It’s not a big school – not quite 60 students, grades 6-12. And maybe you wouldn’t expect it to be – offering, as it does, required classes in Latin and Greek, with a heavy emphasis on Shakespeare and Homer, taught by teachers in the traditional Socratic method … questions asked, students engaged, minds and imaginations stirred to life.
No, The Lyceum, situated in a suburb of Cleveland, isn’t for everybody.
Yet its few dozen students, pursuing a classical education that both builds on and informs their traditional Catholic faith, can’t imagine going anywhere else. They like the early morning worship, the small teacher-student ratio, the kinship of other young people who share their religious convictions and commitment to excellence. And they know the rigorous academic demands and moral standards of their school will more than prepare them for the coming challenges of college life.
But the ideals and traditions that The Lyceum embodies seem to be Greek to the city officials of South Euclid, who have passed an ordinance that may well require the little Catholic school to hire people who don’t agree with Catholic theology, or hold to the biblical definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
If Lyceum administrators decline to obey that ordinance, they could face penalties of up to $500 in fines, or even 60 days in jail. For each violation. And every proposal to include a religious exemption in the new law has been pushed aside.
The idea for the bill came from the activist organization Equality Ohio. They nudged the ordinance along, encouraging city officials to vote for it without really studying its ominous implications.
City leaders seemed eager to comply. “We ought to pass this ordinance,” the then-president of the city council said. “We can find out what it means later.”
Lyceum administrators and many others in the community wanted to discuss all of this with the city, and learn once and for all if the ordinance really will be applied to religious schools and organizations. But officials have ignored every request for clarification.
So The Lyceum’s leaders have enlisted Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to file a federal suit challenging the law.
You can learn more about this story – and what makes this remarkable school so special to its students and their families – in the latest issue of Faith & Justice.
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