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US teacher quits over discriminatory new contract

US teacher quits over discriminatory new contract

RICHARD Hague, a teacher at a Catholic school for over 40 years, refused to sign a new contract being offered to teachers in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati that prohibits public support for causes the Catholic Church opposes, including same-sex marriage, and he has resigned.

Yesterday a rally was staged in support of Hague, who taught for 45 years at Purcell Marian High School until the controversial teacher contract – thought to be the first of its kind – was implemented. It states that teachers cannot publicly support homosexuality, sexual activity out of wedlock, or in vitro fertilisation.

More than 2,000 teachers in the archdiocese are required to sign to remain employed.

Hague wrote a letter expressing his position to the superintendent of Catholic schools:

I simply cannot believe that Jesus would require me to condemn my friends, nor that Jesus would require me to report any of my colleagues who supported, even loved, gay persons, nor do I believe for a moment that Jesus would punish me for my earlier ministry.

Previous contracts required teachers to comply with the Roman Catholic Church’s philosophy but the new contract for the first time cites specific examples of forbidden behaviour.

The archdiocese says the examples were added partly in response to problems including lawsuits that have arisen over violations of Catholic doctrine. But critics say it infringes on employee rights in part because it also bars them from publicly supporting causes the church opposes.

A protester at yesterday's rally

A protester at yesterday’s rally

The National Association of Catholic School Teachers says it knows of no other archdiocese that has instituted the kind of language planned in Cincinnati.

According to this New York Times report, the despicable contract unleashed a dozen billboards which have gone up around Cincinnati over the last week or so. It asks:

Would Pope Francis Sign the New Catholic Teacher Contract?

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wrote earlier this month that it is an “excellent question” because:

It flags the tension between what’s been said in Rome and what’s happening in Ohio, between a message of greater tolerance and the practice of the same old intolerance, between the direction in which the Catholic church needs to move and the matters of sexual morality on which it keeps getting stuck.

The billboards are sponsored by Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful, which is part of a quickly welling protest of the newly-detailed terms of employment.

While the new contract expressly forbids a “homosexual lifestyle” and any “public support” of one it says nothing about public support of the death penalty, something else that the church opposes, wrote Bruni. He added:

The new contract specifically rules out any use or advocacy of abortion rights, surrogacy, even in vitro fertilization. But it doesn’t address possible advocacy of the sorts of bloody military engagements that the church often condemns.

The new contract forbids ‘living together outside marriage’, ‘sexual activity out of wedlock’ and any public endorsement of either. But there’s no reference to concern for the downtrodden, to the spirit of giving, to charity. And while those are surely more difficult to monitor, aren’t they as essential to Catholic principles, and closer to the core of the faith?

Hague was quoted as saying:

The previous contract was two pages. It was sort of don’t-ask-don’t-tell.

The new contract is six pages and offends him in its suggestion that he must, for example, not express support for gay people in his life. Before it was distributed, Hague, 66, planned to teach for another five years. Now he doesn’t.

Hague, who described himself as “a recovering Catholic,” said that his objections were distilled by a priest who told him that the archdiocese was turning “matters of the confessional” into “matters of the firing line”.

Mindy Burger, 63, an art teacher for 18 years at a Catholic elementary school is also declining to sign the contract, which she called “really misogynistic”.

If I’m a teacher in a Catholic school and I’m a man, who’s going to know if I’m having sex outside of marriage. But if I’m an unmarried woman and get pregnant, I’m fired.

She attended that very school decades ago and reared her own children as Catholics, but she told Bruni:

At this point, I don’t consider myself Catholic anymore.

Bruni concluded:

There are so many losers here: kids — many from the inner city — who depend on parochial schools that will now be drained of talent; younger teachers who can’t afford to quit and will carry an embittered attitude into their classrooms; Catholics everywhere, forced to wrestle anew with their church’s archaic fixations; church leaders, who have such a sad knack for driving people away. Isn’t that what Pope Francis was urging an end to?

Said Timothy Garry, a lawyer in the Cincinnati area who sent all three of his children to Catholic schools and is trying to persuade the Cincinnati archdiocese to adjust the new contract.

I don’t see much in the gospel about sexual stuff. With Francis, everyone feels so hopeful. That’s one of the ironies of this.

25 Responses to “US teacher quits over discriminatory new contract”

  1. Canada Dave says:

    “There are so many losers here:”
    Damed right there are ….the line up begins at the Cincinnati archdiocese front door and extends to Rome.

