There is no doubt that when a person signs a contract of employment, they have standards to live by. There is also no doubt, that a standard, like public opinion, can change over time. As we evolve, rules must be ALTERed….or we would still be hunting witches in Salem.
Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio has a tough path ahead. They are, in reality, placed as the fulcrum in a battle between ‘the Goliath’ and David. In this case, it is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati that plays the larger role, using contractual words to fire a beloved and highly respected teacher. This teacher was great for Alter for 22 years, and then suddenly, was not. It is in the ‘was not’ that things get uncomfortable. The diocese, like many Catholic institutions, views homosexuals, especially those in legal same-sex relationships, as a fireable offense. And, word of the firing, based on this guideline, has now reached national and international publications. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati has a mess on its hands.
‘For those looking at the contract as the answer, they are right, it says what it says.’ says Jack Omer, a vocal opponent of the decision and 1998 Alter grad. ‘Now it’s up to the community to come together as one voice to make the dioceses see, it’s the policy that’s wrong.’ he isn’t alone. A letter to the diocese has already garnered 11,000 signatures. There is a Change.org petition you can sign online if you’d to help fight for the right for this teacher to teach.
Brad and Nikki Lawson, whose children attend Alter stated, ‘As parents, we are deeply disappointed that a great teacher is leaving Alter. This action is not in line with how we are raising our children to treat everyone with love and respect. We don’t know the details but we support Alter and we do not believe this was Alter’s decision.’
Many agree. And Alter may be put into a position they did not choose, nor want. For many businesses in the area, it will become hard to support the school, and for Alumni, it will be difficult to defend Alter’s ‘unchosen’ stance.
‘Being gay, or female, or black, or tall is all genetics. I don’t understand why the Catholic Church wants to judge anyone on something genetic. It really makes no sense.’ Omer continues. ‘I think making decisions like this is dangerous. Where does it end? The church should know to stay out of people’s personal lives.’
One area priest, who has asked to remain anonymous, would only state, ‘I believe Jesus would invite all kinds of people, and definitely those being persecuted to his table. That’s what Christianity is all about. The diocese has the right to make rules, but no one has the right to make people feel bad for being the person they were created to be.’
It has definitely left folks with strong feelings. Petitions are scattered on Facebook with hopes of changing minds at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
‘We are very sad that people outside the community can make decisions that so profoundly impact the school and students. That should change.’ The Lawsons added.
A letter popped up on Twitter from an Alter senior Molly Goheen pointing out this great teacher that she learned so much from. Within the letter are quotes from the Bible, which many view as the ultimate book of learning. She points out Romans 2.11 “For God Does Not Show favoritism,” making not one child of God superior to another. Yes, well….
Like so many decisions based in black and white religious views, the results are mostly painful. A good teacher loses a job. A revered high school’s reputation takes a hit. Christianity, and organized religion, again lose followers. And for what? For what?
There isn’t one of us who doesn’t understand it. Yep, it’s a rule. Yep, they have the right….but as Omer put it ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should!’
In a divided, highly political time in our history, sometimes the best decisions come through kindness…which in turn, will lead to honor.