The war on religious rights continues: a teacher has been fired from a Montana Catholic school for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. There are petitions going around and talk of legal action. And, of course, her supporters tell us that the teacher, Shaela Evenson, was a wonderful teacher and inspiration to her students.
Let's pause right there. She is an inspiration to students...would this include, perhaps, inspiring them to believe that Catholic teaching is not right on the point, and that it's okay to have children without being married? Because, living as she does, that's certainly part of what she's inspiring her students to think.
The Church has the right to see that Her doctrines are rightly promulgated in Her schools. When a teacher even and perhaps especially by how she lives flaunts Catholic values, the Church has the moral right to dismiss her. End of subject.
We will concede that Catholic institutions ought to be diligent about their hiring practices and hire the best they can employees who represent the Faith well. If this school had, there's a good chance this and similar situations would never arise. But kindly spare us the platitudes about Pope Francis preaching love; those of you who are chanting that line are only using it for your ends and not as the Church intends. Love in the form of open ended tolerance isn't love, and this teacher's defenders are simply hypocrites on the point. They only use Church teaching, and use it rather poorly at that, when and as it suits them.
Ms. Evenson's attorney spouts that even religious institutions must follow anti-discrimination laws. Quite bluntly, when such violate freedom of religion they must be changed. He asserts rightly that his client didn't teach religion. Yet that's not the point. The point is that her life choices violate Church teaching, and do in fact teach kids the wrong thing.
It had been generally understood for most of our nation's history that there were five great freedoms. Now, it seems, there are only four.