Monday, March 15, 2010

More Double Standards: D.C. Catholic Charities Implements New Hiring Standards

The double standard in how the Catholic church treats its heterosexual sinners and its gay ones grows ever grosser and more evident--even as right-wing Catholics try to deny that any discrimination exists.

A week or so ago, it was Archbishop Chaput of Denver excluding a child from a Catholic pre-school in his diocese, on the ground that the child's lesbian parents were contravening Catholic teaching.

As one critic after another has noted, Catholic schools have never excluded children of heterosexual parents who have divorced and remarried, of heterosexual parents who may not even be legally married, of heterosexual parents practicing contraception.

It's all, and exclusively, about the gays.

And now Michael O'Loughlin is reporting at America blog that Catholic Charities in D.C. has just added to its contract for new employees a  stipulation that the employees will not they will not "violate the principles or tenets" of the church.  O'Loughlin notes that the addition of this new clause to the contract for Catholic Charities employees in D.C. comes right on the heels of D.C.'s implementation of same-sex marriage, which the D.C. Catholic diocese bitterly contested.

And so questions immediately arise about the double standard.  O'Loughlin writes,

Will Catholic Charities employ divorced and remarried individuals? Those who donate to political candidates whom the church hierarchy opposes? What about a person who has expressed some private skepticism about a church teaching or practice? Is this a way to silence critics? These are not light questions, and Catholic Charities would do well to take additional time to examine the possible consequences of such language.

I doubt seriously that Catholic Charities will lift a finger to investigate the lives of heterosexual employees in the way it scrutinizes the lives of those who are gay.  This behavior has been going on in Catholic institutions for a long time, and it's grossly unjust.

It plays a large role in the choice many of us have made to distance ourselves from Catholic institutions.  When I was first given a terminal contract by a Catholic college in North Carolina and then my partner Steve received one two years down the road for completely specious reasons, we were informed that the church can't have employees in Catholic colleges whose "lifestyle" appears to violate Catholic teachings.

One of those telling us this was a divorced Catholic woman.  Who was dating a divorced Catholic man.  In the same college.

She was oblivious to the double standard and what it says about the real reason the Catholic church continues to bash its gay members at every possible juncture: it's not about upholding Catholic teaching or maintaining purity in Catholic sexual ethics.

It's about prejudice.  It's about discrimination.  It's about that volatile word that liberals don't like to talk or think about--hate.

And until Catholics of the center begin to wake up and recognize this, and demand better of the church, the hate will continue to play out, because 1) there's no real price for the church to pay, legally and economically, or even in terms of its image, in many quarters, when it trades in hate; and 2) the gay bashing actually brings perks to the church in the form of increased donations from some powerful groups intent on continuing to make gay citizens second-class citizens.

(Plus, the controversy these actions stir up keeps the focus away from the pope and his role in the sex-abuse scandals . . . and if a few folks happen to get bashed while we keep the heat off the Holy Father, then . . . .)