Teacher fired at Catholic school for her gayness.

I guess I shouldn’t rag on Kansas too much.  Eventually I’ll have to head back to Columbus, OH where I live and where this happened:

This week students found out about the firing of Carla Hale, a longtime teacher at Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus, Ohio, according to local news outlet Outlook Columbus. Two people familiar with the incident told Outlook that Hale was fired after her partner’s name, Julie, was listed among the survivors in a public obituary for Hale’s mother. The obituary ran in the Columbus Dispatch on Feb. 25.

Hale told the Dispatch an anonymous parent had seen the obituary and outed her to diocese officials. “Within weeks, Hale said, she was fired because she is in a gay relationship,” the Dispatch wrote.

Oh wait, Columbus might give her an outlet to punish the Church for their discrimination in the place they care about: their pocketbook:

Columbus is one of 29 cities in Ohio that has an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation. The official position of the Conference of Catholic Bishops in America is that marriage is the union between a man and a woman only. The Columbus Dispatch notes that teachers at Catholic schools in Columbus can be fired for “immorality” or “serious unethical conduct,” according to a contract between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus and the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators.

Oh, laws that apply to everybody else?  Fuck off, we’re the RCC.  If we want to fire good teachers for arbitrary reasons or protect child rapists, we’ll do it.  Oh, and Jesus loves us more.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Columbus told HuffPost that “personnel matters are, however, by diocesan policy, confidential.”

This is not the first time a teacher at an Ohio Catholic school has been let go over sexual orientation or support of gay rights. In February, Purcell Marian High School Assistant Principal Mike Moroski was fired by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati after endorsing gay marriage in a personal blog post.

That same month, music teacher Al Fischer was fired from his job at St. Ann Catholic School in north St. Louis County, Mo., after archdiocese officials learned he was planning on marrying his longtime partner.

Yeah, they’re confidential.  So the diocese is allowed to fire people for being gay, which they’re not ashamed of, but that’s not necessarily what happened here (or in those other places), and fuck you for wanting to know why we fired those people.

But atheists…we’re the immoral ones.

Ok, I’m still really spacey today, so I think I’m gonna call it a day and take a nap.  Big debate at Reasonfest this weekend.  I’ll post some pictures and live-blog some of the talks.  :D

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    A nap would be nice. I’m already getting a headache imaging the apologists coming in to defend bigotry.

    Also, fuck that anonymous bigot parent. “I was reading the obituaries, and found out that someone grieving her dead mother could be gay. I must act and out her to everyone even though it is none of my goddamned business!”

    • Andrew Kohler

      To use one of my favorite Christopher Hitchens phrases, getting someone to lose her job because of whom she loves right after she has lost her mother is “the most refinement of cruelty and stupidity that it’s possible to picture.” (He was referring to Dinesh D’Souza’s variant on Pascal’s Wager, FYI.)

  • cowalker

    A similar event. If the teacher had had an abortion, she would still have her job.

  • Eric D Red

    I almost wish all religious institutions would behave this way. Or at least that the Catholic ones would actually expect all their members to conform to the doctrine. Partly because I despise hypocrisy more than anything else. As we’ve seen elsewhere, few who call themselves Catholic actually believe any of the doctrines. It would do “Catholic” individuals good to actually square their actual beliefs with what they claim to be. Most of all, the Catholic church would either whither to a few members and become insignificant, or would actually have to start to reflect some real values.

    When they mostly get away with these positions because few actually have to live with them, those positions are leant an air of credibility that they don’t actually have. They can claim that so many millions of Catholics believe X, and should have those beliefs protected, when in fact few believe it.

  • Abby Davis

    Ughhhh… Why are other Christians so DUMB? I’m Christian, and I believe that firing this teacher was completely out of line. Being gay is in NO WAY bad! People can be gay (and still be Christian), that’s perfectly OK. God doesn’t hate them, not even in the slightest. Hell, he doesn’t hate anyone! But I’m sure He’s disappointed as fuck because of how ridiculous they’re being…

    Makes me sick that they did that. It’s no wonder why the term “Christian” is so polluted…

    These people seriously need to get a grip.

    • invivoMark

      Oh, God’s probably just disappointed that his good Christians didn’t kill her for being gay, like they’re supposed to (Lev 20:13).

      • Andrew Kohler

        That verse in Leviticus only applies to men having sex with other men, which I suppose shouldn’t be surprising since most of the commandments in the Books of Moses are worded such that they only can be applied to men. Women don’t seem to be of much concern, aside from what they need to do during their menstrual cycles, or their sexual histories, or whether or not they grab hold of their husband’s opponent’s genitals when her husband gets into a fight.

