The Facebook Inquisition Has Begun. Yes!!!

A teacher at a Catholic school announced on Facebook that she was an atheist and now she got canned from her job and is ticked off that she was fired. I don't know if she technically sued the school but she lawyered up and is fighting for unemployment benefits.

The school said the teacher violated a policy that prohibits employees from advocating "principles contrary" to the teachings of the church.

Chicago Tribune:
"I never thought something like that would jeopardize my job," she said Friday from Phoenix, Ariz., where she was applying for teaching jobs.

Really? How can this be surprising to anyone? Why do people think Facebook doesn't count? I've interviewed people for jobs and then checked out their Facebook only to see it filled with drunken and half naked pictures. Guess what? They don't get the job.

The school is defending itself rightly.
St. Edmonds took the "appropriate action," Kristie Arlt, spokeswoman for the Sioux City Diocese, said of the math teacher.

"The main thing is that she stated she didn't believe in God," Arlt said. "It's pretty hard to put that same teacher in front of students in a Catholic school system."

Nurre said her views constantly evolve and that she is constantly trying to expand her knowledge, whether on religion, astrology, fitness or politics.

"I just like learning about it. I don't see why that should cause someone to get fired," she said.
So go on your own personal vision quest for a religion on your own time. Don't float it out there in the public domain.

The teacher, is of course, saying she feels like her privacy was violated.

But why do people think that Facebook shouldn't count?


  1. Here's a thought: Make Catholic schools so Catholic that no atheist, GLBT, pro-choicer, etc. would ever want a job at one.

  2. She should be fired just for being so stupid as to put something like that on the internet. When will people learn that anything they put out on the net is their for everybody on earth to read not just your "circle of friends."

  3. Why does a math teacher at a Catholic school need to believe in God? As long as she is not talking about her lack of faith in class, her religion, or lack thereof, seems totally irrelevant to me. I do think that Catholics should be given preference when Catholic schools are hiring, but I don't see it as the ultimate goal. Math class is there to teach math.

  4. Teresa here is your answer:

    39. Individual subjects must be taught according to their own particular methods. It would be wrong to consider subjects as mere adjuncts to faith or as a useful means of teaching apologetics. They enable the pupil to assimilate skills, knowledge, intellectual methods and moral and social attitudes, all of which help to develop his personality and lead him to take his place as an active member of the community of man. Their aim is not merely the attainment of knowledge but the acquisition of values and the discovery of truth.

    40. Since the educative mission of the Catholic school is so wide, the teacher is in an excellent position to guide the pupil to a deepening of his faith and to enrich and enlighten his human knowledge with the data of the faith. While there are many occasions in teaching when pupils can be stimulated by insights of faith, a Christian education acknowledges the valid contribution which can be made by academic subjects towards the development of a mature Christian. The teacher can form the mind and heart of his pupils and guide them to develop a total commitment to Christ, with their whole personality enriched by human culture.

    41. The school considers human knowledge as a truth to be discovered. In the measure in which subjects rare taught by someone who knowingly and without restraint seeks the truth, they are to that extent Christian. Discovery and awareness of truth leads man to the discovery of Truth itself. A teacher who is full of Christian wisdom, well prepared in his own subject, does more than convey the sense of what he is teaching to his pupils. Over and above what he says, he guides his pupils beyond his mere words to the heart of total Truth.

    42. The cultural heritage of mankind includes other values apart from the specific ambient of truth. When the Christian teacher helps a pupil to grasp, appreciate and assimilate these values, he is guiding him towards eternal realities. This movement towards the Uncreated Source of all knowledge highlights the importance of teaching for the growth of faith.

    43. The achievement of this specific aim of the Catholic school depends not so much on subject matter or methodology as on the people who work there. The extent to which the Christian message is transmitted through education depends to a very great extent on the teachers. The integration of culture and faith is mediated by the other integration of faith and life in the person of the teacher. The nobility of the task to which teachers are called demands that, in imitation of Christ, the only Teacher, they reveal the Christian message not only by word but also by every gesture of their behaviour. This is what makes the difference between a school whose education is permeated by the Christian spirit and one in which religion is only regarded as an academic subject like any other.

