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Morality Clauses: I Have a Problem

June 25, AD2014 113 Comments

I really want to work for the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I grew up in a family that occasionally attended PETA events, usually on Christmas (to protest the abuse of the enslaved reindeer, forced to haul an obese septuagenarian around the world in a single night) and Easter (to protest the abuse of chickens forced to sacrifice their eggs to the masses, not to mention the horrors of eating bunny effigies).

I have fond memories of the time spent at PETA events with my family, which is why I’d like to become an employee of the organization. The problem is that as an adult I’ve sort of strayed from integral PETA beliefs. It’s because of bacon, honestly. I took one bite and I fell in love. I could probably go egg- and dairy-free without too much trouble, but giving up bacon? I just can’t do that. I can’t deny my love for bacon, even for PETA.

It shouldn’t be a problem, though, right? After all, surely they don’t expect everyone who works for them to share their beliefs. They have no right to dictate what other people eat and wear on their own time.

Yet, when I visited their website to look for open positions, I saw this statement:

Do you have to be vegetarian or vegan to work for PETA/FSAP?
Some of our positions do require you to be vegan (e.g., all campaign positions, fundraising and development positions, and media spokesperson positions). However, many positions do not require this. We look for compassionate people to work here.

I’m interested in education, so it’s likely any job I applied for would have the requirement of being vegan or vegetarian. How can they do that? How can they force you to hold to their moral and ethical beliefs just because you work for them? Why can’t I be a spokesperson for vegetarian/veganism while still eating bacon when I’m off the clock? If any of my coworkers or students see me eating bacon, I can just explain that what I do off the clock is my own business, and there’s no contradiction whatsoever between eating BLTs at home while telling the public that the slaughter of pigs for meat is cruel and inhumane.

Actually, a better idea would be to persuade my coworkers and students that bacon should be an exception to the rule. All I have to do is explain that my civil rights are being violated if I’m forced to work for an employer who expects me to abstain from bacon as a condition of employment, since I don’t personally believe that eating bacon is unethical or immoral. After all, a morality clause in my contract should be null and void if it violates my personal beliefs. I have to follow my conscience (and I should have no negative consequences for doing so).

I tried telling my plan to a friend, and she gave me a funny look. I asked what was wrong, and she made several points:

  • I could easily work for an organization other than PETA if I want to eat bacon.
  • I wouldn’t be forced to work for PETA – it would be my free choice to do so. If I got into the job knowing that I am supposed to abstain from bacon, it would be unethical of me to eat bacon or to encourage others to do so, whether I was on or off the clock.
  • PETA’s requirement is to ensure that people who are dedicated to their mission are employed by them, since they only want people who are genuinely passionate about their cause to be in charge of communicating their message to others.
  • If I voluntarily signed an agreement as a condition of hire to be a vegan or a vegetarian at all times, and and then I was caught eating bacon or supporting others who eat bacon, it’d be a violation of my contract and a fireable offense.

I don’t really understand her reasoning, but then, she’s one of those weird Catholics who think that Catholic schoolteachers should abide by the morality clauses in their contracts. What does she know?

About the Author:

JoAnna was baptized, raised, and married in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America but converted to Catholicism in May 2003, on G.K. Chesterton's birthday. She has five terrific kids here on earth, two saints in heaven praying for her, and a wonderful husband of 12 years who supports her in all things. By day, she is a content editor for a global information company; by night, she enjoys defending the Catholic faith online (in between her duties as chief cook and bottle washer for La Casa Wahlund). She blogs at http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com.

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  • Bill S

    JoAnna, I see what you did there. You, as a carnivore seeking employment at PETA would be analogous to someone in a same sex marriage seeking employment at a Catholic school. You both would be required to agree to certain rules and could be fired if you violated those rules.

    That’s just the way people at PETA and the Catholic Church are. It is best to stay away from them and not give them a chance to impose their intolerant ideologies on you.

    As far as it being legal to fire them if they violate the rules, I would say it is unless they enforce their rules selectively in order to discriminate. Sexual orientation is now a class that cannot be discriminated against. If the school allows its employees to use contraceptives on their own time but does not allow them to marry a same sex partner, that kind of selective enforcement might be judged to be discriminatory.

    • Mandi

      Bill S, people have been fired from Catholic schools for a variety of reasons, including in vitro fertilization and using birth control, those are simply less visible than being married to a same-sex partner. It’s not a matter of “enforcing selectively”, simply a matter of visibility. Most people don’t know if someone is contracepting or has used IVF unless they talk about it openly, whereas it’s much more apparent if someone is married to a person of the opposite sex.

    • Mandi

      Oops, I meant “same sex”. Although it is pretty obvious if someone is married to a person of the opposite sex too!

    • Bill S

      Yes. I understood what you meant. I think the world does the best that it can with the Catholic Church. We all know where it stands on controversial issues and that it’s not going to yield to political or public pressure. It’s going to cry foul (or persecution) when judgements and laws go against it. We all need to learn to adapt.

    • Catholic & loving it

      Mr. Bill S, Quit trying to deny the Catholic Church of her religious freedom & employment rights. You’ve got absolutely no right to tell Holy Church who to employ. If you own have a private business you can run it as you wish, but don’t tell the Church how to run its organizations. It’s disrespectful. No one (especially non-Catholics, Anti-Catholics, or heretics) is entitled to work at Catholic &/or Church-owned facilities. ‘Tis common sense. And, yes, employees at Catholic schools who use artificial Birth Control (and are unrepentant & continue to arrogantly promote its use) should ALSO be fired & in several cases, they already have. Peace.

