Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Yet Another Queer Catholic Teacher Hounded Out of Job: Why This Situation Will NOT Change

As neo-Nazi groups celebrate the killing of a gay Jewish student (and as white supremacist hate groups make tremendous inroads on college campuses), where are the churches, the defenders of the least among us, the defenders of human rights and the conscience of societies as they decry prejudice, discrimination, and violence?

It didn't take long for an answer to this question to emerge: as Carol Kuruvilla reported yesterday, 

A lesbian softball coach for a Michigan Catholic school was forced to resign after her employer found out she wanted to get married. 
Kristen Nelson, a coach at West Catholic High School for five years, revealed on Friday that a "parent concern" about her relationship with her girlfriend had recently provoked a series of "unpleasant" conversations with school administrators and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. Nelson said that the Catholic leaders made it clear that if she got married, she wouldn't be able to continue coaching for the school. 
So Nelson decided to resign.  

And, of course, there's the usual stuff and nonsense from Catholic officials about how they "love" and "esteem" and "value" Kristen Nelson, and don't "judge" her. While that's precisely what they're doing: they're judging her and her relationship, turning her into a second-class human being and second-class church member, who doesn't have the same rights heterosexual employees of Catholic institutions take for granted.

The right to job security.

The right to be treated fairly.

The right to a wage to sustain herself and all those dependent on her.

The right to healthcare coverage.

The right to be esteemed by the community around her for what she has accomplished.

The right to exercise her talents in a communitarian setting, and use her gifts to better the lives of others.

The right to be valued as a human being with educational attainments, gifts, talents that build community.

We have known for years now that 90%+ of heterosexually married Catholics use contraceptives. They are violating the very same magisterial teaching that is used to tell queer Catholics they are second-class human beings.

But heterosexual employees of Catholic institutions are never hounded and policed in the way that LGBTQ ones are.

As all this continues to happen over and over again, I have to repeat a point I fear I make ad nauseam here: a large part of the problem is that so-called "liberal" and "progressive" Catholics, Catholics with more influence than the rest of us have to change things, the people writing for Catholic journals and teaching in Catholic universities — these Catholics continue to stand by in total silence.

They're willing to allow this to go on and on. 

They're willing to put up with it — because it is not touching their lives as heterosexual Catholics.

And the advocacy groups within the Catholic church which say they want to change all of this are equally a part of the problem: they're willing to put up with the clericalist notion of the church that automatically weeds out of their conversations large numbers of former Catholics, LGBTQ Catholics, feminist Catholics, who have been defined out of the Catholic conversation by the clericalist definition of the church.

The conversation spaces created by LGBTQ advocacy groups within the Catholic church are painfully parochial, stifling, intellectual stutifying, highly controlled, missing the point because many voices these groups need to hear and include, if these groups wish to be really effective, are not invited to their "Catholic" table. 

Not a thing will change as long as all of this remains as it is now.

(The tweet at the head of the posting is a response someone following my Twitter feed made when I shared the story about what happened to Kristen Nelson earlier today.)

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