Friday, May 23, 2014

My Heart Is Sad...

I am seeing something a lot lately.  Actually, I have seen it for quite a while, but I think it's getting out-of-hand.

It am seeing LGBT individuals -- specifically those who are in a relationship or civil union or same-sex marriage -- getting fired from their jobs in Catholic institutions.

This phenomenon started out quite a while ago.  As I understood it, it mostly had to do with people in same-sex relationships not being allowed to teach theology in certain high schools, colleges, and universities.  The reasoning was that, if a person teaches Catholic THEOLOGY, their lives should be consistent with that theology.  I could kind of see this both ways.  I understood the position of the Catholic institutions.  On the other hand, I thought (and still think) that it is possible to know, understand, and teach something without actually agreeing with it or living it.

At the time, though, it was explained to me that there were many Catholic schools who were teaching things AS actual Catholic theology that were not actual Catholic theology.  This is a difficulty.  Students should learn the actual stuff before they all start disagreeing with it.  And I was led to believe that not hiring people in same-sex relationships to teach Catholic theology kind of went along with this idea of returning authenticity to the teaching of Catholicism in Catholic schools.  Again, I did not agree with that line of reasoning entirely, but it also didn't bother me a whole lot.  I had other fish to fry and I trusted the Powers-That-Be.

Now, though, I have to say that I think things are getting JUST A LITTLE BIT OUT OF CONTROL, especially since the legalization of gay marriage in many states.  Teachers in same-sex marriages (and other same-sex relationships) are being fired not just from positions of teaching Catholic theology, but they are being dismissed from all other types of teaching/administrative positions, as well.  And they are being fired, not just from schools, but from other types of Catholic institutions -- like parish choirs and food banks.  Sometimes, it is not even they who are making a "big announcement" about their marriages, but "busybodies" who happen to overhear (can we say "eavesdrop" on?) private conversations are ratting them out.  In my opinion, it is these eavesdroppers who should get the smack-down.  Being a "tattle-tale" was always discouraged during my upbringing.  It is just low-class and uncharitable.  In another instance, the marital status of a certain individual was mentioned in a newspaper article about her job running a Catholic charitable endeavor.  She never even made an issue of it.  You could say she was being respectful of the theology of the Church by never making an issue of her marriage.  She never got in anybody's face with it.  (Gay people are constantly being accused of "getting in people's faces" with their relationships.)  And yet, because the newspaper mentioned her marital status, she got fired.  That sucks.

I know what I am saying could be argued round and round and round, with never an end in sight.  But, it just seems to me that the Church is starting to look like it is on a witch hunt.

As for me, if I were poor, I wouldn't mind getting my food from a married lesbian lady.  And if I were to sing in a choir, I wouldn't mind being conducted by a married gay man.  And if I had kids in a school, I would be happy for them to have the opportunity to learn from a married gay person, not only the subject matter, but how to get along with a variety of people.  I would want them to learn that people in same-sex marriages should not be demonized or stigmatized or marginalized.  And, truthfully, if you are never around people who are in same-sex marriages and if you are always being told how evil same-sex marriage is, it might be rather natural to come to demonize -- or at least marginalize -- the people in that kind of relationship.  In order to see a "person" instead of an "issue," maybe you need to be around the person. 

Remember.  Pope Francis said that we "must not marginalize these people."  And if you fire them from every single position in every single Catholic institution, what do you call that, if not "marginalization"?  Yes, there are many who disagree with me on this.  There are many who think that not marginalizing gay people only has to do with employment in the secular arena.  There are people who think that not marginalizing gay people in the Church community means only allowing them to participate as "run-of-the-mill" parishioners, not as leaders of such things as choirs or lectors.  I disagree.  I think setting up those kinds of barriers is a type of unnecessary marginalization.  It also leads to the self-identified "good" Catholics coming to have a rather superior view of themselves in relation to the "not-so-good" Catholics.  And that is not good for anybody.

I know this is a very complicated issue for many people.  I know the "apologists" could knock all my "arguments" on their backside with all of their intellectual "reasoning." But, when I look at all these people getting fired and I look at the rather snobbish, unyielding attitude of those doing the "ratting out" and the firing, it just makes my heart cry.  It just does not seem right.


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