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Subject: Religious freedom, consistency, and firing someone for being gay rss

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Chad Ellis
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A Catholic school has recently fired a long-serving teacher for marrying his same-sex partner.

While I think it's unfortunate that some religions hold anti-gay views, I think that it's appropriate that religious institutions be able to set employment requirements that reflect their mission. Thus, while I would never support this school I do support their right to say, "We're not going to hire people who embrace a lifestyle we consider sinful."

But what if the school has known for years that this teacher was gay and living with his partner? What if members of the staff and administration have met and socialized with his partner and still chose to renew his contract? What if it had long been widely known among students? That's what's being said in this case by a group of students and alumni.

If exceptions are made to non-discrimination laws, then how do we evaluate a case where the school may have been OK with a teacher embracing a gay lifestyle and even being out of the closet but then firing him for getting a civil marriage?
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I can see an argument for not hiring but firing if more problematic unless he signed a contract with something like a morals clause that explicitly forbidden public explicit acknowledge of a homosexual sexual orientation. Even then legally it would be a clause that is strongly open to question.

If as mentioned in the OP hypothetically the teacher's sexual orientation was known already, this become much more of a problem.
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Steve e^(iπ)+1=0
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In defense, it takes a while to fire someone in any case or for any reason because of fear of legal backlash. Unless they had specific procedures for removing someone suspected of a lifestyle they consider sinful, only the binary "I'm married" could trigger a decisive move.

OTOH, the hypocrisy of not firing masses of priests because of their sinful lifestyles kills the legitimacy of the Catholic Church to act in these matters. (Although the relative autonomy of this school might be brought into consideration, depending upon its founding and operational structure).
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Chad
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It is almost 100% certain that he signed a contract that included a moral clause (unless they are the only Catholic school without a moral clause....)

these include such elements as homosexuality, living together prior to marriage, sex outside marriage.

So, while it sucks, I have little sympathy - he signed a contract.


Sorry, just realized I did not fully address the original question - in this case - the marriage moved the relationship to level of public knowledge that the school could no longer hide behind feigned ignorance.
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Kevin Salch
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I think it may be hypocrisy of a different sort.

The administration may have supported him and chosen to pretend to be ignorant because they dis-agreed with the official church teaching on the subject. This may have even been an "understanding" between the 2 parties. Then the public marriage makes it an un-avoidable situation. I believe the Catholic Church position is that homosexual activity is the issue not homosexual inclination. The Pope was quoted as stating
Pope wrote:
"When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem ... they're our brothers."


The administration may have been showing mercy, or tacitly violating policy. I think it is the hypocrisy of not fully supporting the policies of an organization you have been charged with upholding.

But what of the hypocrisy of the teacher? Who accepted a position working for an school with a policy that impacted him directly. Did he willingly lie about his behavior?

I doubt he was "fired for being gay" the marriage was most likely the issue.


 
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CHAPEL
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I said it before, and I'll say it again. It's the Catholic Church, you can't change it. People need to come to terms with it.

If you're gay, I would seriously suggest not working for an organization who will at some point do away with you.
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R. Frazier
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I'm not really sure why it's legal for religious people to fire people because something said person does is against their religion, but it's not legal to fire people because of their religion.

Both issues are matters of belief. I think someone's sexual preference is at least as deeply held belief as someone's choice of church. Heck, I know a heck of a lot more "ex Christians" than I know "ex homosexuals".

Would it make a difference if the person said he worshiped at the church of being gay?
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CHAPEL
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rylfrazier wrote:
I'm not really sure why it's legal for religious people to fire people because something said person does is against their religion, but it's not legal to fire people because of their religion.

Both issues are matters of belief. I think someone's sexual preference is at least as deeply held belief as someone's choice of church. Heck, I know a heck of a lot more "ex Christians" than I know "ex homosexuals".

Would it make a difference if the person said he worshiped at the church of being gay?


You can sign away a lot of rights with pen and paper. Just try to join the Military and see how many rights you sign away.
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R. Frazier
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I'm pretty sure that even if I make my employees sign something saying "it's OK for me to fire you for being Catholic" they could still sue me for firing them for being Catholic.

