Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wayne LaPierre's Catholic Education: Questions Worth Asking

At his This Cultural Christian site, Mike McShea notes that the Wikipedia biography for Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the National Rifle Association, does not provide any information about LaPierre's religious affiliation or religious stance, if, indeed, LaPierre has a religious affiliation or a stance. In fact, finding any information about LaPierre's religious affiliation or stance, or the lack thereof, seems exceptionally difficult.

But as Mike also notes, the Wikipedia biography does indicate that LaPierre holds two degrees, both from Catholic colleges: he apparently has a B.A. in education from Siena College, and an M.A. in government from Boston College. (In a separate posting, by the way, Mike points out that LaPierre's annual salary as head of the NRA is $970,300, number six in the list of the top 25 salaries of executives at the Charity Rating Guide of the American Institute of Philanthropy.

Is it beside the point to ask about LaPierre's religious background, or his connection to Catholic values through his higher education at two American Catholic colleges? I don't think so--not as the U.S. Catholic bishops begin to make the polite noises I fully expected them to make about gun control after the Sandy Hook massacre.

If the Catholic conversation of these issues is to be meaningful, if it's to be rooted in the real world, then it's important to ask, I think: what kind of Catholic values were transmitted to Wayne LaPierre through his Catholic higher education? The bishops and Vatican have been focused with laserlike intensity in recent years on assuring that Catholic colleges and universities uphold Catholic values and maintain their Catholic identity.

Is Wayne LaPierre a good example of the Catholic values our institutions transmit?

This needs to be asked as the bishops talk.

The graphic is an AP photo of Wayne LaPierre addressing the annual meeting of the NRA this year.

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