BreakPoint: The Wrong Kind of Catholic School

Do Christian Institutions Have a Right to Exist?

Here’s an outrageous proposition: Maybe Christian schools should be able to require their teachers to adhere to Christian teaching.

Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami recently made national headlines for terminating the employment of first grade teacher Jocelyn Morffi. The reason was that Morffi had just announced her “marriage” to her lesbian partner.

“In their eyes I’m not the right kind of Catholic,” Morffi complained on social media.

According to the Washington Post, “dozens of angry parents” showed up at the school the following day and demanded an explanation. Local politicians took time from their busy schedules to likewise wag their fingers at the school.

“It’s 2018,” said openly gay Florida State House Representative, David Richardson. “But you may be surprised to learn that you can be fired from your employment not just because of gay marriage but also because you’re gay.” Although there’s nothing in the story that confirms the last part of his allegation, Richardson still thinks the whole affair “underscores the need” for state and federal legislation prohibiting discrimination.

Of course, Miami-Dade County already has a local ordinance forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. But there is a religious exception.

In response, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese gently reminded the media that Morffi was, in fact, a teacher at a Catholic school. As part of her job, she signed a contract pledging to follow the Catholic Church’s teaching—including its teaching on marriage.

It may be that Representative Richardson needs reminding of the Hosanna Tabor case, in which the Supreme Court ruled that religious institutions have certain rights to control employment matters without interference from the courts—or legislatures and county councils for that matter.

Well, let’s set aside for a moment that this teacher made a promise to her employer, and that people ought to keep their promises. Is it really that shocking for a Catholic school to expect their faculty to teach and live the Catholic view on marriage?

As a father who has to make hard choices about my kids’ education, I say this with the utmost sincerity and respect: Parents, if you’re upset by this teacher’s termination, you might consider a different option for your children’s schooling.

If religious institutions don’t have the right to define themselves by their beliefs, they don’t have reason to exist. Period. They might as well send their students home, close up shop, and sell their buildings for office space.

But that’s not how America works, and that’s not how our Constitution treats religion. Religious institutions do have a right to define themselves, and to enforce those definitions, including beliefs unpopular to the broader culture.

The fact that actual legislators are pushing for laws to outlaw this most basic religious freedom is insane. And it puts the lie to that snarky question we were all asked a few years ago: “How does my gay marriage hurt you?”

This is how. Administrators of this Catholic school are now being bombarded with negative press. People like Barronelle Stutzman, Jack Phillips and Elaine Huguenin, as well as other business owners, artists, and charity workers have been taken to court. They’ve lost their livelihoods. They’ve faced brutal verbal abuse, and they’ve had their reputations ruined by LGBT activists simply because they wanted to live and work according to their faith.

Anyone who thinks Christians are overblowing this concern about religious freedom or that we have a persecution complex, should ask themselves: Do they really want to live in a country where one official view of life is enforced by the government, and there is no freedom for disagreement? Because that’s the kind of world we’re going to have if we insist that Catholic schools have no right to be Catholic.


The Wrong Kind of Catholic School: Do Christian Institutions Have a Right to Exist?

While our constitution provides religious freedom for all, this story demonstrates the continual need to defend that right in the midst of a hostile culture. For more information on how to do just that, check out the links below.

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  • yvobalcer

    Jesus said a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and the two will be one flesh. Jesus is talking about marriage. So to answer the ‘married lesbian,’ your gay marriage sends the message that Jesus is wrong. You should be fired.

  • Phuong Schuetz

    Coming from communist Vietnam, I’d give a wholehearted NO to having government dictate our view on life. Lost of freedom was the reason my family and countless others escaped Vietnam, enduring hardship and unknowns. At the time, Catholic schools were shut down because they challenged the communists’ teachings. America is headed in this direction if we can’t practice our faith. God created us with the freedom to follow him. If we lose the right to do so, we will move towards chaos and corruption. May God gives us wisdom and courage to stand firm in our faith.