    • Bill S

      employees at Catholic schools who use artificial Birth Control (and are unrepentant & continue to arrogantly promote its use) should ALSO be fired

      Is it if they use it or if they arrogantly promote its use? If they use it and keep it private should it be a “don’t ask, don’t tell”? If it is, then firing a married gay should be discrimination.

    • Catholic & loving it

      Both. The Church gives them a chance to repent but if you insist on living grave mortal sin (Homosexual “marriage”, promotion of baby-killing aka abortion, Birth Control use &/or promotion, IVF, Divorce-&-remarry, Heresy) while being an employee of a Catholic facility, then the Church has absolutely every right AND Responsibility to fire such employee. Fire all those arrogant unrepentant school employees who don’t respect the Magisterium, Dogmas & Doctrines of Holy Mother Church. We need Catholic school on fire for the Catholic Faith & Christ Jesus – not lukewarms.

    • Bill S

      Parents send their kids to Catholic schools because they know they will get a good education. They (most of them) don’t care about those things that you choose to take exception to. The idea of firing a teacher for the reasons you cite is absolutely ludicrous and it hardly ever happens. There have been only a handful of occasions where religious fanaticism on the part of the employer has resulted in wrongful termination. These things don’t happen that often in a modern society.

    • Bill S

      I think you will find Catholic schools to be leaning more to the mainstream and less to the orthodox extreme which is good in one sense but might be problematic if it turns out that they are lax on some requirements for their employees but more strict on others. In one sense, a school that would tolerate teachers who use birth control or are remarried without an annulment would be considered to be tolerant and progressive. But that might make it harder to demonstrate that they are not discriminating if they fire a gay married teacher. On the other hand, if they are by the book on all Catholic teachings, then it would be difficult to prove discrimination if they fire a gay married teacher.

  • Phil Dzialo

    Well, this may come as a surprise, but I agree with PETA’s requirement and also as a basis for dismissal. I also agree with morality clauses as a condition of employment in a Roman Catholic school and dismissal as a consequence of violating the contract. After all when you voluntarily become a member of any organization, you must follow all the important rules and getting fired is a natural consequence of not following the rules…you do represent the values of your employer/organizatoin around the clock. That why Pope Francis fired (excommunicated) the Mafia…they did not follow the rules.
    My only problem with my belief and apparently yours is consistency and equality of application to all members. Now here’s the problem: members of Catholic religious congregations (priests, brothers and sisters) take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience; regular priests vow celibacy….they choose the organization and following the rules is a condition of continuing employment. When you break the rules you should be fired.
    Now, Marciel, founder of the Legionnaries, fathered children, abused seminarians, did drugs and was relegated to penance and prayer…not defrocked. Bishop Dupree of Springfield abused two teens, was indicted by a grand jury and fled the state…not fired or defrocked. Cardinal Law of Boston enabled years of shifting of pedophiles from parish to parish…hundred of cases admittedly so was given a promotion to archpriest at the Vatican. In the Vatican’s report to the UN Committee on Torture in May, Archbishop Tomasi reported that over 3400 priests were referred for disciple to the Vatican since 2004 and 848 were defrocked. Many, many others were not referred to the Vatcan…priests, bishops, cardinals…all over the world. They violated their contract with a “morality clause” but still get paid, cared for and work for the Church.
    Morality clauses should be in place and getting fired is legitimate…only if equally applied to all members of the organization who make the promise…no one should be exempt. Agreed? Otherwise, requiring laypeople who work for the Church to be moral according to Catholic norms under penalty of termination and not requiring the same of clergy, etc. would be hypocritical. Agreed? As we olde people say, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

    • Winefred

      Phil, you seem to think that the only disciplinary or punitive measure that can be taken against a priest is defrocking. This is not so — and I think defrocking is inappropriate, simply because it looses the man into the world, where the Church no longer has any responsibility for him. I would like to see these men (genuinely guilty ones) transferred to mission assignments, where they could (eventually, possibly) say Mass for people otherwise deprived of the Sacraments, and work themselves to exhaustion under the close watch of more virtuous superiors. The Catholic Church is the world’s largest provider of charitable service, and there are plenty of situations where a transgressing priest could save his own soul (an important consideration) in situations where one is far too busy for the sexual self-indulgence of their former lives. Or there is the option set for Fr. Marcial Maciel, that of penance and prayer, which, under the right conditions, could also be an appropriate discipline — imagine such a man facing up to his sins for the rest of his life under a regime of monastic simplicity and silence? The Church has a duty of love to all its members, including the sinners, and I often wonder about the consequences of merely throwing out offending priests — even if they go to prison, they are likely to be released at some point (unless they are victims of that repugnant and utterly contra-judicial fate known as “prison justice”), and then what? Naturally, where there is evidence of criminal wrong-doing these men must be subject to the law, and anyone who has covered for them is an accessory. What happened with Cardinal Law was (still is) a scandal, but as outcomes go for those in his condition, it was a rather unique case. Cardinal Mahony received no such sinecure after a career of similar, and even more cynical, acts — he got a humiliating public whack from his successor (although he seems to have refused to accept the consequences, and engaged in blog-whining about it). I maintain that both these men should have been officially silenced, shipped off to the Third World, and quietly worked themselves into the grave. Only the Pope has the right to order this — we’re still waiting. But defrocking would just turn them into free agents, since they have obviously learned no shame. As to your point about morality clauses — that they are only legitimate if they never skip over any candidate — in an ideal world it would work this way. But in the real world, many sins go unpunished. That’s why we believe in Particular and Final Judgments, where every sinner gets his just desserts. Just because some have escaped consequences on earth, doesn’t mean that people who DO get caught and punished (like the Catholic teachers who violate their employment conditions) are somehow being treated unfairly. If they broke their agreement, they broke it, and termination is just. We trust in God to deal with those who slithered out of consequences. But, at the end of the day, I would have to ask Ms. Wahlund how any practicing Catholic could channel her protective impulses towards animals into working with an organization as maniacally anti-human as PETA. Their clear rejection of the innate value of human life, and its supreme dignity among living creatures due to its unique possession of an immortal soul, would seem antithetical to Catholic teaching. Surely there are other ways to support humane treatment of animals without betraying one’s faith and joining forces with these extremists.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      Believe me, I have no interest in working for PETA, nor would I recommend that any practicing Catholic do so! I was using their hiring practices as an example – I am demonstrating that some secular organizations have a similar “morality clause” to that of Catholic schools.

