Today we all learned that the vice principal at Eastside Catholic High School was asked to resign because he is gay. He married his husband over the summer, and apparently school admin just found out about it.
Students at Eastside Catholic organized a sit-in to protest the situation and show their support for their vice principal. Buzzfeed reports that a petition has been started in attempts to get their VP reinstated back into their school community. Once social media began buzzing with word of the sit-in, students at both Seattle Prep and my alma mater, Holy Names, also quickly organized a sit-in and even made some awesome posters with hashtags like "#samelove" and "#keepmrZ2013" to show support for the students and staff at Eastside Catholic who are quite upset about the whole thing.
Totally valid. Rock on EC, Prep, HNA. I'm proud to say I can associate myself with King County's Catholic high school community. This is a pretty big deal for so many students to rise up and make this an event that can't be broken up by admin coming through telling them all to get back to class. I'm really glad to see this type of thing happen in a younger group of people too, because so often as adults (even young-ish adults) we stereotype kids and teens into this category of people that we think doesn't care about much aside from drama and pop culture, and doesn't know enough about anything to hold a valid opinion, etc.
Something to note in this situation is the separation of church and state - unfortunately, even with a petition and solidarity in support of this VP and his husband and the school's sense of community, the school admin ultimately is at the mercy of the employment contracts issued by the archdiocese. Technically, a teacher at a Catholic school can be fired or asked to resign for a lot of things that we would consider to be horrific and unfair reasons. While I don't agree with all of the items in the archdiocese employment contracts (my husband read me a lot of what was in his contract), it is the way it is. This thing is bigger than just one school's administration - we're talking the entire city's archdiocese. I do hope that the solidarity of the students in the community will send a message to the archdiocese that change is long overdue.
This is an interesting time, what with our new Pope and all. I wasn't raised devout Catholic or anything, but I went to church sometimes and then more often in high school and college, and haven't really gone in a while. One thing I can say I was NEVER taught in Catholic church is intolerance. I know the church has a reputation for being intolerant, old fashioned, almost exclusive...and although some men in the hierarchy of the church may have written the church's position regarding various social issues, I truly feel that I was never, ever once told in the name of Catholicism that I should not accept or appreciate someone because of their differences - whether those differences be in sexual orientation, lifestyle, race, sex, whatever. NEVER was I told it was acceptable for me to judge a person based on any of those, never was I told that those who are different than me will go to some sort of hell.
That was just my personal experience with the Catholic church, and I realize I'm just one of many thousands of Catholic fish in the sea who may have had very different experiences than me. However, I think it's important to realize that at the root of Catholicism and its social justice values, acceptance and celebration of the world's diversity is by far the best way we can live - if you're more devout than me, you probably strive to live the way Jesus lived, and all of that...and if you do, that was to love, accept, celebrate EVERYONE. [Haha, this reminds me of the Megyn Kelly thing recently...let's just remind ourselves that the Jesus who walked this earth was, in fact, NOT white, and THAT is the verifiable fact...] This might be a strong opinion to hold, I don't know, but I honestly feel sad for those who have resentment, hatred, damning feelings toward people who are different than they are. It just seems like so much energy to be wasted on negative feelings towards our fellow humans, on a purpose that is literally going nowhere in this world of progressive positive change. And I also feel sort of a sad wonder about those who literally have the fear of god in their hearts - how draining it seems to be, to be afraid all the time of doing something and being punished for it? Or doing something good only because there is a promise of a reward? Why not do something good because it's the right thing to do? Why not just avoid hurting others for the sake of taking care of each other? Aren't those the real values we want to preach anyway? And I'm pretty sure it doesn't require a specific religion to teach any of those...Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, you get what I mean...I kind of feel like when it comes down to it, the basic core values are all pretty much the same. But hey, I'm not a theologian or anything either.
Maybe it seems like I'm being a hypocrite and behaving as though I don't accept those with other religious beliefs, so let me clear that up a little - I don't mean to attempt to discredit someone's faith by ANY means, I am literally curious as to what it would feel like to be afraid of a supernatural consequence of my behavior. I'm way more afraid of what will happen to me in THIS lifetime if the government decides to hunt me down for not filing taxes in 2010 because I literally made zero dollars (and if you make zero dollars, you don't HAVE to file taxes anyway. At least not according to my dad...). I'm afraid of the culture of litigation and mudslinging we have fostered. I'm WAY more afraid to see the consequences of irresponsible agricultural practices, unsustainable social welfare programs, and the ridiculous political system we've allowed to come into existence. I'm afraid of the physical world my children and grandchildren will live in. I'm not sure what's going to happen to my body and/or soul after I die, but I'd like to think that the living friends and family I leave behind will have lived in a better place because we enjoyed time together. Did that make sense?
I'm not the most articulate, and some of this may not have great diction or syntax, but hey. This was all written on a whim, because I was so happy to see on Facebook that all my high school friends were sharing the story about current HNA students standing together in support of their fellow Catholic high school students. I have been trying to cut back my obsession with Facebook lately, so I decided to write about it here instead. And you got the long version instead of the abridged Facebook version :)
Anyway, that's my two cents, if any of my three readers care (haha!). Peace be with you, friends! (p.s. When the Catholic church changed the wording of a bunch of the traditional responses a few years ago, I was TOTALLY thrown off, and I don't like it. Just saying. Not that my opinion matters to the Vatican or whoever even makes that stuff up...I'm a great Catholic, as I'm sure you can tell, haha!)