Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Religious Discrimination

In the post I wrote a few days ago titled "Homosexuality is NOT a Moral Issue," I mentioned a recent case of potential discrimination against a teacher, Lisa Reimer, when the independent Roman Catholic girls school she's worked for under contract over the past year dismissed her from completing the school year with her students, because she's a lesbian and had asked for time off while her partner gave birth to their child.

In "The Vancouver Sun" yesterday were several letters from readers on this subject, some or all of which I'd like to share with you here--those that supported Reimer, as well as those that spewed the same old religious crap against homosexuality we've had to deal with forever.  I suspect God wouldn't discriminate against Reimer, so I don't know where these local bigots get off playing God and passing judgment on her.    

In Reimer's Favor:  

"How can narrow-minded people believe that showing someone a different way of living will cause that person to mindlessly adopt it?

"Being gay is not a cult; there is no programming.  Good teachers bring out our best traits that are already there.  They cannot make us something we're not."

                                                                      * Doug Lee, Vancouver

"This story is another lesson from the Catholic church on hypocrisy.  They say family is sacrosanct and abortion is evil.  Yet, when a woman and her female partner choose to create a family and do not abort a child, they lay off the bread-winning partner because she is a lesbian.

"If the teacher was a person of colour, aboriginal or disabled, would the parents be complaining?  Just like colour, race and disability, sexual orientation is not a matter of choice.

"This is another reason to take away all funding from private, independent and religious schools and put it into the public school system.

"I do not want one cent of my tax dollars funding bigotry.  Parents who want to raise bigots should pay for it themselves."

                                                                      * B. K. Anderson, Vancouver


Not in Reimer's Favor:  

"Lisa Reimer is a big girl and she knew that signing up to work at a Catholic school might cause problems if her sexual orientation became an issue for the parents."

                                                                      *Esther Lea Kornfeld, Vancouver

"Being a Catholic, I would not want my child to have a teacher who was gay teaching in a Catholic setting; this goes against Catholic belief.

"We believe that marriage is between a man and a woman[,] and sex and procreation are reserved for marriage.

"The fact that the two woman are gay is not the issue, but the fact that they are engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is.  As parents and Catholics, we also have rights as to the people we want teaching our children."

                                                                      * M. Rea, Burnaby

(All letters are from "The Vancouver Sun," Monday, May 3, 2010, p. A8.)

The last letter is the one I find most interesting, and that encapsulates most of what's wrong with this issue.  Some immediate thoughts that come to mind are:

1).  M. Rea of Burnaby contradicts herself.  In the final paragraph of her letter, she states, "the fact that the two women are gay is not the issue, but the fact that they are engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is."  Yet, in her first paragraph, M Rea writes, "I would not want my child to have a teacher who was gay."

Two points.  First, I doubt that Lisa Reimer has had open lesbian sex in the classroom where she teaches for all her students to see, to confirm that she is in fact a lesbian.  So, in that case, if Reimer had not disclosed to the Catholic school before being hired that she's gay, the school would have been none the wiser, and students would at this very minute be taught by a lesbian.  Would they be any the worse for it?

Second, M. Rea would have us believe that she doesn't discriminate against lesbians, only against those who engage in lesbian sex.  But has she personally witnessed Reimer having sex with her partner?  Obviously, it's not the sex Reimer had with her partner that resulted in the latter getting pregnant, so you'll have to look further than that for proof.  How, then, does M. Rea know that Reimer and her partner are having sex?  Are you sure, M. Rea, that your issue with Reimer is that she's having sex with her partner, and not that you just don't want lesbians around young children?  We need some clarification on this.    

2).  In paragraph #2, M. Rea writes, "we believe that marriage is between a man and a woman[,] and sex and procreation are reserved for marriage."  News flash! Gays and lesbians have been able to legally marry in Canada for years now.  Of course, we know the whole issue surrounding gay marriage had to do with churches refusing to marry them, and the gay marriage we have now is a civil marriage, not a religious one.

From that perspective, even though gays and lesbians can get married, the church doesn't recognize their marriages.  M. Rea could then assert that Reimer and her partner are not really married at all, since her church didn't sanction it. Thankfully, our culture is ahead of most churches in recognizing the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, so who needs M. Rea's Catholic church, or any other church for that matter, that discriminates against gays and lesbians?

The moral superiority of many people who supposedly use their church's teachings to judge and to discriminate against other human beings, on the basis of sexual orientation, is about as arbitrary as you can get, and it gives me a royal pain in the you-know-what.  It must be nice to live in world as black and white as M. Rea does.

Until, of course, one of the children she refers in her letter to having turns out to be gay or lesbian him- or herself.  Then, I pity that child.  If that ever happens, I suspect M. Rea will sing a very different tune, or risk losing her son or daughter. What goes around comes around, honey.  Or, as my mother used to say, don't spit too high, it'll fall back in your face.

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