        • invivoMark

          You know, that occurred to me when I wrote that, but I didn’t have anything clever to say about it at the time, so I ignored it. However, it now occurs to me that this is a good point: where, exactly, do modern Christian evangelicals get the idea that female homosexuality is wrong? The Bible doesn’t have anything to say about it anywhere!

          Of course, the Bible does generally treat women as sub-human, and probably wasn’t really written for them. Maybe the authors just assumed that writing proscriptive morality for women would be as useful as doing it for cattle – women are ethically neutral, because they’re not intelligent beings (according to the Bible’s authors). That would generally fit with the rest of the themes in the Bible.

          • Andrew Kohler

            Female homosexuality is mentioned in that weird passage in the first chapter of Romans in which a bunch of people are punished by being turned gay and giving into their wanton lust, or something. (You know, as far as punishments go….) This really isn’t a direct prohibition, but it does say that being attracted to members of the same sex is a bad thing for both men and women. Or…something.

            As to your second paragraph, I am quite in agreement with this analysis.

    • Edmond

      If he’s so disappointed, then why doesn’t he DO something about it, instead of just LETTING the church heirarchy run things like this? There are hundreds of millions of “good Catholics” in the world, both clergy and laity, who will go forward with the belief that this was the right move, that this is the right policy, and that this woman deserved to be fired. Does God simply not CARE that this institution, which purports to function as his represenative on Earth, is putting him in such a bad light, and convincing so many people that this is what he wants? Can he not send a private little note to the Pope, telling him that this was wrong, and to give this woman her job back? Would the Pope decide to squelch that message, rather than pass it on?

      “Disappointed”. Bollocks. God either WANTS things this way, or he doesn’t care WHAT the church does, or he isn’t there.

    • http://smingleigh.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Hell, he doesn’t hate anyone!

      I guess being a deity means being freed of conventional definitions of “hate”, where you don’t have to hate someone to cause them indescribable torture agony forever roasting in the pits of Hell.

    • BabyRaptor

      If your god cared, he’d be doing something about it. Don’t project your disappointment with these jerks onto God…Its a waste of time.

    • David Hart

      You realise, I hope, that you don’t get to unilaterally define what a true Christian is, any more than Fred Phelps does? Some people, believing in the divinity of Jesus, reading the Bible and attempting to live their lives according to his teaching, manage to reach the conclusion that homosexuality is an abomination that will bring God’s fiery wrath down on us. Others, believing in the same Jesus, reading the same Bible and trying equally earnestly to live their lives according to his teaching, come to the conclusion that same-sex relationships are just as valid as opposite sex ones, and speak up for same-sex marriage.

      Now we can certainly say that the latter position is better, ethically, than the former, for entirely non-religious reasons, because the former position causes so much hardship and injustice to loving couples, and to individuals who are made to feel ashamed of a core aspect of themselves, but we cannot say that it is theologically more correct, because both sides are perfectly capable of opening a bible and finding a quote in favour of their position. But both sides are equally incapable of sitting down together and figuring out a way of consulting God directly to get a definitive ruling. Until you can do that, the only reasonable conclusion is that God either doesn’t exist, or doesn’t care whether or not you persecute homosexuals, and that the Bible is a great big literary Rorschach test from which you can derive literally any conclusion you want.

      So please do continue to speak up for justice for all, regardless of sexual orientation or other irrelevant criteria; just don’t expect the people who oppose us for religious reasons (and remember, pretty much all the formal, organised opposition to gay rights is done under the banner of religious reasons) to be persuaded by your theological argument – we must beat them on reality-based grounds.

      • cowalker

        But, but, but–how do you atheists manage without God providing you with objective morality in the Bible? Witness the unity among Christians on morality over the last 2000 years, as you point out.

  • Glodson

    Ughhhh… Why are other Christians so DUMB? I’m Christian, and I believe that firing this teacher was completely out of line. Being gay is in NO WAY bad! People can be gay (and still be Christian), that’s perfectly OK. God doesn’t hate them, not even in the slightest. Hell, he doesn’t hate anyone! But I’m sure He’s disappointed as fuck because of how ridiculous they’re being…

    In the last sentence, who does “they” refer to?

  • invivoMark

    Yo, apologies for the off-topic, but not sure where to post this. Anybody else having trouble with this website? I can access JT’s articles, and other pages on Patheos, but if I go to JT’s front page (or click on his banner at the top of this page) I get a Problem Loading Page page (using Firefox).

    Is this just me?

    • Glodson

      I have had problems off and on. None today, but it happens occasionally.

  • Minneapostate

    On the upside, the petition to get her reinstated had only 5000 signatures a couple of days ago, and is now up to over 20,ooo. If you haven’t already done so, here’s a link http://www.change.org/petitions/diocese-of-columbus-reinstate-faculty-member-carla-hale

  • Steve

    It’s a school and not a church. She didn’t have any religious function. Thus there is no reason why they should be exempt from generally applicable laws and be allowed to do whatever they want.

