05 March 2009

Truth in Prom Advertising, or, Why My Daughter is Homeschooled

Either title works, take your pick.

This is the most appalling thing I have yet seen come out of today's educational environment, and that is saying something.
According to this post at Dana Radio, one of the blogs of local conservative personality Dana Loesch, the image above is just one page of a Prom invitation issued at John Burroughs High School, a well-known private high school in this area. The link has two other images from the invitation, but I will not post them here, as one is a satanic pentagram and the other is a sleazily dressed woman with the caption "lust".

My thanks to the reader who sent the link; I never would have believed it.

May I suggest that any homeschooler who hears carping from friends and relatives print out this invitation as an easy way to answer the question, "Aren't you worried about their socialization?"


Anonymous said...

Even more difficult to believe (or predictable?) is the announcement on the invitation that the event is sponsored by the junior class PARENTS!?!?

Anonymous said...

To the question: "Aren't you worried about their socialization?", the clear answer is;

Oh yes, VERY much so, that's why we homeschool!

Mark S.
New Haven

Anonymous said...

You guys are insane. I'm a CATHOLIC burroughs parent and I'm not freaking out. The theme is "seven deadly sins" not "kill your neighbor and cavort with satan"

Anonymous said...

Right, because we at the John Burroughs School are flagrant satanists that routinely worship the devil.

Get real. It's just a high school prom-- if you think that the participating parties are truly sacrilegious, well, then, you're just wrong.

Burroughs prides itself on being extremely open to its students, providing them with adequate time for religious practices and school off for religious observations for many theologies. Those that do practice their religion faithfully and frequently have the ability to voice their opinion on the matter, and if they were to object to it, then of course the theme would be toned down to a certain extent, but they understand that it's just a joke and how little the theme really matters in the long scheme of things.

I hope you understand what I'm saying.


thetimman said...

To the last two Burroughs commenters: the fact that you would not see a problem with this is a total confirmation of Dulac90's point.

Just a joke? Which part-- the invitation to hell only, or the pentagram, too, or the invitation to satisfy their lusts at the prom?

No, you're probably right. Good luck with this strategy.

My mind is oozing out of my ears as I strain to end this comment without writing a book.

Anonymous said...

The way I "understand" what the anon's are trying to say is that they are falling trap to the societal desensitization! People need to realize that this is a big deal and there are MANY more themes that you can use that are a POSITIVE influence on your high school children. Don't be fooled! You might think it's harmless, but this is the time/age that many adolescents dabble with worshipping satan and/or other religions or cults. Peer pressure does a lot to adolescents and some are too weak and fall prey.

St. Joseph, please protect our families!

Anonymous said...

I posted this invite on facebook and the flurry of responses were all similar, regardless of faith (or non-faith):
What the hell were you thinking, parents?
To think that the kids attending would not infer a parental nod at the obvious connotation that sex was not only ok, but expected, is an simple way of saying we'd rather be their buddy than their parent. We don't want to look uncool by voicing an objection.
Let me know how that sort of parenting works for you, in say five or ten years.
Burroughs parents: time to grow up and parent. This has nothing to do with "being open to the students" but everything to do with parents who don't want to "look old and prudish".

Anonymous said...

Dear Burroughs commenters,
Of course we are out of our minds crazy and your 'rationalization' of this small issue is far more sensible than our 'insane' opinions. However, for a moment, just for a moment mind you, perhaps you would consider this; what if we are right?

What if our assertion that calling on Satan, boasting about sin, encouraging lust are sinful acts, could and very likely will invite Satan into the 'dance' and thereby into the children's, ahem excuse me young adult's minds thus endangering their souls? What if through this invitation one of these young people is cast eternally into the depths of Hell?

Now here's the kicker; if we are correct, and this God forbid happens; are you prepared to follow that person(s) into Hell as an accessory? How will you 'rationalize' this event before the Judge of all Judges?

Defending your position to us is child's play, the real deal starts in Eternity. Are you willing to risk it?

Mark S.
New Haven, MO

Anonymous said...

To the parents of the children who have an invitation to hell theme for prom,

Hello? There is nothing funny about this theme. Will the teens dress as if they are going to hell?

Maybe the parents can stop being wimps and really do their job by leading their children down the path to heaven, not hell. Or is that just too uncool?

Anonymous said...


We are, as the Holy Scriptures attest.


Anonymous said...

This prom invitation and theme, and the schizoid state of denial exhibited by the Burroughs commenters, could not more clearly reflect the mixed message that is -- with deliberation and such creative flair! -- being fed to our kids.

Burroughs students who are insightful enough and honest enough to recognize what is happening, would evidently be subject to scorn and ridicule for speaking up about it. Few of us, at that age and in that environment, would have the courage to do so.

Way to go, Burroughs parents! You're doing such an efficient job of desensitizing yourselves and your kids to evil by portraying it as innocennt fun -- a joke -- a goof! -- that I'm sure Satan doesn't mind that you're not worshiping him yet.

Anonymous said...

The students at Burroughs chose The Seven Deadly Sins as their prom theme to ridicule them, to make fun of them, not to extol them. The same goes for satanic symbols in the invitation and references to the "devilish junior class." We are sorry they have offended, however. We understand the very mention of sin and satan are upsetting to many, even if the intent is to ridicule.

thetimman said...

Last Anon,

Please don't apologize for offending anyone. It is nice that you are trying to strike a conciliatory tone, but you are missing the point. I did not post on this because the prom invitation and theme "offended" me, as in "hurt my feelings or sensibilities". Rather, it is appalling because it is doing two things: 1. encouraging young people to think of the deadly sins and satanic imagery as a mere joke, and thus to minimize the dangers to their souls from these things, and 2. it gives parental approval to the same, and subtly (apparently too subtly to those who see no problem with this) or unsubtly (to most reading here) encourages sinful behaviour.

The real shocker is the total lack responsible parenting in the fact of acquiescence and participation by the parents.

So, welcome or not, believe me when I say my concern was not for my own sensibilities but rather the poor children who are the victims of this and don't even see the danger.

Anonymous said...

To Mark S in New Haven... lemme guess... all home-schooled kids are angels... they make perfect decisions and portray themselves appropriately in public at every turn, under even the most scrutinizing of microscopes. they neeeeevvvvver make mistakes, and hence never discuss and learn from the implications, consequences and remedies. you can extract any one isolated, context-free representation of them for study and judgment and it will be spot-on, squeaky clean and an accurate representation of home-schooling as a whole. oh and when they express themselves, its only in ways of which Jesus Christ would approve. (read: they don't act like teenagers.) okay. get real.

Anonymous said...

Well for starters I am in the junior class at john buroughs and the parents had nothing to do with choice of the theme. Theme was voted solely by the junior class. By giving us the independence to make our own desicions makes them better parents than coddling us and protecting us from the scary world.

I also helped distribute the invations which consisted of all 7 representations of the sins, not just lust. We are not saying we support or don't support satanism because it is merely a prom theme, not a view forced upon us by the school.

Finally, we will have such a good time in hell- oh wait I mean our PROM without you, see you in church Sunday.

Rae said...

Like Timman, I'm not personally offended; I'm genuinely worried about the high-school students.

"Let the sin begin..."? The invitation (to a dance, or to an orgy?) practically begs for the sex, alcohol, and drug use for which prom night is notorious! Even placing aside religious faith, these behaviors threaten the lives of teenagers and those around them... The next morning, will "deadly sins" still be a joke?

If we expect our children to behave responsibly, we need to be very clear about it--and this invitation certainly mixes the message!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Timman: You're shocked by the total lack of responsible parenting? I'm not. Remember - the apple NEVER falls far from the tree.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone actually explain "the joke" here? Perhaps I am humorless, but I'm trying to see the ridicule and need some help. Perhaps I'd understand better the response that it is "just harmless fun," but the assertion that there is some hidden mockery escapes me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sick of Narrow Minded...

Speaking of narrow minds. If you re-read my second post, you will note that I asked a question of the 2 Burrough's parent(s) who had posted in defense of this prom 'theme'. If you are one of those parents, I guess I should assume you have chosen to disregard my question and instead launch a campaign of deflection. I truly am sorry for you. May Our Lord have Mercy on us both.

If you are not one of those parents, perhaps you can tell me where in either of my posts I either directly or indirectly said any of those things you presume to imply?

Your comments are steeped in fear that what you wrote about homeschooled children could be true. That fear is so overwhelming to you, that your only defense (as you see it) is to attack the very virtues you wish your children had. Your comments are more of a lament of what the children at Burroughs and so many other mis-guided children of today don't have than it is an attack against true virtue. Since you can't provide it for them (you could if you really wanted it) you turn virtue into the enemy and attack it with all of your vigor.

My heartfelt sorrow for you too. You don't have to homeschool to raise (form) your children to be followers of Christ, but whichever path you choose you will be required to make an effort beyond all efforts to be successful.

I pray that you will join your efforts towards forming your children to be what God planned for them on the day He conceived them. Nothing more, nothing less.

Mark S.
New Haven, MO

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"I'm a CATHOLIC burroughs parent and I'm not freaking out. The theme is "seven deadly sins" not "kill your neighbor and cavort with satan"

As a Catholic parent then you should know that ALL the deadly sins are MORTAL...

Even if you don't want to "dialogue" about the spiritual aspect of this think about the psychological and physical ones.

My husband is a Clinical Psychologist, Ph.D. specializing in "eating-disorders" and when I showed him these pictures and asked for his professional clinical opinion he said:

"That's why I have so many girls with eating-disorders. Especially the "lust" pic...there are plenty of those on T.V. on magazine covers, the Internet and for parents to allow this is showing their acceptance to sexualizing their childrens' activities. These parents forget that, especially with young girls, they think it's good to look like those models and starve themselves. Usually this leads many into sexual activity and not only do the girls have psychological problems with keeping weight off but all sorts of S.T.D.'s (venereal) because even the "condom" won't protect then from venereal warts and a host of other horrific diseases they get and have to keep for the rest of their lives. What these parents applaud themselves for is that 'they are giving them choice'...but what they don't know is that you can have all the choice you want but you can't choose the consequences."

And from me, I think of what C.S. Lewis wrote in Screwtape Letters when Wormwood told the demon, when it asked about how to keep souls in sin and not afraid of damnation...

Wormwood said, "Don't tell them there is no Heaven, tell them there is plenty of time."

Anonymous said...

MS. Narrow-Minded: There is only one reality. You have a soul to save and you are responsible for the souls of your children.

Anonymous said...