  5. "Why does a math teacher at a Catholic school need to believe in God?"

    Because a teacher serves as a model for her students. Moreover, discussions occur in the classroom that are often tangential to the subject at hand. The school sets the policy and it is up to the employee to abide by it. Otherwise, it's deception on her part.
    She could have applied to all those great schools that atheists and secular humanists have developed over the last couple centuries in all of their hospitals and poverty programs.

  6. Substitute "klansman" for "atheist" and ask how satisfying is the question, "Why does a math teacher need to believe that interracial sexual intercourse isn't bestiality?"

  7. "Why does a math teacher at a Catholic school need to believe in God?"

    For the same reason a history teacher needs to be fully and faithfully Catholic otherwise you get links to Planned Parenthood and other unacceptable teen sexuality links on her school web page that is accessible by both parents and students (yes, this happened at my children's school). Catholic schools have not only the right but the responsibility to ensure that what their teachers are disseminating is the Truth, especially because the teachers have an inordinate amount of influence on the young souls in their charge.

  8. Speaking from my own experience, having your Math and Science teachers being Atheists or Agnostics can really effect a child, especially now that so many people try to put belief into the "Do it privately, but don't let it influence your whole life, that'd be crazy!" column.

  9. This one was such a no-brainer.

    I'm actually surprised the school fired her. Good for them!!!

  10. This sounds like some Canadian Catholic schools, where teachers are "faking" Catholicism in order to get a job.

  11. From that faking Catholicism sotry: "'I haven't gone for my, um, what do you call it the bread thing yet...Communion. I'm nervous about it,' she added."

    I'd say she's right on to be nervous and there's hope for her yet. Funny how that conscience smoke alarm continues to buzz despite trying to rip the batteries out.

  12. I went to catholic high school. We were taught by both priests and lay teachers some of whom chose to express their faith and those who did not, for whatever reason.

    I had the privilege of taking religion from a priest and the misfortune of taking one of the more devout lay teachers.
    The priest was educated, kind, intelligent and compassionate. He taught not only his own faith, but as much about other world religions as he could. The class was geared towards not only deepening the students faith, but understanding and finding common ground with other faiths. The priest hoped that with greater understanding the students would be able to spread love and compassion in the world despite people's differences.

    The lay teacher taught the word without the spirit. He taught the rules with none of the reason. He did not instill the desire to perform community service, he forced it.

    I would agree that a teacher who showed disrespect for the religion should be fired. However, to me at least, stating that one is an atheist on facebook is akin to wearing a cross in public. Yes, it displays one's faith for the world to see, but it is not disruptive, and not disrespectful.

    Teachers should be selected for their compassion and passion for educating students. Two things that can be found across faiths.

    Please, take my favorite priest's lessons to heart. Look for common ground even with people you disagree with. Find the good in them and they will see the good in you.

  13. Wow... Can anybody here explain to me why, when Catholics are fired for expressing their beliefs in a public forum, the Archbold go crazy complaining about freedom of religion and how faith ought not to be restricted to the private sphere, but when an atheist gets canned for saying she is atheist, that is okay?

    How is this not a double standard?

  14. Anonymous @ 6:14,

    Institutions whose mission has nothing to do with religion should not discriminate on the basis of religion, but religious institutions (such as a Catholic school) can (and should) because they have a religious mission. Having a person who disagrees with Catholicism compromises a Catholic school's mission, but that would not be the case for, say, McDonald's.

  15. When you publish on any site things about yourself which might better be kept private, you have, by the act of publishing, surrendered any supposed right to privacy. A right, by the way, not to be found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.

  16. Anonymous @ 6:14 Say the job description for a French teacher at a French school in the US clearly says they must speak French, even though the students also understand English. If said teacher decides to only speak in English because she believes it is more useful to the students, this same teacher should be fired for breach of contract. It's not hypocrisy, it's common sense. You might wish to exercise it.