Yes, yes, I'm whining about religions getting special consideration in the constitution again.

The way religions get to be special actors in our state, I'm shocked that people don't abuse the loophole more often. The only big cases I'm aware of (other than the theory that all religions are scams of course) are Scientology and that one gang from the 70s (?) which started its own church.
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Chad
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rylfrazier wrote:
I'm pretty sure that even if I make my employees sign something saying "it's OK for me to fire you for being Catholic" they could still sue me for firing them for being Catholic.

Yes, yes, I'm whining about religions getting special consideration in the constitution again.

The way religions get to be special actors in our state, I'm shocked that people don't abuse the loophole more often. The only big cases I'm aware of (other than the theory that all religions are scams of course) are Scientology and that one gang from the 70s (?) which started its own church.


It is simple, Religion is a protected class. Currently, Homosexuality is not. However, when it does become one, these moral clauses can no longer include references to homosexuality (but can still include sex outside marriage, sex prior to marriage - since again, these are not protected classes).

But finally, Chapel's statements still ring true - if you are a homosexual, you would do well by not getting employed by something affiliated with the Catholic Church.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Not sure about this, after all as long as he was not 'gay' in school and did not disuse his private life what business is it of theirs what he does in his own time? But if he signed a contract (thought I think such contracts should be illegal) then he was bound by it.
 
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Chad
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What you think is 100% irrelevant.

Employment law however is.

Religion is a protected class. So is sex and race, disabilities are another. Homosexuality is not (it will without a doubt be one).
 
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Kevin Salch
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Should a religious school that is supposed to be teaching religious principles not be allowed to descriminate agaist someone who does not promote what they are teaching?

Let's remove homosexuality.

How about drug abuse?
Or Adultary?
Or Lying?
Or Child Abuse?

How about if these are only done outside the work environment?
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R. Frazier
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costguy wrote:
Should a religious school that is supposed to be teaching religious principles not be allowed to descriminate agaist someone who does not promote what they are teaching?

Let's remove homosexuality.

How about drug abuse?
Or Adultary?
Or Lying?
Or Child Abuse?

How about if these are only done outside the work environment?


I will be 100% behind this firing when the church also fires everyone who they employ who has ever lied.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Utrecht wrote:
What you think is 100% irrelevant.

Employment law however is.

Religion is a protected class. So is sex and race, disabilities are another. Homosexuality is not (it will without a doubt be one).
Actually it is relevant what people think, it's how laws are changed, what is not relevant is their opinion as a legal ruling (unless they are judges).

In the UK (by the way) begin gay is protected in the same way as being female or black.
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Boaty McBoatface
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rylfrazier wrote:
costguy wrote:
Should a religious school that is supposed to be teaching religious principles not be allowed to descriminate agaist someone who does not promote what they are teaching?

Let's remove homosexuality.

How about drug abuse?
Or Adultary?
Or Lying?
Or Child Abuse?

How about if these are only done outside the work environment?


I will be 100% behind this firing when the church also fires everyone who they employ who has ever lied.
Or called a pupil stupid.
 
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J
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costguy wrote:
Or Adultary?

A Teacher's Aide at the Catholic school my kids used to go to was fired for having an affair with the father of a student in the school. It wasn't the father of one of the students she taught, but I think the firing had more to do with the adultery involving a student's family, rather than adultery in general.
 
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Kevin Salch
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http://employment.findlaw.com/employment-discrimination/reli...

A radio station that played rock and roll music, for example, would be allowed to fire a disc jockey who refused to play rock and roll because it was against his religion.

How is this different?
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Boaty McBoatface
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costguy wrote:
http://employment.findlaw.com/employment-discrimination/reli...

A radio station that played rock and roll music, for example, would be allowed to fire a disc jockey who refused to play rock and roll because it was against his religion.

How is this different?
Was the teacher teaching his pupils about being gay? There is a difference between not doing your job, and not obeying your work rules outside of your work.

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Chad Ellis
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Utrecht wrote:
It is almost 100% certain that he signed a contract that included a moral clause (unless they are the only Catholic school without a moral clause....)

these include such elements as homosexuality, living together prior to marriage, sex outside marriage.

