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.
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.