  2. Trevor Blake says:

    It is indeed shocking that Roman Catholics are expected to be Roman Catholics. Isn’t religion supposed to mean whatever you want it to mean? Just because of consistent clear public teachings on these subject for two thousand years are available does that mean they have to, you know, do it?

    Try this; rather than distort a faith to your morals, be moral without faith.

  3. Dianne Leonard says:

    This article states that Cincinnati is the only archdiocese where contracts like this are being imposed. According to the San Francisco (California) Chronicle today, five teachers in the San Francisco archdiocese have quit (i.e. refused to sign) because of a contract that sounds much the same. Some schools are sort of ignoring the archdiocese’s new contract but some aren’t, and it is there that teachers have resigned rather than sign. One teacher scratched out the offensive language and then signed. She was fired. So, my bet is that this is happening in many places.

  4. JohnMWhite says:

    Catholic authoritarianism in a nutshell – it is simply more important to signal who they hate than to allow people to make a living and educate the next generation. And, naturally, they are complete fucking imbeciles when it comes to noticing irony. Forcing people to sign papers against their conscience? Thomas More would be thrilled…

  5. annette says:

    The Catholic Church—rooting through and exposing everyone’s sexual mores–unless you are a pedophile priest.

  6. charlie says:

    Is the RCC trying to be more like the muzzies? This is stooping pretty low even for the RCC, looking into the personal opinions of those they employ……..wow, did the inquisition suddenly restart? Does Frankie know it did? Or, is Benny still running the show from his retirement?
    Curious minds want to know.

  7. Robster says:

    Should anyone be surprised by this behaviour? This is an organisation that promotes the regular cannibalistic consumption of its deity, the molestation of children and the protection of the offenders, the dressing of its officers in nice dresses and silly hats and much more silliness. Really they’re doing nothing more than would otherwise be expected.

  8. gwen says:

    The diocese of Oakland (CA) is attempting to implement this policy with the new Bishop. He told the objecting teachers that it is a mere formality, and they were not actually going to follow up on these new rules. Teachers are quitting over it.

  9. barriejohn says:

    Charlie is right when he says that religion takes the entire cake of stupid. A Catholic couple from Slovakia who neglected their children objected to their adoption by a gay couple on the grounds that this would “cause [the children] great upset” and cause them “psychological harm in the future”. Nice to know that they are now so concerned about their kids’ welfare, and putting public finance to such good use!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27552716

  10. Matt Westwood says:

    You could always sign it then deliberately flout the rules and take it up to the next level of defcon.

    “Listen up, kids. This is what I have been coerced into signing. I did so in order to be allowed to keep my job. This is what I *really* think …”

  11. Bubba T Flubba says:

    This is great……more please. The Arse CC is painting itself toward the EXIT DOOR. Keep it up guys. More of the same…much more. Then when you get to the EXIT go through and close the door behind you, lock it and toss away the key. Good riddance. Now we have to deal with the really evil verminous islamofacist thugs and trigger happy murdering outlaws.

  12. Bubba T Flubba says:

    Question. Who is the current boss muslim on earth? You know, the equivalent of the pope. Or is islam a disparate collection of thuggish gangs and murderous battalions of do what the fuck they like evil bastards who like nothing better than shooting, beheading, immolating, lynching, kidnapping, raping and torturing anyone they dislike or who just happens to be in the way?

  13. barriejohn says:

    BTF: Muslims have no chief honcho. The Koran is almost totally incomprehensible as well as being without structure or internal coherence (hence the astronomical number of “hadiths” and other “interpretations” of it), so they are, quite literally, “making it up as they go along”.

  14. Bubba T Flubba says:

    And yes I do have a problem with islam. And so should you. Especially if you are a muslim. If you are a muslim then you had better start to become very very noisy in your condemnation of all the atrocities committed in the name of your religion. If you don’t then I, and millions of other decent people, can only conclude that you support the violence and terrorism. We may be running out of effective antibiotics but we do have more than enough resources to eradicate the islamic infection pandemic and we will deploy them if things escalate further. So muslims in decent civilised countries had better start singing for their supper now. The civilised world can help you muslims get what you crave. We can move you closer to your god and rather more quickly than you think or even desire.

  15. andym says:

    And they have the get-out clause that the Koran can only be properly understood in Arabic.Thus invalidating any criticism by non-Arabic speakers to their own satisfaction.

  16. Broga says:

    Wouldn’t they just love it if those who didn’t bend the knee and obey their orders were brought into line by an Inquisition? These autocrats could easily justify thumbscrews, the rack, red hot irons etc. They must long for the good old days.

