Catholic Schools Fire Teacher Over IVF Baby

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French teacher Kelly Romenesko was fired by two Roman Catholic schools one month after she became pregnant using in vitro fertilization. This is a big no-no in Catholic doctrine which states the only non-sinful way to give birth to new believers is by conventional means practiced between married men and women. She is now suing for back wages on the grounds that the schools violated Wisconsin's employment anti-discrimination regulations.

While I strongly sympathize with her plight, Romenesko did sign a contract promising that she would act in accordance with Caltholic doctrine. Consequently, I think that the schools have the right to fire her on the grounds that she breached her contract and the courts should throw her case out. Disturbingly, she claims that other people involved with schools did not suffer simiiliar consequences when they resorted to IVF. If true, I hope that the school officials remember that Dante consigned hypocrites to the 8th Circle of Hell condemning them to walk in lead-lined cloaks for eternity. Meanwhile Romenesko is doing what Americans have done for centuries when they don't like a particular denomination's doctrines–she's going to another church–in this case a Lutheran one.

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  1. Who are the bigger dickheads:
    Christians?
    or Atheists?
    Go!

  2. Muslims.

  3. “Who are the bigger dickheads:
    Christians?
    or Atheists?
    Go”!

    All of the above.

  4. There is such a thing as an unenforceable contract.

    You can’t actually give someone your first born, for example. Or let them kill you.

  5. Those people whose religion was made up by a well known sci-fi author who I can’t name in case they decide to sue Reason for it and hunt me down and imprison me in a volcano or something.

  6. I hate Dante.

  7. I agree a contract is a contract. Unless they have treated other people differently in previous cases. For instance, if they have not fired male teachers who used IVF with their wives, then I think that she could sue -and win- for sex discrimination.

  8. I invite you to Kiss Hank’s Ass.
    http://www.jcnot4me.com/Videos/Kissing_Hanks_Ass-video.mov
    (Warning: adult language, satirizes evangelical reasoning)

  9. My mom kissed Hank’s ass and he gave her $1,000,000!

  10. Sure, joe, but the teacher’s contract with the diocese presumably omitted such terms, which themselves would certainly (killing) or likely (trafficking in children) violate Catholic doctrine.

    Religious employer-employee agreements are almost always upheld by the courts, since they can rely not only upon contract law, but upon the reluctance of courts to abrogate a religious employer’s First Amendment rights under the Establishment Clause. The legal argument is that forcing religious groups to employ or retain those who violate the tenets of their faith would prohibit free exercise of their religion. The judicial doctrine of “church autonomy” prohibits civil court review of internal church disputes involving matters of faith, doctrine, church governance, and polity.

    In addition, the teacher probably would be subject to the “ministerial exception” to the application of employment discrimination laws to clergy and other persons “discharging principally spiritual oriented duties.” There are a number of cases in which this exception has been extended to apply to lay teachers at religious schools.

  11. Lutheranism is Catholicism with no Pope and half the guilt!

  12. I never realized the doctrine against IVF was so strong in the Catholic church. When did that happen?

  13. It probably happened shortly after they realized how many eggs go astray in the process.

  14. The local Appleton paper goes into the story a bit more than the AP version.

    http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060509/APC0101/605090635/1003

    Kevin

  15. Reality Check:

    The reason nobody else got fired for using IVF is because they kept their big FAT MOUTH shut about it. Right or wrong if you shove something like that in your boss’s face it kind of puts the boss in a bad spot.

    IOW, the Church didn’t go on a witch hunt looking for someone hiding under a bed with a petri dish. In fact, nobody has ever been fired for IVF in the history of the Ca church.

    I don’t think she has a case anyway, Ca looney laws notwithstanding.

    MK, although I don’t remember the details, she was careful about the process, using a specific service where great care was taken with regard to eggs going astray.

  16. cgee,

    Beat me to the punch.

  17. Who are the bigger dickheads:
    Christians?
    or Atheists?
    Go!

    I would have written “‘Atheists awful’ in five, four, three…” but I was out to lunch.

  18. Speaking as a dickhead athiest, they have every right to fire her. Also, I have every right to think they’re a bunch of dickheads for doing so..

  19. Just recently we had another case of “yearnin’ for the youngins’ “, (that have become so popular with catholic priests lately), here in Chicago. The priest was accused of “touching” young boys genitalia. So what did they do? This was within the last 6 months mind you.

    Why they transferred the priest to a new place and let him have charge of young boys agian!

    Apparently that wasn’t a violation of the Priests contract. And he was not terminated until the press found out.

    So I can only conclude that:

    IVF: Against catholic teachings

    Pedophilia by Priest on parishoners: Conforms to catholic teachings.

    Ah hell, you realize when you actually read Plato, that we must have a different meanings for the word Platonic. (well, I certainly get that sense for Phaedrus at least)

  20. There is such a thing as an unenforceable contract.

    There’s also a thing called free exercise.

    Apparently that wasn’t a violation of the Priests contract. And he was not terminated until the press found out.

    I guess I’m not following–is this thread about the government forcing people to be Catholic? …is it about the government forcing the Catholic Church to be consistent?

  21. The question I have is would the Catholic Church support a business owner’s right to fire an employee that was caught attending Mass or receiving Communion if it was clearly stated that being Catholic was prohibited by contract or in the employee handbook. I think we all know the answer.

  22. The question I have is would the Catholic Church support a business owner’s right to fire an employee that was caught attending Mass or receiving Communion if it was clearly stated that being Catholic was prohibited by contract or in the employee handbook.

    I don’t see what such inconsistencies have to do with this case. …are you suggesting that if the Catholic Church came out against religious bigotry, then it should have to keep teachers on the payroll who don’t practice what they preach?

    …If I tell someone to shut up, does that mean I’ve foregone my right to free speech?

  23. joe, I dunno. Contracts for surrogate mothers have been tossed out as against public policy (as would contracts for your examples), because using a contract to force a mother to give up her rights to a child is considered a little too much. But it’s not clear that this contract hits that sort of nerve. If the church insisted that the baby must be sold into slavery or something (or just given up for adoption), that would be unenforceable. But a morals clause is not that unusual, nor is it completely beyond reason.

  24. I hope that the school officials remember that Dante consigned hypocrites to the 8th Circle of Hell condemning them to walk in lead-lined cloaks for eternity.

    You might want to remind Romenesko about that as well.

    I hate to see someone leave the church, but if the alternative is to live a lie (ie, pretend to be a Catholic while denying Catholic teachings), so be it, good riddance, and too bad it didn’t happen earlier.

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