Carol Platt Liebau: Take It Up With God

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Take It Up With God

Shame on Michelle McCusker. I'm not saying that because she got pregnant out of wedlock -- though that's hardly a behavior that warrants warm approval.

It's because having decided to teach at a Catholic school, having accepted the terms the school offered -- that is, that each teacher must "convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by his or her words and actions" -- and having become pregnant out of wedlock, she's now run to the New York Civil Liberties Union, because she's been fired from her job as a preschool teacher.

Everyone makes mistakes. That doesn't mean that every mistake can (or, sometimes, even should be) costless. The parents who have enrolled their children in the Catholic school in question did so with certain expectations. One was that their children wouldn't be taught by those who signified that they had ignored Catholic teaching (in this case, by having engaged in premarital sex).

The NYCLU is trying to argue that this is gender discrimination -- that schools can't tell if men have engaged in premarital sex (they actually can't tell whether women are doing so, either, if they use birth control). But, hey -- if a male teacher is found to have engaged in premarital sex, it's OK with me that he, too, be fired, especially if he promised to "convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by his or her words and actions". Simple as that.

And as for the argument that it's "unfair" that only women can become pregnant, well, the NYCLU needs to take it up with only one party: God. But as for a school that's actually performing a much-needed service -- attempting to inculcate some sexual morality in children -- the NYCLU should leave it alone.


Blogger wile e coyote said...

It's curious to me that the New York ACLU took the teacher's side of the case.

The teacher's claim is based on violation of a federal statutory entitlement (freedom from workplace discrimination). The school's claim is based on freedom of religion and association, both constitutional claims.

Shouldn't the ACLU be on the school's side? I wonder if ACLU's charter sheds any light on this matter?

3:14 PM  
Blogger David said...

Carol, I strongly agree with your position. No surprise there. But I see this all the time. People don't want to have to deal with the consequences of their behavior. (Oh. Isn't that what _most_ abortions are?) not only that, folks don't want to consider potential costs before acting.

Defense of life, liberty, property must be the bedrock of reason for governments to exist. But living life responsibly and paying the consequences of ones actions are essential to liberty. Property? Again, responsible use or we infringe on others' liberty or property or even endanger their lives.

But, gee, that's not what government seems to be about any more. Now, we seem to be falling ever more toward a state of what Jerry Pournelle often refers to as "anarcho-tyranny" where laws are used to abuse the life, liberty or property of some to the benefit of others.

So t has always been, of course, whenever a ruling elite could twist law to their own benefit, but...

...there always comes a fall.

This trend you touch on here is a large part of an overall trtend that causes me to be concerned for my children's and grandchildren's future. We may well be on the cusp of a state change--in the sense that simple mechanical physics or chemistry speaks of state change. A state change from what is still largely a democratic republic to... something else. (Ah, well, Jerry also counsels that despair is a sin. *Accedie* can result...So I remain concerned and do what I can, where I can.)

5:51 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Church rules, she obeys or goes.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

There is such a thing as "freedom of choice". You are free to choose your actions - do you, or do you not have sex? If you do, you have made your choice, and of course, with the choice comes consequences - one consequence here is pregnancy. The secondary consequence is loss of employment, because in accepting the job, another choice was made, to follow the Catholic faith in behavior.

The school is correct in their decision and the ACLU should butt out! It is unfortunate that the teacher is losing her situation, but she knew the rules and requirements. The ACLU is there to attack religion again - no surprise there - that's what they do. The school is right and they SHOULD be on the school's side, but the school is organized religion, therefore...

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who sees this from a LEGAL standpoint? I am happy to hear that Ms. McCusker is being represented in this unfortunate matter. I was sickened when I saw her press conference and could not withhold myself in speaking out. St. Rose of Lima is an embarrassment, not to mention a source of humiliation for Catholics around the world because of what it has chosen to do to Michelle.

I COULD NOT BELIEVE my ears when I saw her press conference on national television regarding SRL's choice to terminate her because she became pregnant out of wedlock. Ms. McCusker brought up a very clear point on the hypocrisy that is RAMPANT within the Catholic church. Are they teaching their pupils about that? Furthermore, why is it acceptable to terminate a teacher for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, but it is unacceptable to terminate and aid the authorities in the prosecution of priests that molest children? Michelle has committed no civil crime, she has wronged no individual/s. Can we say the same about priests? I think not. How can they preach the value of human life and forgiveness when they aren't willing to do it themselves? In case they don't already know, God has already forgiven Michelle for her sin. I am not sure I can say the same about them.

As a Catholic who was raised very devout, I have gradually lost interest and trust in the ORGANIZED faith and belief system because of stunts like this. As a married woman who married in the Catholic church 4 years ago, I DO NOT agree with the decision Michelle made in getting pregnant out of wedlock. However, I applaud her for coming forward, exercising her FEDERAL rights and helping put an end to discrimination. I was in a very similar situation (not for being pregnant)with a major American corporation of iconic proportions after being terminated from my job when I was hospitalized for major emergency surgery. I know EXACTLY how they have made her feel, what they have put her through, what they are going to put her through, the emotional & psychological damages that she and her family are going to suffer, not to mention the strain this is going to have on her health, possibly jeopardizing her pregnancy. The stress I endured has delayed my recovery by 6 MONTHS and is still ongoing. God have mercy on their soul if anything happens to her baby because of this.

Like it or not, their "fine institution" has screwed up and now is dealing with a legal matter of apocolyptic proportions. When is the Catholic church going to realize that they are NOT above the law in the eyes of the Federal Government? Why is it simple enough for the average person to know that they can print it in the handbook, preach it at meetings, and go to the marches. That doesn't MAKE IT LEGAL!! I can lend someone $100 and charge 800% interest put pen to paper in agreement. Is that legal? No. That is called loan sharking. Same thing. No organization, private or public, is exempt from anti-discrimination laws, including St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church & School. Look at the case law on record regarding this.

When this church loses this case or settles, I hope that they do not subject Catholics to further humiliation and embarrassment by requesting parishioners to donate money to cover the legal expenses & compensatory/pain & suffering that they will be paying Michelle. That is exactly what the Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX did when they were ordered to pay a victim of priest molestation $30M, actually televising the former Archbishop Patrick Flores' pleas for extra cash in the donation plates to defray the cost of the judgement.

I was going to make a holiday donation to my parish but now, not a chance because that would be like playing the lottery...who knows what will happen to it and I will take a chance in paying for their mistake. I would rather donate money for Michelle's counseling.

This was blantant, deliberate, calculated...oh yeah and in case they didn't know...ILLEGAL!!!

If they aren't already doing so, as part of any agreement that is reached, they might want to implement an American Government/History class into their curriculum so their pupils can learn about Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its amendments. If they already have one, then they need to enroll in it themselves so they can learn more about the laws they have broken. This also calls into question the credentials of their administrators and if they even went to college because at the private "religious" institution of higher learning I graduated from American Government and History were both prerequisites. If you ask me Michelle sounds like the only one who passed the course because she knew the law.

Good luck and God bless, but as we say here in Texas,

"Gidder Rope!!" because they have just hung themselves

5:56 PM  
Blogger DC Clipmonkey said...

Having attended Catholic schools, I know for a fact that it would be nearly impossible to find enough teachers if they were required to not have premarital sex. Hell, I don't know any Catholics who haven't had premarital sex, several nuns and priests included. That being said, Ms. McCusker should have walked away with her dignity and gotten a job at a public school.

12:41 PM  

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