Bilerico Report

Why it’s hypocritical for Catholic schools to only fire LGBT teachers

Participants listen during the morning general session at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in New Orleans, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Gerald Herbert, AP

So yet another Catholic school teacher has been fired after marrying her partner. In this case, it was Jocelyn Morffi, a first-grade teacher for seven years at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami. After Morffi posted pictures on social media of her wedding to Natasha Haas, the school canned her.

Firing a teacher for marrying her or his partner is now de rigueur in Catholic schools across the nation From Seattle to Cincinnati to Charlotte, dioceses have done their best to show Pope Francis just who they are to judge. (There’s a nice sideline business in firing church music directors for the same reason.)

The routine firings are infuriating, of course. But they also highlight just how hypocritical the hierarchy is. Only gay teachers get fired, yet there are a lot of reasons why teachers could be fired for not following doctrine. A few examples:

  • Practicing birth control. By far, the Church’s opposition to birth control policy is the most disregarded policy by American Catholics. An estimated 98% of Catholic women have used some form of artificial contraception. Among regular Mass-goers, 87% think contraception is not an issue or not immoral. Is there any reason to believe that Catholic school teachers are among the tiny fraction that ignore the Church’s teaching that contraception is a grave sin? If the Church started snooping around in medicine cabinets and nightstands, they might have to fire pretty much anyone in the classroom.
  • Supporting abortion rights. Like homosexual acts, the Church believes that abortion is an intrinsic evil that Catholics must never support. Hard-line bishops have gone so far as to refuse Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians. If they quizzed their school staffs, they are likely to find a lot of teachers who don’t meet the Church standard. Polls find that a sizeable minority of American Catholics believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
  • Having premarital sex. Unlike the Vatican, American Catholics don’t seem to have any problem with accepting premarital sex. The vast majority have no problem with a man and a woman living together but not being married. It’s hard to believe that every teacher in every school is totally celibate until walking down the aisle

When the Church hires someone to work in one of its institutions, it reminds her or him that it is essential to “have a clear knowledge and proper understanding of the teachings of the Church with a firm adherence to those teachings.” But the Church really only applies that consistently to one area: being gay. (There are scattered cases where someone was fired for violating other tenets).

Caring for the poor? Protecting the rights of immigrants? Rejecting racism? Nah, those aren’t the ones that matter. All that counts is same-sex sex. Church leaders may be men of the cloth, but they can’t get their minds out of the gutter.

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