Mark S -- the only thing i fear is people like you and your "vigor." talk about an attack. p.s. i am not one of "those parents" -- although i do identify with them and what they want for their children when they send them to a school like Burroughs. why is it that people like you, with your mightier(holier)-than-thou ideals, are the most vigorous attackers of them all? the first to divide using us vs. them arguments? and all in the name of "good christians" and "christianity." makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

So apprently the Burroughs community understands irony, and you don't.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that you people are jealous you're children don't go to such a prestigous high school like Burroughs.

Peter said...

I concur that I missed the boat with this 'joke.'
As for the one commentor would said that he/she would have fun in hell and see us in Church on Sunday- please do not add sacrilige to this situation.
Hell is a real place- that is our concern- and the fact that the students and parents (not an issue of coddling, but of guiding [and where was the Junior Class Faculty member or the Principal to intervene??!?!?) are glorifying being cut off from God in Hell is what sickens me.
This is the very culture of death that our Christian schools should be TEACHING against and not indulging in.
It is sad when Timman and Mark S. try to talk about this with fraternal correction and charity in their hearts, they are attacked. Why? No one here claims to be perfect, I am a huge sinner and praise God for His Grace, but that doesn't mean I can't see that you are opening up this children to the demonic (read 'An Exorcist Tells His Stories' by Fr. Amorth).
As Padre Pio said "you will know there is a Hell...when you get there."
May God have Mercy on us.

Anonymous said...

Dear Narrow Minded,
So in the end, I guess you really have decided to ignore the question. Too bad, eternity far more important than any other point it this debate.

Mark S.
New Haven, MO

Anonymous said...

It is extremely pathetic you all are getting so caught up on a high school prom theme in which your children (if you have any) will not be attending. Find something better to do with your time then stalking this blog, maybe along the lines of teaching your children your values that you so strongly defend here. Leave the kids alone, its their life their choice, if they want to enter a sin themed dance so be it, you wont be there to stop them, so move on with your lives, worry about something that actually matters like dying children in 3rd world countries or the war in Iraq. You have made a mockery of yourselves and this only fuels the creative 'young adults' to further expand the Open minds that they have been developing at the wonderful school they attend.

Anonymous said...

So, I guess anyone attending prom, let me reiterate PROM that's it, a dance from for a few hours one day, will be damned of all entrinty eventhough they have not committed any of the sins? Do I have that right? The kids are attending a school function and supporting their school in a controlled enviornment. Why do you care so much? You don't have kids going to Burroughs, you don't have a dog in this hunt.

Anonymous said...

For those not from St. Louis Burroughs is basically "Gossip Girl" High School. The prestige is mostly in the wealth and position and partly in the education.

What you are missing is the second and third part of the invitation. The third part is like a Tarot card that "jokingly" has a scantily glad woman leaning back in a seductive pose and beneath it it reads, "LUST"

Fear not though. There will be no repercussions. The girls all have diaphragms in fashion colors to match their designer dresses.

Isn't that funny?

Anonymous said...

"It's obvious that you people are jealous you're children don't go to such a prestigous high school like Burroughs."

First of all, where the heck did you learn how to spell? Burroughs? You're is the contraction of you are. And prestigious isn't spelled that way. Your point would be better made if you sounded halfway intelligent.

Secondly, my children also attend prestigious high schools - Ursuline Academy and St. Louis University High School and neither school would extol the virtues of sin. Not only would this theme have not be allowed, but the kids wouldn't have even suggested it.

Just a higher quality of kid. Guess money can't buy that.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that those defending the Burrough's Prom are missing the basic point here. Sinning is not something to joke about. The youth today are already at risk for all kinds of dangerous and yes, immoral behavior. Joking about it only increases the pull in the wrong direction. Of course, I worry about these kids for themselves, but I also worry about my own children because they live in this world that is so topsy-turvy. However, I don't choose to home school. I've seen too many examples of overprotected kids who went absolutely wild when they gained their freedom. Parents are definitely in a precarious situation in this day and age. God help us all.JMJ

Anonymous said...

1. Burroughs is at least 40% non-Christian, an independant school, and one tolerant of all religions and beliefs. I think if this issue is to be argued, it must be argued from a non-religious view, or at least a non-Christian view.
2. "The Seven Deadly Sins" are not from the bible. The list was formulated later, by Pope Gregory, in the 6th century. The sins have inspired many pieces of art and literature, including most notably The Divine Comedy by Dante, one of the most influential and greatest pieces of literature ever. More recently, (and relevantly) William S. Burroughs, JBS's most famous alum, wrote a short story entitled "The Seven Deadly Sins." The movie Seven was critically acclaimed, and also used the Seven Deadly Sins. I am wondering if you would consider any or all of those things sacregligious also?
3. I completly respect your religious faith and belief in heaven, hell, and what gets you to those places. However, I believe differently from you, as I know many in the Burroughs community do. I think it is appropriate to leave us to our beliefs, to our God, or whatever we do or don't believe in. Personally, I'm Jewish, and believe in God, but do not believe in Hell. I appreciate your concern for my soul, honestly, but I and the rest of the individuals with different beliefs as you can handle our souls' fates as we wish.
4. I think the idea of a prom theme is something to be taken lightly, at least it has in the past at Burroughs. Previous themes include "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Alice in Wonderland," and simply "Shiny Things." No one really takes the theme all that seriously. The only difference between one years prom and the next are the decorations and the invitations, really. We are not promoting sinful behavior. Burroughs has a strict policy on alcohol and drugs, and expects students to be well behaved and respectful. Sure, the "Lust" invitations was a little racy, I'll admit, and the use of the pentagram was in bad taste. However, the lines "Let the sin begin...", "We request your presence in Hell", "Hosted by the devilish Junior Class parents", ect, were cute little sayings that everyone read on the day they got them with a laugh. I understand how they may seem appalling to an outsider, esspecially a deeply religious outsider, but the vast majority of people at Burroughs understood that the sayings were in jest, poking fun at the idea of a "Sin" themed prom.

Also, just a side not, not meant at all to be snide or anything, but I'm wondering if you all think its sacreligious or immoral or evil or whatever that Chaminade's mascot is the Devils? That seems to be a similar thing to me, as they are clearly not Devil-worshippers at Chaminade, but if you think thats bad too, then I accept your arguments.


Anonymous said...

Ok, so the students have been given the freedom to choose. To choose what? Hell, apparently. That's the scary thing abuot being a parent: Knowing that one day our children will be free to make their own choices and that the most important of those choices is whether they will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. The time to make that choice is NOW and our decision is reflected in how we live our lives. Making fun of the 7deadly sins (they're called DEADLY for a REASON!!) and tempting others toward them is not a good way to choose Heaven. What if one of those students should, God forbid, die on his way home from the prom?

I certainly hope that, should any girls find themselves pregnant after the prom (not a far stretch considering they're already being encouraged toward debauchery), their parents will not give them the same freedom of choice concerning their child that they were allowed now. I wasn't in high school THAT long ago, and there was plenty of impurity surrounding prom back then, WITHOUT such temptation before hand OR the approval of parents.

To the kid who commented, I certainly hope we DO see you at Church on Sunday--in line for the confessional. Making fun of the deadly sins suggests that we are above them, but we're not. Each of us is in danger of them. All sin comes from pride, the first of those deadly sins. I hope all involved realize that the deadly sins are sins we all commit regularly and that they're no laughing matter. You can only joke about something for so long before it becomes so commonplace that you think it's no longer a bad thing.

Mark S.--you continue to make us proud that you're our kid's godfather!

Anonymous said...

Dear Sick of narrow minded arguments,

Why are you defending this sickening prom invitation? What do you see good about it? Is it even remotely attractive to you? Did YOU design it? Would you let your daughter look like that?

Jesus Christ and the saints that followed him were taunted for standing up for what is right. (and killed as well)

Satan often cloaks himself in things that people might defend as innocent. Such as, " It's just a hotel party after prom, all of the kids are going there." "I won't be home until 8:00 AM because it is an all night party."

And, yes, home educated children are morally innocent on the whole, but don't think for a minute they are naive or unprepared for society. I have a teenager myself and she is wiser than many adults! And here is the icing on the cake - she is kind and ENJOYABLE to be around!!!!

thetimman said...

To the last anonymous,

Thanks for your comment. I will give it a try, tracking your numbered points.

1. I don't know how you became aware of this post-- I have been getting several hits from google searches that list search terms "burroughs prom invitation" and such like. So, as to the first point, my original post was written from the perspective, more or less, of how glad I am that my daughter is not exposed to such things. Hence, the objection was religious/moral because I am Catholic and was relating it to me. in the comments, it quickly turned to the role of the parents in acquiescing to the theme and the advertising, because self-described Catholic Burroughs parents defended it. Admittedly, that angle has taken over the thread, but this is the reason this still has legs. I think my readers are dumbfounded that Catholic students and parents are so blase about it. Though I think for the non-Christian students and parents it is still in bad taste, the concern about the prom theme is not the same, for the reasons you state. This blog main focus is for Catholics, as you surely understand. The Catholic parents' support is the real mind-blower here.

2. To be very specific, the seven deadly sins have existed since the fall of man. They existed throughout the Bible. Any particular cataloguing of them in a particular format isn't really the point. I make no comment about whether the literary and popular culture references are sacrilegious. Sacrilege is the profane misuse of a holy thing. "Making fun" of the seven deadly sins is not sacrilegious. Making light of committing them is certainly irreligious. But the point is that the theme is extremely inappropriate for high schoolers, is dangerous to their souls, and the continued minimization of the above is setting the worst example for the students.

3. See response number 1.

4. It is the very fact that this theme is taken as a light matter is part of the problem. Messing around with satanic imagery and inviting people to spend a night in hell invites satan to act. I am sure you may not believe this. Many people don't believe in satan. Catholics do. Regardless, it is a fact. And I continue to be amazed that Catholic parents (they wrote to me, not I to them) continue to think this is no big deal.

I am glad you acknowledge that the materials were in bad taste, at least. If this story made the rounds, and the school responded with a statement like, "They're kids. They thought it was funny, but hey, we're the adults and we do admit it was in bad taste--you know what, let's change that theme. So, thanks for your concern, now get off our backs", I think this would have been expected. I would be amazed it made it through initially, but I can understand that sometimes something that is funny in a given moment might look different in a little while. in short, the adults would have acted like adults, and did right by their children. Instead, the total lack of reconsideration by adults and their encouragement of the children to even further minimize, look down upon, ignore, or even, perhaps, to mock the moral and religious perspective gives them bad example, and reinforces the ubiquitous anti-religious culture in which they are immersed in this country.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and satan and the deadly sins are slightly different themes. With respect, and I also am not intending to be snide, but consider-- no one would dream of making a fun little prom theme about Auschwitz, or a slave auction. Some things are not joking matters.

As for your last point, yes, Catholic schools should not have devils for mascots.