  17. meilinPR,

    Yours is a well-reasoned but ultimately faulty argument since you do not get to decide what is and is not vital to an organization's mission: they do. And if they say, "We do not want to hire Catholics and will fire any employee who expresses Catholic beliefs publicly," they are perfectly free to do so, just as Catholics are perfectly free to fire atheists such as this women. I'm all for an unlimited right of association and the freedom to discriminate at will when hiring, but we must realize that it goes both ways. You can't complain when it happens to you for being Catholic.

    Early Riser,

    Honestly, I have no idea what you're talking about. Your analogy (that's what it is supposed to be, right?) makes absolutely no sense. See above.

  18. And atheist schools and hospitals are free to not hire Catholics, anony. Though I might worry about going to "Not so Sacred Heart" hospital, myself.

  19. I have been to Catholic school. My math and physics teacher was not Catholic. He never talked about religion, but he was an all-round great guy, an amazing teacher, and a good role model to us. My religion teacher was Catholic and a heretic. I've also had a religion class taught by a Protestant who explained clearly and properly the Church's position.

    I'm not denying that teachers at Catholic schools should help children find truth and not harm them. What I'm saying is, I do not see the line between good teacher/bad teacher or the line between good person/bad person as corresponding to Catholic/non-Catholic.

  20. There are 2 Constitutional rights at play here:

    The freedom of religion with regards to Congress or any legislature and the potential for interference from them. Congress cannot make laws which force private religious institutions to act against thier faith and beliefs

    The other is freedom of association. This is in regards to religious affiliations, political or faternal organizations.

    These are 2 rights which the Founders believed so strongly they were set in stone, so to speak.

    And no, it is no more hypocritical for the Church to demand freedoms which it is guarenteed, than it is for say a feminist group to reject males into its membership. This is all very basic civics that until recently was taught to every 8th grader.

  21. Teresea,

    You said,

    "What I'm saying is, I do not see the line between good teacher/bad teacher or the line between good person/bad person as corresponding to Catholic/non-Catholic."

    The Archdioceses never said that non-Catholics are bad people. In the case of the teacher who was fired, she more than likley lied about her faitn on her application. And if she didn't lie, the fact that she changed her mind from being Catholic to Athiest was enough to have her fired.

    The point being is that it is not too much for a diocese to demand that its teachers be Catholic. It has nothing to do with them as a person or thier competency to teach. Why go to the all of the trouble of having Catholic schools if its teachers and administrators are not Catholic. There are plenty of great private schools (many are secular). Most Catholic parents want thier children's teachers to be Catholic. And I've met a few over the years who were surprised that Nuns no longer run the schools are teach in the classrooms like they did 60 years ago.

  22. "What I'm saying is, I do not see the line between good teacher/bad teacher or the line between good person/bad person as corresponding to Catholic/non-Catholic."

    What Jerome said and I will add that it is manifest public counter-witness. If a guy wants to espouse the racial views of David Duke, so be it. If he wants to keep his job at the NAACP, well...

  23. Anon @ 10:50 actually, it's apparent you don't have an idea about most things. Not surprising. Stay in school.

  24. That faking Catholicism thing was upsetting. The woman admits she went to confession, not believing in it at all, in fact not being a Catholic at all, and lied during it.
    She is planning to do "that bread thing" ie receive Our Lord in Holy Communion.

    It is like seeing the damnation of a soul before your very eyes!

    I just said a prayer for her. If each of us does the same, perhaps God will send her enough grace to wake her up, open her eyes, turn her around, and bring her to Him.

    Susan Peterson

  25. Assuming she didn't get the job expressly to undermine the school's goals (not as out-there as you might think, I met a girl at bootcamp that was not only there for that reason, but assumed I was, as well) then she assumed facebook didn't count because the internet "doesn't count."

    You see it all the time--video games are the most obvious, since it's all in the same context, but if I had 5c for each time I'd heard someone justify ganking and camping the other side because "it's just a game".....

    They'll freely admit their goal is to harass the other person, but somehow it's not "real" because they can't see the other person, it's on the internet. They'd never do this in a LAN game, but put it on the web, and it's OK.


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