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Do you remember the story of the 5th grade teacher in Minnesota who was asked to resign from her position in a Catholic school because of her private views on marriage ?
Well, there is more to the story.
The bishop there actually went to her 5th grade class to talk about how bad marriage truly is:

Cameron said her decision to speak out goes back to a day last fall, when Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston made his annual visit to her class.

"When he came to talk to my fifth graders this year this was the topic, gay marriage and the Minnesota Marriage Amendment," she recalled. "And it ended with a direct call to 'talk to your parents,' kind of 'tell them how to vote and make sure — this is important for the church.' And I was really troubled by that, I was very uncomfortable with that."

Cameron said she felt a fifth grade classroom was not the appropriate place for a political discussion of the marriage amendment, which would change Minnesota's Constitution to allow marriage only between a man and a woman. Cameron said she can't remember another instance in 11 years where a bishop expressed political views in the classroom.

This bishop shows his lack of common sense and decency. I mean, giving a political speech to 5th graders ?

The priest in charge shows his arrogance by responding to a reporter's question about this issue by saying:

St. Joseph's School Superintendent Monsignor Mike Foltz declined an interview request. In an email, he wrote, "It is of divine revelation and what more can I say?
These people are simply morally bankrupt. They are unworthy of any respect whatsoever.

link to the article here

Originally posted to varii on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Look, it was a Catholic school. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, Gooserock, commonmass, VClib

    The bishop has every right to come in and talk Catholic doctrine to students in a Catholic school. That's why the parents send them there in the first place.  

    If this were a public school, I would completely share the outrage.  

    But it's kind of disingenuous to be outraged when a religious school teaches its own religious beliefs to its students.  And when the religious beliefs of a particular church overlap with an issue in the public sphere, the religious institution is allowed to tell the people who voluntarily go to that religious institution what that religion thinks about that issue.  

    The Constitution protects that kind of thing.  However illegitimate you think a particular religious view is.  

    •  Yes, but religions must stay out of politics. (14+ / 0-)

      You could argue that the bishop violated the conditions for the church's tax exempt status by speaking to a religious institution about a specific issue going before the voters.

      If you suggest they were just 5th graders and not voters, than it makes the bishop's speech, pointless and bizarre, unless of course his intention was for the students to repeat the message to their parents.

      •  What the priest did was wrong (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, chimpy

        I'm not going to argue that. But:

        After 11 years teaching fifth graders at St. Joseph's Catholic school in Moorhead, the same-sex marriage issue was on Cameron's mind as she filled out her annual self-evaluation form this spring.

        Part of the evaluation asked teachers to rate how well they support the teachings of the church. In the comment box, Cameron wrote, "I do not agree with all church teachings on a personal level, but I do not bring my own opinions into religion classes."

        That comment led to a meeting with her principal and superintendent where she explained her break with the church on the issue of same-sex marriage. One week later, they asked her to resign.

        She was upset- rightly so- about the priest telling kids to have their parents vote in a particular way. But she was fired because she disagreed with the church about same sex marriage.

        These are two different issues.

        What the priest did was unquestionably wrong. But, as I said below, you lay down with dogs and you get fleas. You can't tell me that she didn't know the church was rigid and uncaring. She's a lifelong Catholic.

        When you go to work for a religious institution, you are required, as a condition of employment, to adhere to the tenets of that faith.

        The priest was clearly wrong. But if you can't live up to the religion that you've chosen, maybe find a new religion instead of continuing on with the one you've got?

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:24:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Completely agree with this. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, VClib
          But if you can't live up to the religion that you've chosen, maybe find a new religion instead of continuing on with the one you've got?
        •  Well, yes and no: (8+ / 0-)
          When you go to work for a religious institution, you are required, as a condition of employment, to adhere to the tenets of that faith.
          In some cases this may be true. My experience as a career sacred musician serving several different denominations, I was never asked to adhere to the tenets of a faith but did have an obligation to, where appropriate, to uphold certain teachings, whether or not I agreed with them. In fact, the only time this was ever evident is when I worked for the Roman church. I was out and gay, but did not take a hostile attitude towards church teachings. Instead, I subverted them quietly, by example. Rather effectively, if I may say so myself. This also applied only when I acted in an official capacity. If I were training lectors or eucharistic ministers, part of my job at the Catholic church, it would have been inappropriate for me to interject my own opposition to church teachings on human sexuality, birth control, and abortion. However, in speaking privately with people, I could and did--when the subject came up--express my private opinions on the matter as a private Catholic (I have since left the church).