Anonymous said...

The first thing to address here is the notion that the only reason Burroughs is prestigious is because the students are wealthy.. well that is just a gross exaggeration, because more than 20% of the student body receives final aid and Burroughs is one a nationally ranked school with some of the highest board scores in the nation. However, I guess education doesn't matter anymore, being able to think for oneself, to believe in an opinion and to defend it without backing down based on cowardliness or intimidation, but, it does independent thought is vital to being an educated person who will be able to survive in the free world.

Have you ever taken in to consideration that what if the people at prom do not believe in God, and by extension they do not believe in Heaven or Hell so the idea of sinning damming them for all of entirety is irrelevant? Or what if other people know they are going to hell and don't wished to be saved?

To address another point about being tempted to indulge in sinful behavior because the parents are awful parents because they did not stop this theme, get your facts straight and look at the entire invitation that you stole (I'm just assuming because how else would you get this? Wait isn't stealing something that could damn you?) It says that the junior class parents are hosting the AFTER PROM which is held AT SCHOOL, from 1:30-3:00.. this is to keep the kids at school and safe so they don't drink. Hm maybe the parents are so bad? And after the after prom it's not like the kids will do something else after being up until 3 a.m. because they work their asses of everyday at school and will be tried. (Yes, that is how Burroughs got its reputation of being prestigious, because it has intelligent kids who are smart and dedicated to learning, not because of the backgrounds of the families)

Also Jesus was Jewish and had no notion of Heaven or Hell. Why can't you respect other people's views and accept other people, like Jesus? What would be so bad about Hell anyways? How would you know what it's like? Unless you're the devil in disguise to tempt people into going to a prom?? And for any of the next arguments I invite you to know what you're talking about before you make an ignorant statement.

Anonymous said...

Alright, my turn:
I have a fundamental belief that you need to make light/ make fun of serious things. If you cannot, the evil has won. You hear a lot about "not letting the terrorists win" and whatnot, and I think that if you can't make light of or make fun of terrorism, the terrorists have won, as we take them so seriously and are afraid to make fun of them. I think the principle can be applied here. If we are so concerned with the seven deadly sins that we cannot make light of them, the devil has won. If sinful behavior is always considered serious and hush-hush, the inevitble sins are made worse tenfold. Lust is a particularly graphic and immoral sin, but the others I'm sure everyone is guilty of almost every day. The tounge-in-cheek prom theme, if nothing else, actually raises awareness to the kids at Burroughs, who are not religious, about what will hurt their souls. I realize this is a bit of a stretch, but as long as there is an understanding that sin is not promoted, I believe that the idea of a prom theme does not threaten the kids souls, and actually combats the devil by making light of his biggest weapon against us. If we do not take the devil seriously, his power over us is undercut, as long as we do not fall into a spiral of sin, something that will not be prompted by a prom theme.

Anonymous said...

It just proves what I've always said, rich people aren't funny, they don't need to be. But they smell great!

thetimman said...

My response to the anonymous who posted at 8:12am today is that reading your post, exactly as you have written it, supports my position in this matter as well as anything else could.

Good luck to you in your future endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Don't be ridiculous. This is a prom invitation. And although you may say it, "advertizes" Hell, it truly doesn't.
It's not as if our children will go to this prom at ages 16-18 and come home and become satinists! IT'S A PROM! And frankly, if my prom would have been the seven deadly sins, I would have loved it. There is no secret meaning that the elite John Burroughs School is portraying here.
Get a life and let your children have a life.

Anonymous said...

To let you all know, I am a Burroughs Student

First of all I'm upset that you didn't allow my original comment to be posted(I thought that it was hilarious). But anyway I would just like to say to you timman, as you seem to be the main person who is upset about this, that if your god is sooo spiteful that he will send people to hell over a prom theme then I might just have to give up religion and go sin because I have already done far worse things than attend prom.

Furthermore I don't know why people expect that we will be doing anything wrong at this dance , we will simply be hanging out with our friends, dancing, talking, listening to music and enjoying ourselves. There will be no satanic preachings, no drugs, no orgies and no goat sacrifice, just innocent students enjoying themselves. And really the theme only effects the decorations.

I personally didn't think that it was a good theme(I didn't vote for it) but for entirely different reasons. However I do not believe that we should change it because it will not(as I have already explained) effect anyone especially you in a negative way.

Everyone of you has said something along the lines of "What is the world coming to". Well if this is what calls you to arms then that is just sad because there are far far worse things out there right now to fight against.

I do not expect you all to pull a complete 180 and say that the 7 deadly sins are fine, but could you at least admit that we wont be going to hell as a result of this?

Anonymous said...

I heard that the invitation wasn't approved by the school and one of the students who made the invitation didn't know what the pentigram represtented.

thetimman said...

I am beginning to be a little concerned by the poor spelling, grammar, and logical skills of the comments posted by self-described Burroughs students. Of course, this isn't, strictly speaking, relevant to the post.

Or is it?

Anonymous said...

To Everyone who is Blogging,
First of all get over it, its a theme. It is not like we are going to an orgy, as one blogger put it, we are going to a dance like any other dance. I understand that this may upset several people, but half the people that are blogging don't even go to burroughs or have children there. If your child does go there then don't have them go to the prom. Don't ruin it for the kids. When we saw the invitations nothing about drugs sex and alcohol were going through there minds. Also the invitations of the women weren't scantily dressed they were in ball gowns. Its a theme. Burroughs is not a religious school and we have the right as students to choose what are themes can be. Parents and people outside of school can not make these decisions for us. Burroughs is a great school, so don't judge the students, parents, and faculty over a prom theme.

Anonymous said...

They just keep coming, don't they, Timman. Posters missing the point aside, I think I am starting to see some humor here!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8:12,

Jesus had no idea of heaven or hell?!!???? Talk about uninformed!
What do you think he preached about? He died to give us salvation. Please, pick up a Catholic bible and you will find out how dreadful hell is and delightful heaven is. Hopefully, before it is too late for you. . .

Anonymous said...

Timman, I couldn't agree with you more about the spelling and grammar in the Burrough's posts. I always thought Burroughs was for the very intelligent. If I were anyone connected with Burroughs, I'd be embarrassed by the poor writing skills. If I were a parent, I'd be asking for my money back.JMJ

Anonymous said...

Well, I can understand and pity the Godless heathens both parents and students who defend such nonsense...Matthew 7:6 comes to mind but the Catholic parents and students? Could this not be considered a Vatican II moment?

Anonymous said...

Well to JMJ regarding spelling and grammer I'm going to assume since you're only fokusing on the speling and gramer and not the content its bekause you donot have a intellegent respose to the actual coments so your forced to be petty regarding the speling and gramer. So thank u I take this as a victory.

Also, when Burroughs alums are running companies they will have people who check their spelling and grammer, so once again you're taking up with a pointless debate

Anonymous said...

I personally find you ranters the most immature of people. Attacking a person's post because of their spelling and grammar posts? Honestly find something better to attack than that. Don't just rip on that because any teenager uses instant messaging and prefers to use different grammar than you people. And to Mr. Anonymous at 14:24, if I were a parent with my kid at Burroughs, I'd be proud that the school isn't enforcing the students into the standard way of teaching, but rather a new open way that allows students to excel in what they want to do. And yes Burroughs students are fully capable of typing correctly, does it mean we have to in a seemingly informal discussion area such as this? I believe not. You people honestly are too stuck up to take a joke everyonce in a while. And just watch. Oh and to latinmassgirl, not every person is of your religion. We don't have to pick up a Bible just because hell and heaven exist for your religion. I bet that after this post is seen, there will be a list of people talking about how spelling and grammar of students are terrible. Don't be so narrow minded. Let kids be kids and you people should have no business in our proms. If the parents were against this theme, they will speak out. But since they are obviously intelligent enough to understand that it is all a joke, and that none of this is actually satanic, they will not. Lighten up.

Anonymous said...

Oh no! Spelling and grammatical errors? Surely a sign of the apocalypse...

Get a grip.

Anonymous said...

Annonymous said:

"Also the invitations of the women weren't scantily dressed they were in ball gowns."

And we wonder why there are so many daughters with eating disorders.


The banquet table
Was all set,
All free from debt.

They only had to
Wear some clothes,
That covered them
Since Adam’s woes.

Not the best,
Nor what’s called shoddy.
A sheath for soul
Which follows body.

But necks all stiff,
Backs, ram-rod straight,
They shrugged and said,
“Can’t make that date.”

And this from mothers,
Daughters, hapless,
Demanding Eves,
Who wear skins strapless.

No mea culpas,
Pleas for pardon…
But bob for apples
In Eden’s Garden!

Anonymous said...

its a freakin blog not an essay! who caress about spelling and grammar.

Anonymous said...

Dear commentors,

As a Burroughs student attending the 2009 prom, i would like to take the opportunity to address the allegations made against me, my parents, and the school in which i am honored to attend.

Firstly, i would like to point out that ridiculing the spelling of other bloggers is completely against the goal of this site. The use of informal spelling on sites such as these is common and is no relfection on a person's intellegence.

Secondly, as a college-bound student, I know my parents are not going to be able to shelter me from
the realities of the world while I am away at college. I believe they have raised me well-- teaching me to question social norms and not conform to peer pressure. I am not threatened by a theme such as "Seven Deadly Sins" because realize this does not mean my school condones drinking, premarital sex, gluttony, sloth, wrath, or misbehavior of any kind. Themes for prom are used to coordinate decorations and food. The rules for prom enforced by the school are exactly the same as they have always been. The only difference is that there will be lots of cupcakes and a small tunnel in which fake dollar bills swirl around in the air.

I personally know every member of the Junior and Senior class and
am confident that they are intellengent people and will not use the excuse of having a prom theme such as this determine their actions because frankly, they are smarter than that.

I hope you will understand why, although at first glance this theme may seem a bit inappropraite, in reality, it is harmless.

Anonymous said...

When I heard that people were making a big deal out of this I thought it was a joke, but then I searched online and found that there were complaints such as these and they were serious.

To be honest, any parent who thinks that this is a horrible thing (and by this I mean non-Burroughs parents because I doubt any Burroughs parents take this seriously) needs to be realistic, there are many MANY worse things going on at other schools.

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone! Guess what? I'm a Burrough's student, and my parents aren't rich or elitist! Not only that, I GET GOOD GRADES! The Gossip Girl comparison is completely off, and it insults me whenever people assume that everyone at JBS is rich and snooty. Also, believe it or not, I'm not a Satan follower, I don't drink or do drugs, and I'll probably remain a virgin until I get married.

Secondly, I saw the invitation. I will admit it wasn't perfectly tasteful, but the woman on the "LUST" card was wearing a full gown, so well done blowing that out of proportion.

