One of the dumbest lawsuits you’ll ever see has finally been dismissed by a judge after several months.
The case involved Anthony and Barbara Scarpo, a wealthy couple based in Tampa, Florida, who once pledged $1.35 million to the Academy of the Holy Names, a Catholic school their daughters attended.
The Scarpos were suing the school — demanding their money back — because they claimed it had gone “woke” and wasn’t Catholic enough.
The lawsuit was just a laundry list of FOX News-type grievances aimed to punish the school’s leaders for trying to educate students to be decent, well-rounded human beings aware of their nation’s history and able to treat others with basic decency. The Scarpos’ complaint, in some parts, just reeked of people who couldn’t handle confronting racism.
… the Academy in actuality failed to provide any semblance of a Catholic education conforming to mainstream Catholicism or the Catholic Catechism and instead insidiously indoctrinated its students, requiring that they, “check their white privilege,” and feel sufficiently guilty merely because of the color of their skin and because their parents could afford their attendance at the Academy.
The complaint explained how school officials publicly said the community rejected “the racism and hatred reflected in the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor.” That sounded sensible enough, though the couple claimed that the statement actually taught students that they “should be guilty if you are white and your parents can afford our tuition.”
The Scarpos were also mad the school promoted respect for LGBTQ people:
… contrary to its advertising as being a Catholic school, Defendant Academy avoided and continues to avoid all mention of main-stream Catholicism or the accepted Catholic Catechism. For example, on a blackboard at the entrance to the school where all ages pass, Defendant Academy explains how to be a good ally to LGBTQ+ individuals but utterly fails to put any part of this explanation into perspective with mainstream Catholicism or the Catholic Catechism…
In other words, the Scarpos wanted students to know the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” But it’s not like anyone was denying the Church’s teachings! As many devout Catholics would tell you, you can accept the Church’s anti-LGBTQ teachings while still supporting civil rights for LGBTQ people. For example, many practicing Catholics would agree same-sex couples have a legal right to marriage (and the benefits that come with it) even if the Church won’t bless the union.
The lawsuit sought a tuition refund, demanded the school stop calling itself “Catholic,” and called for the school’s accreditation by the Florida Catholic Conference to be stripped away.
It’s ironic that the school’s teachings are arguably aligned with the better Catholic schools throughout the country. They embrace Catholicism without necessarily shoving it down students’ throats. They make sure students get a quality education and graduate understanding their obligations to the broader culture. Not every Catholic school works that way, but many do, and they should be commended for it.
The Scarpos arguably shot themselves in the foot by even filing the lawsuit. Their daughter graduated from the school! Were they implying she was now at a disadvantage in life because she learned to be compassionate and sympathetic? Do you know how shitty you have to be to make the Catholic Church look good?!
Anyway, that lawsuit has now been tossed out after a judge said weighing in on these matters would violate the school’s First Amendment rights. It’s not up to him, he said, to decide what is and isn’t Catholic.
Judge Paul Huey, according to both parties in the suit, issued a verbal ruling citing concerns that the First Amendment prevented the court from delving into church teachings.
In a statement, school spokesperson Emily Wise said the academy is hopeful that Huey’s ruling settles the matter. A written ruling is expected within weeks.
The Scarpos say they aren’t done yet. Of the 14 complaints they made in the lawsuit, the judge allowed two of them to be reworded, which could allow a ruling on the merits in those instances. But ultimately, this is a lot of money wasted by the Scarpos in order to make themselves look like idiots. Indeed, the school received an outpouring of donations after the lawsuit was filed by former graduates who appreciated the education they received there.
Moral of the story: You can be wealthy and still lack the resources to buy some self-awareness.
(Image via Facebook. Thanks to Jeff for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)