Another Catholic school fires a great teacher because he wants to get married.

Brian Panetta was, until recently, the music teacher at Sandusky Central Catholic School in Ohio.  In his five years there he “vastly expanded the entire music program, with the school’s band expanding from 18 to 50 members.”  The school just fired him because he’s in love with a man and not a woman, which apparently means more than his talent as a music teacher.

But the pope is so nice!  How could this happen?  Turns out the pope is, and always was, a bigot when it comes to gay people and that the Catholic Church continues to reflect that bigotry.  I expected nothing different from the Catholic Church, but what kils me is Panetta’s response:

It is with heavy heart and great remorse that I find myself stepping down from my position as Director and Coordinator of Music at Sandusky Central Catholic School.

I am, however, proud to announce that over Christmas Break I accepted a proposal of engagement to my partner of five years. As a proud and gay Catholic, I understand the Church’s teachings on marriage and agree that my engagement is a public statement of my position for marriage equality, which the Catholic Church does not yet support. I am hopeful to see change in the future, but until then I am praying for strength and understanding and encourage my students to do the same.

What kind of sense does that make?  If you are the one making the moral calls, if you have greater moral wisdom than all the geezers at the head of your Church who claim to be delivering god’s moral pronouncements, then why do you need the church?  You have your own judgment.  Where the church gets it right, you make the call.  Where they get it wrong, you make the call.  If you’re doing that even when you read the bible, at least be honest and claim that you, not the Church, are the proper moral arbiter.

You’ve just defied the Church, and rightly so (Panetta and I both agree on that), and you didn’t need god whispering in your ear to do so.  Now just go the rest of the way.

I’ll never understand people’s fealty to a faith that despises and oppresses them.  I hope Panetta isn’t using his Church’s love as the standard for his relationship.  That way his husband can love Panetta and respect his autonomy the way the Catholic Church does not (and never has).

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