Finally, if you want to bring spelling and grammar into this, your posts haven't been perfect either. What exactly does scantily glad mean?

I'm sorry, but your views of this situation and everyone involved are unfair and incorrect. If you don't like it, you don't have to send your children here. Like my peers, I appreciate your concern for my soul, but I would appreciate it even more if you wouldn't repeatedly bash my school, friends, and parents. We may not be perfect, but we certainly deserve more credit than you give us.

thetimman said...

As delightful an event as this has been, since the pro-prom theme posts are coming in at a 1:1 ratio of profanity-laced tantrums, I will refrain from posting any others unless someone has a fairly fresh take on this.

The whole affair really reaffirms my faith in the future of representative democracy.

Anonymous said...

I am not Catholic. I am not even religious, but I think this theme and invitation are in VERY poor taste. I am also an English teacher and would like to convey the following message to the students at Burroughs: You may be "running companies" one day but spell check is available to everyone right now, regardless of education. Like it or not, if you are defending your school in a blog forum, you are representing your school. It is not the same as sending an IM to your friends.

Anonymous said...

To whom it may concern:

I am a current student of John Burroughs, and though not directly involved in it, I have been present during much of the planning process of this year's Junior/Senior prom. After hearing much of the debate over this year's theme, I very much can understand the concern of some over the selection of "The Seven Deadly Sins." However, I believe many of the concerns expressed are not valid.

John Burroughs is a challenging, very academic school that I feel is providing me with the best high school education in this country. My peers and I all worked very hard to be accepted into such a school and continue to work to maintain high grade levels and to receive high test scores on both the ACT and SAT (very deservingly, I think). We Burroughs students love our school, and though at times the work is difficult, we enjoy our time spent at JBS and appreciate the experiences had there that prepare us for our future. The school offers a very inclusive environment which I feel also embodies good morals. Burroughs is a place where I feel comfortable learning, growing, and speaking my mind; I know from experience that most places do not leave teenagers, especially me, feeling that way. However, at Burroughs I feel comfortable discussing almost anything, whether it be how electrical impulses travel from neuron to neuron and across a synapse, to why Hannibal chose to put the Roman fide Saguntum under siege, to when it is appropriate to use the subjunctive in Spanish, to religion.

Much discussion has gone on about this year's prom theme. Though I do agree that the use of the phrase "Calling all sinners: we request your presence in Hell" and using the pentagram, a sign associated with the devil, were both in poor taste, I do not believe that this prom theme in any way condones or encourages sinful, satanic, or sacrilegious behavior. Beyond the invitations, the only sins truly being represented at this prom are gluttony (the refreshment section), sloth (a section where students can sit and relax to take a break from dancing), greed (the earlier described tunnel with fake dollar bills), and pride/vanity (a wall of mirrors). The "representations" of lust and wrath will be through use of the colors red and black respectively.

I can see how using this theme can appear to be glorifying Satan and how it seems unholy and, quite obviously, sinful, but this is not the case. The student body of John Burroughs very much holds the understanding that partaking in sinful activity is just that: sinful. We DO have morals. Because of this, having "The Seven Deadly Sins" as a prom theme is okay. I apologize if this them has offended and upset people; that was not the intention of establishing it. An earlier post said "Burroughs students who are insightful enough and honest enough to recognize what is happening, would evidently be subject to scorn and ridicule for speaking up about it. Few of us, at that age and in that environment, would have the courage to do so." I disagree. Students have not been tormented for speaking out. In fact, their disagreement has led to (civil) debate that caused us to think about, consider, and view a topic of controversy from another point of view. I also do not feel that this theme has in any way encouraged us to view mortal sins as a joke or has given parental approval to partaking in sinful behavior. Burroughs students have recognized the controversy and flaws of this theme. We are not helpless victims, but rather generally intelligent young people who can distinguish wrong from right. Many schools, including Catholic schools, have adopted "The Devils" as the name for their school team. I have not, however, seen any argument over that. School pride requires pride of the mascot's name. If that name is "devil", then does a student active in his or her school's sports risk their soul and put them at risk for joining a satanic cult by claiming to be "proud the be a devil"? I do not think so, and I also do not think that choosing with the most innocent intentions possible the theme for prom to be "The Seven Deadly Sins" does either. I understand your discomfort and concern with the selection on this year's theme, but I can assure you that students attending John Burroughs will not view the severity of sinful behavior any differently.

Also, an unrelated side note, I would like to say to the anonymous post yesterday at 5:46 that I am quite offended by your classification of an academic institution like John Burroughs as a "'Gossip Girl' High School." As mentioned earlier in rebuttal to your statement, many Burroughs students receive financial aid. Also, Burroughs has very deservingly gained its prestige through an outstanding academic record and the hard work of its students, not, as you said, through "wealth and position". We spend hours at school each day learning and fulfilling art and sport requirements. Those responsibilities alone require much effort on our part. Add the many hours (average of two to four minimum) of homework each night and you have a recipe for devoted students. It is extremely unfair and highly offensive for you to assert that all Burroughs students are simply spoiled rich kids who spend their time gossiping, doing no work, and spending Daddy's money. Please do not assume that we all were accepted into this fine school because we all donated a large sum of money. We worked very hard to get to where we are now. Burroughs earned its prestige through its rigorous academics and hard-working students. I believe its reputation for producing intelligent, well-prepared world citizens is well deserved.

Anonymous said...

Profanity laced tantrums? Are you serious? I may not be as well versed in the bible as you are but I can safely say that if any of the previous comments were laced with profanity, than all of your posts should have been sensored. I really have no idea how this topic has escalated, but I do know that your take on the dance is the most rediculose thing I have ever heard. If this was a satanic cult of a school then I probibly would agree with you on most of your points, but seeing as this is a multi cultural school and considered one of the top schools in the Midwest, your take on this situation is completely out of line.

thetimman said...

OK, I posted the last three and deleted several others for the following reasons:

The first one gives a different take than the typical comment this thread has engendered.

The second one is obviously an earnest attempt by a student in good faith; I can appreciate the effort it must have taken.

The third one made me laugh. To the writer: I believe that I can spot profanity when I read it. Here's the thing you might not have understood-- I didn't post them, so you didn't read them here. Let me know if the "F" word, the "C" word and various anatomically amusing directives don't meet with your definition of profanity, and we can start another thread.

Anonymous said...


You are such a self-protective child. You have the ability to decline any posts that anyone makes, even if they are completely and totally logical. You just want to preserve YOUR stance on the issue, even though you know full well that you are overreacting and flat out wrong. I know you will probably not allow this comment to be posted -- good job. I hope you feel good about yourself, because I know no one else respects you.

Anonymous said...

In reviewing the Burrough's web site, one fundamental element stands out in my mind that I should like clarification on. Without rancor or condescension, I would like it explained how the following two elements referenced from the Burroughs "Statement of Philosophy" web page (http://www.jburroughs.org/welcome/statement-of-philosophy) are standards which have been applied to this particular communication? Here they are:

"We believe that excellence in education goes hand in hand with diversity, which we value and celebrate."

"We strive for balance in our students' pursuits—in the various ways they study, play, create and show concern for the world and others."

Even though these two statements are a part in defining Burrough's philosophy, they stand on their own merit. Certainly, there has been a substantial body of communications generated that tangibly support these two statements, yes? I would submit that the Prom communications did not go through that filter, that is, the implied respect and inclusiveness simply has not been thought out or applied to this work.

Perhaps it is an anomaly though, for certainly you would not have chosen for your theme anything offensive to, say, the Jewish culture or heritage, who would have quite a lot to say about it, as would be expected for they would be right to protest. As Timman 06 March, 2009 23:03 wrote: "... no one would dream of making a fun little prom theme about Auschwitz, or a slave auction. Some things are not joking matters." So in light of this statement, I wonder if there was consideration for the kind of response this prom communication might have? Truly, what did you expect? From a Judeo/Christian perspective, and a Catholic one in particular, you should have had the foresight to at least anticipate it.

For your consideration, I wonder how any of your founders in 1923 "who wanted to follow the philosophy of John Dewey" (ref: 'A Letter From the Head of School: (http://www.jburroughs.org/welcome/letter-from-the-head-of-school)), or even perhaps how John Dewey himself would've responded if the theme you had chosen was of an offensive nature to any one of the social movements Dewey championed, such as Women's Suffrage or the Humanist Movement?

Finally, even though the prom communication was intended for students of the Burroughs community, any communication, whether public or private, is representative of, and needs to consistent with, your self-proclaimed philosophy. In this particular instance, one would argue that it is not.

A Homeschooling Dad

Anonymous said...

I just think that this is something so typical of jbs students. So much of what they do is for "shock value"
I really dont see much wrong with it but i do think it is a little depressing and tasteless for a prom theme?
The fact that the administration at the school approved the invitation it pretty much is all on their shoulders then.
I really could care less about the religious aspects i just think the invitation in general is depressing, and they wonder why their school has the highest case of eating disorders in st louis? The graphics on the invite are over the top.
However is all about freedom of speech and expression right? I doubt any other of the private schools in st louis MICDS, Whitfield, Villa, Viz, St Joe, Priory would ever approve something like this.

Anonymous said...

"and they wonder why their school has the highest case of eating disorders in st louis?"

Where do you get this information?

Anonymous said...

homeschooled dad... aushwitz and slave auctions were real

and truthfully the reason you close minded people have something against burroughs is because your kids never got in and thank god for it...I would never want my kids to be around someone who was raised as you are raising your children...

Anonymous said...

Burroughs is by far the most liberal school in St. Louis. Just as a source of comparison, Barack Obama won the student election with around 90%, whereas he won another progressive, independant school, MICDS, with only 54%. Burroughs is always pushing the limit of what is allowed or appropriate, which isn't a product of the parents or administrators, but the students themselves.
Other past Burroughs events have been a "Heaven and Hell Dance," and "Communist Nations Field Day." Burroughs toes the line because they like to, and it is something they are proud of. Often, there is protest of actions or even traditions, but these protests fuel debate, something all Burroughs students cherish, and create some of the most memorable intelectual discussions at school. In the past year or two, debates have raged over the school's drug policy, over the tradition of honoring cheerleaders with male-given corsages, and now over this prom theme. Every year there is debate about the merits of the "Holiday Program," essentially a nativity production.
Burroughs thrives on challenging its students' beliefs and assumptions, and the students respond by pushing the envelope and toeing the line.

~Proud Burroughs Student

Anonymous said...

To Anon 17:13

A rancorous non-answer steeped in prejudice. You write "I would never want my kids to be around someone who was raised as you are raising your children" ... so much for diversity, which is further proving the point that your philosophy in theory and your philosophy in practice (at least in regards to the two elements referenced in my previous note) are two entirely different things.

