubious activities while railing against those who insist on a real education.
Professor Donald DeMarco is professor emeritus at St. Jerome’s University and the author of numerous books.