    • Phil Dzialo

      Winefred, actually if you ask any psychiatrist…pedophila is incurable…offenders will re-offend unless incarcerated. The Church has NO duty for a pedophile…neither does society. If you remove them to another placement they will re-offend. Remember the words of Christ….whoever harms one of these little ones, it would be better to place a millstone around their neck and drown them. They should be severed from the Church…much like the Mafia. All the good can never make up for taking a child’s innocence. Without defrocking, the Church is complicit in crime of the worst nature.

    • ME

      Obviously you don’t see things the way God does, or the apostle Paul would have never been called to the greatness that he was, after persecuting the Christians to the extent he did. It is absolutely horrible what some of the priests have done to the children, but that does not mean one is not capable of repentance and with help to amend their lives. At least if they remain under the watch and responsibility of the church, they have a chance to be somewhat useful to the church in someway. A priest that was at one time in our parish, was removed from his priestly duties, but was assigned as the diocesan archivist and is responsible for creating the database of all the sacraments recorded for all of the parishes in the diocese from the beginnings of each of the churches. He has no contact with children in his role, and is under the watchful eye of the bishop, and is still able to provide a useful service to the church in this capacity.

    • Phil Dzialo

      So, fire a layperson who teaches in a Catholic school because they has “in vitro” fertilization…take away their livelihood, reputation, insurance, salary; but shift around a pedophile priest continue salary, room and board and health benefits. That is hypocrisy … btw Paul persecuted Christians BEFORE he became one, Don.t you remember the Gospel where Christ said if someone hurt a child it was better that a millstone be tied around their neck and they be drowned. Also abuse against a child is a CRIMINAL offense also, the issues in the morality contract are disciplines of the Church and not CRIMES against humanity and children, Stop coddling pedophiles….it is an indication that the Church has lost its moral authority. Never forget Christ mandate about hurting children…..

    • http://healingandempowerment.blogspot.com Phil Dzialo

      @ ME BTW, Good Friday 2005, Benedict 16…: During the IX station of the Way of the Cross at the Colosseum:

      “Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of His Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts!How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words!
      How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the Priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency!”

      Notice “filth, even among the Priesthood in the Church”….not quite the words of compassion….and he was referring to abusers!

  • Kevin Aldrich

    Obviously, PETA is waging a war on carnivores. They are bigoted and hateful. I think the IRS should deny them tax-exempt status and leak all their confidential information. The Justice Department should sue them. President Obama should sign an executive order declaring their anti-bacon policy null and void.

    • Sample1

      The entities that you are trying to correlate with an attempt at irony differ in at least one important way: the relationship (religion) or lack of a relationship (PETA) to the Establishment Clause in the first amendment of the US Constitution.

      Mike

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      How is the Establishment clause relevant?

      And why would Catholic vegetarians find this article in poor taste?

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      Because they don’t like bacon? ;)

    • Sample1

      The Establishment Clause is relevant to my claim that this article makes an incorrect correlation between circumstances that may arise with an organization like PETA and circumstances that may arise in an organization called a religion.

      As I mentioned to Kevin Aldrich above, is it PETA or religion that is affected if we imagine the Establishment Clause was nullified?

      As to your second question, it’s not hard for me to imagine some, perhaps many even, Catholic vegetarians agreeing with me that this article is in poor taste. I don’t find it humorous to talk about eating bunny effigies in the same sentence as real chickens without a qualifier. Chickens, for starters, are intelligent animals that respond adversely to pain and environmental conditions that are devoid of mental stimulus. Effigies do not.

      Mike

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      Actually, PETA objects to chocolate bunnies not because they are effigies, but because they contain milk. http://www.peta.org/blog/chocolate-bunny-nobody-die/ They take no issue with bunny effigies made from vegan chocolate.

      The Establishment clause isn’t relevant because it only pertains to the government establishing an official religion and/or acting to prevent religious organizations from practicing in the public square. In terms of this article, it’s private citizens (the teachers) who are objecting to the morality clauses relating to their own employment (or lack thereof). If the government gets involved with the Church’s hiring/firing practices that spawns an entire host of other issues, far beyond the scope of this simple piece.

    • Sample1

      I don’t recall waiving my right to say what offends me, what I call poor taste, or what may offend other Catholic vegetarians; milk is irrelevant to me.