  17. […] See the original post: US teacher quits over discriminatory new contract […]

  18. sailor1031 says:

    “It flags the tension between what’s been said in Rome and what’s happening in Ohio…”

    Surely even catholics are no longer taken in by whatever mealy-mouthed, obfuscatory, self-serving claptrap is spouted in Rome. The reality is what happens, in Ohio or anywhere else. Pope Francis is just for show.
    Nothing’s changed at RCC Inc except rhetoric. Nothing will change – because RCC Inc has advertised itself for two millenia as the unchanging church of doG. The truth, as revealed by the puP and honed and gilded by numerous ‘fathers of the church’, such as Tomaso di Aquino and his faux-intellectual ilk, cannot change and RCC is the sole purveyor of truth. All others are fakes. RCC Inc corporate spokesmen have stated this many, many times. It is the company line repeated ad nauseam by local franchise holders world wide. Anybody, especially catholics, expecting this to change will be disappointed

  19. Stonyground says:

    “…..wow, did the inquisition suddenly restart? ”

    It never went away Charlie, they re-named it The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

  20. AgentCormac says:

    At this point, I don’t consider myself Catholic anymore.

    Excellent news! I hope there are many more catholics who follow Burger’s example and see their tyrannical church for what it really is.

    BTW here’s a link to the Oakland side of this story which Gwen mentioned above.
    http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/joegarofoli/article/5-Oakland-Catholic-school-teachers-quit-over-5499723.php

  21. Ex Patriot says:

    I hope enough teachers quit so they have a real problem and some of their damn schools have to close and the teachers are offered jobs in other systems, The rcc makes the Mafia look like the good guys

  22. charlie says:

    @Stonyground,
    Yes sir, I was aware of the “name change”. I was basically just asking if they had got it back up to speed as it was in times past, you know, like witch hunts, burning at the stake, etc.
    Seems that for the last few hundred years or so, the inquisition had sort of been a low key thing. Was just curious if they had now brought it “out of the closet” so to speak. Hmm, the RCC, coming “out” of some closet. OK, smarter minds than mine may be able to run with that. Maybe the pedophile priests/bishops/other high ranking RCC types can also “come out” now.
    Not meant in any way to be a slur or negative towards the LGBT people.

  23. jay says:

    When one works for a religious organization, should one really be surprised if the organization expects you to support (or at least not openly criticize) its positions. Many job contracts include clauses about not publicly denigrating the company or policies.

    There is a certain level of hypocrisy in continuing to work for an organization so much in opposition to ones principles.

  24. Vanity Unfair says:

    This is not as rigorous but here is a section of an application form for a post as assistant head of a RC school. It has not copied very well. See especially the order in which the qualities are arranged. This is religious discrimination but is it illegal?

    http://www.eteach.com/DataFiles/VacDocs/13222/527679/Assistant%20Head%20Person%20Specification.pdf

    ASSISTANT HEADTEACHER CRITERIA FOR APPOINTMENT
    Please note source of evidence of fulfilled criteria: Application Form – A Letter – L
    References – R Interview – I Observation – O
    Faith Commitment E/D
    A/I/R

    ? Practising Catholic

    E
    A/R
    ? Involvement in parish community

    D
    A/I/R

    TRAINING AND QUALIFICATIONS Essential or Desirable
    Evidence
    Practising Catholic
    E
    A
    Qualified teacher status
    E
    A
    Degree
    E
    A
    Professional development or training undertaken in preparation for Senior Leadership in a School
    D
    A

    EXPERIENCE OF TEACHING AND EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP Essential or Desirable
    Evidence
    Experience of leadership
    E
    A/R/L/I
    Other leadership and management experience
    (For example, contribution to management of the school: e.g. subject leader, head of department, head of year, key stage leader, SENCo or experience as a consultant or teacher adviser. Timetabling, Monitoring & Evaluation, data analysis &target setting etc. Consider number of years’ experience required)
    E
    A/R/L/I

    PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
    [Compiled with reference to the National Standards] Essential or Desirable
    Evidence
    A distinctive personal vision for a Catholic school

    ? A clear vision for an effective Catholic school

    D
    L/I
    ? The role of leading the spiritual development of pupils and staff

    D
    L/I
    ? The central place of Religious Education as a core subject in the school’s curriculum

    D
    L/I
    ? The implications for a Catholic school in a diverse community

    D
    L/I
    ? Current educational issues, including national policies,priorities and legislation and any implications of these for Cactholic schools

    ? Strategies for strengthening a school’s link with the wider community including parents, carers and parish

    D

    D

    L/I

    L/I
    ? The partnership between the school and the parish community

    D
    L/I
    ? Leading collective worship