Fired Clinic Escort Files Complaints Against The Catholic Church For Being Consistent

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SacBee.com | Fired Loretto teacher files complaints:

Marie Bain, 50, of Sacramento, filed two separate employment complaints Thursday with the state against Loretto, the religious order that sponsors the school, the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento and Bishop William K. Weigand.

One complaint - with the state Department of Labor - calls for an investigation of the employment practices of the diocese. The other - with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing - is a first step toward a lawsuit.


The handwriting was on the wall....

Marie Bain, if you will recall, was employed as a drama teacher at Loretto High School, a Catholic girls' school. Upon receiving proof that Bain had recently worked as an escort at the local Planned Parenthood clinic, the Bishop of Sacramento requested Bain's termination. The Loretto administration complied.

Bishop Weigand did a fantastic job of justifying his involvement in an "open letter to the faithful" about Bain's firing. I'll reprint the summary of his reasoning:

If we are to form faithful Catholic young people and provide suitable role models for such formation, teachers in our Catholic schools must themselves be witnesses to the Truth proclaimed in the Gospel, conducting themselves by word and deed in accordance with the Truths of our Faith. Their witness does not end when the school bell rings at the end of the day or the school year concludes at the beginning of summer.
Thus, persons who engage in activities fundamentally opposed to the teachings and beliefs of our Faith are disqualified from collaborating in the educational apostolate of the Church as principals, teachers, teachers aides, or catechists. To this end, any person who has actively and publicly advocated or participated in activities contrary to the Gospel of Life, such as supporting or promoting abortion, lacks the threshold qualifications essential to minister to our young people in the Catholic educational apostolate. There is no place for such persons in the Catholic educational system in the Diocese of Sacramento. This has been, and continues to be, the policy of the Diocese and, as such, is reflected in the employment materials and contracts received by all Diocesan Catholic school teachers.

If, as the Bishop's letter states, Bain's contract allowed her to be fired for her abortion-advocating past, then it seems doubtful that Bain could actually have a case. Furthermore, it would seem that the First Amendment should protect the Catholic Church from this sort of interference. Then again, this is the People's Republic of California, the home of judges who believe that parents should have no say in the sexualization of their children. So who knows what they'll do?


Just for kicks, let's see if there's any substance to Bain's complaints. What does her lawyer say?
"Loretto rightly prides itself as an academic institution committed to vigorous debate of ideas and beliefs," said Bain's attorney, John M. Poswall of Sacramento. "Unfortunately, the action of the bishop, cowering to noisy fundamentalists, threatens to turn Loretto into a Taliban-style institution of thought control and repression."
The rhythmic thumping that you hear is the sound of my head banging against my keyboard. It seems that "Taliban" has become the new "Nazi"; in other words, it's a term for spoiled children to use when complaining about any authority figure who has harshed their mellow. I am certain that some teenager has already described his parents as "just like the Taliban" for such crimes as making him clean his room, not letting him stay out until 1am on a school night, and other such human-rights abuses.

For reference, the real Taliban banned the following activities:

  • Reading of particular books

  • Keeping cameras without licence

  • Cinema, television, and VCRs (decadent, used for watching pornography, promoted non-Muslim ideas)

  • Internet (though users could log into uncensored internet service providers in Pakistan)

  • Music

  • Promotion of non-Muslim ideas

  • Women without complete body coverings

  • Women working outside the home (except in health care when kept separate from male workers and patients)

  • Women going on picnics or to tourist resorts

  • Kite flying (wasted time, Hindu ritual)

  • Women being pictured (whether on the printed page or on a frame)

  • Women appearing on television or during public performances

  • Converting people from Islam (death penalty for Afghan convert, expulsion for foreign national)

Punishments included:
  • Amputating the hands of thieves.

  • Public executions

  • Shooting of prostitutes in sport stadiums

  • Shooting of murderers by victim's family, in sport stadium

  • Hanging or throat cutting of robbers, in sport stadium

  • Stoning of adulterous (unmarried) couples

  • Collapsing a wall over homosexuals

  • Muslim men were beaten or jailed for shaving or excessively cutting their beards

  • Women were not permitted to wear see-through socks or shoes, nor to wear shoes that make noise when walking

  • Women suffered physical punishment if showed face in public

In contrast, Bishop Weigand of the American Taliban (Catholic Special Squad) performed the following act:
  • Directed a Catholic girls' high school to fire a teacher who had a recent past of abortion advocacy, including volunteering as a Planned Parenthood clinic escort and publicly opposing parental notification laws

Clearly, the long dark night of theocratic oppression has fallen over Sacramento! For their next act of oppression, the American Taliban plans to encourage widespread adherence to a cryptic code of conduct known only as the "Golden Rule".

