Every teacher in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has been made to sign an updated morality clause that spells out exactly what they can and cannot do with regards to a host of moral issues. More than 2,200 teachers were made to sign the employment contract that is valid until the end of 2014 and in case any of them fail to abide by the contract, they can lose their jobs. Surrogacy, in-vitro fertilization, premarital sex and homosexuality are only some of the “sins” that Cincinnati’s Archdiocese expects its teachers to avoid.
“It is an embarrassment and a scandal, and will drive even more Catholics away from an institution so out of touch with its times,” said Robert Hague, a teacher who decided to leave his job at a Catholic school because of the contract.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, the revised morality clause is twice the size of the contract teachers signed in 2013. Reportedly, all teachers are bound to sign the clause if they want to retain their jobs, irrespective of whether they are Catholic or not. The contract also refers to all teachers as “ministers,” who have been granted a special exception by the Supreme Court in the past. The exception suggests that the government cannot get involved with a church’s hiring and firing decisions, which in turn influences the free exercise of religion by people.
Jim Rigg, the Archdiocese’s superintendent said that the revised contract is no different from the contract that teachers have been signing at its schools for decades.
“We cannot, nor should we, peek through the windows of our employee's homes to see whether they are living a moral lifestyle… The contract is not an excuse for some type of witch hunt, but merely a clearer verbalization of what it means to be a Catholic schoolteacher,” wrote Rigg.
In the past, two teachers have been fired from their jobs for using in-vitro fertilization to become pregnant and showing support for gay marriages. As critics continue to say that the Church is trying to protect itself from pricey lawsuits by coming across as liberal, a group of teachers from the Cincinnati area is organizing a union that plans on demanding collective bargaining rights.
Photo Credit: Mathen Payyappilly Palakkappilly
I wonder how this could possibly benefit the education of children in any way. Rather, it just seems like an example of paranoia. If the teachers were 'true' catholics, wouldn't this be simply unnecessary?