One day, the principal sent him out to deal with a group of about eight boys were setting fire to the benches and the trash cans at the outdoor student lunch area.
When he got there, he asked the boys what was going on. He thought he was going to encounter a bunch of dumbos who just like to see things burn, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The boys were angry at the oppression of the institution, in particular the corporal punishment which included children in first grade being beaten with a wire coat hanger and other children being tied up to their chairs. Mike actually had been a teacher’s assistant in helping to tie students to chairs, but he usually didn’t really tie them up. Just pretended to.
This was not an anomaly of Holy Family, because Mike also attended a Catholic school in the Ojai area in which children were tied to chairs.
Mike told the boys that he agreed with them, but that the solution wasn’t to burn the benches where the children eat lunch. He took them up to the principals’ office and told the principal that the boys should be allowed to return to their classrooms without any kind of punishment. And that is what happened.
For Mike, it was a startling revelation to know that there were revolutionaries at his school, that he was not the only one who found the school’s culture of disturbing.
Mike had bought that whole Catholic dogma, hook line and sinker, and had been taught to believe that it was God who was beating those children, hitting their hand with a ruler, and not your flimsy, modern ruler, no, this was a real piece of wood and they would hit the hand many times, also throwing chalk and erasers at their heads, hitting kids with the pointer as they were running away.
They scared the hell out of the little children, especially the first graders. The first grade teacher at Holy Family Church School was a senile 80 year old nun who was really mean, cruel really.
Mike cooperated with his own oppression, but also became subversive. One thing he did was form a band called The Rebels and he talked Holy Family into having dances.
If you lived in Orange California and graduated from high school in 1969, then you probably went to the Holy Family dances, which became a huge attraction with lots of bad behavior in the parking lot. So that was something that my husband, Mike Jensen, founded, back in the day.
So he and his band of rebels were having a practice in the auditorium and Mike locked the doors and turned the volume up as loud as it would go.
He could hear Sister Mary Madaleva banging like all that is holy on the doors of the auditorium screaming at the top of her lungs. Mike thought, “Possession is 9/10 of law.”
There was way more abuse in Catholic Church schools than just the well-known horrible molestations by the priests. The whole thing was an abusive oppressive environment.
One time Mike was in a classroom with a brand new nun with 110 students; they tore down the wall between two classes, one of third graders and one of fourth graders, and combined it into one giant class. She didn’t have a clue what she was doing and there was no order and there was no direction. It was just chaos where the students formed into little faction groups. But the church was making money, selling the seats in those classes to parents who wanted their kids to have a fine religious education, or at least to learn how to spell really well.
The Catholic Church has been a force for evil since its inception of exploiting Jesus‘s message for profit. When you look at that expense that goes into a Catholic Church, often in a sea of poverty, you know that their mission is not to serve. Their mission is to take. Their mission is to oppress. Their mission is to reify the patriarchy.
Mike says maybe we should look to our neighbors for help and not the sky.
I say tax the Catholic Church.
Tax all of the churches.
Property tax in income tax, just like a business.
Churches are a business and what they sell is hot air, and what they do is abuse and sometimes molest the children and the women.
If your church is a good church, then you should get your good church to start paying taxes.
If your church is a bad church, then you’re gonna burn in hell, if there if there was a hell, which there isn’t.
But don’t be like Mike’s classmates and try to burn it down . . .