Anyway, the claims of thought control and repression seem a little bit much. Surely it is not too much to ask that a teacher at a parochial school should not have a recent history of advocating causes that are totally opposed to the religious teachings that supposedly govern the school? As the Bishop wrote in his open letter, part of the purpose of a religious-school education is to impart some of the values of the sponsoring religion. Otherwise, there would be no need for religious schools, and everyone should just be content with a secular education.

Should Quaker schools be forced to accept ROTC recruiters and put them on the payroll?
Should Jewish schools be required to keep Aryan Nations activists in their faculties?
Should any private institution be forced to keep an employee who is opposed to the values of that institution?

Is there anything else to Bain's complaint?

Poswall stated in the complaint that Bain's firing constituted sexual discrimination because it targeted "her beliefs and actions related to women's reproductive rights" and sought to make "an example of her as a woman, to other young women."

A sexual discrimination claim really seems like reaching to me. The problem was Bain's beliefs and actions, not her gender. Does anyone think that the Bishop would have been okay with a male teacher who had been a clinic escort? Bain's claim seems like pure name-calling to me: "You fired me, so you must be a sexist!"

For whatever it's worth, I don't care about Bain's gender. I was once a clinic escort myself, and I would have been an equally-poor choice to teach at a Catholic girls' school.

What else does Bain's lawyer have to say?

School officials knew Bain was not a Catholic and had her "own personal beliefs" when they hired her in August, Poswall stated.

FYI, there's a difference between beliefs and actions. It takes more than merely being pro-choice to make one volunteer as a clinic escort. It also takes a real commitment to action and a desire to confront and/or oppose pro-lifers. Worst of all, it requires a results-oriented frame of mind that does not balk at shouting down pro-life viewpoints and "shielding" women from pro-life literature. Clinic escorts aren't about "choice"; they're all about herding women into the clinic.

Anything else?

Punishing her for having supported opposing values in the past is tantamount to religious discrimination, Poswall said.

Context is key. There's (at least) one big difference between Bain and myself. My days as a clinic escort were about fifteen years ago. Bain's time at the clinic was mere months before she started working at Loretto.

Also, if anyone in the country is allowed to discriminate based on religious beliefs, shouldn't it be a church? What's next, forcing the Catholic Church to accept atheists into the priesthood?

And finally:

Regarding the free speech claim, Poswall argued that Bain's volunteering was akin to a "political activity," which is a protected class of speech and a "fundamental right of all California employees."

Yes, Bain had an absolute legal right to volunteer as a clinic escort. Although I consider such duty to be pure evil, I would support her case if she was rotting in a prison cell for doing so. However, that's not the case here. Bain is perfectly free to get a job as a drama teacher in a public school, or even another private school that doesn't care about abortion.

Also, wouldn't this lawsuit threaten the Catholic Church's right to freedom of speech, not to mention their right to free exercise of religion?


To make a long post short, I don't think Bain's complaints have any validity or value. She was fired because she was a bad choice to teach at a Catholic girls' school, end of story. Bain should dust off her hurt pride and start looking for another teaching job. I'm sure that there's a lucrative book deal in her future, so it's not all bad....

(cross-posted at Naaman the Ex-Leper)

2 Comments

I am deeply disturbed that both Marie Bain and the daughter of the parent who filed the complaint against Ms. Bain are now being used as political targets, in the midst of Diocesan business and employment practices that do not GUARANTEE due process of the law to all persons, equally.

If Catholic Bishops can fire employees for "past acts" before an employment contract is signed, this basically states that every Diocesan employee can be fired at any time, without due process. I cannot imagine there is one Catholic employee who does not have something in his/her past that would be grounds for immediate termination, according to Bishop Wiegand.

If students can be expelled from Catholic schools because of exercising freedoms of speech and press, in accordance with the teachings of the Church, this is contradictory to the principles outlined in The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium. Children should never be punished, through expulsion, without due process.