          The school should not have fired her for having a difference of opinion on marriage especially since she made it clear that she did not bring her private opinions into her classroom. I suspect if her difference with the church had been on any other point of doctrine aside from sexuality, abortion and birth control, it would have been no big deal. What is sad is that the Roman church has become so obsessed with these three areas that one would think the totality of Roman Catholic teaching is about them, and only them.

          What Bishops like Hoeppner do is to demean, pervert, distort, and diminish the Gospels and two thousand years of Christian tradition. Bishops like Hoeppner and the administration of that school have removed Christ from the centre of Catholicism, and replaced it with the hatred and fear of gays and women, and frankly, it disgusts me. It is the main reason why I made the difficult decision to sever my ties with the Roman church, convert to Anglicanism, and suffer the inevitable excommunication.

          Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Mrs. Romney: Fraud on Horse.

          by commonmass on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:38:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  When I was job-hunting, I came across (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            commonmass, chimpy, luckylizard

            several job postings that one would not know was for a religious institution upon first viewing. But nearly all of them said, in part of the job requirements "must accept Jesus Christ as their savior and adhere to the teachings of ___ church."

            Obviously, I don't know the conditions of Cameron's employment, but I do know that going against the church on anything, whether public or private, is grounds for dismissal.

            I suspect if her difference with the church had been on any other point of doctrine aside from sexuality, abortion and birth control, it would have been no big deal.
            That,  I completely agree with.

            P.S. I am not a crackpot.

            by BoiseBlue on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:51:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In my diocese, we had to sign (0+ / 0-)

              a long document that said we would abide by Church teaching and do nothing to "bring scandal" to the Church.  In light of the priest abuse crap, that seems perversely funny....

              -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

              by luckylizard on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:55:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Given that something like 95% of Catholics (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          don't agree with or follow Catholic doctrine on birth control, I'm guessing that you're saying 19/20ths of Catholics should 'maybe find a new religion'?  Particularly when the religion tells its adherents that if there is doctrine that they cannot follow in good conscience, they should not follow it?

          Should someone who disagrees with Congress, or the President, or the Supreme Court 'maybe find another country'?  No, they should agitate for change in the system.  The problem with the Catholic Church is similar, just substitute bishops, cardinals, and the Pope.  The Church has forgotten that it serves the laiety, not the other way around.

          •  There's a key difference... (0+ / 0-)

            ...between the United States government and the Roman Catholic Church.

            Unlike Congress or the President (and, very indirectly, the Supreme Court), the people of the Roman Catholic Church don't get to vote for bishops, cardinals, or the Pope.

            That said, for both purely self-serving reasons (I'm dating an Episcopal postulant) and more altruistic ones, I do think that people of the progressive ilk who are finding it more and more difficult to reconcile their values with continuing to support the rightward shift of the Roman Catholic Church might find their consciences less conflicted in a church that shares their values, like the Episcopal Church.

            (And yes, we Episcopalians do elect our Bishops.)

            "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

            by JamesGG on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:28:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I do think they should (0+ / 0-)

            Until the Catholic church realizes that it's not the be all, end all of religion, it will continue to abuse its power.

            And y'all can say that it's better to agitate from within, but I can't say I've seen anything change in all of my life. The church does not change. The members stick around because of tradition. If they don't like what the church does, leave it.

            Or do you believe that I should have stayed in the Mormon church instead of leaving it?

            And churches are different from government. I know the Catholic church has a hard time acknowledging that, but it is a very simple concept.