... and yet my query remains unanswered.

Still respectfully,
A Homeschooling Dad

Anonymous said...

thetimman, I understand your wish to censor certain posts and I respect that. As an alternative, I have created a blog of my own to offer (almost) unrestricted commenting to everyone on this issue:

Please let this comment through so people can continue this debate on my blog if they so wish!

Anonymous said...

the eating disorder issue is a well know problem at burroughs and other schools in st louis. No one tries to hide it and yes it is true.
I do feel the invitation is pushing the envelope a little bit. How do you go from Charlie and the Chocolate factory to Seven deadly sins?
you are just asking for it if you do something like that for a prom invitation.

Anonymous said...

"Sick of narrow-minded arguments" what you and so many others fail to realize is that there was NO SUCH THING as a teenager prior to the 20th Century. Before then, there were children, and there were young adults. And those designated young adults were just exactly that.. "young" ADULTS!!! They were expected to behave accordingly.

This current trend to coddle and downright spoil *rotten* young people and excuse them from the responsibilities of being Adult is nothing short of shameful and disgraceful. As adults WE should be ashamed and pay the penance for such.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 17:13,
Satan is real too. So is his permanent home, Hell.

As for homeschool dad's kids 'not getting in', don't flatter yourself. MICDS is a much more prestigious school. :o)

Mark S.
New Haven, MO

Anonymous said...

All of you who disapprove of the theme are making things worse. You talk all about being religious, yet it seems to me that you believe more in Satan than you do in God.

And you can't compare this theme to one such as "Auschwitz." As the person above me stated, concentration camps existed in REALITY. Satan hasn't come to Earth and killed millions of people. If that had happened, I would agree that the theme would be crossing a line. But it didn't, and therefore it isn't. So get over it. Shouldn't you be teaching your kids right now instead of ranting on a religious blog anyway?

Anonymous said...

Just take hell and religion out of this for a moment and look at the LUST advertisement on the invitation. Why on earth would anyone feel that LUST would be an appropriate theme for a prom? HELLO?!?! Can't wait to hear how many STDs and pregancies/abortions result from this open-minded group of students. Have at it, shake hands with, reap what you sow.
No, not jealous of this high-status school. I'm thanking GOD that my daughters don't have the privilege of attending there.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 08 17:13,

Why would you think that we would want our kids to go to John Burroughs? I think TImman simply posted this hell-filled invitation to show why he was so glad that his daughter is not in school - any school!

We are not close minded, we are simply moral parents who take responsibility for raising our children to lead good lives and be responsible, holy adults.

I should think you would want your children around others who would be a good influence on them and treat them well. Children who will encourage their peers to go down the straight path.

I am having a really hard time imagining any parent truly liking this evil looking prom invitation to hell. This is a far cry from some previous appropriate themes and never should have been allowed!

This is why children NEED adults to guide them along in making appropriate choices. Folks, step up to the plate and be a parent, please!

Anonymous said...

I think that the source of the disconnect that has become clear in this discussion was expressed by Anonymous at 17:13, who rejects the analogy between this prom's "sin" theme and an "Auschwitz" or "slave auction" theme because "aushwitz and slave auctions were real".

That sums it up. The people defending the prom theme simply do not seem to "get" the reality of sin.

If sin is not something real to them, but rather an exotic notion held by strange people who don't compartmentalize their religious beliefs -- then of course they will resent the fuss.

To an extent, I can agree with a much earlier commenter who pointed out that it is possible to over-focus on the power of Evil, making it seem stronger than the power of good -- giving it more respect than it deserves, in a way. I believe it is St. Rose of Lima who is said to have laughed scornfully in Satan's face while resisting his temptations. However, I'm afraid that is a very different thing than trivializing Satan's agenda by using it as a prom theme.

So, while the theme seems to have been chosen with massive insensitivity but no conscious ill intent, the dilemma remains: how on earth do you reach people (surely not all Burroughs students/parents) who don't make the connection between the reality of sin and the reality of Auschwitz?

Anonymous said...

To those who may read:

The argument that has arisen over this prom theme is absolutely appalling. I am proud to be a member of the junior class and I am rather excited to be attending this prom. What I don't think many of the people on this blog are able to grasp is how much more than a theme a prom is. I am smart enough to realize that this prom is not going to book a trip to hell for me, but it is going to provide a them in which decorations and food are based. For someone to think that attending a prom that has the theme of the 7 deadly sins will send me to hell, or persuade me to worship the devil, than you are completely and utterly on the wrong page, and you do not understand the capability of the minds of John Burroughs Students. We are the creme of the crop. We pride ourselves on being the elite students of St. Louis, and no, it is not because we have accrued a good social positioning. Look at our SAT scores, they do not tell you much about social positioning, but rather about the aptitude of our student body. We all understand that a prom them such as this means absolutely NOTHING. I am sorry that many of you are not able to grasp this concept, and I hope that I maybe cleared it up for those of you who just can't understand. For my parting words, to the lovely man who said that people would complain about a prom theme about Auschwitz, of course they would, do you realize how much greater the magnitude that Auschwitz brings compared to the seven deadly sins? Auschwitz is real, UNLIKE HELL, WHICH DOES NOT EXIST. Consult a science book. They sell them in the book store at our school.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 22:56,
Hell doesn't exist? May I ask you what you might think happens to an unrepentant soul. Take for example a person who would be capable of a concentration camp, with torture and extermination of the 'prisoners' it's purpose? How about the sadistic killer who takes the lives of his wife, children, parents and in-laws then kills himself? What happens to them when they die? Do they deserve the same finality of someone who fought to uphold the moral law? Someone who put their life on the line to fight racism? Some soldier who heroically put himself between a buddy and a bullet and sacrificed his life?

What happens to these people after they die? What happens to their souls? Since you say Hell does not exist, then I can only conclude that you think God does not exist?

Please, think about what you are saying. It's a matter for eternity.

Mark S.
New Haven, MO

Anonymous said...

I have though long and hard about what I am saying. I'll have it that I am a devout Jew, and I do believe in God, but I do not, and will not ever believe in hell or an afterlife. I cannot believe that anything happens to a human body after death besides decay in a coffin. When there is proof that there is a soul within a body, than I will believe it with all of my heart and mind, but for right now, I can only believe in that which is proven. I am certainly not saying it is wrong to do so, because my beliefs are merely my beliefs. But again, I must consult science, or that which is proven, to sculpt my beliefs. Therefore I do not find anything to be offensive in any regards about this prom theme, for it does not infringe upon my beliefs.

P.S. To your post about MICDS being a better institution. That is clearly just a dig at the Burroughs community and is completely uncalled for in a matter that does not concern one body of people vs. another. You are misinformed, however. There are annual surveys by elite magazines that rank private high schools in america. JBS is consistently better ranked. JBS also touts higher SAT scores. Please do not just make uncalled for, ill-informed insults at other people because you feel pressured and angered by the fact that your beliefs are not unanimously cherished by all. That is what is so special about Burroughs that you, as well as other who home school will never pick up: Open Debate. We at Burroughs foster open debate and and are willing to accept those with other beliefs. Please try not to be so narrow minded as to think you are better than others. You are not.

This Prom theme is not outrageous by any means, and I stand by those who thought of it, as well as those who approved of it.

Anonymous said...

To begin, I am a senior on John Burroughs.
Also, as I have abandoned the Catholic faith in which I was raised, I'm not going to argue any faith related issues: to each, his own. I would just like to ask those who disagree to please stop bashing our school. The very small minority of students who actually work on the deciding prom committees do not necessarily represent our entire school. Also, offensive reputation or no reputation, we are not a school of spoiled rich kids who just skirt by on daddy's coattails. While I, as one of the students who can attend Burroughs only with the geneous financial assistance with which I am provided, sometimes feel that there are some kids who seem to be there only due to their wealth, the rigor of our clases and the demands of our teachers prove otherwise. They are the same for sons and daughters of both CEOs and public school teachers. Money cannot buy the SAT scores, college acceptances, college graduates, community service awards and other achievments that allow us to be ranked by the Wall Street Journals as one of the top 50 private institutions in the nation.
Our school is one in which kids are given the independence to make their own decisions, blaze their own trails and speak their minds. And, as for every human being - religion, race, sexual orientaion, career path, gender, economic status, etc. aside - with independence come mistakes. We - like public and home school kids, and yourselves - not perfect, and do not claim to be, so please treat us and our beloved instituiton with the fairness and respect that all humans deserve. Thank you.

To every Burroughs student who has posted a bitter, snide, sarcastic or reversely intolerant comment, shame on you. You don't fight fire with fire if your goal is to extinguish the original. To the students who defensively lash out against Catholicism (and on the St. Louis Catholic website? Really, guys?), you have a right to believe what you wish, but learn discretion. Everyone is allowed to believe what they wish. That is the nature of our nation, and more appropriately, the nature of our school. You have obviously not learned the important life lessons that we are so blessed to be taught at Burroughs. Open your eyes and ears in school past the pack mule required homework load and pressure and let the more important things soak in. While, yes, the opium wars were important and so is the cosine of a 45 degree angle, tolerance and respect you'll need to know past your spring final.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry to say this, but every Burroughs student that also applied to MICDS, got into both. It doesn't make it more prestigious, it's simply a different atmosphere (with lower average SAT scores).
I'm happy for you that your children are home-schooled, but please don't take a holier than thou attitude. It's disgusting and disrespectul. Especially the childish, smug smiley face. Your beliefs don't give you the right to be a jerk.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 01:15,
Point well made, I am a jerk.

However, it doesn't change the fact that the 'theme' of the prom is disgusting and mortally dangerous to those who promote or participate.

The holier than thou, disrespectful attitude you talk about was a response to a poster who implied that every parent in St. Louis with children wants them to go to Burroughs, that's ridiculous too.

Also, there is nothing holier than thou about cautioning someone against evil. It is a moral duty.

Mark S.
New Haven, MO

Anonymous said...

To any parent or child who thinks that Auschwitz was real, but hell isn't:

Why do you think evil concentration camps exist, even today in communist countries such as North Korea? It is because of Satan. It is because of the acceptance and downplaying of sin and evil. Like it or not, there is evil and Satan and hell. To downplay the seriousness of sin in our lives, only invites it.

Read about the miracle that was witnessed by 70,000 people, many non-believers in Fatima, Portugal in 1917. The children got a look at hell, and they said it was so horrible they almost died at the sight of the tormented souls.

I would love to see a private school have a dignified, creative prom theme that reflects the image the school wishes to portray. Is Bouroughs comfortable with the symbol of satanic worship and hell?

