The Difference Between Jason Collins and Carla Hale.

Not sure if anyone noted, but after more than a week of opportunity, no one here at CatholicVote, nor anyone in any Catholic outlet that I’m aware of, has said Jason Collins should lose his job for coming out as openly gay.

Not even the the cardinal archbishop of Washington could be bothered to utter a word of condemnation or even a tut-tut. The loudest voices for his ouster will likely come from Washington Wizards fans, but considering his stats their rationale likely won’t be his sexuality. Though some of the less cordial ones may use anti-gay slurs in voicing their displeasure.

Anyhow, I thought this factoid might be helpful in discussing the Carla Hale matter.

Bishop Watterson High School

Bishop Watterson High School, where Carla Hale used to teach Phys Ed.

Carla Hale was a teacher at a Catholic high school. Jason Collins plays basketball.

Carla Hale worked for an organization which believes one’s personal example is the most powerful teacher; that students can look up to their teachers for an education not only in their classroom instruction but in how they live their lives in light of the Gospel.

Jason Collins plays basketball and is only a role model for those who choose to emulate him.

Carla Hale, like every other teacher at that Catholic High School, and even Bishop Campbell himself, was charged with teaching not only through classroom instruction, but also through the witness of her life. Hale, like every other teacher and even Bishop Campbell himself, is a sinner in various ways. No one is fired for simply being a sinner—no one would be left to teach. The question is not “does one sin?” but “how does one react to their own sins?”

A teacher who enters into an adulterous relationship but who is never caught cannot be fired for what no one knows about. If the affairs becomes public knowledge, it seems to me that would be grounds for a review of employment. If the person ends it, repents, and honestly, truly seeks the healing and help he or she needs not to do it again, that person could probably stay on. If that person persists in the affair and refuses to acknowledge the wrong, that person ought to be fired. It’s a matter of public witness in a Catholic setting—do you repent and accept the Gospel as taught by the Catholic Church, or do you persist and reject?

None of this, of course, applies to Jason Collins playing basketball. He does not work for an organization that is dedicated to teaching. He does not work for an organization that upholds Catholic morality and works to instill those values in the young. He gets paid to play basketball by an organization whose mission is to field a good basketball team for the entertainment of their fans. Therefore, it really does not matter that Collins has come out as gay (to tell the truth, I’m glad he did… but that’s another post).

Jason Collins still is employed because being actively, openly gay is not a barrier to playing basketball.

Carla Hale is no longer employed by the Catholic high school because embracing the homosexual lifestyle to the point of publicly listing your same-sex partner as a spouse bars one from being considered a teacher of Catholic morality.

Frankly, had Carla Hale not allowed her mother’s obituary to reference her partner as a “spouse,” or if she had accepted that the relationship was inconsistent with Catholic teaching, ended it, sought the counseling necessary to rectify some off-kilter matters in her life, and publicly apologized for the scandal, she would likely still be employed.


Categories:Catholic Social Teaching Culture Marriage

  • Sal

    Concerning: “to suggest that going to counseling will somehow cure them of their homosexuality is to be completely and utterly naive about the nature of homosexuality”. I work in the Christian Healing Ministry. I know many, many, many people who have been ‘gay’ for most of their lives, who received healing ministry, who worked at recovery, and who subsequently lost their homosexual attraction and gained attraction to someone of the opposite sex. Many are happily married and living ‘straight’ lives. So actually, to think that one cannot change their homosexual orientation by dealing with the woundedness in their lives, is to remain obstinately ignorant – like the rest of our culture today.

    • Patrick

      Sal, your post is unbelievable. And by that I mean, it is not to be believed. I suspect it is untrue.

      If it is true, congratulations!! Because you would deserve acclaim and recognition: please publish your conclusions in a peer-reviewed publication, because what you are saying, if true, would change current understanding of human sexuality. Let us know.

    • JackB

      Sal, I thought the church accepted celibate homosexuals without offering a “cure”. Michelle Bachmann and her husband operate a “clinic” in Minnesota. Obviously, they are of the mindset that gays need cleansing.

      I believe that most evangelicals think this way. Your thoughts.

  • justin

    To be gay is not to be “off- kilter”. Gay people are born that way and to suggest that going to counseling will somehow cure them of their homosexuality is to be completely and utterly naive about the nature of homosexuality. I am embarrassed for you that you would even write such a stupid statement.

    • Gerald

      No one is ‘born that way’. Sex is Not Love. Sex is a choice! evidenced by our laws against rape. To have sex, or not; with whom we choose, or not, is the proof that sex is a choice, therefore, sexuality is a choice! Any two people can love one another their whole lives & never have sex with each other! Sex is Not love. Sex & sexual preference IS a Choice ! Take responsibility for your choices.

      • joey

        Pretty immature response. You equate sex to sexuality. This is not true. While choosing to engage in sexual activity is a choice, sexuality is not. Sexuality is based on attraction, which is not necessarily a choice. I’m surprised Tom had the time to respond to other’s comments while not responding to inaccurate representations such as yours. Seems very one-sided….

