Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mothers of Girls Excluded from Boulder Catholic School Tell Their Story: You Are No Longer Accepted Here

In what I just posted, I mention that National Catholic Reporter has just published an interview by Tom Fox with the two women whose children have been told they are unwelcome at a Catholic school in Boulder, Colorado.  This is an exclusive interview.

As the two mothers explain, they have sought to do everything possible to shield their daughters (it turns out there are two girls, not one son as some media outlets had reported) from media scrutiny and damaging culture-war battles.  And so they have been reluctant to seek media attention, now that they’ve been told that their three-year old and five-year old daughters are unwelcome at Sacred Heart of Jesus elementary school in Boulder.

They’re going public now with NCR because a teacher at the school contacted the media immediately after the couple were informed that their children were no longer welcome in the school.  And because much that is being said, particularly in some Catholic circles, about the situation and the women’s motivation is flatly wrong.  They want to set the record straight.

The women are both physicians.  They’re Catholic by birth and belong to the parish in which their children were going to school.  They attend Mass weekly with their children in the parish.  Though they have not hidden the fact that they are a lesbian couple, they have also not sought to make an issue of this.  They are not activists, and have not wanted their children caught in the crossfire of the culture war.

Their daughters had been attending the school, happily so and seemingly with acceptance on the part of classmates, teachers, the school administration, and the parish administrators.  And so the couple were blindsided when, a few weeks ago, the school’s principal called one of the mothers into her office and the following happened:

“She sat me down and told me we were no longer accepted here any more.”

And that, in a nutshell, is the story.

It’s not, as many Catholics who are gloriously happy about Archbishop Chaput’s courageous stand for Catholic values have been proposing, a situation in which a politically aggressive gay couple decided to send their children to a Catholic church just to make waves.  It’s not, as these Catholics have been suggesting, a matter of an activist gay couple who aren’t even interested in Catholicism pushing their children on a Catholic institution.

It’s a situation of two professional Catholic women who attend Mass regularly and have been quietly raising their children in a parish in the faith in which they themselves were raised, and are suddenly told:

You are no longer accepted here any more.

Precisely what the church has been telling all of its gay and lesbian members for some time now, in other words.  A shameful, profoundly unChristian message that cannot be justified as holding the line against sin, until the church decides to treat its non-gay and lesbian sinners the same way it is treating its gay and lesbian members.

Until the church informs those sinners,

You are no longer accepted here any more,

it is impossible to conclude anything but this about the church’s attitude towards and treatment of its LGBT members at this point in history: that attitude and treatment are driven by prejudice.  And by hate.

And as with any social movement of hate, the ultimate agenda is to give this message to an entire class of human beings already susceptible to discrimination and hate in society at large:

You are no longer accepted here any more.

In continuing down this path, the church undercuts the most fundamental affirmations it makes about itself, as an institution that is about healing, love, justice, salvation, and communion.

The graphic is a sign from a German village in 1935 informing Jews that they are not wanted in this village.