Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Late Note on Indiana and Discrimination in Area Schools

I know that a lot of people have been talking about Indiana's actions to try and make it okay to discriminate against people for "religious" reasons.  This is something that our own state has and will continue to deal with.  You may remember SB 67 that was thrown around in our legislative body last year or SB 128 that actually received some hearings before it was tabled to death.  This type of thinking in South Dakota is nothing new to us.  As Cory Heidelberger pointed out in 2014,
But South Dakota's law and these proposals from our legislators make our state look bad. SB 128 has drawn negative out-state attention.
The idea that I do not have to sell you cake because I disagree with your lifestyle choice and then use religion as the justification is wrong.  My biggest issue with these attitudes is  the selectivity of what biblical mandates one wishes to follow shows the hypocrisy of those making the argument.  Church's that say they cannot allow a gay couple to marry are quiet about two divorced individuals marrying even though that is a bit clearer in the New Testament:  Matthew 5: 31-32, Mark 10: 2-12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:2-3, and 1 Corinthians 7: 11-13 as just a few examples.

If a church chooses not to wed someone because it violates its religious beliefs, then I am okay with that church saying that it can not perform a religious service evoking the name of God in the process when it goes specifically against that institution.  There is no such flower institution or cake institution or pizza institution that has certain religious belief structures.  Nor should that church be able to dictate the actions of a different institution.

I think that this is true when it comes to persons working for an institution, even a religious institution, that is performing tasks that one's lifestyle would not contradict the institutions fundamental belief structure.  Recently, I have been made aware of two different Catholic schools that have either refused to hire or are firing a person simply because that person is living in a same-sex relationship.  

The first case involves a young speech teacher and coach at Skutt Catholic school in Omaha, Nebraska.  In this situation, the teacher did not have his contract renewed simply because of his sexual orientation and the fact that he and his partner got engaged:
English teacher and Speech coach, Matt Eledge, told the WOWT 6 News Team that he will likely lose his job because of his sexual orientation. The women who started the petition are his assistant speech coaches and former students, Kacey Hughes and Megan Cable. The two now attend UNL.
In another situation, just next door in Iowa, a teacher that was verbally told that he would be getting a position was told that wouldn't happen because a social media search indicated that he was in a committed relationship with a man.  The reasoning given:
Bishop Richard Pates is the leader of the Des Moines Diocese. He said that McCubbin wasn't denied the job because he's gay, but due to the openness of his sexual orientation. 
“We accept everybody, we love everybody. Everybody is always welcome within the context of the Catholic Church,” Pates said. 
So in this person's mind, it is a sin to be who you are and let anyone know about that.  In both situations, it would be up to the schools to prove that they had no one working there that was remarried from a divorce, no one that is in a relationship and not married, or a plethora of other sins.  These men were not teaching biblical studies.  They did not advocate a homosexual lifestyle to their students.  They simply wanted to challenge young minds in either speech/English or social studies.  

The Indiana law was wrong.  What the Catholic schools in the area are doing is also wrong.  I would urge my fellow speech teachers and coaches to think long and hard before attending a tournament that is held at one of these schools.  Invite them and treat their students with grace, because the students had nothing to do with the actions of the school, but do not endorse the actions with your entry fees.

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