  • 2011RedSox

    So – “In their eyes I’m not the right kind of Catholic,” Morffi complained.

    The ludicrous base of her seeming surprise precedes her.

    On wonders how long and/or how many times she chuckled hoping to present what she knew would be such affront to a Catholic institution?

    Such people as Morffi are not so much ‘trouble-makers” as they are “trouble-planners’ seeking an agenda beneath all desirous to RESTRICT OTHERS’ FREE THOUGHT, SPEECH and “lifestyles” antithetical to theirs some progressive educator at the university …. oops i mean “DI-VERSITY”… they have of recent attended.

    Wait, on second thought or inspection , “UNIVERSITY” and “DIVERSITY” ultimately cannot both exist together.
    Words MEAN something…

  • jason taylor

    Freedom of Assembly must include the right to set rules of membership. Internet groups routinely ban people. And a political group which is obliged to tolerate known informers is compromised. The SCA must deal with people who do not behave in a chivalric manner, or strike forbidden blows(those are the ones that are most difficult to prevent causing injury even using armor and blunt weapons). Even a bar must be allowed to higher a bouncer. If we carry inclusiveness to an extreme no private group can be self-enforcing.

  • Scott

    I can’t imagine an LGBT community member wanting to work for any faith based organization for the same reason I can’t imagine any Christian wanting to work for Out magazine? Because there exists an insurmountable conflict of interest. If people with fundamentally different ideologies want to exist together in peace, wouldn’t we need to allow space for businesses/organizations to operate based on their specific principles?

  • A Hill

    Awesome article and well said! Encouraging to see someone write and speak truth. This is not a rejection of the individual, rather discipline for non-compliance due to the contract she signed and broke. God loves her as all of us. This educational institution has rules and guidelines for teachers as well as students. When those guidelines or rules are broke, there are consequences… rather a child or an adult, we all deal with consequences at some point in our lives. We all need to choose responsibility for our actions. She made a choice willingly and it broke contract and she was dismissed. Choice…. consequence… end of story.

  • jason taylor

    In away the essential quality of totalitarianism is declaring war on Freedom of Assembly. That is why tyrants praise children who inform on their parents, suppress private clubs even for mere recreational purposes(despite the stereotype the Nazis were actually suspicious of mensur blade fraternities not because it is a brutal sport but because it is secretive and separate from the collective). Religion of course gets shafted not merely because God is a competition with Caesar but because friendship is a competition with Caesar. Even military culture is often only tolerated as much as security allows, hence the ridiculous temporary fetishes revolutionary regimes have about “political officers” with veto power, and ascetic prohibitions in uniforms, and rank titles(gold braid was once a large item on Lend-lease because Stalin realized that he needed to make a radical backtrack and start flattering his troops if he wanted their loyalty). Of course Godwining is a bad habit to get into, and I am not claiming that our government IS totalitarian, or even making a “nature lovers are bad because Hitler was a nature lover” argument. My point is that authorities dislike challenge and the ones that are based on the most self-righteous, or fanatical basis are naturally going to be encouraged in this especially if they have some radical cultural agenda that a people free to band together, might obstruct.

  • Lucky May

    Unfortunately I agree. Gay teachers do not belong in the Catholic school. I sent my children to Catholic school to learn about there faith and not to be taught Jimmy has two fathers or Jane has two mommies. I wanted them to learn there reading, writing, arthemetic and how to be loving to all people and understand different lifestyles but not by an outed gay person. When I went to Catholic schools we were taught by sisters and lay teachers. I think some of them should have kep there life private from still impessional teenage girls. It was a very confusing time for me and some of my friends when a nun would tell us how to get to the local clinic for the pill ot condoms or another sort of protection like it was normal for to be sexually active before marriage. My rant for tonight. I have no problem with the LzgBT community but just like my going to church sd s place these have a place.