      Neither you or the other commenter cared to answer my question. That’s fine. I’ll leave it out there hoping it’s a slow burner. I think if you answer it in your own head you will come to a better understanding of why I find the juxtaposition of PETA and religion (in your article’s narrative) a tough pill to swallow.

      The answer is religion, not PETA.

      Mike

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      I don’t recall telling you that you couldn’t be offended…? I just was curious as to why you were.

      As to your question, what didn’t I answer? I explained why I feel the topic of the Establishment clause is irrelevant to the limited scope of this article, because it isn’t meant to explore the political/constitutional ramifications of morality clauses, regardless if the organization in question is secular or religious. You can disagree, of course, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t answer.

    • Sample1

      Sure you did. You’re asking me to discount why I found your article to be in poor taste by focusing on your ideas about PETA rather than my ideas about JoAnna Wahlund.

      If you call a non-sequitur an answer then yes, you answered.

      Mike

    • aimer

      Are you for real? If so, you really need to lighten up. As a vegetarian and a Catholic, I can’t even imagine how anything about this article could offend anyone. Unless it’s someone just looking for a fight.

      Even chickens and rabbits have enough sense to understand their places in the food chain.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      The difference you are alluding to still isn’t clear to me, Mike.

    • Sample1

      The difference…isn’t clear to me

      Alright, I will offer another way to frame the difference between PETA and religion. Imagine for a moment the Establishment Clause is, for this experiment, nullified.

      Would it be religion or PETA that is affected?

      Mike

    • Kevin Aldrich

      The Establishment Clause prohibits the federal government from establishing a state religion, like in England. It was not meant to curtail the practice of any citizen’s religion. That is what Obama and his ilk are attempting through Obama Care.

    • Sample1

      I hear what you are saying but are you also suggesting I’m wrong because nothing you’ve written compels me to think that yet.

      Mike

    • Kevin Aldrich

      Mike, I think the point of the satire is that people are trying to force beliefs and behavior on Catholics and Christians that we abhor and think to be unconscionable. No one would ever think to do something similar to PETA.

      It is not just people wanting to do the forcing, but increasingly government in the form of lawsuits, judges’ rulings, civil rights commissions rulings, justice department rulings, and executive orders. I think we will also see today what the US Supreme Court says.

    • Sample1

      I would say if PETA ever attempted to control how their members/employees legally used their genitalia, you would very likely hear similar pushback from individuals and their representatives in government. Or to state it another way, if food consumption was reimbursable by health insurance, I’m pretty sure PETA would, again, witness pushback if they refused to cover grocery bills because rump roasts were available on the market.

      Mike

    • aimer

      “Mike -faith free”

      I find it incredibly sad that someone is proud and willing to admit to having no faith. What an empty existence that sounds like.

  • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

    Great point. To use a completely unconnected example, I agree that any organization “People Against Gay Marriage” (PAGM), say, should be able to refuse hiring married gays.

    I’m curious whether this is the way I should think of Catholic schools.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      If I understand you,Paul, I’d say Catholic schools should rarely hire non-Catholics and certainly never hire people (whether they call themselves Catholic or not) who reject the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Church. One of the key roles of an adult in a Catholic school is to witness the Gospel in his or her behavior.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      All teachers are saints. Should teachers who are found to use contraception, even if secretly, be fired?

      My wife worked at an Assemblies of God school like this. They had strict rules about drinking, no drinking in public. If you got caught, you got fired. That seemed fair. We drank in private. If someone reported us drinking in private, the school wouldn’t care. If Sam quietly marries Smith, and they don’t advertise their relationship to the school itself, why should the school care?

      An interesting aside, my wife taught a Bible class at the AoG school, a student said “Catholics worship Mary.” She corrected the student, and was almost fired for “defending Catholic heresy.” I think that this is stupid, about as stupid as Catholic schools refusing to hire openly married gays. But I think that not everything stupid should be illegal. I think these decisions are stupid, and should be protected by the law.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      Prying into people’s lives is ugly and I don’t recommend it.

      However, practicing sodomy does make one unfit for witnessing Christ in a Catholic school, just as practicing adultery does, just as practicing larceny does.

      Calling something marriage which cannot possibly be marriage is a rejection of reality, which also makes one unfit to teach in a Catholic school.

      Your Sam’s behavior and his mental view are such that he could not contribute to the mission of a Catholic school.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      And how will anyone ever find out? How will the students know unless Sam takes his relationship into public, unless he tells them or shows them?

      Like I said, I support the rights of the Catholic Church (rights currently being threatened by the law), to ban openly married or sexually active gays from teaching at their schools. I also have the right to keep my kids and my tax dollars out of those sort of schools.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      True, except that you don’t have the right to decide where your tax dollars go. Our corrupt government makes those decisions.

      I could make the argument that governments that can, but fail to, support schools that parents choose to send their children to are committing an egregious injustice. That is the case in the USA.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      Well, I have a small say in those decisions, because I can vote and lobby. And I do vote and lobby to cut the Catholic Schools (and indeed all private schools) off.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      Your side is winning that war.

    • Sample1

      I support…to ban openly married or sexually active gays from teaching at their schools

      Let’s imagine your above comment said people of color instead of gays. Is this an easy word change for you to brush off as irrelevant?