    By the way, her being gay was no secret. People knew. The obituary just made it “official” and they only acted after some stupid parent made a complaint.

  • Rain

    What happened to “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”? Okay yeah technically no stones were cast but it is customary to extrapolate Bible teachings to whatever situations we want to. Especially Catholics. They could extrapolate the hell out of a rock if they had to. Actually they did with the Peter and the rock thing. Catholics are excellent extrapolators. So I don’t know what happened here.

    • invivoMark

      I believe they extrapolated this poor woman from her job.

  • Oregon Catholic

    What has been posted here is more proof of the lie of liberal tolerance and the concerted attempt to dismantle the Constitutional protections of religious freedom – the primary reason this country was founded. Not only can’t Catholics be Catholic in the public square, according to you they can’t even be Catholic in their own institutions.

    • RobMcCune

      Freedom of religion is not freedom from criticism. I know saying that is oppressing you, but please try to understand that other people have the freedom not to put up with the church’s bullshit.

      • http://smingleigh.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

        You, sir, are worse than Hitler*!

        *Who was a Catholic.

      • Andrew Kohler

        Rob McCune’s point is worth emphasizing. Oppression, if the concept is to have any meaning, means preventing people from participation in society, from practicing their own culture excepting when it causes harm to others, or otherwise from exercising their rights. No one is saying that Catholics, or members of any other religion, can’t profess their beliefs publicly (and if any one does, rest assured we’ll oppose it). This is a question of allowing people to harm others when their justification is based on religion, or of imposing their beliefs on others through civil law, or of making public institutions reflect their beliefs while (by extension if not explicitly) denigrating others.

        It is interesting that Oregon Catholic is more concerned about the right of Catholic employers to purge gay people from their ranks than she is about the woman who has just lost her job because of the gender of the person with whom she has chosen to share her life (right after losing her mother, no less). Who is more affected: the people who have a gay woman teaching for them, or the gay woman who is out of a job? Who is more affected: employers providing health insurance that may be used for birth control, or the people who are themselves using the birth control? Who is more affected: the adoption agency that has to serve same-sex couples even though they don’t like it, or the children who are denied qualified parents because of discrimination and those same would-be parents who face an additional obstacle in starting families? Who is more affected: a county clerk who has to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple even though she or he objects to it, or the couple who is denied the right to marry? And then we have issues of parents choosing to deny their children life saving health care, or to have their genitals surgically altered, or to deprive them of proper education–are the parents’ wishes more important than the children’s rights? In all of these cases, it is stunning to me that people like Oregon Catholic, when presented with a dichotomy between “religious freedom” and human rights, are more concerned with people’s comfort that the world spins according to their religious views (and only if they can claim religion, not if they have sincerely held views that fall outside of an organized religion!) than they are with the welfare of the people who are being tangibly and unequivocally harmed by those same views.

        See Anne’s recent post:


        On which iknklast left an excellent comment, ending thus: “When you expand your religious freedom to the point that it denies rights to someone else, it has stepped beyond the bounds of what is acceptable. Then it is not freedom at all.”

        For us to call out these violations of basic rights is the very opposite of oppression, and to call it oppression is what another comment (forgive me for forgetting who exactly) so aptly calls martyrbation. [I prefer "martyrbation" to "martyrbating" because the latter, as I've said elsewhere here, makes me thinking of "martyr baiting," like bear baiting or something.]

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com M

          I think it was BabyRaptor over on Friendly Atheist who coined it, but I am not 100% sure.

    • http://smingleigh.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Interesting. We’re protesting bigotry, and you think we’re attacking Catholicism.

      • http://anthrozine.com Cubist

        If he thinks there’s no difference…

    • Rain

      Ergo Jesus! *faints*

    • Rain

      For every one that asketh receiveth;

      I would suggest to stop bothering us and just “asketh” Jesus for it.

      • Rain

        Never mind I forgot that it is too stoopid of a command for anyone to take seriously.

      • Rain

        If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

        Is it me or does that sound more like a con artist than an actual philosophical proof.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com M

      What has been posted here is more proof of the lie of liberal tolerance and the concerted attempt to dismantle the Constitutional protections of religious freedom – the primary reason this country was founded.

      You forgot a qualifier. The primary reason this country was founded was religious freedom … to be utter douches to everyone who wasn’t a Calvinist Puritan. The goal wasn’t religious freedom for all, it was religious freedom for Our Group But No One Else. Read some history about the treatment of early Quaker, Catholic, and Jewish settlers- it’s pretty ugly. And really, that’s only in the Northeast. In the Southern colonies, the motive was pure profit.