Anonymous said...

If the Burroughs students and parents posting here spent as much time caring for their souls as they do bragging about their school, they would be very holy indeed.

Peter said...

Fraternal Correction - "in reprehending the errors and sins of our neighbor; is always useful to him, if it be done with prudence and charity"
The Catechism, Church Fathers and Scripture holds us bound by duty and justice to help our brethern in the example of Jesus Christ.
So I am sorry to my Burroughs brethern- it is not a situation as MANY of you suggest that we "live our own life" or "worry about raising our own kids" because that is not the case. We are worried about ALL souls. That is what the call to Christian love in the Catholic (aka Universal) Church is about.
I am a horrid sinner- I will be the first to admit that. I make many mistakes but I look at it this way. If as a child, I stuck a fork in the electrical switch and lost use of my arm, if I saw someone about to do the same- should I not try to stop them.
No one here is saying that you will walk out of prom and conduct a black mass (at least I hope not). But I truly believe that you are opening up your heart to demonic influence. Pure and simple- it is like playing a Ojaudi (sp?) Board or Tarot Cards. You may think it is harmless, but you are numbing yourself to the reality of evil in the world and the objectification of eachother.
As for the reality of Hell... in case you have forgotten, Jesus spoke more of hell, being cut-off from God, the fires of Gehenna more than He spoke of heaven.
May God have Mercy on us.

Anonymous said...

ok. I have refrained from commenting on this but finally feel the need to step in. First, know that I am ridiculously liberal and would have probably helped plan Communist activities in high school (though I have learned too much about it since then.)

First off. Take the morality out of all of this. I don't think Burroughs will be worshiping the devil at Prom or sending children to hell for attending. And yes, Burroughs has an excellent reputation. You have spoken of your open-mindedness, your call for diversity etc. etc.

What I don't understand is your surprise at the fact that people have taken offense at your "satirizing," mocking," and "making fun" of their religion. You have chosen for your silly, little prom theme, part of the moral backbone of Christianity and more specifically, Catholicism. And in response to people expressing their offense, you have continued to belittle and mock them and their religion. You were wrong. Unintentional? yes. Through ignorance? probably. But nevertheless, you have mocked a religion and what you are seeing is not overreaction, it is simply reaction to having their faith tradition turned into a jokey prom theme.

Now, the mature, globally-minded approach to this would be to say, "Gosh. We didn't even think of that when we came up with this idea. We were just joking around. But, we see now how this can be seen as offensive and we're sorry." The immature, self-absorbed thing to do, is to dig your heels in and tell the offended that they are wrong to be offended. That you think what they believe is stupid. Sadly, on this forum at least, this is the route you have chosen.

Secondly, the Lust picture. You are just sounding silly when you say it is simply a picture of a woman in a gown. You know that it is more than that. And again, the morality aside. You have chosen to portray Lust (defined as an inordinate craving for coitus often to the point of assuming a self-indulgent, and sometimes violent character.) As a woman. Why isn't it an image of man? You have chosen to portray the woman as the root of self-indulgent sexuality and the instigator of sexual violence of which she is more often the victim.

Once again, you can say I'm reading too much into the image. That it is just a prom theme, but perhaps you are reading too little into the images you use.

What I hope this has at least demonstrated for you as a school community is that you do not exist in a Burroughs vacuum. Just because you have a Christian who says they are not offended by it, does not mean that that gives you universal license. You may be able to find someone in your community who does not object to the "N word" but I guarantee if you say it in my neighborhood you will get a reaction.

Please open your minds and admit the fault where it exists. This was in poor taste. It was offensive. Admit that, apologize, and move on. This is an important lesson to learn if you truly will be our nation's leaders. God, I hope you learn it.

Kate Hagel
St. Louis

Anonymous said...

I understand perfectly why they are offended, but they are taking it to too far of a degree.

Anonymous said...

You are posting on a website dedicated to the religion you offended. YOU came HERE. This is not your school's website where they came and attacked you. YOU came HERE. To their website where they were expressing their offense at what you had done. You will either accept fault like a mature adult or you will remain a juvenile and push the blame onto someone else.

I will not be able to help you see the difference. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

What no one has menioned and I'm not sure if the moderator will reject this for another time but I am providing you with the truth so here it is:

The Lust picture was one of seven cards handed out, each one representing a different sin, wouldn't it do unjustice to your beliefs if one of the fundamental sins was left out...and to go even farther with it...if a student did not know that was a sin maybe they wouldn't see a problem with taking part in it...just a thought but as far as the picture goes I can see what you're saying about the innapropriate picture...but keep in mind who we are talking about....17 and 18 year olds...I gaurentee they can handle it.

And as far as Kate Hagal said...you have a good point and it was innapropriate for some of my classmates to attack this blog so I am sorry.

thetimman said...

Thanks for the apology-- it is not a big deal, but I appreciate the thought behind it.

Anonymous said...

Look, the attacks on John Burroughs as simply a rich school are highly offensive. Coming from someone with multiple generations of family that have attended that school, I can most certainly attest that it is one of the best high schools in the country not because of money but because of the caliber of teachers there. Furthermore, this holier than though stuff does not work. I am not Catholic but I know that Jesus Christ does not want you guys to cast judgment on others. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," or something like that. Attacking spelling, grammar, a prestigious high school, and their harmless prom theme is absurd. Satan has better things to do than attend a high school prom; he might be busy with the war in Iraq, genocides in Africa, pollution, global warming, and the economic crisis. Also, and this is something that annoys me about nearly all religions, you guys presume that I, and my fellow schoolmates, adhere to your beliefs. All of us do not. I do not fear Satan because I do not believe in him, thats all there is to it. Now, I could discuss theology with you all day, and who knows, you guys might find that you can be bested by a 17 year old (who attends a magnificent school). But, i have much work to do, so I must depart.

P.S. Please allow this to be posted, there is nothing that I made offensive (I think and hope). Also, allowing posts is the nature of a blog, it strikes debate and allows one to further their intellectual capabilities.

Anonymous said...

This conflict has elicited a few assertions that go too far. Scrolling through the comments about our prom, I was distressed to see how many people condemned the parents for allowing us kids to go unchecked. The idea that our parents are careless or mislead in their parenting is ridiculous and, to be honest, betrays some shallow thought going into, what i see as basically well-meaning comments.

Regardless of your feelings about the highly liberal and secular enviroment in which Burroughs places its students, take a moment to evulate what the parents are doing. Each year my parents quietly and selflessly fork over what i consider to be a huge sum of money for me and my siblings to receive what they hope is the best education possible. I rarely can appreciate the personsal sacrifice that this entails, as surely our house could be bigger or we could take fancier vacations each year. To slander the parents intentions detract from a token of their immense love each has for his or her child.

Yes, at Burroughs we are irreverant and questioning without much intereference and we often take this too far. And sometimes this leads to ignorant comments posted on Catholic blogs. But i am being educated in a manner that my parents work hard to provide. I hope that many of the commentors out there can see this, as i'm sure you do what you feel is best for your children. Your error lies in presuming to call other people bad parents because they have different ideas then you. I will not be consorting with Lucifer come April 4th, nor would my parents want me to. The parents are, in fact, volunteering at a mandatory "After Prom" until 3:30 AM as a measure to prevent alcohol use, sex and unsupervised partying.

Some of my classmates have brashly mocked what they perhaps don't understand. I ask that you not make the same error in jumping to conclusions and judging our motivation and my parents based upon nothing more then a prom theme. Just because one doesn't see another persons logic in making a decision, doesn't mean it is their job to inform them of their error. For instance, i should hope none of my classmates go on radio talkshows and messages boards denouncing the teaching of creationism. This takes me back to my original point, which is this: think deeply about what you say to some kids who may not understand you, but are only trying to take one night off from the intense academic atmosphere in which we've been placed to have a fun night, with the assurance that it will be safe. I am jewish and might have some details wrong, but from the outside, our prom seems to me to be a far more wholesome release of stress then Mardi Gras, the traditional display of sexual and alcoholic excess that preceeds the somber Catholic observance of Lent.

Hopefully this has been a clear and civil expression of what many Burrough students and parents feel.

-A Burrough Junior

Gregory Thaumaturgas said...

This invitation frankly makes me glad I was homeschooled. From my run-ins with the typical "public schooled"--or ever some private schooled kids for that matter--many people seem quite immoral.

I think this kind of prom is exactly the thing that parents try to avoid with homeschooling.

Anonymous said...

Since some may not realize, it is important to note that the Catholic Church in no way advocates or supports Mardi Gras or Carnival but rather offers the 40 hours devotion as a way to make reparation for the sins committed there. Students, realize that most of the adults here have been to prom and know what goes on. We're not just wagging fingers and being all judgemental. We are truly concerned for the souls of all involved.

You don't have to believe in the devil or in the holocaust. That doesn't mean either one is any less real for your unbelief. They both most definitely do exist and the devil will be at prom, trying to tempt all there. Guess what? The devil is nearly everywhere trying to tempt us all the time. Why should a high school prom, especially one glorifying the seven deadly sins, be an exception? If the devil tried to tempt our Lord himself, he can and will tempt us poor creatures.

Anonymous said...

This entire debate is absurd, the misinformation here is startling. First of all, Burroughs students average a 31 on the ACT, the highest score in the state, so to say that MICDS is more prestigious is a ridiculous statement. Burroughs is also consistently ranked in the top 20 schools in the entire country by various news sources, and over 20% of the student body is on financial aid, so it's wholly unreasonable to suggest that the student body is a band of spoiled kids unaware of the average middle-class existence.

Secondly, why should Burroughs govern their actions based upon religion? No one has ever proven Christianity to be correct, in fact the majority of the world does not believe it do be so. So for Burroughs to change their actions based on a theory unverified by science and not believed by most of the world. Would you apply this to the rest of your life? Probably not, if so, send me all of your life savings in the mail, I promise I'll give them back in double next week.

The point is, Burroughs has no reason to moderate their actions based on religious beliefs. Clearly they respect religion as they are progressive in their treatment of various holidays and have a diverse student body. They clearly apply logic and reason to their decisions, and this seems to be no different.

Anonymous said...

What I personally see here, is purely an argument over freedom of speech. When it really comes down to it, it can be seen that two seperate groups are trying to impose their own personal views and opinions onto the minds of others.

Major controversy in this sense, stems simply from the ideals of the Catholic religion. In the minds of said Catholics who are posting here, they want to "save" the childrens' souls. They believe that all who go to this prom theme are doomed to eternal damnation.

However, for a Catholic to try to impose their views onto somebody who doesn't personally believe in their religion, would be the same as if someone was trying to tell you (directed at said Catholics posting in this thread) that God does not exist, and that your entire religion is false.