      Mike

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      If there were some ostensible religious or other ideological motivation, and if the discrimination is based on the individual’s free actions, then sure. I think that an advertised “KKK private school against Catholics, Blacks and Jews”, say, if one existed, should be able to refuse hiring teachers who are in racially mixed marriages. It can’t refuse hiring black teachers, because being black isn’t a choice. Catholic schools shouldn’t be able to refuse hiring gays, but could refuse to hire people who choose to marry within their own gender.

      I think that this sort of KKK school should receive absolutely no government funding, on federal, state or even local levels. Not one cent. Same with the Catholic school who refuses to hire active gays.

      That Catholic Schools ban openly gay people is abhorrent, but I think such a practice should be protected by the law. What I find even worse is that many of said schools continue to receive government money.

    • Sample1

      I follow you.

      Imagine a tree house filled with a bunch of young boys. They’re playing inside, maybe in an old school way with “treasure” maps, or now-a-days, with wireless Nintendo. After climbing the rickety ladder to the top, the entrance to their secret club reads:

      Girls Stink, Not Allowed!

      That’s essentially the mentality that you are defending at the adult level. What I’d like to know from you is, honestly, do you think such a rules like “Girls Stink” are also abhorrent?

      Mike

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      I would hardly defend such a mentality, no matter the age of the boys! It’s terribly cruel, and I would not allow my children to participate in that kind of sophomoric behavior. But I don’t think that the police should drag the boys away for it.

    • aimer

      Exactly. Which is why many Catholic schools don’t accept tax money. As for gays – it’s not because they are gay, sex with someone outside of a valid marriage (one man, one woman, for life) is wrong in the eyes of the church. But if a teacher with a great work history, maybe attended mass or at least professed a belief in God, had a husband and some kids, applied for employment but was divorced at some point (and never told anyone), they’re not going to make her prove she’s in a sacramental marriage. It only becomes a problem when it becomes “scandal”, that is, others find out. There would be no reason for her to tell anyone she was married before and she would know already not to receive communion, so no one would know and no problem.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      I have no problem with whatever crazy hiring policies Catholic or any other private schools (religious or no) have, so long as they don’t accept tax money.

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      Then should they be required to pay taxes?

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      I think that they should be able to obtain tax exempt status, in almost all cases. My understanding is that most private schools can do this, but maybe I’m wrong.

    • aimer

      It’s not prying if you invite them to look, which is what you do when you ask them to employ you. Is it wromg for banks to monitor how many bounced checks their employees have and monitor their credit and that poor financial records can be grounds for termination? Or cab/bus companies refusing to hire or firing employees who get into a lot of wrecks or speeding tickets, even if it doesn’t ever happen at work? Or a halal butcher refusing to hire a pig farmer to butcher their meat? What about a high end salon that caters to elite clients where reputation is everything refusing to hire someone who has an unkempt appearance and is known to strip for extra money at the next town over? A chef at a country club or 5 star restaurant who has an ongoing battle with the city for health code violations in his home. A preschool teacher who has had several investigations with children’s services in her personal life but kids love her?

    • Kevin Aldrich

      It *was* stupid for the AoG school to almost fire your wife for correcting the student on the point that Catholics worship Mary, because Catholics don’t worship Mary. If the AoG Church wants to teach that it is heresy to render “hyperdulia” to Mary and that no heretic should be allowed to teach in an AoG school, that would at least follow a valid line of reasoning so would be less susceptible to the charge of being stupid.

      If marriage is defined as a semi-permanent sexual relationship between two adults of either sex, then it could be stupid for the Catholic Church to treat a gay “married” person like the AoG school treated your wife. However, the Catholic Church has perfectly good reasons for rejecting this novel definition of marriage.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      Yes, that’s what she said. Hyperdulia. The response from the administration was that she is mistaken. What Catholics call hyperdulia is actually worship, and the Catholics who don’t admit that are either ignorant or dishonest. The AoG administration was objectively wrong about Catholics and Mary.

      The Catholic Church is objectively wrong about the morality of gay activity. Wrong shouldn’t always be illegal.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      It is interesting that the entire world has been objectively wrong about the nature of marriage since the beginning of human history and only in the last couple of years have a few enlightened persons finally figured out the truth.

      Unfortunately all they can do is assert they are objectively right. Somehow it is “obvious” that marriage is only an emotion relationship and if you don’t agree you are a bigot and hater.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      People all around the world were objectively wrong about the way time and space worked, until 1905. Then almost all people were wrong about the way time and space worked. People are wrong about all kinds of stuff.

      It’s not simply that marriage is simply an emotional relationship. It’s that gay marriage, gay activity in general, does not violate any objective moral imperative. It is possible for a man to treat a male lover as an end unto himself and not as merely a means unto an end.

      Of course, If you would could identify the moral principles that gay sex violates, I’d be happy to discuss them. I’ll ask questions and we can find out together whether your principles make sense.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      Gay sex and gay marriage are two different issues. Right?

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      Yes, they are different, but not entirely. If gay sex is always wrong, then gay marriage is almost always wrong. If gay marriage is always wrong, then that will at least have some implications for gay sex. The two issues are not entirely separate.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      I hate it when people drop hyperlinks rather than set out their own arguments, but Ryan Anderson is so much better than I am:

      http://www.heritage.org/research/commentary/2013/3/in-defense-of-traditional-marriage

      So, I guess I hate myself.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      Don’t hate yourself! These issues are complex, and comment boxes aren’t always the best place to answer questions. On that note, and if you are curious how an agnostic can adopt objective moral values, read Alan Gewirth’s “Reason and Morality”. ( http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Users/sefd0/crs/plp/GewirthsArgument.doc
      for a short and not entirely accurate preview).