            P.S. I am not a crackpot.

            by BoiseBlue on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 04:12:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course churches are different from government.. (0+ / 0-)

              ...but in many ways, they're very similar.  Actually, now that I think of it, the Catholic Church -is- a government, since it reigns over Vatican City.

              I think the Catholic church is reaching a tipping point that'll either lead to serious internal reorganization, or a schism.  The laiety is really starting to realise that the administration of the Church about as interested in running the Church for the greater good and the Glory of Christ as the Republicans are in running the government for the greater good of all its citizens.  

              Hell, the institution of the Church is attacking one of its best and most well-regarded components: the nuns, who actually -do- most of the heavy front-line lifting when it comes to actually feeding the poor, comforting the sick, and clothing the destitute.  That's not only pissing off the laiety, but significant portions of the clergy as well.

              There's also the fact that there's the instution of the Church, that is, the buraucracy and the priests, and then there's the Church, the congregation of the faithful.  I see no reason for people to abandon the Church when it's the instution that's gone insane.  This may seem like a quibbling distinction, but it's not; the Catholocism of the vast chunk of the laiety is different from what the institution of the Church espouses, so there's already a disconnect there.  That's why I think there could be a schism, as both groups of those who consider themselves 'real catholics' decide to seperate.

              •  I just find it amusing (0+ / 0-)

                That Catholics are the only people who really believe the church will change, despite all evidence to the contrary. And they do this, no less, all while remaining part of the church.

                it's either going to split in two or it's not. And here's a hint: It's not as long as people keep saying "well, it'll change. Until then I'll keep sitting in this pew every Sunday."

                It's not going to change. It's just not.

                P.S. I am not a crackpot.

                by BoiseBlue on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:19:40 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Um, churches can and do change. (0+ / 0-)

                  I give you the Episcopal church in America, which used to be fairly conservative and set in its ways. They now have gay bishops, female bishops (and the current leader is female) and support marriage equality.

                  SOMETIMES it works.

                  Will it work with Catholicism? I kinda doubt it. There was a lot of change int he churcn under John XXIII and after Vatican II--then the conservatives took over.

                  The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

                  by irishwitch on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 08:04:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  That is just wrong. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, VClib

        There is nothing -- nada -- that says "religions must stay out of politics."  

        A church is a 501(c)(3) organization.  As such, it can't lobby office holders.  Nor can it directly support a candidate for office.  But the IRS recognizes that a religious organization has every right to take a position on issues, including a voter proposition.

        So, yes, if it's a voter proposition on something like marriage, a priest has an absolute First Amendment right to say, in a Catholic Church or school, the Church is against this and you should vote against it.  As long as it doesn't involve a candidate for office, a 509(c)(3) absolutely can take positions on political issues.  

        •  Thanks for correcting that. (0+ / 0-)

          However, it's going to be interesting to watch and see who steps over that line in endorsing Romney. Someone, somewhere, is going to do it in a way which hits the news.

          Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Mrs. Romney: Fraud on Horse.

          by commonmass on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:43:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Amen. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tgrshark13, MadRuth

          I wish people realised that the tax exemptions that most religious institutions enjoy is not a right but a privelage and a contract, granted on the theory that Churches are good for the areas they serve, and provide various services and do various good works.  By applying for the tax exemption, the Church willingly agrees to limits to what it can do in exchange for not having to pay tax.  Any church can say anything it wants about politics, within reason; they can tell people to vote for Obama or Romney or to write-in Mickey Mouse.   They just can't get a tax exemption if they do that.

      •  Not with the IRS, you couldn't argue that. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Or, rather, you'd be perfectly free to argue that to the IRS—but since religious organizations are allowed to take positions on specific issues going before the voters, including voter initiatives, without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status, they wouldn't really do anything about it.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:20:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  pollwatcher - that may be your view (0+ / 0-)

        but it is certainly not the law or any IRS regulation or in the Constitution. The black civil rights movement was financed and led by black southern clergy and their churches. That was all legal.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 06:41:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A world of difference.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldDragon, Gemina13, allergywoman

      Teaching at a religious school about doctrine is much different than telling kids to tall their parents they must vote for an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution.