The idea of that would be ridiculous, would it not? Despite the fact that you are trying to "save" the souls of Burroughs students, you fail to see that all you're doing is making an attempt at forcing your ideas onto others.

To paraphrase a comment earlier stated here, "The prom theme is 'Seven Deadly Sins,' not 'Consort with the devil and murder your neighbor'" You must be absurd to believe that by simply going to a prom with the theme of seven deadly sins will result in children coming out worshipping the devil. It's not like there's going to be blood pouring out of holes in the wall for children to drink, and pentagrams on the floor where they'll sit in circles calling forth the devil. Would you really believe something like that would happen? You're living in an entirely fake world if you believe that a school would condone some sort of religious calling forth at a function like this.

I'm not trying to personally impose my views onto all of you, but it's ridiculous that you're trying to essentially force others into believing in your religion, just because you do.

There will be no consortation with the devil at prom. There will be no murder, there will be no descension into hell, and nothing result from this except a fun time and a prom memory. You're living in what is essentially a false world if you believe anything along those lines will happen.

Just let Burroughs students have the freedom to select the prom theme, as it will be harmless in the end.

-Another Burroughs Student

Anonymous said...

To Burroughs Junior-

As a fellow student of yours (though two grades below), thank you for your posting. I appreciate your message, which worded what I had difficultly saying. Also, in response to an earlier post, you are right Kate. I, as a Burroughs student (though not necessarily on behalf of my fellow students as I cannot rightfully speak for them), am sorry if this year's theme has offended anyone. This was not at all the intention of selecting "The Seven Deadly Sins". Rather, the intent was to find something that easily offered a means to decorate and provide food that agreed with a theme. Please do not take offense at this or take this selection as a personal attack, and if you have, I see that and am sorry. I appreciate and understand your concern for the well-being of JBS students and our peers. I really hope this argument can be put aside, if not now then soon. For the seniors, Prom is sort of a last Hurrah where they can celebrate their hard work over the past six years together and relax during a very stressful time in their lives. The juniors throw the Prom for this purpose. I apologize if this year's Prom theme had offended. Burroughs students, should you decide to post on this blog, please represent your school well and keep it civil and appropriate. We owe it to our school.

Anonymous said...

I attend a private St. Louis area high school (not Burroughs), and if this were my prom theme there is no way I would even consider attending.

Why is it that Catholicism is the only religion acceptable to ridicule? Why is that you would never dream of theming your prom "72 Virgins in Paradise" or something which would offend followers of Islam, for example? And yet when Catholics are upset that you mock a part of their religion, you refuse to see how they are perfectly justified in being so? Take Ms. Hagel's excellent advice and find some maturity and decency.

By the way, I had never had any experience with JBS before I read these comments, and I thought you should know that, save for an admirable minority who wrote rationally and eloquently, most of the students who commented here gave me a very poor first impression of your school. I would be ashamed to give such a poor representation of my school, even if it less prestigious then the vaunted John Burroughs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, March 9, 19:09,

The reeeson spilling is importnt is it is hrd to reeed some budies lettter if thir ar erars!

It is not hateful or evil to point out that children from a "very good school" should be able to write sentences and spell correctly.

Please, do not claim to best anybody in theology if you don't even know the basics!

Satan is REAL, and he is very interested in attending your prom to temp the young adults attending to commit the seven capitol sins.

He even revels in the false idea that some people are foolish enough not to believe in him. This simply invites him into your life. It doesn't make him disappear.

Prayer protects you from evil. God is good and we are on this earth to know, love and serve Him so we can be happy with Him in heaven someday. Now that is a fact, a basic fact that many don't even know.

Anonymous said...

The simple fact is that the theme and invitation are in question, not about jbs school. We all know you get high sat scores, get into great colleges and have a average athletic program but if everyone claims to be as intelligent as they claim how could you not expect some comments when you send a prom invitation advertising the seven deadly sins?
for all the "book smarts" you love to talk about what about basic common sense?

Anonymous said...

Despite the fact that I am a John Burroughs student who is to young to attend the prom, I want to instill in your ever so intellectualy filled brains that when those people who speak of the JBS community such as, "We at JBS support...blah blah blah and so on" keep in mind that you are talking from YOUR PERSPECTIVE NOT OTHERS. I would like to stress that I do not condone a spec of that invitation and yes MY VIEW AND BELIEFS are important to my point. When I am spoken from a person's view that does not follow my beliefs, I am blatantly being spoken as a JBS student just like you. And like some of you may have said, there are kids of all different beliefs at our school, and clearly I am one of them, who walks beside my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Having attending JBS for 3 years now, has opened my eyes up to the real "ACCEPTANCE" of certain peoples beliefs. For example, we at the John Burroughs School are supposed to accept the diverse community in which we belong to, but what many people do not see is that there is but a mere attempt to do just that. I personally believe that although JBS is very diverse and largly liberal, the parents and the kids do not finalize the decision in making the prom invitation. It is the faculty and Headmaster. To help show the political and "acceptiveness of beliefs" backbone to this school I say this; A small group of Christians wanted to start a bible study (club, but the Headmaster denied them (us) the right to have it on campus, thus showing my point of "oh of course we accept those beliefs even if we don't believe them." NOW you tell me who is at fault for this. Not in a million years would I ever strike the thought of coming up with this prom theme but obviously others might and did, but it is the school administration who runs and moniters what the students do. As the feeders of knowledge to their children many parents do not mind this invitation either, but there is clearly an issue with our school's employees and the employer if they cannot moniter "just a high school prom invitation"

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is-Proverbs 1:2-6 says:
for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young- ;let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance- --

Proverbs 4:14 & 19 --

do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men

But the wat of the wicked is like deep darkess; they do not know what makes them stumble

thetimman said...

To "another Burroughs student":

You said, "They believe that all who go to this prom theme are doomed to eternal damnation."

Um, no we don't. I don't know how you can deduce that conclusion from the original post or the comments posted herein. In fact, many pro-theme commenters seem to be doing just that. I wouldn't presume to know who is or is not damned.

Words mean things.

Anonymous said...

I personally object to someone using my religious convictions as a subject of public ridicule. It is culturally insensitive--to say the least. Can you imagine a prom with a "Pillars of Islam" theme? Or a "Kosher" theme? Offensive and destructive of our nation's commitment to cultural and religious diversity.

thetimman said...

One hundred five comments are enough to beat this one to death.

Thanks for discussion; comments closed.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Timman, I wanted to see how many you would get! And just maybe these new hits will keep coming back and learn something about the Catholic faith.
Yes, I know I'm an optimist!

Anonymous said...

I graduated from Burroughs about 20 years ago, and I can tell you that the school has degraded severely on all levels. The school's history and philosophy is progressive, having been founded on Dewey's theories, and it has leaned liberal for quite some time. In my day, we had a few teachers who were considerably left-of-center, but for the most part, political positions were left at the door.

Of late, the place has simply begun to rot - at roughly the same pace, and in roughly the same way, as progressive thinking has in America generally. The days when progressive thought might contribute interesting and constructive counterpoint are gone - replaced by empty dogma and a shallow adherence to a new set of gods - political correctness, relativism, green activism, etc., etc. With some exceptions, the people of Burroughs - from the administration and teachers - to the parents - to the unfortunate kids - serve as classic examples of what now passes for the elite in our society. They are vacuous and vapid, they have their rap down perfectly, and they are absolutely convinced of their superiority.

I should mention that while I believe in God, I am not Catholic; further, I am one of those people out there who would call himself spiritual rather than religious. In fact, I found this blog only by googling "John Burroughs prom". But I am not a relativist. I believe in a morality and an ethics originating in God and manifest in his creation. I mention all this by way of heading off those inclined to dismiss my comments as having come from a religious zealot. I am hardly that.

But upon further consideration, I think the distinction would be lost on most in the Burroughs community. I'm sure that for them, this is all just some bit of fluff, the sort of thing only the unenlightened would get in a snit about. Meanwhile, the "Christmas celebration" must be relieved of such heavy nomenclature lest someone take offense ... and so on and so forth. I didn't read all of the comments above, but I read a few, and the one that sticks out is from a current student who relates that a "Bible study group" cannot be allowed on campus. Juxtapose the gravity of that seeming offense with the playful fiddling with Satanic symbolism, and you've got the picture.

These people aren't satanists - they don't take anything that seriously, and for the most part, aren't capable of it. They're simply dimwitted dilettantes with sufficient cash to prop up their sense of self-satisfaction. There's nothing extreme going on here, but in a very real way, that is a worse condition that if there were. All this is indicative of nothing more or less than the aforementioned rot - and that's how things are ending - with a whimper, not a bang. It's a sickening, disheartening display - and the fact that these people meet it with a casual shrug makes it all the more so.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't it occur to anyone that the "Lust" image objectifies women?

Anonymous said...

I am a Burrough graduate. At JBS I was thoroughly prepared to(and did)embrace liberalism, atheism and existentialism because Christianity (with the exception of the CHRISTMAS PAGENT)was a non sequitur. Little has changed - JBS still does not ALLOW the diversity it proclaimes - no Bible studies on campus, and no classes in Western Civilization that include the benefits of Christianliy to mankind. I have been toldauthoritatively that some conservative/Christian colleges need not ask to meet with the JBS students on campus as they will be denied access.
I truly hope this discussion about the prom will awaken a REAL serious questioning of eternal matters by Burroughs students and parents. Although Burroughs gave me a foundation that eventually let me use the scientific method - "prove your hypothesis and verify" - it wasn't until years later that I discovered that I had been lied to - on many issues I had been given part of the picture. Once I discovered there was another world of facts and information that I had not been exposed to, my real education began - a quest for truth that included studying BOTH sides of the debate with honesty and rigor. I NOW KNOW WHO I am, WHY I am here and WHERE I am going when I die. I now have the joy and excitement of a living, vibrant, and relevant Christian faith that not only makes sense out of the world, but has led to some of the greatest adventures I could ever imagine.

Incidently, I was one of those on scholarship who topped the SATs and went on to a college with the highest average SAT scores of any college for incoming freshmen. And at that point of my life, utterably lost.

Anonymous said...

Thank you timman for your awesome blog.
This issue is definitely focused (my opinion) on the "Catholic" families that patronize the aforementioned "prestigious" school. My first thought, upon hearing of the theme, was, "What are the Catholic families with students attending, thinking?" Not Jewish, Muslim, Atheists, etc.
We, as Catholics, are concerned that some "Catholic" families at the school are, by example, justifying other "wrong" behavior of less informed catholics. Just as Nancy Pelosi, Kathleen Sebelus, Claire McCaskill, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, Michael Steele, etc. allow other Catholics to justify their "culture of death" positions. Just as the astute writer of March 14th wrote about now having the true knowledge-which wasn't given at the aforementioned school!
Catholics at the school would do well to study their faith as zealously as they defend their school!