    • aimer

      Maybe everyone is just tired about hearing the details of the sexual practices among a self-segregated group. Maybe it’s something personal and private and no one needs to announce it to every employer, government agency, parade and event planner, tshirt maker, etc just for special privileges. If you don’t announce your personal “turn-ons” to everyone you meets, chances are VERY good it’s not going to come up. Ever. Maybe people need to stop degrading themselves by seeing their main identity tied to what they prefer sexually. It’s disturbing and sad.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      I wish my friends wouldn’t announce their sexual lives to me with all these wedding invitations! It’s nasty and should be put a stop to. I wish Christian families could keep their nasty heterosexual practices behind closed doors, and stop celebrating them with these public ceremonies! It’s sick.

    • aimer

      The word marriage as defined by the Catholic Church is a sacrament between a man and a woman in front of God. Only baptized Christians, one man and one woman can confer this sacrament to each other. Anything else is a civil contract, which the church acknowledges, but does not define. The problem lies with people who come along and want to change the definition of marriage as it’s defined by the Catholic Church. Why is everyone so interested in having something that is a deeply sacred covenant when they’re 1. Not Catholic 2. Not even Christian? Does that mean everyone should go around and demand every belief be changed? It offends me that PETA calls meat “animal flesh” . I love animals! I wouldn’t murder them or eat their flesh. I’m eating MEAT. Steaks, porkchops, and yes, bacon. Peta and vegetarians shouldn’t be allowed to call it anything but “food”, just like corn, lettuce and beans – all the same.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      If you want to understand why people want to change the definition of marriage is because it is a natural institution. It exists outside the Catholic Church.

      Its traditional definition is something along the lines of “a permanent and exclusive covenant between a man and woman for the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children.”

      It is only when marriage is validly entered into by a baptized man and a baptized woman that it becomes a sacrament.

      Many people today are living a contract between a man and a woman for the good of the spouses.

      Homosexual activists just want to drop the man and woman part. Note that many people have already dropped the permanent and exclusive parts and the procreation of children. SSM advocates have a point when they say, if you can divorce and play around and separate sex from babies, why can’t we?

    • Kevin Aldrich

      As an aside, it was common a few centuries ago to address a judge as “Your Worship.”

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      Interesting. Pretty cool.

    • aimer

      You’re incorrect. Hyperdulia is not worship, not even close. There is a very big difference between veneration (honoring) and worship. The technical terms that are used are dulia, hyperdulia, and latria. Dulia is a Greek term meaning the veneration or homage, different in nature and degree from that given to God, that is paid to the saints. It includes, for example, honoring the saints and seeking their intercession with God. Related to dulia is Hyperdulia, the special venerationveneration (honor, not worship) accorded the Blessed Virgin Mary because of her unique role in the mystery of Redemption, her exceptional gifts of grace from God, and her pre eminence among the saints. Hyperdulia is not adoration; only God is adored. Such adoration reserved exclusively for God is termed latria, a Greek-rooted Latin term that refers to that form of praise and worship due to God alone.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      No, I’m not incorrect. AoG is incorrect. But shouldn’t they have a right to act on their incorrect but sincerely held beliefs?

    • aimer

      So you’re saying it’s “stupid” for a religious group (or any group) to refuse to hire someone who openly disregards the deeply held beliefs, beliefs that are the very core of their existence?

      Why would a practicing gay person want to teach a a Catholic school? The Catholic Church understands that some people deal with same-sex attraction and she will tell you that it is something between you and God. This isn’t about gays, it’s about morals. They would have the same problem with an unmarried teacher openly living with their boy/girl friend, a pregant single teacher, a teacher or employee who supports abortion in ANY way, etc. And anyone who has a problem with any of those things or any other beliefs of the Catholic Church is free to seek employment elsewhere. Could a Baptist (or some other faith) work at a Catholic Church or school? Yes, as long as they upheld the appearance in ALL aspects of their lives as being in total support of the teachings of the Catholic faith. If that’s not possible, work somewhere else – we’re not socialist or communist where you’re told where to work.

    • http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~pr33/ Paul Brandon Rimmer

      So you’re saying it’s “stupid” for a religious group (or any group) to refuse to hire someone who openly disregards the deeply held beliefs, beliefs that are the very core of their existence?

      If those beliefs are objectively wrong and manifestly harmful to others, yes.

      Why would a practicing gay person want to teach a a Catholic school?

      For the same reason my wife wanted to teach at an AoG school, even though she isn’t part of AoG. It was one of the only jobs available to her at the time.

  • reader1968

    Should an employer be able to refuse to hire Catholics, as was common in the 19th century? Or refuse to hire certain ethnic groups, as was common in the first half of the 20 th century? Let’s remember the lessons of history before we decide to repeat it.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      The topic of this article is morality clauses that people who wish to be employed at a particular organization agree to abide by. It’s not about if companies are allowed to hire people, it’s if people should accept an offered job if they aren’t willing to abide by the terms and conditions of that job.

    • reader1968

      Terms and conditions for a job should be related to the physical, mental, professional licenses, etc required to fulfill the job description. Exclusions cannot become arbitrary and capricious, based on the whims of the employer though.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      I don’t know of any job in which you cannot be fired for moral turpitude, including employment at the National Catholic Reporter.

