MOORHEAD, Minn. — A elementary school teacher at a Catholic school in Moorhead, Minn., said Friday that she was asked not to return for the fall semester because she had questioned the Catholic Church’s position on same-sex marriage.
Trish Cameron, a fifth grade teacher at St. Joseph’s Catholic School said she was told June 1 she would not be offered a contract for the following school year because of her response to a question on a self-evaluation, according to a local newspaper, The Forum.
In the questionnaire, Cameron was asked if she supported the Church’s teachings, to which she responded:
“I do not agree with all Church teachings on a personal level but I do not bring my own opinions into our religion classes. We tend to focus on respect and love for one another and living out our call as servants whenever a ‘political’ topic crops (which it rarely, if ever, does).”
Following discussions with school administrators, Cameron said that because of her dissent, particularly on the subject of the church’s views on same-sex marriage, she was asked to write a brief letter of resignation.
In a letter delivered to parish families and staff, Principal Toby Bierl and Superintendent Monsignor Mike Foltz, stated that because of “an unfortunate circumstance” and the school’s “fiduciary responsibility” as a “Catholic-Christian school,” Cameron was asked to resign.
Cameron, who taught at the school for 11 years, has refused to elaborate on her resignation.
“In my honest to goodness heart, I want the interest in this story to build bridges for all the right reasons, not to tear things down,” Cameron said. “I feel like perhaps there is a wave of interest that may need to come and go before I speak about this.”
A constitutional amendment on Minnesota’s ballot this fall will ask voters if the state’s existing ban on same-sex marriage should be enshrined in the state constitution.
The measure is strongly backed by the state’s Catholic leaders, including Minneapolis-St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt, who has instructed Catholic priests that they must not openly dissent from the church’s support for the marriage amendment.