Thursday, November 24, 2005

"Advancing Marriage"

Via DPF, a report from CNN about a New York schoolteacher who was fired for getting pregnant while unmarried. But apart from being a reminder of how backward they are over there (though I'm not sure whether "Victorian" or "medieval" is the appropriate perjorative), it's also a warning of what could happen here if United Future's Marriage (Gender Clarification) Amendment Bill passes. As I've already pointed out, the bill includes an amendment to the Bill of Rights Act stating that

Measures taken in good faith for the purpose of assisting or advancing marriage do not constitute discrimination.

While in this case the discrimination is religious - a Catholic school attempting to impose its moral values on its teachers in a matter which is bluntly none of their fucking business - an argument can also be made (in "good faith" of course) that such a dismissal was intended to "advance marriage" by sending a clear message of its value to the sinful unmarried.

Currently the law clearly prohibits such bullshit. But it won't if the bill passes. And that is a very strong reason why it must be opposed.


You're wrong. It's already legal.

Catholic schools here are legally able to make choices in their hiring practices that accord with their special character. There was a case earlier this year where a teacher wasn't hired because of his divorce. In Rangiora I think. Intergrated Catholic schools are legally allowed to maintain their values.

Here's the pdf that will help explain the expectation of teachers in how they conduct themselves, it's on page 14 of the document.

Posted by Muerk : 11/24/2005 12:59:00 PM

NRT, your last three sentences are complete bullshit, as it already occurs in schools and has no relevance to the bill

Posted by Swimming : 11/24/2005 01:24:00 PM

But if she got pregnant and
continued the pregnancy by
deciding not to have an
abortion due to her Catholic
religious beliefs, then would
that square with Catholic
doctrinal values?

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/26/2005 10:48:00 AM

Yes, and there have been many Catholics who have also commented that looking after the fatherless is the Catholic thing to do.

I personally think that she shouldn't have been fired _because_ she has continued with her pregnancy. This is exactly why some women feel they have to resort to abortion because of the losses they will suffer because of the baby.

I think it send the wrong message to the students as well. No matter how a baby is conceived, it is always a precious and welcome gift in the Body of Christ.

The school don't have to condone the mother's moral behavior, but they shouldn't punish her for it. Nor should they punish her baby. There were better ways of dealing with this, and certainly more Christian ways.

The other thing is, the school had no way of knowing the specifications of her getting pregnant, for all they know she may have been forced into sex, in which case she would have committed no sin whatsoever. Or she may have had one incident of sleeping with her boyfriend (perhaps their only slip up) and then gone striaght to Confession and been absolved.

They should remember that other unmarried woman who fell pregnant a few thousand years ago.

Posted by Muerk : 11/26/2005 01:16:00 PM

Oh well, at least we agree on something. I'm in favour of reproductive choice. If a woman continues to choose to continue her pregnancy, no matter whether she is single, married or in a long-term de facto relationship,
then she and her child are entitled to optimal government support.

But doesn't that imply a latent conflict between a rather idealistic view about nuclear
families and the rights of solo
mums to welfare benefits? So is the New Right rhetoric about solo mum bashing consistent with Catholic social ethics...???

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/27/2005 01:15:00 PM

Only really in America where their conservative Catholics are usually very right wing. Of course this puts them in tension all over the show, especially with things like the war in Iraq and the death penalty.

I've seen conservative Catholics defend American torture in Abu Garaib and those secret prisons in total and utter contrast to the Gospel and what the Pope has taught, all because they are Republicans.

America is such a Puritan/Calvinist place and even their Catholicism has been caught up in that ideology. In other countries, especialy Europe, it was the Catholic socialist parties early last century that promoted much of the socialist economic policies. America missed out on that movement partly because of it's deep hostility to Catholics.

I mean there isn't much point in saving a child from abortion only to have it suffer in abject poverty. It's ridiculous. The way to help women and children is to support them all along.

Jesus was _very_ specific about feeding and clothing the poor.

You might try here to see a Catholic group and how they live their religious values and social ethics...

BTW we have these community houses here in New Zealand too.

Posted by Muerk : 11/27/2005 04:35:00 PM

You might also be interested in this, Craig Y. It's the 2003 Caritas NZ Annual Report. Caritas is the Catholic Church's agency for justice, peace and development.

"The Caritas Internationalis network is the largest non-government aid and development agency in the world. It has consultative status with the World Food Programme, UNESCO and UNICEF."

Posted by Muerk : 11/27/2005 04:59:00 PM

I might have problems with
Catholicism's approach to
gender and sexuality issues,
but not its peace and economic
justice stances.

And I used to be involved in
the ChCh peace movement about
fifteen years back, so I do
know something about the
Catholic Workers...

Craig Y.

Posted by Anonymous : 11/28/2005 01:30:00 PM