      So, actually, carry on. You’re going along swimmingly in the image of the early Puritan settlers (who were not the founders, many of whom were deists and who actually believed in preventing the imposition of a state religion).

    • Loqi

      Not only can’t Catholics be Catholic in the public square, according to you they can’t even be Catholic in their own institutions.

      Can you give me a single example of someone forcing people to not be Catholic? Or do you just mean “can’t be an asshole without getting criticized for it?” Or perhaps you mean “we’re being forced to follow the law sometimes?”

    • sqlrob

      My religion requires me to feed Christians to lions.

      What about my religious freedom?

      • Hooter

        You a Muslim?

        • Nate Frein

          Where did you get that idea?

          • Andrew Kohler

            Perhaps this person thinks that the Coliseum in Rome was operated by Muslims, several centuries before the advent of Islam.

    • Glodson

      What has been posted here is more proof of the lie of liberal tolerance and the concerted attempt to dismantle the Constitutional protections of religious freedom – the primary reason this country was founded.

      Bullshit. A few colonies were founded on the principle of their own religious freedom, not religious freedoms for everyone. Our country was more founded on the strife between the colonies and England. Religious freedom, in the form of the Free Exercise clause and Establishment clause of the First Amendment, are important. But this is more a function of an overall freedom of expression which the founders thought were important for the functioning of the federal government.

      Here’s the important bit that people like you need to understand: it is about not letting others enforce their religious views onto others. Most of the early colonies provided a space for their religion to be forced onto others. Like the Puritan colonies. It wasn’t until Rhode Island, which was a response to the overbearing enforced religiosity of the Puritans that we see that at work. This is the genesis of the “Wall of Separation of Church and State.” An idea that really didn’t come to the forefront until the Framers, many of whom where deists, put it into the Constitution.

      Your statement is grossly inaccurate, and makes a mockery of the very concept.

      Not only can’t Catholics be Catholic in the public square, according to you they can’t even be Catholic in their own institutions.

      Strawman. No one said you can’t be a bigoted ass Catholic in the public square. No one said it should be illegal to be Catholic. Many of us would rail against the idea of enforcing any prohibition on religion through law. See? Here’s your problem. We are being critical of a backwards bronze age idea that has no place in modern society. It is stupid and hurtful and pointless. And we are pushing for equal rights for gay people. We aren’t trying to take the rights away from anyone. Your religion is not safe form criticism. We get to criticize.

      Fuck, even in this, the religious school is getting an exemption. Most places cannot fire a person for their sexuality. But we allow this to be done legally when one has a ridiculous superstition regarding it. Given your comments, I can only guess you don’t have a problem with treating a group of people in the US as second class citizens because of the laws of a group of nomadic shepherds who lived in the bronze age included a prohibition against homosexuality. But even then, you won’t actually follow these laws, as they didn’t call for the gay people to be fired.

    • Rain

      What has been posted here is more proof of the lie of liberal tolerance and the concerted attempt to dismantle the Constitutional protections of religious freedom – the primary reason this country was founded.

      Yeah I’m sure the founders were just thrilled about Catholicism. *rimshot*

      • Rain

        In fairness maybe Oregon Catholic was referring to Christopher Columbus and crew as the founders. Yeah Columbus was definitely Catholic. “The founders” is a somewhat of an ambiguous term. Dare I say equivocal. *rimshot*

        • Rain

          Yeah, nothin says freedom of religion like the First Commandment says freedom of religion. *rimshot*

          Okay enough rimshots. For now…

  • smrnda

    I don’t get why employees of Catholic schools put up with this treatment. Yeah, it’s tough, but start a union like the public school teachers and if they fire someone for being gay, walk off the job and leave the Bishop or whoever to handle the school all on his holy lonesome.

    I also don’t see any consistency in what they fire people over. Do Catholic schools employ non-Catholics who are already *damned* according to Catholic theology? Then why flip out over someone being gay, being some other type of Christians is already just as bad according to the theology.

    • Hooter

      Courts have ruled heavily along the lines with the various churches in these matters, last year a 9-0 ruling against Obama administration. Churches have their theological tenets, canon laws etc which employees of these “private” “religious” schools / ministries are required to conform to as condition of employment. Some churches only wish staff to be members of their churches. Gay / Lesbian isn’t the issue here, same moral clauses apply to heterosexual relationships out of marriage.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com M

        Except, somehow, they aren’t fairly applied. Somehow, women and gays bear the brunt of the regulations. A woman gets pregnant by her fiance? Fire her! Then, to make absolutely sure you’re driving home the point that the rules only apply to women, offer to hire her fiance (who also clearly took part in premarital sex) to fill the teaching position.


        • http://smingleigh.wordpress.com Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          That’s just because he’s a manly virile man of manliness, and she’s a slutty slutty slut slut.