So, while it sucks, I have little sympathy - he signed a contract.


Sorry, just realized I did not fully address the original question - in this case - the marriage moved the relationship to level of public knowledge that the school could no longer hide behind feigned ignorance.


Let's assume you're right on the facts. At what point does an employer's acceptance of a contract violation nullify that violation?

Abstracting for a moment, Joe is gay. He's offered a job that includes a morals clause forbidding homosexual conduct. Joe figures he'll be in the closet at work and takes the job. After a year or so he's made some close friends and comes out to one he thinks will be sympathetic. She is, and in fact tells him that it's no big deal. Over the next decade he quietly comes out to his boss, to the CEO of the firm, etc., and when he moves in with his boyfriend they all congratulate him. His contract gets renewed and he and his boyfriend buy a house, in part because his job is going so well. Then the law changes and they formalize what everyone by this point knows about...and he gets fired.

Does he have any grounds for saying, "Look, you've known I was openly gay, you've met my now-husband, you renewed my contract -- you can't suddenly have remembered the morals clause you've been ignoring!"

Your added point is probably the strongest answer. His being gay in private may violate the school's statement of values but doesn't inhibit the school's ability to teach those values. His being openly gay does.
 
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Jon M
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costguy wrote:
Should a religious school that is supposed to be teaching religious principles not be allowed to descriminate agaist someone who does not promote what they are teaching?

Let's remove homosexuality.

How about drug abuse?
Or Adultary?
Or Lying?
Or Child Abuse?

How about if these are only done outside the work environment?


I like how you compare homosexuality to drug abuse and child abuse.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Jon_1066 wrote:
costguy wrote:
Should a religious school that is supposed to be teaching religious principles not be allowed to descriminate agaist someone who does not promote what they are teaching?

Let's remove homosexuality.

How about drug abuse?
Or Adultary?
Or Lying?
Or Child Abuse?

How about if these are only done outside the work environment?


I like how you compare homosexuality to drug abuse and child abuse.
The catholic church has not fired people for child abuse, you are correct, in the eyes of the Catholic church they are not the seem.
 
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R. Frazier
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costguy wrote:
http://employment.findlaw.com/employment-discrimination/reli...

A radio station that played rock and roll music, for example, would be allowed to fire a disc jockey who refused to play rock and roll because it was against his religion.

How is this different?
Well, I guess you would have to argue that teaching people to hate gay people is a core part of the teacher's job, the way playing rock and roll is the core part of a rock and roll disk jockey's job.

I have a problem with the idea that it's a core part of a teacher's job to pretend gay people don't exist by not being one.
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Chad Ellis
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
Jon_1066 wrote:
costguy wrote:
Should a religious school that is supposed to be teaching religious principles not be allowed to descriminate agaist someone who does not promote what they are teaching?

Let's remove homosexuality.

How about drug abuse?
Or Adultary?
Or Lying?
Or Child Abuse?

How about if these are only done outside the work environment?


I like how you compare homosexuality to drug abuse and child abuse.


They're all considered immoral by many people and fine by others. There are plenty of people who think use of drugs is fine and that drug abuse is a solely a medical issue.


Plus the point remains the same if we replace drug abuse with drug use. If I start a secular school and say to parents, "We're going to teach kids the value of a healthy lifestyle, including no non-medical drug use," then it seems to me that a teacher who openly smokes pot on the weekend undermines our message.

As much contempt as I have for the belief that homosexuality is morally wrong, I can certainly understand the perspective of a school administrator who says, "How can we tell kids that it's wrong to be 'actively homosexual' when one of their teachers is in a same-sex marriage?"
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Kevin Salch
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Jon_1066 wrote:
costguy wrote:
Should a religious school that is supposed to be teaching religious principles not be allowed to descriminate agaist someone who does not promote what they are teaching?

Let's remove homosexuality.

How about drug abuse?
Or Adultary?
Or Lying?
Or Child Abuse?

How about if these are only done outside the work environment?


I like how you compare homosexuality to drug abuse and child abuse.


Oh please.
Really...

Grow up.
 
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