(Voice of the Persecuted) A state judge has ruled that an all-girl Catholic school, violated the anti-discrimination law where a job offer was rescinded when it became known the hire was gay. Nationally, the decision being called the first of its kind. The Fontbonne Academy in Milton Massachusetts will no longer will have the freedom to hire based on it’s mission where staff is to serve as models of the faith.
Matthew Barrett had been offered a job as the Academy’s food services director in 2013. Alleging discrimination, he sued the Academy after he listed his husband as emergency contact and the offer was soon withdrawn. Bennett Klein, an attorney for GLAD, represented Barrett.
According to the Boston Herald, the schools attorney John Bagley said, “The reason the job offer was rescinded was not that Mr. Barrett was gay or married to someone of the same sex. It was based on Catholic faith doctrine.”
Barrett’s attorney argued, “Sexual orientation is not a message, and there’s no distinction between sexual orientation and being married to a person of the same sex. He also claimed Fontbonne’s decision to withdraw its job offer was based on status not based on him doing or saying anything.
Fontbonne’s attorney asked, “How can you credibly talk to kids about the Catholic faith if somebody who’s an employee is involved in activity inconsistent with the message of the school?” He noted that, if Barrett and his spouse show up at a school-wide party or event, the students might assume the school is conveying an implicit message that same-sex marriage is acceptable to the church.
On Wednesday, the court ruling asserted that the Catholic mission at the Academy cannot include non-teaching positions.
Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins wrote in the ruling, “As an educational institution, Fontbonne retains control over its mission and message. It is not forced to allow Barrett to dilute that message, where he will not be a teacher, minister or spokesman for Fontbonne and has not engaged in public advocacy of same-sex marriage,” according to an AP report.
Christian Science Monitor shared, Janson Wu, executive director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) said, “Our government sends a powerful message when it says, through the laws, that discrimination against gay and trans people is wrong,” Wu says. “Government can be a role model in that way. It can change climate and culture.”
The FRC coverage on the case claimed it predictable that the court flatly rejected the school’s claim to be able to hire based on its core religious beliefs.
The courts have for some time issued decisions which infringe more and more on private religious institutions’ autonomy, we are now seeing the rising tide of infringement of religious beliefs regarding same-sex conduct. Prepare for the deluge.
One portion of the opinion is particularly revealing. The court observed that the school did not require prospective employees to hold to Catholic beliefs except for some positions — the position at issue here not included. Yet the court acknowledged that the school asked the employee here if he could “buy into” being a “minister of the mission” of the school — which included promoting the school’s religious beliefs, as required of all employees. He said he could!
Aside from brushing past this misrepresentation (the employee could not “buy into” a mission when his own life contradicted some of its core moral tenets), the court misses the point that the mission the employee was asked to promote, which includes the Christian teaching on marriage, and the understanding that homosexual conduct is wrong — is required of Catholic and other traditions within Christianity (and, indeed, other religions entirely). The court jumps through hoops to construe the statute in a way that avoids recognizing this is the exact type of religious mission that religious employment exemptions are meant to protect. The court similarly engaged in logical and legal contortions to dismiss the school’s other claims.
This decision is very problematic for religious liberty. Hopefully the school will appeal.
Many on both sides of the spectrum believe the suit will be appealed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, then likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lately, we’ve heard some argue that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. To say this is to completely misunderstand who the Bible’s author was. Among multiple mentions which calls it out as unnatural, an abomination and along with other sexual immoral activities, a sin. But to claim it was never spoken by Jesus who is also called the Word is dead wrong, as we see in scriptures read during most wedding ceremonies.
But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.