Saturday, April 27, 2013

Picking on gay people—UPDATED

Former PE teacher Carla Hale
It would be easier for everyone if, like Rainbow Sash, we all wore some form of distinctive clothing to signify to the Catholic Church leadership what sins we were committing and not confessing. Then perhaps gay people wouldn’t feel singled out.

Let me tell you what brought that thought into my mind: Recently the Diocese of Columbus fired Carla Hale, a phys-ed teacher at Bishop Watterson High, after learning that she is in a lesbian relationship. Hale has said that she was terminated March 28, two weeks after an investigation spurred by an anonymous Bishop Watterson parent. The parent had sent diocesan officials a copy of Hale’s mother’s obituary, which listed the complainant as “Carla (Julie) Hale of Powell” — “Julie” being her companion’s name, and in parentheses just like other spouses’ names. Hale apparently confirmed that she and her partner consider their relationship a “marriage”.

Naturally, Hale is shocked, shocked! that she could have been fired: “That had nothing to do with my ability to teach and coach. I don’t think I’m immoral; I don’t think I’ve done anything that’s unethical,” she complained in a local television interview. Of course, maintaining false pretenses and contract violation have nothing to do with morality, right?

Hale’s lawyer, Thomas Tootle (oy, the poor man), struck all the expected buzzwords, accusing the diocese of orientation discrimination, demanding her reinstatement and threatening a lawsuit. “The Catholic Church has their own perceptions on immorality, but when you look at the contract, who decides that term, ‘immorality’? That, ultimately, will be decided by an arbitrator,” Tootle declared. Oddly enough, nobody heard an orchestra swell its volume dramatically.

Here’s the statement, though, which brought the thought into my mind: “There are many things that the Catholic Church considers immoral, but why is this treated any differently than adultery, divorce or birth control?” Tootle said, claiming, “It does seem to be a situation where the Church picks and chooses like they are at the buffet.”

In the last two years, according to the National Catholic Register story, the diocese has fired one teacher for artificial insemination, another teacher for extramarital sex, and a vice-principal for publicizing support for same-sex “marriage” on his blog. So the Diocese of Columbus can at least point to their own record and claim consistency. Except that a few readers skipped over that paragraph in their rush to get to the combox:

Can’t wait until the diocese starts firing teachers who are divorced and remarried, those who masturbate, use contraception, fornicate and miss Mass on Sundays. That will show them!
Oh … they won’t do that? You mean to say they’re picking and choosing their moral priorities to bully weaker people?
Well, I never! (/sarcasm off) [Turn off the “idiot” tag while you’re at it.]

Soooo, they have also fired any staff members living with a heterosexual partner outside of marriage … right?

Okay, at least Columbus has some record of firing other people for other violations. And let’s be honest — some people in the GLBT camp act as though only they get pushed around. But let’s grant, causa argumenti,that more gay people get fired for morals provision violations than anyone else. What could explain that?

The majority of us work in places without morals contracts; most things you can legally do when you’re off the clock and off the campus won’t get you fired. But while we all know individuals who are into sharing way too much — “Now I have to go poke out my mind’s eye” — there are things we don’t share, either because we’re ashamed of them, or because no one really wants or cares to know about them (and by gar it’s none of their frickin’ business anyway).

Now, if you work for the Church, and you don’t discuss your sexual peccadilloes at work, just how is the diocese gonna find out? There’s no “Church Police”, no regular grilling, no hiring of private detectives to go through your medicine cabinet looking for condoms and estrogen pills, no hidden cameras or spyware to check your moral behavior, no roll call at Mass. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. (The American federal government, however, is another story.)

Figured it out? That’s right — you have to be the one who lets the incriminating information slip publicly. If you don’t tell, the Church will most likely not ask.

Now, let’s think about it: Of what sexual practice did the late Canadian journalist Robertson Davies say, “The love that dares not speak its name has become the love that won’t shut up”? Who wears symbolic items of clothing to church to deliberately advertise their defiance of Catholic teaching? Who would deliberately put themselves in a position where they could be fired for their defiance in order to create just such a situation as Hale’s? he asked rhetorically.

Umm … compulsive masturbators? zoophiles? bigamists? dominatrices? gigolos?

It would be much easier to enforce such morals provisions even-handedly if other people at loggerheads with the Church’s moral doctrines would be honest enough to wear their dissent as an accoutrement to their Sunday threads. It would also be much easier to deny them the Eucharist at Mass. If you really don’t think what you’re doing is a sin, that it’s somehow good and right, then why should you be unwilling to profess it in public?

The point I’m getting to, though, is that if it seems gay people get fired for such morals provision violations more than any other kind of sexual sinner, it’s because some gay people make it almost too easy for the Church to out them; a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy doesn’t help you if you’re all too willing to blab.

If you’re going to be a hypocrite, take a lesson from soldiers: To blend in with the background, you wear camouflage, not fluorescent colors. If your job depends on keeping a secret, don’t reveal it publicly and expect it to not get back.

Better yet — don’t be a hypocrite. Live by the contract you sign, morals provision and all, or get a job where you don’t have to sign such a contract.

Update: May 4, 2013

Well, it didn't take too long for the absurdist element to make itself manifest.

A person wearing the stylized Guy Fawkes mask of the fittingly-named random collection of "hacktivists", Anonymous, posted a message on YouTube urging supporters of Carla Hale to join them at "a massive protest" that was scheduled to take place yesterday, May 3. (How did that "massive protest" turn out? The Columbus Dispatch is silent about this protest; it must have been canceled, due either to weather or indifference).

“We are not here to talk about moral laws, even though it is an argument we will win, for it is the actions of the Catholic Diocese which are so obviously immoral [but we're not here to talk about moral laws]. However there have been laws broken,” the hackers stated. [Laws, of course, have nothing to do with morality, right?]
They highlight the fact that the City of Columbus has anti-discrimination laws that are meant to protect individuals such as Hale. [You mean, it protects people who lie to their employers and continue to pick up paychecks while violating their employment contracts?]
“It is time for the Catholic Diocese to catch up with the age we are now in. The age of change. The age of equality, revolution and freedom. It is time to Occupy the Columbus Catholic Diocese,” the hacktivists added. [Ooooh, I'm quaking in my boots!]

Does anyone but me find it amusing that these farm-league cyberterrorists, these Red Army wannabes, wear the face of a failed bomber? And that our intrepid "hacktivists" invoke the name of a movement that's dead in the water, a running gag gone stale, the epitome of narcissistic "progressive" ninnyism?