      Saying gay marriage is a sin...ok
      Saying tell your parents to vote to ensure that the government denies the right to marry to gay

      They violated law and should lose their tax exempt status for jumping into politics.

      Russ Feingold is a force to be reckoned with

      by HoosierLiberal on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:23:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just wrong. Look at the IRS statement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        on 501(c)(3) organizations.

        They cannot support candidates for office.  They absolutely can tell people what they think about issues and voter propositions.   They cannot do "political campaign interventions" which the IRS defines as opposing or supporting a candidate.  

        •  For now, courts are calling that lobbying (0+ / 0-)

          501(c)3 uses the phrase "political campaign intervention," and courts have been interpreting that narrowly to mean only campaigns for individual candidates. Campaigns for ballot initiatives are being called legislation, so the intervention into those campaigns is being treated as lobbying.

          Lobbying has its own limits, but it's harder to get a full enough picture of all of a church's lobbying activities. So, it's harder to prove those activities "substantial" in comparison to the church's overall activities. Until ballot initiative campaigns are treated more like the political campaigns they really are, churches will keep exploiting this loophole.

          Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

          by chimpy on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 03:15:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Not again. (4+ / 0-)

      You seem to have a habit of defending "rights" of the Catholic church/bishops/clergy.
      Fine. As I have responded to you before, I have no problem with the bishop's rights.
      But as I point out, time and time again, that you have to seriously question the bishop's common sense when he spends his pastoral visit by talking to a bunch of 13 year olds about marriage equality, when they can't even vote for 5 years.
      And to expect their parents to listen to their kids about how to vote on anything is just plain stupid.
      Oh, I guess I just called the bishop stupid. So be it.

      •  That's fine if you don't think it worked (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        as the bishop wanted it to. If all you are saying is that he wasted his time, that you don't think it will mean anything when those kids come home and tell their parents that the bishop came and talked to them about this, I have no problem with that.  

        The bishop probably thinks that he will influence some of them to go vote, when the kids go home and tell their parents that he took the time to come to the school and talk to them.

        I have no idea if in that particular school, he made a difference or not.  I only know that I support his constitutional rights, so I'm not outraged that he did that.  

        •  As a former teacher, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          commonmass, allergywoman, chimpy, MadRuth

          even once in a Catholic school where the bishop visited once a year (the norm), I am saying that I think it is pretty warped to use this kind of visit to make such a political statement.
          I remember when the bishop came to our classroom (high school), he would chat with the kids about what interested
          them. In those days, bishops did not need to use their office as political weapons.

    •  His employer gets special treatment by the IRS (0+ / 0-)

      His employer gets donations subsidized by income tax deductions, and takes government contracts to perform social work. Depending on the rules and availability, his employer may even redeem school vouchers for part of his salary. In many areas home and workplace are even excluded from the property tax rolls. This is how the government bends over backward not to interfere with religion, as if having religious businesses play by the same rules as other businesses is interference.

      The one concession that the church has to make, to receive that favored treatment? That they stay out of politics. This bishop puts his employer's gravy train at risk when this happens ...

      "And it ended with a direct call to 'talk to your parents,' kind of 'tell them how to vote and make sure — this is important for the church.' ..."

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:56:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a really hard time being sympathetic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Ice Blue, tgrshark13

    towards people who work for an institution like the Catholic church and then are shocked - SHOCKED- that the church would double-cross them.

    Goose, gander, all that.

    And I know this is an unpopular opinion here, but still...

    I just said in another thread that people who cannot do their jobs should not have their jobs. This applies to pharmacists who tremble at the thought of filling a prescription, and private school teachers who don't want to adhere to the tenets of the church.

    To be clear, I think what the church did was shitty. But Cameron has to understand, after all these years of being Catholic, that the church does shitty things all the time.

    I have a hard time mustering sympathy for people who go along with the church on all the shitty things they do until the shitty thing is done to them. What do they expect?

    (Set mojo bar to four. I'll probably get dinged for this comment.)