    • reader1968

      Should Walmart be able to fire a woman who gets pregnant and is not married? Or were you referring only to conditions for employment in catholic schools? Those are two different discussions.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      I guess my point is that “Terms and conditions for a job should be related to the physical, mental, professional licenses, etc required to fulfill the job description” is not an adequate criteria.

    • reader1968

      This is a thought provoking subject, especially in a country as diverse as ours. I am glad that there are commenters like you and JoAnna to have a discussion like this. I am new to this website. So many other sites either have no commenters or ones that it is not possible to have a real conversation with.
      Peace be with you.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      What about an employee who publicly disparages Wal-mart on social media sites outside of work? Should Wal-Mart be able to fire them?

    • reader1968

      Probably if the attacks are malicious and specific. If the employee attacks big business in general then probably not. A judge would need to decide based on the particular details of the individual case. Sometimes it’s tricky to have laws that must protect the employee as well as the business owner.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      Actually, in 49 out of 50 U.S. states, Wal-Mart can fire an employee for any reason at all. A judge doesn’t have to give them permission first.

    • reader1968

      That is true. If there is a pattern of firing employees solely because, say, they are women or a particular race, then the employees could try to seek justice via a class action lawsuit. But it is very difficult to actually win a case against an employer. Whichever side has the largest pocketbook usually wins.

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      That’s a shame isn’t it and a big flaw in our “civilized” society.

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      Neither in wallmart, nor in any school! SAME difference

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      Who defines “moral turpitude”? Fire all atheists?

    • Kevin Aldrich

      The employer defines it, although legislators and the courts can impact the definition.

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      The employer should not have the right to fire you if you are competent at your job.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      You can be a competent auto mechanic and be fired for stealing.

      In the case of Catholic schools, you cannot be a competent teacher of any subject if you reject the doctrinal or moral teachings of the church because without those you cannot be an example of living the Catholic faith, which is a competency for being a teacher in a Catholic school.

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      Beg you pardon! You mean to say that you cannot be “a competent Teacher in any subject” in math, science etc, You’re out of your mind! Sorry to be so blunt but that is an asinine statement. Many teachers are very competent regardless of their religion. Moral Teachings of the church should be taught by competent religious teacher IN THEIR CHURCH. If we really had freedom of religion than all schools should be secular and paid for by the state. and you have the freedom to teach your religion without restrictions in your churches, on your dime. That’s what freedom of religion means, not separating the population in religious groups paid for by the state. ALL state functions, education being one of them, must be secular. That is what it means. We don’t have catholic policemen or muslim firefighters, babtist tax collectors, or Mormon bus-drivers . Keep your religious teachings in your church, I can’t say that often enough. Freedom of religion does NOT mean you can use our tax dollar to promote your religion nor separating our children in clans who do not become aware of other lifestyles.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      You will have to take up your un-American doctrine of repression of freedom of religion with somebody else, Ben Andrews.

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      It is th e religious people in America, including yourself who have turned the meaning of Freedom of Religion upside down

      “Freedom of religion is considered by many people and nations to be a fundamental human right.[3][4] In a country with a state religion, freedom of religion is generally considered to mean that the government permits religious practices of other sects besides the state religion (in America it is secular), and does not persecute believers in other faiths.”(wikipedia)
      Notice the government “permits” and it does not say that any government function, of which education is one, shall pay for it.
      You are free to do your education in your churches and pay for it. Freedom does not mean you are free to teach your religion in government institutions. Secular science for example is taght by the government. Religious psuedo science is allowed to be taught in your churches, That’s what freedom of religion means.

    • aimer

      Wrong. Private schools = make their own rules. You cannot segregate because you don’t like religious beliefs. I CAN be a Catholic police officer, a Jewish Firefighter, a Muslim mayor, a Christian teacher in a public school and you have no right to tell me I can’t practice my faith anywhere I please. I’m not indoctrinating your little Benny Jr by praying before i eat my lunch in my classroom or if I need to leave in the middle of a meeting at City Government USA to face mecca for my pm prayers in an empty conference room. Freedom of religion is the Freedom to choose religion or not. It’s not freedom FROM religion.

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      Read my other posts. You are turning the phrase “freedom of religion” upside down

    • Cynthia Millen

      We have two wonderful Muslim schools here in Toledo. Guess what? You have to be a practicing Muslim to teach there, and the more conservative one requires that female teachers where hijabs (modesty scarves). Would they refuse to hire Catholics? YES. People confuse civil rights with the “right not to be offended.” It is wonderful that we have Islamic schools—-they add so much to our diversity and culture here in Toledo (and were not even talking about the great food at Eid and other festivals). Yes, they have the right to promote their faith and to pass on their faith to their children. People—-get over yourselves. When you work at a Catholic school, the most important part of the job is to pass on the faith—correctly, enthusiastically and fully supportive of the Church’s teachings.
      I loved the analogy to PETA. Very imaginative!

    • reader1968

      I agree that for teaching Islam and Muslim culture, it is best done by one who is Muslim.

    • Cynthia Millen

      And the best people to perform the job at Catholic schools are practicing Catholics who know and live by the tenets of the Church. No difference.

    • reader1968

      I tend to agree. Catholicism is more than just a religion. It is a way of life, and has its own culture in many ways.

