Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More Catholic Hypocrisy At Eastside High School

I first wrote about Mark Zmuda a few weeks back [see post HERE] but here’s a quick refresher:

Zmuda was the vice principal at Eastside Catholic High School in Sammamish, Washington until the day he married his same-sex partner. Then he was fired for violating both the teachings of the Catholic Church, and a contract he signed when hired by the school.

Now, students at the school instantly began protesting and demanding that Zmuda be rehired, but that has yet to happen, though a new wrinkle into what goes on at this school, and inside the Catholic Church, has come up.

Stephanie Merrow, a former part-time musical coach at Eastside Catholic High School — and we’ll get to why she’s a ‘former’ coach in a moment — was feeling a little nervous recently because she had just become engaged to her same-sex partner and after Mark Zmuda’s firing for marrying his partner, she was sure she’d be next in the unemployment line.

Merrow said she was nervous before meeting with the school’s principal, Polly Skinner, and other administrators, to discuss her engagement, and future at the school, but now says that meeting was “very warm and welcoming” and that, unlike Zmuda, the school has given her a new employment agreement as an independent contractor.
“She was very nice, she made me feel very valued. I got a little raise.”—Stephanie Merrow
She got a new contract, and a little raise, for doing the exact same thing that seemingly resulted in Mark Zmuda’s firing? How does that happen?

Well, it’s all in the verbiage used. Merrow is no longer a “part-time” music teacher and coach at the school; she is now an “independent contractor” and, as such, is apparently not held to the same strict rules of Church teachings. Her engagement, to a woman of all things, no longer matters, even though she is doing the exact same work she’s always done at the school.


It’s believed that Merrow’s status would not have changed, thus allowing her to keep her job, if she hadn’t announced her engagement, and it’s unclear  if Mark Zmuda would have been offered a newly worded contract and been reinstated as an “independent contractor” teacher.

So, is this continued hypocrisy in the Church, where gay men are treated differently than gay women? Or is this a new trend in the Church to find ways to bend the rules to fit the changing times? Is it due to the fact that Zmuda was an administrator and Merrow simply a teacher/coach?

I’m kind of leaning toward hypocrisy because, well, that’s what the Catholic Church does, and because Mark Zmuda was never offered a change in status as an option to keep his job. He was terminated — even though the school first said he resigned — the very moment he announced his marriage. Stephanie Merrow was allowed to keep her job, albeit it with a new title.

The fight for Zmuda’s reinstatement goes on, however, as students have tweeted the Pope — who infamously suggested that the Catholic Church stop marginalizing LGBT folks — in the hopes that he might offer his opinion. And students at Eastside are calling January 31st as “Z Day” and “encourage students, at Catholic schools or otherwise, as well as any other impassioned individuals, to proudly wear the color orange on that day. In so doing, we will be showing solidarity with Mark Zmuda, as well as expressing our hopes for an enlightened perspective on issues of sexuality in the Catholic Church.

Here’s hoping …..

Catholic school that forced out gay administrator keeps lesbian music coach

Eastside Catholic Gay Teacher asked to sign Contractor agreement


the dogs' mother said...

My immediate thought has to do with ACA as this has happened to all three of my children, to me and my brother. We all have been moved to (or hired as) 'independent contractors' - there are no benefits attached and certainly no pesky partners, spouses, children, etc. to worry about.

Biki Honko said...

I agree with your assessment of the situation, tis hypocrisy pure and simple. But that is status quo for the catholic church, and has been since its inception.

Damien Malachy said...

Or is this a new trend in the Church to find ways to bend the rules to fit the changing times?
This is not a new trend, it is quite traditional. Look at what happened with divorce. Suddenly the Catholic Church discovered ways to grant annulments that they never would have considered before. All so they can pretend nothing changes ... The day will come when the Church will accept same-sex civil unions and then it will have some perfectly reasonable rationale that makes it sound like nothing has changed. "As we have always taught ..."

Raybeard said...

Damien is right. Despite the R.C. Church stubbornly maintaining that it will not and cannot change because the 'Law of God' is not subject to change, it does do so even if it's at the rate of the shifting of tectonic plates. The acceptance of gay equality in all aspects by that Church will clearly not happen in my lifetime, but come it will - just as married priests and female priests will happen. Their pretence that it is otherwise is just risible, even though they and their faithful congregation want to believe it.