With all the clergy sex abuse lawsuits and embarassment, one would think that Bishops would now understand the urgent need to "listen" to employees and students, without hastily acting to terminate an employee or expelling a student, without due process of the law.

I am deeply disturbed that both Marie Bain and the daughter of the parent who filed the complaint against Ms. Bain are now being used as political targets...

We finally agree on something. Oh, wait, are you suggesting that I'm trying to use Bain as a target?

Please remember that Bain is the person who is keeping the story alive (as it concerns her) at this point. She chose to file those complaints. Her lawyer was ready with a statement for the press. If anyone is shoving Bain into the spotlight, it's certainly not me. I have no desire to continue posting about her. As far as I'm concerned, Bain should just accept her firing, get a new job, and move on with her life. In fact, I think I wrote that in my post.

...in the midst of Diocesan business and employment practices that do not GUARANTEE due process of the law to all persons, equally.

Um, what? Bain was fired, not imprisoned. Due process of the law has nothing to do with this situation. If her contract allowed her to be fired under these circumstances, then that should be the end of the story.

FYI, many employees work "at will" ... which means that we can be fired for any reason, or for no reason at all. If my boss decided that he didn't like me, he could fire me tomorrow. I'd have no legal recourse, unless he was foolish enough to say something that could be considered discrimination. So your complaints about "due process" are falling on deaf ears over here....

Nobody has a "right" to a job. A job is a mutual agreement between two consenting parties. The employer receives services, and the employee receives a paycheck (and other benefits). If that relationship of mutual consent is broken, then either party should have the right (subject to the terms of any contract) to seek other alternatives.

If Catholic Bishops can fire employees for "past acts" before an employment contract is signed, this basically states that every Diocesan employee can be fired at any time, without due process. I cannot imagine there is one Catholic employee who does not have something in his/her past that would be grounds for immediate termination, according to Bishop Wiegand.

Again with the due process complaint....

Also, you might re-consider your use of the word "past" to describe Bain's actions. She was working escort duty right up until a month or two before she started teaching at Loretto. Her subsequent actions have proven that she continued in her contact with Planned Parenthood, even if her actual escort duty had stopped. That's only a "past" action in a very charitable sense of the word. Most people would consider that to be pretty current.

Here's a question for you: Jerry is a member of the KKK. Not just a member, but Jerry is actually a recruiter for the KKK. However, something causes Jerry to reconsider his situation. Perhaps he needs a new job, or perhaps he's getting tired of the KKK, or whatever. So Jerry quits the Klan, and two months later he applies for a job as a guidance counsellor at a high school. Does the school administration have a right to be concerned? If they discover Jerry's Klan "past", do they have a right to fire him? If not, why not?

If students can be expelled from Catholic schools because of exercising freedoms of speech and press, in accordance with the teachings of the Church, this is contradictory to the principles outlined in The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium. Children should never be punished, through expulsion, without due process.

FYI, Loretto's stated reasons for expelling Katelyn were listed in a press release:
"That press release, dated, October 28 - a day before Katelyn said she received notice of her expulsion - says of the expulsion that it was a 'last resort' and accused the Sills family of 'an escalating series of public attacks made against Loretto'. The release says that 'these attacks have included taunts, threats and verbal abuse directed against members of our school community, as well as a mass e-mail campaign slandering the school's reputation as a Catholic institution.'"
I have more about Katelyn's expulsion on my blog.

Basically, I think Loretto wanted to get rid of the problem. They didn't want any of this attention in the first place, but the Bishop forced their hand. Now that they're in the spotlight, they think that getting rid of the Sills will remove the scandal. And they're probably right ... in the long term. In the short term, the scandal has only become worse. However, the public's attention is short-lived and fickle, and Loretto is probably betting that we'll forget all about them in a little while.

I won't forget.

With all the clergy sex abuse lawsuits and embarassment, one would think that Bishops would now understand the urgent need to "listen" to employees and students, without hastily acting to terminate an employee or expelling a student, without due process of the law.

Please forgive me for saying so, but you have a real axe to grind here. Not everything that the Catholic Church does should be viewed through the prism of sexual abuse. The Church is the Body of Christ, and it cannot allow its worldwide, millennia-old ministry to be derailed by any one issue.

That said, if there is any connection here with the sex-abuse scandals, it should be about the foolishness of punishing whistle-blowers. Which gets back to my point about expelling Katelyn, but has nothing to do with Bain....




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