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      In the church, Cynthia, not in the schools

    • aimer

      It’s a CATHOLIC school. They are directly related to the parish to which they are attached. Which is funded by tithes and offerings of CATHOLIC people who send their children there to learn the CATHOLIC faith along with reading and math. Same as the Muslim schools, Jewish schools, Mormons, Baptist, etc. Religion is part of the fabric of the United States. Because you pay a tiny percentage ofd tax doesn’t mean you can cancel out anyone else who believes differently. Children have the right and adults the responsibility to have faith in their lives including and especially schools

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      Yes , I understand that but I meant Public funded schools! Not one dime should go to religious funded schools. That’s what I meant. My other post points that out, When I said the church should educate and not in the schools I thought it would be obvious that I meant PUBLIC schools.Let me rephrase:
      “In the church run schools, Cynthia, not in the public schools”

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      In their church, not in the schools

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      Cynthia, see my post above, Having religious oriented schools is not wonderful, its devisive. Having religious schools is not promoting diversity. It is promoting divisiveness.

      “People confuse civil rights with the “right not to be offended.” What do you mean? Explain that little titbit because it doesn’t make sense in this context,
      Festivals do add to the culture because they are open to everyone and not restricted to one religion to participate. BIG DIFFERENCE with religious schools!

      “Yes, they have the right to promote their faith and to pass on their faith to their children” but do it in your own church, on your own dime and don’t prevent your children contact with children of another religious background or culture in the public schools.

    • aimer

      Yet just above, you said you want people to keep their religion behind doors and out of the public eye, keep to themselves.

      What you really want is for believers to have no rights at all

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      You are confusing, as many of you do, freedom OF religion with freedom FROM religion. Freedom of religion means that nobody is forbidden to practice or teach their religion. That is your right and no one is taken that away from you, You have it. Freedom from religion means that non-believers should not be forced by religious laws to comply with ANY religion and that NOT ONE CENT of taxpayers money support religious oriented schools. You can have them, no problem, (although it is divisive and promotes isolation and misunderstandings between religious factions, not only with unbelievers}. There also should not be any tax-exemption for religious institutions. You are totally free (freedom of religion) to preach and teach what you want as long as it does not effect other religions or unbeleivers (freedom from religion)
      I hope that’s clear! It has nothing to do with “having no rights at all” that is a nonsense statement. No one is telling you that you can not practice your religion.

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  • David Peters

    Great article JoAnna. I love the way you drew a connection between the two! By the way I love BLT’s. We use turkey bacon though.

  • Mark Territoree

    Yum, bacon.

  • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

    Companies should not be able to discriminate for any reason. They should only consider the capabilities of the person to do the job. Discrimination is discrimination whether it is because of color, religion, or life style.
    As far as schools are concerned, Fully or partly funded by the public, should be completely neutral as far s religion and lifestyles is concerned. Religion must be taught in the churches and outside of normal school hours. All of our young people should experience interaction with all others so they understand and can cooperate with people of other persuasion to prevent the hatred and misunderstandings so prevalent in today’s society. There should be no “catholic” or “muslim” schools. All schools should be fully funded and neutral. The qualification of the teachers should solely be based on their knowledge of their subject area and their ability to teach. As I mentioned before, religion MUST be taught in the churches.

    PS:The “bacon” example is not a valid one. A waitress in a Vegan Restaurant cannot be fired or refused a job because she eats bacon at home.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      Catholic teachers can’t do their job if they say one thing and do another (e.g., say that same-sex marriage is wrong while being married to someone of the same sex).

      We’re not talking about waitresses. We’re talking about PETA employees, and PETA as an organization has a requirement that some of their employees be vegan. Presumably if an employee who is required to be vegan violates that requirement, they can be fired.

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      If we have separation between church and state, it should not matter what one does in his/her free time. If you are not allowed to smoke on the job, you cannot be fired for smoking at home. Catholic teachers should not be fired if what they are doing in their own bedroom as long as it is legal. Same for a Vegan employee should not be fired because he/she ate bacon and eggs in their own home.

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      We don’t have separation between church and state. That phrase does not appear in the Constitution. What we have is free exercise of our religion, which means that employers can practice their religion freely in the course of doing business, including Catholic schools, Catholic organizations, and Catholics who own for-profit businesses.

      PETA also has the right to require that some of their employees live a lifestyle consistent with the organization’s message, just as those employees are free to not work for PETA if they want to eat bacon off the clock.

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      We do have SBC&State. PETA has the right to “request”, But should not have the right to fire, unless they publicly contradict
      their promise, same as smokers and catholic teachers. They might not be acting correctly but they are not breaking the law. Are you going to install cameras in their homes to keep them from straying?

    • http://a-star-of-hope.blogspot.com/ JoAnna Wahlund

      Where is separation of search and state in the Constitution? Direct quote, please?

      You’ll note that most employers stipulate that *public* behavior is what is problematic. That’s why Catholic school teachers who have been privately homosexual for years are only let go after they, say, publish a wedding announcement in a newspaper. At that point, they are making their sin public and announcing to the world that they are living a lie (by teaching that SSM is wrong in a Catholic school while publicly engaging in it outside of school).

    • http://www.origin-of-religion.com Ben Andrews

      Article VI:but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

      1st amendment Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment and its restriction on the legislative branch of the federal government in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists (a religious minority concerned about the dominant position of the Congregationalist church in Connecticut):

      Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.[9]

      In Reynolds v. United States (1878) the Supreme Court used these words to declare that “it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere [religious] opinion, but was left free to reach [only those religious] actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.”

      You are disagreeing with Thomas Jefferson?

  • stephanie

    JoAnna, awesome article, had to share it with friends. I “get” it. Good job.

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