Now that Cathedral High School in Indianapolis has chosen to fire a teacher in a same-sex marriage in order to stay in the good graces of the Catholic Church (and keep their non-profit status), the backlash is in full swing.
In a post that is no longer public, Cathedral teacher Buffy Hoyt VanWienen wrote on Facebook that she had been divorced and remarried “without an annulment which is a breach to my morality clause.” Then she dared the Archbishop of Indianapolis, Charles C. Thompson, to fire her as well.
Also angered: Franklin College professor and LGBTQ activist Casey Hayes, who graduated from Cathedral.
“I felt it was a disgusting despicable thing that they’d [the Archdiocese] done and I felt my high school was better than that,” Hayes said. “Now it’s David vs. Goliath. I think we’re at a point where a battle’s about to start.”
Hayes went even further to show his frustration.
He gave back his high school diploma at Cathedral on Monday morning.
“I walked right into the school and I laid it there and I said ‘here’s my diploma,'” Hayes said.
It’s purely symbolic, but perhaps it means he won’t be giving any money to the school in the future; hopefully other alums will make the same pledge.
There’s even a Facebook page that urges Cathedral High to follow in the footsteps of another school under the umbrella of the same Archdiocese that decided to keep its gay teacher and drop its Catholic affiliation. (The situations aren’t perfectly analogous.)
Finally, there’s a Change.org petition denouncing the school’s decision that has racked up nearly 8,000 signatures as of this writing.
… we, the undersigned community, insist Cathedral live up to this mission and support a diverse environment that is welcoming and inclusive to all, but especially LGBTQ+ people, that enter the hill. To discriminate against a teacher or staff member based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status sends a clear message: that Cathedral does not foster a welcoming or accepting environment.
All of that is welcome. Individual Catholics are among the strongest supporters for LGBTQ rights.
That said, some of the responses to the firing are just puzzling.
For example, people are pointing to the non-discrimination policy in the school’s employee handbook and how it prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation… but the Catholic Church would say there’s no contradiction here. They’re not firing someone for being gay; they’re firing someone for acting on his homosexuality. That’s hardly news at this point.
The Change.org petition, too, wants the school to be welcoming and inclusive… but what do they think the Catholic Church is? It’s a bigotry-based institution.
The problem isn’t Cathedral High School. They problem is the Catholic Church. You can’t criticize the former without condemning the latter. At least VanWienen makes a good point about the double standards. Everyone else, though, is just mad about the Catholic school following the rules of the Catholic Church.
What else did they think administrators would do, when so many other Catholic schools have done the exact same thing? How could they be so naïve to think their school would be any different?
(Thanks to Renee for the link)