SocraticGadfly: If youth is wasted on the young, then graduations ...

May 22, 2022

If youth is wasted on the young, then graduations ...

Then graduations and graduation speeches are wasted BY the young.

This is connected to my post last night about small town values.

Hearing small-town, small-county high school grads with their speeches, whether at a private school or one of the public ones? Blech. Maybe my suburban St. Louis val and sal, eons ago, had similar blather. I hated high school and don't remember. I'm sure my last-graduating-class Lutheran college val and sal kind of did, but not totally.

Anyway, the speeches Thursday and Friday, even though largely out of the mouths of Catholics, were full of "everything has a purpose" providentialism. That's Calvinism, ultimately, if you will. Surprised that teachers at the private school at least — which is Catholic — don't catch that. That said, modern American Catholicism in both its more conservative and its more liberal installations strikes me ever more as a mishmash of individually held doctrines, fairly influenced by Protestantism, with the possible exception of Eastern and Southern European "ethnic" enclaves in the Northeast and Rust Belt. I'm not even sure about Irish Catholics in those areas.

Of course, this becomes wedded to success gospel Christianity. I heard this year, and in years past, variations on "all you have to do is have the right attitude and work hard and you'll succeed." This all ignores luck (in a non-metaphysical sense) — both good luck and bad luck.

That said, this wasn't the worst.

Far from it.

And, it was only exacerbated tonight at one of the two small high schools I was at when the valedictorian offered prayers for selected class members who were essentially "hostages," including two Indian-Americans who might well not be Christian. With last name "Patel" and first names that are definitely Indian and not Christian-like, I think that's pretty likely. More disgusting yet? The opening theme of his speech, since he is not native to that small town, was gratitude for being accepted.  

To be honest, emotionally honest, I hope this guy and some other of these speakers learn personally, the hard way, just how wrong, or Not.Even.Wrong., they are. I think it will have to be the hard way, because I don't think that unless they face real personal tribulation from which they don't immediately bounce back, they will learn. (That said, this part is probably true of big city high school val and sal speakers, too, at least to some extent. I don't know about Hispanics, and Christianity is lower among Asian Americans, but I know that the success gospel runs hot among Black America.)

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