Once a week in the 1960s, I would join the “walking patrol” when classes ended at the Village School. Usually I took the bus home, but on this day I would head up the hill to the Fisher House, a colonnaded building belonging to the parish of St. Patrick’s. That’s where I took catechism classes — or as it is now known, “faith formation.”

The catechism is the standard reference for Catholic beliefs. Luckily we were not required to read this tome. Being the freewheeling 1960s, our texts were newsletters that focused on a different Gospel story each week. The message: Love rules.

I bought that message. I try to live by it.

When Republicans talk about having had to “endure” eight years of President Barack Obama, I understand that they didn’t like his policies. But their “ordeal” does not mean I now have to shut up about President Donald Trump. I didn’t always agree with Obama. I was disappointed in him. But I never doubted that whatever he did came from a good place.

Look, there is good and there is bad. This concept transcends any particular religion — it is a common feature of all of them. Good is watching out for others. Bad is doing harm.

This administration is trying to do harm.

“This is a mean, vicious, intolerant group,” former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, told The Washington Post. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my political life.”

Why has Vice President Michael Pence proclaimed that we are going to be freed from “Obamacare,” especially since he describes himself as a Christian? How free will people be who are going to lose access to insulin, dialysis or chemotherapy? Where’s the love in that?

Where’s the love in wrenching apart families because of immigration issues?

Conservatives would say, “We need to take care of our people, true Americans.”

Wrong. Trying to find solutions that don’t harm the innocent is the right thing to do. Sure, illegal aliens with criminal records should be deported. But we need to find a way to work with immigrant parents whose children are American citizens.

Where’s the love in preventing transgender people from using the bathroom they feel most comfortable in? I don’t understand transgenderism. I don’t even think much about gender, one way or another. But I work with children. I’ve observed young children who are questioning their gender identity. If they eventually feel uncomfortable in a bathroom of their birth gender, is it good or right to refuse to let them use the other facilities? Where’s the love?

In the Danish TV series “Borgen,” one setting, a television station, had a coed bathroom. Maybe urinals will have to be replaced with stalls, for privacy. Good. Men will take longer to use the facilities, and lines may form. Women will appreciate the equality.

Trump cannot see reality or feel compassion, but other Republicans should get out into their districts to learn how people live. They derided Michelle Obama’s efforts to promote higher nutritional standards in school-lunch programs. They should see what I see — that some children are so food insecure they need to take bags of donated food home on the weekends. Once, a high school student told me he came to school during finals even though he didn’t have an exam, so he could eat a school lunch. For some children, this is the only meal of the day.

By the way, since conservatives believe community organizations should take care of the underprivileged, many of these food programs are organized by educators and rely on donations from the school staff. They are educators who give to help others, even though they are hardly paid what they are worth.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos set off a firestorm when she claimed to have been the first person to tell Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Last April, “the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would scale back the number of free meals offered at schools in the U.S.,” according to The Huffington Post. DeVos may have been joking, but fears remain that free lunches may face cuts.

DeVos has no interest in doing her job, which is to advise the president on education policy — in the public schools. She’s intent on diverting taxpayer dollars to private and charter schools, probably in an effort to inculcate more students with Christian dogma.

I’m a Catholic, but I didn’t learn my religion in a taxpayer-funded school. I trudged up the hill to the Fisher House, where I learned, week after week, what is right, what is good, and what is love.

Liz Soares welcomes e-mail at [email protected]

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