From near and far, support grows for fired teacher


From near and far, support grows for fired teacher
Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
Last updated: Saturday, July 11, 2015, 1:07 AM
Posted: Friday, July 10, 2015, 9:12 PM

The chorus of protests over the firing of a suburban Catholic schoolteacher who is in a same-sex marriage grew Friday to include Philadelphia's Republican mayoral nominee, a Catholic LGBT group, and an 8-year-old pupil who wrote to Pope Francis.

"It is unacceptable for people to be fired for whom they are married to," mayoral candidate Melissa Murray Bailey said.

Vox Wrote:None of your business, Ms Mayoral Candidate. Why don't you go tell the Hassidim whom they can hire? Or try the Muslims. I'm sure they'd be more than happy to take your advice on how to run their institutions.

Seriously:  why is it that everyone and his brother thinks they have some sort of right to tell Catholics how to do things, how to pray, what we should cut from our liturgy, whom we should allow to become priests, etc.? How come it's only US and not the Jews or the Muslims or any other religious group they butt their busy-body noses into?

At issue is Waldron Mercy Academy's decision in late June to fire Margie Winters, the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school's director of religious instruction, who has been married to a woman for seven years.

Winters' supporters, including many parents of children in the Merion private school, talked of staging a vigil for her Sunday night. Michael Rocks, president of Dignity Philadelphia, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics, called the firing "extremely antigay and anti-lesbian."

Vox Wrote:Yeah, we Catlicks, just a buncha haters we are. Meanwhile, Judaism and Islam both aren't on board with gay "marriage," but that's OK. Doesn't make the newspapers. Ain't nobody's business but Jews and Muslims, I guess.

As Waldron Mercy principal Nell Stetster wrote July 3 in an e-mail to parents, the school "is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy," a Catholic order, but also "recognizes the authority of the Archbishop of Philadelphia, especially in the teaching of religion, because we call ourselves Catholic."

Stetser wrote that she fired Winters - whom she credited with having made "amazing contributions" to Waldron Mercy - after consulting with the school's trustees and the order.

Since the firing, an "I Stand with Margie" Facebook page has been flooded with well-wishers identifying themselves as students, clergy, and educators from around the world.

By late Friday, the page had garnered more than 8,000 likes; a GoFundMe drive had raised nearly $9,000 for Winters and her wife. The Broadway star Kelli O'Hara tweeted: "I was taught "thou shalt not judge" in my Catholic Church. I @StandWithMargie . . ."

Vox Wrote:LOL

Democratic mayoral nominee Jim Kenney denounced the firing Thursday, blaming "cowardly men" at the archdiocese. His GOP rival called Friday for more focus on "performance of teachers (good and bad) in schools. Good teachers should be able to teach, celebrated and paid fairly, and bad teachers should be fired." Both Bailey and Kenney are Catholic.

Vox Wrote:"Cowardly men"? It'd have been the easiest thing in the world to have NOT fired her and to, instead, have hosted a parade in her honor. Those so-called "cowardly men" would've been hailed as heroes, man.

Little irritates me more than a "progressive" type doing what every newspaper in the world, every celebrity, every talking head, every college professor, etc. wants him to do and will laud him for and thinking himself "brave" for doing it. It's so silly.

Archdiocesan spokesman Ken Gavin reiterated Friday that Waldron Mercy is "not under the administrative purview" of the archdiocese, which he said "neither made nor influenced" the firing.

Winters has said she thinks her dismissal grew out of a dispute with a parent over curriculum. She said Waldron Mercy administrators knew when they hired her seven years ago that she had married Andrea Vettori in Boston.

Vox Wrote:--- so her firing had nothing to do with her being "married" to a person of her own sex? And it's still Big News? Wow.

Vettori gave The Inquirer a copy of a letter she hopes will reach Francis before his September visit to Philadelphia. In three pages she detailed her relationship with Winters, the pain the firing caused, and what it's like to be a gay Catholic.

Vox Wrote:
What would be the point of that if the woman wasn't fired for being "married" to a woman in the first place? Is this a deal where she's using that as an excuse to get re-hired? So is that the way things are gonna roll now? That homosexuals can't be fired ever, for any reason, because they can always cry "foul!" and blame it on their sexual orientation?

While she has questioned staying in a church "that does not fully embrace me . . . as a woman or as a lesbian," Vettori wrote, Catholicism still inspires her, as does Francis' washing of prisoners' feet, and his "statements choosing not to judge homosexuals have captured the imagination and attention of the world."

A Waldron Mercy pupil named Jake, 8, also wrote to Francis, said the Facebook page's administrator, who posted his words. "Ms. Winters got fired from my school because she is married to a women," Jake's letter said. "If you are not busy please write me a letter back . . . this is so unfair and I can't understand it at all."

Vox Wrote:
Jake, you are eight. You don't understand much, and if you'd been raised properly, you'd understand this bit really easily, just like any 4 year old born before 10 years ago would've understood it perfectly. You've been failed by your parents, your school, your church if you don't understand why a woman "marrying" a woman makes no sense whatsoever.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia has issued a statement of support for the decision of a private Catholic school to dismiss a teacher who is involved in a same-sex marriage.

Margie Winters was religious-education director at Waldron Mercy Academy; she has said that the school was aware of her union with another woman at the time she was hired. Her firing has provoked angry protests.

Waldron Mercy Academy explained the firing by saying that the school is under the authority of the Philadelphia archdiocese, and to preserve its status as a Catholic school, must comply with Church teachings. The Philadelphia archdiocese, however, had observed that the school is private, and makes its own personnel decisions.

Now Archbishop Chaput has released a statement backing the school’s decision. The archbishop said:

Schools describing themselves as Catholic take on the responsibility of teaching and witnessing the Catholic faith in a manner true to Catholic belief. There's nothing complicated or controversial in this. It's a simple matter of honesty. I'm very grateful to the Religious Sisters of Mercy and to the principal and board members of Waldron Mercy for taking the steps to ensure that the Catholic faith is presented in a way fully in accord with the teaching of the Church. They've shown character and common sense at a moment when both seem to be uncommon.
This is just another reason why I can't understand anti-capitalist, pro-state Catholics.

Ultimately, this is a private property issue, and not a religious one - a private institution has the right to hire and fire whomever it wants to for whatever reason. 

Once you start introducing the idea that the state has the right to interfere with private property rights, this kind of issue is bound to occur, especially given the fact that more modern states are extremely anti-Catholic.
This will be an interesting case to watch. If the school knew she was in a same sex relationship for years but only did something about it recently, that might weaken their case. I wonder what she taught in class? Was it orthodox?

(07-14-2015, 01:47 AM)Cetil Wrote: This will be an interesting case to watch. If the school knew she was in a same sex relationship for years but only did something about it recently, that might weaken their case. I wonder what she taught in class? Was it orthodox?

You can't just "teach" religion. You have to live it. If you are not living it then it is better for that person not to teach.
Sinners and secret hypocrites teach it every day. Effectiveness in teaching can be measured in the conviction that accompanies it.


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