Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Professor Charles Reid to U.S. Catholic Institutions on Labor Day: "Stop Firing Gays and Gay-Rights Supporters"

Charles J. Reid

For Labor Day, here was University of St. Thomas Professor of Law Charles J. Reid's recommendation to Catholic institutions, especially Catholic schools: 

Catholic entities, especially Catholic schools, should stop firing gays and gay-rights supporters. After all, the immediate context of Pope Francis' "who am to judge?" came amidst calls to fire Monsignor Battista Ricca from his position at the Vatican Bank after he was revealed to be gay.

As Reid notes, "[L]ast year was a truly atrocious one for firings [i.e., of gay or gay-supporting employees of Catholic institutions in the U.S.]." Reid rehearses the case of Mike Moroski in Cincinnati, Carla Hale in Clintonville, Ohio, and Ken Bencomo in Glendora, California. 

At the New Ways Ministry's Bonding blog site, Francis DeBernardo reminds us of other names that can be added to Reid's list: 

Mark Krolikowski 
Nicholas Coppola 
Erin Macke 
Nick Johns 
Tim Nelson 
William Hudson 

And from the year before, there were the following names, DeBernardo points out:

Nigel Studdart 
“John Doe” 
Trish Cameron 
Michael Fischer 
Steav Bates Congdon 
Jodi O’Brien 
Fr. Owen O’Sullivan, OFM, Cap  
Laine Tadlock

DeBernardo helpfully provides a link to further information for each name listed above; for Fr. Owen O'Sullivan, he directs readers to page five of the link. Click on each name at his posting, and you'll arrive at the documentation to which the name points.

I still remember so vividly the response I got from National Catholic Reporter when I asked them please to consider writing about what Belmont Abbey College did to my partner Steve and me in the early 1990s. NCR told me they wouldn't cover the story, because the firing of gay employees by Catholic institutions (often, as in our cases, with an outright refusal to give a reason for the termination, as happened with me, or with a spurious reason--"financial exigency"--in Steve's case) is so commonplace it's not news at all.

This attitude on the part of major Catholic publications that claim to promote human rights sickened me then, and it continues to sicken me even now, as I remember the response I got from NCR when I contacted them. It gives a free pass to Catholic institutions to engage in grossly discriminatory behavior that undercuts the claim of American Catholicism as a whole to stand on the side of human rights. It also assures that people dismissed from their jobs under the circumstances used to fire Steve and me and many others will not ever find employment in Catholic institutions again, since other Catholic employers have routinely blackballed anyone fired with insinuations that the employee is gay or gay-affirming.

I'm very happy that these cases are now receiving more and more attention, and that lay Catholics like Professor Reid and Francis DeBernardo are holding the feet of Catholic institutions to the fire about these human rights issues, when major players of the Catholic media have refused to do this until very recently.

See this previous Bilgrimage posting on why Professor Reid changed his mind on the issue of same-sex marriage.

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