Monday, March 08, 2010

My outrage buttons are weirdly wired...

Pardon me while I get political for one post.

I ran across a story that really bugged me today on a friend's Facebook page today.

The story was about a Denver Catholic school that kicked out a preschooler because his parents are a lesbian couple.

Now, I claim to be a good couscous-nibbling chardonnay-sipping big-city lib'rul here on this blog occasionally, and according to that self-stereotype, you'd think I'd automatically say the lesbian parents were the good guys (or women as it was) and the bad old Church was the bad guy.

But instead, I just found myself thinking "Poor kid. Why weren't any of the adults watching out for him? Somebody should've known better!"

I'm very much in favor of gay rights (including marriage, I think it's incredibly unfair that TQ & I could set up that legal partnership known as marriage anytime we wanted to when we've never even lived in the same city, while friends of mine who've been in serious, loving, committed, living-under-the-same-roof relationships for years and years and years can't). But still...well, here's the rant I left on poor Peter's facebook page:

Hm. Went back, reread the article, find myself feeling very very sorry for the kid & wondering which set of adults was most responsible - the parents, the school admin, or church higher-ups.

Leaving aside the shoulds & should-nots & looking at what is - the fact is that a church that runs a school gets a certain say in how that school is run & who gets to go there. Another fact is that Catholic Church is anti-gay. I know plenty of completely gay-friendly Catholics, but the institution is NOT.

Clearly, it seems like whoever was responsible for the ultimate decision to kick the kid out chose to disregard the well-being of a child, which is a shame.

But on the other hand, I find myself thinking along rather similar lines as Michael's 2nd comment* - albeit with a different spin -

Why on earth would a gay couple entrust their child's welfare to such an institution?

Seems implausible that they would've just tried to pull a fast one. There would've been interviews, meetings, all sorts of preliminaries where their relationship should have become obvious. So either they deliberately hid it - which seems implausible, why would a gay couple effectively re-closet themselves to get their kid accepted to a school? What kind of message would that be for them to give their kid? - OR - more plausible - the administration at the school thought it was OK for them to wink at their own rules.**

Maybe they looked at it as civil (or ecumenical) disobedience - but is performing an act of civil disobedience that puts a child's welfare at risk OK?

Maybe better for the adults work to change the rules (if that's what they believe should happen) before they put kids in a potentially dodgy situation.


*Michael is a Catholic who was sticking up for his church's right to run their school by their own rules. I think that's fair, even if I don't think the rules are.

**Found a little more info in a related article when I got home tonight -
1. the child is a preschooler - is that young enough that he might not really get what's going on & bounce back without any major issues? Hope so.
2. It does sound like at least some of the staff were surprised & upset about the decision - I would have thought they might have suspected that this might be an issue, but then I don't know much about internal politics in the Catholic church. Still, "We didn't think" isn't always the best excuse in the world.

1 comment:

michael b said...

Don't have much to add - you covered the bases pretty well. How well a child can remember the prejudices they are exposed to when adults think they aren't old enough to think for themselves. My own parents would be embarrassed to know how I saw through some of their machinations!