Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Do these stories surprise anyone?

Today I have seen two stories that left me wondering why they were considered news stories at all. First, an openly gay music teacher at a Catholic school in the St. Louis area was fired. This comes after a recent US Supreme Court decision made it easier for religious institutions to fire people when the reason for the firing might violate some federal law but is based on religious doctrine.

I grant you the guy has some reason to be peeved. He has been openly gay at the school for years (his long-term partner is well known at the school) and there is no indication that there has ever been any dissatisfaction with his job performance. Second, the school set his last day for the very same day that the teacher and his partner will be getting married in New York. It's hard to see that timing as coincidental.

Then I saw a story about a lesbian being denied communion at her mother's funeral. Now, granted, the particular priest in this story was being a dick. A rude, disrespectful dick. To a woman whose mother had just died. Evidence of his bad behavior extends beyond just the denial of communion (read the story because I'm not going to repeat it all here).

So, yes, sounds like this priest is lacking in the compassion department and could use some refresher courses in being priestly. And I have to wonder if he really denies communion to all those who didn't immediately come out of confession. Does he double-check that no one else has coveted his neighbor's wife or dishonored a parent, etc? Does he refuse to serve women who take birth control?

But toward the gay teacher and the lesbian daughter, honestly, I don't feel all that much sympathy. Because what the hell did they expect? It's not news that the Catholic Church isn't super keen on homosexuality. It's not a new development that they think it's a sin, an abomination, etc. Or that the church opposes gay marriage. So I'm kind of at a loss as to why these two people keep looking to the church for comfort. It seems to me a lot like someone staying in an abusive marriage. He keeps hitting you, but you love him so you keep going back. That's your choice if you want to go back, but you probably shouldn't be all that surprised when he hits you again.

Look, I'm hardly one to talk about continuing to love something or one that doesn't love you back. But I just flat don't get how people can belong to a church and believe in its teachings when the church doesn't want them as they are. Both of the people in these stories are in relationships. Committed, long-term relationships. I can't understand how they can continue to cling to a church who would tell them that the most important relationship of their lives is a sin. But it's hardly a secret that the Catholic Church thinks exactly that. So it's no surprise to me that this man was fired and this woman was denied communion for not living according to church doctrine. Really, what did they expect?

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