Catholic School Anti-Gay “Morality Clauses” Are Pushing Good Teachers Out of the Profession

Just last month, life-long Catholic Molly Shumate resigned from her position as a first grade teacher after the Cincinnati Archdiocese told her she had to sign a contract that forbade her from publicly supporting the “homosexual lifestyle.” Given that her own son was gay, there was no way she was going to put her religion’s archaic rules before the love she has for her son:

Molly Shumate with her son Zach

She’s not alone.

A lot of teachers who work at Catholic schools are pushing back against the rigid, homophobic rules that many religious officials are trying to force onto them. There used to be something of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality, but now these teachers have no choice but to choose sides.

It’s not just homosexuality, either. The list of things you can’t publicly do goes much further than your orientation:

Teachers must sign a promise not to engage in or publicly support several areas of conduct including unmarried cohabitation or sex, using a surrogate mother or in-vitro fertilization… and improper use of social media.

What choice do many teachers have but to sign it or be unemployed? As great as it feels to take a stand for what’s right, sometimes reality dictates that you collect the paychecks even if you’re not proud of it:

[French and Latin teacher Roger] Rosen signed the contract, even though he doesn’t support it.

“I’m a coward,” he told CNN. After 43 years of teaching, Rosen says he wants to keep collecting a paycheck for him and his wife. “Isn’t that terrible?”

What I don’t understand is how the Church thinks this is sustainable. They seem to have no long-term vision here. Church leaders *have* to know that younger generations overwhelmingly support gays and lesbians. There’s already talk about how the Church’s numbers will dwindle. How will these schools stay open if parents don’t want to raise their children in a bigoted organization? How will they find faculty members when they’re pushing them away with inflexible contracts (not to mention low wages)?

I suspect it won’t be long before Catholic schools are an endangered species — and what’s really unusual is that they brought it upon themselves. They had the opportunity to be a force for good, but chose the other route instead.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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