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 12:59:00 PM PDT

    •  I want to expand on this because the diary (0+ / 0-)

      is kind of unclear. No offense to the diarist.

      What happened is two different things.

      A) The priest gave a political sermon in her class. That was wrong, no dispute there. (Although I'm more than willing to right it by taxing Catholic schools.)

      B) Later, and mostly unrelated, Cameron wrote in her self-eval that she disagreed with the church about same sex marriage. That is what got her fired.

      Now, let me tell another story.

      An acquaintance of mine worked for a private religious school. She and her husband also attended the church it was affiliated with and supported it within their means.

      They knew of a few women who had been fired because it came to light that they had had abortions and/or used birth control.

      Being more enlightened people, the woman and her husband disagreed with the church and with the firings, but she continued to work there.

      The acquaintance later had the misfortune of a tubal pregnancy. They had that corrected with a relatively simple medical procedure. Problem was, her employer/church  found out about the procedure and fired her for having an abortion.

      Now, do I think that her firing was egregious and idiotic? Yes. Did I have sympathy for her? Well.... not so much. She'd spent a lot of time in that organization and she knew how it functioned. She didn't have a problem supporting it when it was other women being persecuted. Oh, sure, she disagreed but she kept her mouth shut.

      Why did she keep her mouth shut? Because she knew it would cost her her job.

      Yeah, it sucks what happened to her. But she knew it was coming. And when people support policies and practices like this with complicit silence, how aggrieved can they really be when those same policies bite them in the ass?

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:11:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They should have their tax exemption struck. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, figurine, varii

    Trying to indoctrinate kids into conservative political doctrines is not permitted under our Constitutional limits. Nor should it be.

    •  Sure, it's permitted within Constitutional limits. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, VClib

      Churches and church officials are perfectly free to take positions on issues, including on ballot initiatives, without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:23:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  While the Bishop certainly has the right (4+ / 0-)

    to speak on church doctrine--in fact, as part of the Magisterium, he has a duty to teach on faith and morals and doctrine--I think it clearly crosses the line into political activity. Had he said simply "this is what the church teaches regarding homosexuality and marriage", well, that's his job. Telling the kids to "tell their parents how to vote", in my opinion, crosses the line.

    I have heard any number of Episcopal clergy over the years walk right up to the line of political speech from the pulpit, and it has made me uncomfortable even though I agreed very strongly with what they were saying. I am all for the right of clergy and bishops to reinforce the teachings of their church--especially the social justice teachings of my church or any church for that matter--but political speech and specifically telling people how to vote is a no-no. That is not protected, it's a violation of their tax exempt status, and should always be severely punished.

    It is my opinion that the Bishop engaged in directly political activity which is not protected. The diocese should be penalized by the tax authorities for this.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Mrs. Romney: Fraud on Horse.

    by commonmass on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:08:40 PM PDT

  •  You can't talk to kids about sex! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, varii, OldDragon, allergywoman

    Unless you are telling them how certain kinds of sex make the Daddy God very sad.

  •  Firing her for disagreeing with the church... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yeah, who knew Catholic leaders were so "either you're with us or against us" types. Apparently, it has become doctrine that you must agree with the church 100% or be fired. I know that is what Jesus would've wanted

    Russ Feingold is a force to be reckoned with

    by HoosierLiberal on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:13:34 PM PDT

    •  I worked for a large RC parish (4+ / 0-)

      (I was director of music and liturgy, a full time position) in Houston. The director of religious education was personally pro-choice and pro-gay and refused to hang a picture of John Paul II in her office, opting instead for John XXIII. She was also a devout Catholic. There was no way she was going to get fired, she'd been there for years. Not every Catholic leader is ready to fire employees for disagreeing with some points of church doctrine. This Bishop Hoeppner is fringy even as Catholic bishops go.

      Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Mrs. Romney: Fraud on Horse.

      by commonmass on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:21:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  'Now listen Tommy, (5+ / 0-)

    you must tell your parents to vote the way I tell them. Just don't tell them what I have been doing to you in the cloak room.'

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 01:16:22 PM PDT

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