    • Tom Crowe

      justin— You can spare me your embarrassment, I’ll be embarrassed for myself when I need to be. That is not the case here. This is a Catholic site, so I’m going to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding homosexual tendencies: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.” The Catechism says a whole lot more about the tendency and homosexual acts in paragraphs around the 2330s, 2340s, and 2350s. “Objectively disordered” sounds like a more clinical way of saying “off-kilter” to me. And you misinterpret what I meant by “get counseling.” While another commenter here disputes your contention, my suggestion of counseling was not necessarily to stop having homosexual tendencies—you *assumed* that’s what I meant—but get counseling to learn to live chastely even if they continue to have homosexual tendencies. If you are embarrassed, it is not on my behalf. Peace.

      • joey

        “While another commenter here disputes your contention, my suggestion of counseling was not necessarily to stop having homosexual tendencies…”

        Tom, Considering that a commenter did advocate for “reparative therapy,” shouldn’t you additionally address his remarks. This is a Catholic site. Though the Church isn’t explicitly against such “therapies”, it is obvious that the Church does recognize that the orientation is not a choice and most likely should not be “corrected”

  • Don-H

    @ Gary,

    Basically, no human being should have to live in fear and rejection- in a “prison” of their mind and heart.

    For one to admit their struggle with same-sex attraction, to accept Catholic moral teaching, to seek guidance and support, while vowing to live a chaste/ celibate life- as a gift back to God- would live a very noble life indeed…

    And we, for loving them a midst their struggle, while embracing our own struggle in the same manner, would be very Christ-like in return…

    Easter blessings and peace.

    • Gary

      I agree, Don, but that’s not what Collins did. He didn’t say that he was struggling with same-sex attraction but was committed to living chastely… he said that he was gay, which presumably means that he is a practicing homosexual. This man is undoubtedly seen as a role model by many young people, and I fear that his coming out only further normalizes homosexuality and will encourage youth who are confused about their sexuality to engage in homosexual behavior. So again, I fail to see how this could be good in any way.

      • joey

        Greg, being gay does not mean or even imply that one is practicing homosexuality. You are just making assumptions

  • friend

    It is not man’s place to condemn; that is God’s place; however, we should not condone. It is our job to help those who do wrong to repent. Those who persist and give bad example should be removed from the possibility of giving scandal. You are right! God give us the grace to do what is right!

  • Gary

    I know that you said that this was a topic for another post, but could you say a word or two about why Collins’ coming out is a good thing? I fail to see how this could be good in any way.

    • Tom Crowe

      I’m working on that post as time and brain power allow. As you can imagine, it’s one I have to be careful with.

  • Patrick

    Tom, I think you’re missing the bigger question here: “Shouldn’t Jason Collins be fired?” Or something even more severe — doesn’t scripture actually call for his execution? The Hale question is clear – she broker her contract. She should be fired.

    But the bigger question today regarding gay people in America is how we will fit them into our society and under our laws. The word of God expressly calls for their execution. Where do u stand on that? Why are we not following biblical directives on that?

    And please let me know by e-mail if I need to tweak a word or 2 to be sure my questions pass comment moderation.


    • Tom Crowe

      Ah, Patrick… [stooping, writing in the dirt]… If you really think the testimony of Scripture allows for no other course of action apart from execution, then it must be clear to you that you must execute all gay persons. Get to that, then.

      I prefer to read the whole book, not just the parts that fit my agenda. Therefore, to Collins and Hale and all others caught in sexual sin through their own admission or others’ prurience, Our Lord says, “where are they now who condemn you? … Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”


      • Dan Miller

        Exactly. She didn’t do the latter – she continued to steep in her sin.

      • Patrick

        What I’m hearing you say is that gay people are bound by Leviticus 18:22, but straight people are not bound by Leviticus 20:13.

        I think by your words you are doing exactly what you say you are not doing, — namely, you are ignoring the tough Bible passages because they don’t serve your agenda.

        Or are you saying that God DIDN’T mean what he said when he wrote L20:13, but he DID mean what he said when he wrote L18:22?

        • Tom Crowe

          Patrick— Yes, I believe you heard me say that because you really want to catch me out. Like the Jews who brought the woman caught in adultery brought her to Jesus when they could just as well taken her out of the town and stoned her without bothering Jesus. But you are still too narrowly reading things because of your agenda. Christ did not stipulate “because she’s straight” in his treatment of her. The Jews did indeed have a law that said anyone caught in adultery should be stoned. Christ did not say “don’t stone her,” nor did he say, “yes, do it.” He said, “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.” If He had reason to set aside some part of the old law then perhaps you should look into why He would have done that rather than trying to catch me out like the Jews tried to catch out Christ. I’m with Christ on this one—He is my agenda—I’m not sure why you aren’t with Him. Peace.

          • Patrick

            Nope, Tom, I’m the one with Christ on this one. I think you’re with the Tea Bag party on this one and you are twisting Christ’s teachings to fit your agenda.

        • Larry

          God did not write the bible.

    • John

      The beauty of the Church is that she realizes that some statements in the Bible reflect the culture of the times, and they have to be put in the context of what the Bible teaches as a whole. Jesus’ refusal to approve of the stoning of the adulterer gives us a new moral command with regard to how to treat all sinners, especially since all of us sin.

      • Patrick

        John, I fully agree!!! Accordingly, I conclude that both L20:13 and L18:22 “reflect the culture of the times and they have to be put in the context of what the Bible teaches as a whole,” and should not be considered part of the moral code for those of us living in 2013. I take it you agree.



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