Immoral? On the gay teacher who was fired from her Catholic school job.

I recently read a story about a lady named Carla Hale who was fired from her job because she was in committed relationship with another woman.

She worked for 19 years at a Catholic high school in Ohio as a physical education teacher. When her Mom died, her partner was mentioned in the obituary. A parent at the school contacted the school saying she was “appalled” and Carla was then fired. The school has a policy about “immoral” behavior as a reason to get fired. Employees “can be terminated for immorality or serious unethical conduct” according to their contract. According to a GLAAD.org post “The school informed Carla that she was not fired because she was gay, but because her relationship was printed in the local paper. The obituary amounted to a “public statement” of her relationship.”

While Ohio is a state where it is legal to fire someone because they are gay, the community where the school is located makes it a crime for employers to discriminate based on sexuality. So there is a little murky legal ground here. It appears the school is using doublespeak. They aren’t firing her because she is gay, but because her being gay and in a relationship is public knowledge. And that, to them, is immoral.

Fortunately the students are protesting her firing to the local diocese, and the teacher is planning on fighting the termination. There are over 63,000 signatures in her favor on a Change.org petition. But this whole story shouldn’t have happened.

I would think firing someone right after her Mom died would be immoral. I would think that forcing people to hide their loving relationship, their adult, mutually reciprocated loving relationship, would be immoral.

I can understand the church having issue with people of any sexual orientation having sex outside the bonds of marriage. So why would it be a problem for two gay adults who want to spend their lives together? They aren’t being promiscuous.

I have two new friends who are a gay couple. They went to the trouble of getting married in a state that allows them to marry. Sadly, Tennessee is not that evolved. But I digress. The mother of one died after an illness, and there was a bit of a fracas over the fact that his spouse was listed in the obituary merely as a “friend.” This is a huge downgrade. This is an insult. It was deeply painful at a time of great emotional distress.

I wonder if the funeral home did this because they were afraid of an adverse reaction to the term “spouse” or even “partner.” The funeral home is in a small town. Members of the community may not have known her son was gay. Of course, it never does any good to make up stories about people and their motivations. But look how the obituary at the start of this post caused problems. Perhaps they thought they were being kind.

To be honest, the obituary didn’t cause a problem. Inanimate things don’t cause problems. People do, when they don’t think. The parent didn’t think when she decided that the teacher’s sexual orientation was a problem. Then she didn’t think when calling the school. Then the school administration didn’t think when firing the teacher, who had worked there with no problems for 19 years.

What is the problem with having a teacher who is homosexual around children? “Homosexual” does not equal “pedophile.”

But I’m trying to make sense out the policies of a church that has equated women getting ordained with the crime of pedophilia. I’m trying to make sense out of a church that attacks the very people who are doing the work Jesus told us to do. They censure nuns who won’t advocate against homosexuality and are for birth control, while serving the poor and the sick.

I’m trying to make sense out of a religion that has diluted the commandment to love and substituted “mind everybody else’s business.” I’m trying to make sense of how far we have gotten away from Jesus’ message. Some Christian denominations teach that the Jewish people are mislead because they don’t follow Jesus. Remember what Jesus said about the plank and the speck? Many Christians don’t follow Jesus either.

They follow the rules of the church rather than the rules of Jesus. They follow tradition, not scripture and reason. They follow the words of Paul, not Jesus. They actively discourage their parishioners thinking for themselves because it might lead to dissent.

I’m not anti Jesus. And I don’t want to be anti church but the more stories I read like this, I realize I don’t have a choice. For me, in order to follow Jesus, I can’t follow the church as it is. A person can’t serve two masters.

We must not be unequally yoked. If you feel that Jesus is going one way and the church is going another, you are obliged to follow Jesus.

Advertisements