Anonymous said...

i am a Burroughs Junior and reading through these comments i must say that i am extremely embarrassed to call this school my own.
reading the comments from our vary own JBS alumn, discouraged me and i was practically livid at some of the things my fellow peers had to say.
the prom theme was chosen as an option not so long ago (i would say about two months ago?) as the junior class supposedly elected the seven deadly sins as the prom theme many were simply in awe. i say this because they didnt do anything at first. why? im not sure. i had a problem with the theme from the beginning but did nothing more than spoke of "weirdness" of the theme. as time passed, invitations were sent out to everyone in the 11th and 12th grade. after receiving one of these invitations, i can say nothing more than that i was in shock of what i was looking at.
a half naked WOMEN on the front card and a pentagram on the next, how could the invitations have been more offensive?
as many of you have said, religion aside, how is this prom theme okay? yes a burroughs the importance of freedom of speech and debate is valued and encouraged. but how does an image of a satanic symbol encompass any of our schools values?
frankly i dont know what to do.
it makes me quite upset that i even have to question attending my own prom. something that ive looked forward to since i was little, has been made into an event so unsensored, that i would be embarrassed if i was even seen in taking part in the dance.
to tell you all the truth, i havent even seen that much work go into prom. it is not too late to do something about it! sure the parents have mapped out plans for the after party in the dining hall and sure the members of the decoration committee have spent money on decorations, but it is not too late to change things.

it is NEVER to late for an adequate apology either. The Burroughs Headmaster himself spoke to the students in morning assembly of the prom theme and apologized if it "may have offended anyone or group of people" but to me this does nothing. it shows no administrational leadership at all. as a matter of fact, it does the complete opposite.
if i were a burroughs teacher, principal, or administrator and heard what the people of St. Louis were saying about MY school, regardless of what it was about, i would let it be known to EVERYONE that it was not the schools intention to be viewed in poor light.

closing, i would just like to apologize on behalf of my class to all who were offended. i did not receive a proper apology myself, so hopefully now you have.

to the blog author and all others who now view John Burroughs in a different light,
i dont blame you for basing your opinions of my school off of the revent controversy of our prom, however, John Burroughs is a great place. with some of the highest acedemics in the nation, it shall continue to see much success in that department.
in saying that, there are plenty of areas where Burroughs has the opportunity to grow.
But if it continues with the same people in charge, and the same students influencing decisions,it will grow no where.
be a shining light in dark places. dont be one who runs from darkness just because its scary but rather stand firm on solid ground.
dont just be tolerant of everyone around you, because that is not in fact what God has commanded us to do.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Love others as Christ first loved you.
As sinners ourselves, Jesus, blameless and holy, took our sin upon himself and allowed Roman guards to pound nails into his body. How can someone so innocent care for a sinner like me? How can someone so blameless and pure die for me?
For it is by GRACE you have been saved through faith, and that NOT of yourselves. It is the gift of God to salvation, for everyone who believes.
Grace has been given to all, reach out and take it...it costs NOTHING

Anonymous said...

Pretty good commentary on this awful prom invitation:


Anonymous said...

I agree that there is no way to justify this total lapse in judgment by those responsible for this mistake at JBS, my alma mater. I can't believe they are defending this. Here's a thought that might make them actually pay attention. What happens if there is a drunk driving accident or a sexual assault, followed by a lawsuit. A jury would take a look at this invitation, and JBS' support of it, and punish them where it really hurts - their finances. It could happen.

Miria Rose said...

I'm 16, I've been raised Catholic and am being homeschooled all the way through highscool. A few years ago I decided to not celebrate Halloween in the sense that most people think of. I choose to truly celebrate a Holy Evening by praying. I had a friend tell me that "You are just being scrupulous, what could happen?" My response to that was "No, maybe nothing will happen, but I know that Satan is real and he HATES me because I love God. I also know that he will use ANYTHING, even something as seemingly innocent as Holloween to bring me down and I don't need that! Halloween isn't even themed on Satan and Hell and I think THAT is dangerous. WHY would anyone have a party about Hell, people don't understand the seriousness of what is going on here. We are in a HUGE battle and this is one major win for Satan. Just because Satan had one win doesn't mean the battle is over because we know that Jesus has the final victory, but it does mean that we will have to fight much harder. I pray for the kids and parents who are supporting this. It makes me want to cry.

Anonymous said...

Why are catholics soooo crazy?!?!??? As a former catholic, and now a VERY Happy atheist, I laugh everytime I hear a story like this! Just live your own lives and be happy with whatever it is you believe in.

thetimman said...


Sure you're VERY happy. That's why you have to write here to let us poor, backwards Catholics how happy you are? Right.

Let me know how that atheist thing works out for you, long term. Casting aside the true faith-- that your parents did you the eternal favor of having you baptized in, or, God forbid, that you yourself embraced with your adult will and have now scorned--is not a good career move.

You are the darling of scoffers for a day, a time. What though when you find yourself face-to-face with the Living God?

You may think you are happy, but anyone who truly cares for you would be very, very sad.

Athelstane said...

Hello Tim,

You've really stirred up a hornet's nest with this one, haven't you?

I've never seen this many posts.

To the Burroughs posters:

I'm struck by the fact that it was not long ago ago - I graduated from high school twenty years ago - when this sort of thing would have been pretty well unthinkable for a high school prom. Not that anyone would have expected satanic rituals to take place but...as a theme in, well, awfully poor taste. And yes: more than a few fathers would have been more than a little uneasy sending their daughters off to a dance prominently promoted in connection with "LUST," even as a joke.

Well, you might say, too bad if the last thirteen generations of Americans were uptight about this stuff - it's no skin off our backs. But it's still worth wondering where the line gets drawn now, even for such apparently open-minded, diverse students. I think it ought to go without saying that no one would dare choose an Auschwitz-themed prom, for example, and not just because you would have the ADL camped out in your front parking lot round the clock. So obviously there are still limits (or so I hope), even if they seem to steadily shrink.

Well, Burroughs can choose what it likes, I suppose, just as others can express their opinion about it. It is a free country, as they say. But maybe it's worth wondering about how much we really want to desensitize this stuff - especially given the sensory overload of sexual imagery (and the body image issues this creates for girls and young women) that these students already get bombarded with in the rest of their lives.

Anonymous said...

Hi eveyone!

I go to John Burroughs School and I felt a need to put a post on this wall. Let me start by saying that Burroughs is one of the most prestigious, most academically challenging schools out there. We score extremely well on standardized testing, go to the best colleges and I bet have more hours of homework than most schools around. I'm not trying to sound like "we're better than all of you," that is definitely not what I am saying. What I'm saying is that we are a group of very hard working, mature, intelligent kids who pride ourselves on making our own decisions. We have our own school congress and the juniors get to decide the prom theme. Now of course the theme is definitely more controversial than say the prom theme "winter wonderland" but that's the point. We like being different and we are very proud of the fact that we don't just do what all other teenagers do. For field day we had the theme of communist dictators. What other school does that?! Let me say that our school is not a huge party school. Just because the invitation says "Welcome to hell" doesn't mean that the prom is going to be unlike any other prom. It's just a theme. The prom would still be the exact same no matter what theme except maybe the decorations will be a little different. I'm just glad that years from now I'll look back and actually remember prom and laugh thinking "Oh yeah, we had the most outrageous theme and EVERYONE got so worked up about it." We're just kids being more creative and fun. We all know it's a joke. It's not like this is an invite for sex and violence at the school! It's PROM! I just don't understand people that get so worked up over this. We are extremely hard working kids and don't have that many parties and if we want our prom to be different and exciting so be it.

Anonymous said...

"I've been trying to get down to the heart of this matter. But, the days are long; and, my thoughts seem to scatter. But, I think it's about forgiveness."

Isn't that the heart of Catholism? You are forgiven your sin by the death of Jesus. You are forgiven sin through confession and prayer.

Why are so many of you judgemental and unforgiving?

It is, clearly, the opposite of the heart of your faith. And a contradiction to the teachings and example of the life of your Lord.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance? Whats happening here?

Anonymous said...

As a high school student I am completely appalled by this theme. At my public high school no such theme would even be an option to vote for. There is nothing ironic about an invitation to hell, and letting the sinning begin. And if there is any humor, it is absolutely demented.

And I am not one for personal stabs, but I must...

"It's obvious that you people are jealous you're children don't go to such a prestigous high school like Burroughs." -Anonymous

Not only is this simply an ignorant statement, but Burroughs can't be so prestigious, they clearly don't educate their students on the difference between "you're" (as in 'you are' in the form of a contraction) and "your" (as in the possessive adjective). Bravo, burroughs, such a prestigious school.

Patricia said...

So we now know after so many posts what the school does NOT represent....so what DOES it represent? Patricia in St. Louis, MO

Patricia said...

I went to newadvent.org today, 4-20-12 and responded to an article by Fr. Longenecker re Mormonism. One blogger extoled the virtues of this religion and I felt honored to share my experience:

Adding to what Patty, RN, said just above in reply to Phillip'ss comments re Mormonism, I want to extol the wonders of the Catholic Church:

The Catholic Church educates more children around the world than any other institution . It is responsible for developing the laws of evidence and financially supporting the research on the stars and planets for many centuries. They care for more dying AIDs patients, than any other oganization. What the Mormon church does not have is the Holy Trinity which ties together the Father, Son and Holy Spirit from which the virtues, following the lives of the saints, thanking Jesus for dying to save us from our sins, honoring His Blessed Mother (from which flows our truly pro-life attitude) and praying for the living and dead come from.

I am a Catholic Convert. If I move from one city to another, my whole structure does not die….I find a new community and a loving Church..Latin Mass, and I try to spread the love of Christ, not a man who made up some dream and starting marrying lots of women.

As Father Longenecker said, our Church holds up to historical scrutiny. We promote Natural Family Planning, saving babies and permitting people to die a natural death. What I just said Phillip is the whole Truth..what you have submitted in this blog is NOT the Truth.

Come back and do some more research into the Catholic…we love you and we pray for you every day…We are not a Cathedral of saints…we are truly a hospital of sinners!

Did I mention Confession, the great sacrament! Carl Menninger said before he died that among the thousands of persons with mental illness he encountered in his long life, he could count less than 5 people who were practicing Catholics, and he referred to the Sacrament of Confessioin. So there you have it….the Savior of the World wrapped up in one Holy Catholic and Apostolate Church!

And remember: Jesus is the answer; what is the question?

Patricia in St. Louis, MO