What Would Jesus Do?

I DROVE THROUGH Lander, Wyoming, once, on my way to Grand Tetons National Park (we camped at a nearby beautiful state park). I declared it then as the most beautiful small town in America and entertained thoughts about moving there after retirement. I haven’t been back to Lander, but I’ve never forgotten that beautiful, peaceful town.
Reading today’s New York Times, I learned that there is a small, relatively new Roman Catholic college in Lander, Wyoming Catholic College. It sounds like a great school; it teaches horseback riding, among other things, and offers students mountain hikes conducted entirely in Latin.
However, the school’s trustees have decided to turn their back on all federal programs because they want to continue to have the freedom to also turn their backs on gays and lesbians and transgender people and women’s reproductive rights. The Times points out that other Catholic institutions have already taken similar steps and still others are thinking about doing so.
The initial reaction of most people would be, “Well, Bully for them!” Who doesn’t admire a small institution that has the balls to take a stand against federal intrusion?
But think about it: What this means is that the trustees, in order to keep from one day providing benefits for same-sex spouses or birth control services or allow transgender people to use the bathrooms they choose, have decided to make it impossible for anyone but the sons and daughters of well-off people to attend.
Without government loans, work-study money and grants, only students from wealthy families can afford the tuition of $112, 000 for four years. So Wyoming Catholic will become a refuge for the pampered elite.
The students will be taught to love and appreciate the great outdoors,. They will be taught about the teachings of Thomas Aquinas and Jesus and other great thinkers, but only in the abstract. Those philosophies will all be there for them, in their textbooks and in lectures. But the students will be shielded from having to put into actual practice the ideals about human dignity and respect and loving their neighbor – they will be protected from having to live those philosophies.
I can’t help wondering what Pope Francis would say to these people were he to find himself on this campus. Maybe a better question would be, what would Jesus do?

About juanzqui7

Former Texas reporter, columnist and editorial writer.
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2 Responses to What Would Jesus Do?

  1. suzanne says:

    Teaching something of value-there’s a concept! Love this. Juan, what a great professor you could be there. I kept reading horseback writing, horseback writing trying to figure out what it meant. My ADD should have clued me in earlier.

    Thank you for another wonderful story!

  2. Ann Chapman says:

    A couple of typos (or auto-correct mayhem). After you fix those, I’ll post widely, including to my local atheist group (they are all LGBQT supporters). 

    ~~Ann Chapman~~

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