Note: Immediately after faxing this news release to Sen. Schumer, he called Dr. Donohue to explain that he never intended to disparage Catholic schools. He did not dispute the accuracy of the quote, instead he argued that this comment was immediately followed by a reference to Christian Coalition schools and schools run by the Nation of Islam; he never mentioned Catholic schools.
Dr. Donohue accepted Sen. Schumer’s explanation and thanked him for his forthrightness.
SEN. SCHUMER ENGAGES IN CATHOLIC BAITING
On May 15, at the Spring Education Conference of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), Senator Charles Schumer of New York charged that those who are in favor of school vouchers are not interested in educating students, but rather are interested in proselytizing.
“Those who argue that we ought to have vouchers,” said Schumer, “and those who argue that the money ought to be sent to the private system—look who they are. They’re not interested in educating—they’re interested in proselytizing.”
Catholic League president William Donohue commented as follows:
“Sen. Schumer leaves no doubt as to who the ‘they’ are, and that is why he owes Catholics an apology. His remarks smack of demagoguery, pure and simple.
“Unlike Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, who makes his case against vouchers strictly on the merits of the issue, Sen. Schumer cannot resist inflaming the passions of anti-Catholics by drumming up their worst fears. To suggest that Catholic educators are not interested in educating students—many of whom are not Catholic and come from poverty-stricken families—is to either lie or express profound ignorance.
“Unlike Sen. Schumer, I taught at a Catholic school in the inner city and never once did I witness or hear about proselytizing. Indeed, if there had been such abuses, I would have known about it: I not only taught religion, I was the Director of the Religious Education Council of the Archdiocese of New York in the mid-1970s.
“By descending to the level of prejudice, Sen. Schumer reveals a side to him that no decent person can admire. We await his quick response to our concerns.”