Last week, two teachers at Kennedy Catholic High School, just outside of Seattle, Washington, were fired due to their same-sex relationships.
It’s not all that surprising. That’s what Catholic schools do because they’re bigoted institutions that believe homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” They have every right to do it too; as a private school, they get to decide what the rules are. Anyone who works for them — or attends the school — is agreeing to those rules.
But students didn’t take the news well. Paul Danforth and Michelle Beattie were popular teachers who obviously did nothing wrong. It didn’t help that the school appears to have lied, telling parents that both teachers “voluntarily resigned.”
In the morning, protesters circled the block where Seattle’s Archdiocese office stands, pausing to chant (“Reinstate, not hate!” and “Separate, church and hate!”) and recite the Lord’s Prayer while holding hands.
Shortly after 10 a.m., Kennedy Catholic students made signs and staged a sit-in that clogged some of the school’s hallways. At 1 p.m., they walked out, meeting a crowd of several hundred people waiting at the bottom of the school’s front steps. They spilled out onto the lawn and spoke into a microphone in front of a banner that read, “Who would Jesus fire? #LoveisLove.” Kids and adults peered out through the school’s open windows.
While some deluded parents can’t believe the school would fire gay teachers in same-sex relationships — one mother, we’re told, knew about the rules but “didn’t expect the school to act on it” — the firings raise a more important point about hypocrisy.
The Catholic school has no problem firing teachers in same-sex relationships, but do they go after divorced and remarried teachers the same way? What about teachers who have (or participate in) an abortion? What about those who “sin” in other ways? As usual, they take homosexuality seriously, but no other “sin” is punished with the same vehemence. If they can’t see the problem, or it doesn’t become public news, they usually don’t bother with it. (Moral of the story: If you’re a Catholic school teacher who has an abortion early in your pregnancy, you can still keep your job.)
The Catholic Church won’t change. It’s a bigoted institution. The parents who don’t like what’s happening would be wise to pull their kids from Kennedy and send them to a more inclusive public school (if that’s an option) than by protesting what just happened.
But the protests also serve as a reminder that practicing Catholics don’t always agree with or care about the Church’s stated “values.” They belong to the Church for other reasons. But the bigotry can’t be separated from the institution.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)