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Friday, March 05, 2010

Imagination Time: The Catholic School v/ Lesbians Edition

Okay, let’s play Imagination Time for a moment.

Imagine that you are a lesbian living in the Denver area (imagining liking girls is pretty easy for me; imagining the change in plumbing is a little tougher). Imagine that you are also a parent of a pre-school age child and are looking for a good school for your kid. Now, tell me what that school would look like?

Would it be a Baptist school? Why or why not?

Would it be one of the Denver Waldorf schools or a Montessori school? Again, why or why note?

Lastly, would it be a Catholic school? Why or why not?

Whether I like them or not, the religious schools very well could have policies against accepting or keeping students who are living in families that don’t adhere to their standards of conduct. Not only is it legal, it’s entirely understandable. Yes, I also understand why the parents might have wanted their kid in a religious school, but that doesn’t really change the other side of the equation.

The story of a lesbian couple whose kid is not being allowed back into a private Catholic school is raising a bit of noise around the area, though. Even school staff is voicing (anonymously) disappointment in the Denver Archdiocese decision.

According to the Archdiocese, parents who enroll their kids at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School are expected to follow the Catholic Church’s beliefs.

“No person shall be admitted as a student in any Catholic school unless that person and his/her parent(s) subscribe to the school’s philosophy and agree to abide by the educational policies and regulations of the school and Archdiocese,” the statement said.

Because this student’s parents are homosexual, the Archdiocese says they were in clear violation of the school’s policy.

School staff members, who asked to remain anonymous, say they are disgusted by the Archdiocese’s decision.

For those staff members who disagree so strenuously, I suggest that you tender your resignations. For parents who disagree, I suggest you withdraw your children. Register your disagreement in the best way you know.

Still, the “disgust,” especially on the part of the staff, is either incredibly naive or merely over-dramatic. What did they really think would happen? They do happen to work in a Catholic school. For that matter, for the parents, I feel fairly sure that they must have been actively subverting any code of conduct and policies that they had to agree to before placing their child in the school.

I say again: what did they really think would happen?

Last year when I was looking for a new job, I came across one that I was reasonably well-qualified for at a local Christian college. I started the application process and came to the code of conduct that I was expected to agree to and live up to as a requirement of employment.

Now, I really wanted a job and the idea of working on a Christian college campus appealed to me to. I know that this will be shocking to some folks out there, but I truly do take my religion seriously; I mean it when I call myself a Christian. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to find me to be a perfect fit for the teaching of any one church, and I have a hard time reconciling the areas of disagreement with my desire to be involved in a church.

When I came to that code of conduct, though, I knew that I would not be able to sign it in good conscience. It might not be readily apparent to anyone at the school and I might well be able to talk my way into the position, but it would be starting my employment based on a lie. I could not sign that code of conduct because it would have been a lie.

I have enough respect for myself to stand up for those things in which I believe. I have enough respect for others to not lie to them about the same.

Read the rest.

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