The monetary value of morality

More again about Little Flower Academy in B.C., and the anti-gay debacle apparently at the root of it. Secular columnist Pete McMartin at the Vancouver Sun writes:

So, two questions: One, why, in this day and age, am I seeing any portion of my public education tax dollars going to fund private schools that offend MY sense of morality, and that of the majority of British Columbians? And two, if religion-based schools feel so protective of their moral codes, and if independent schools feel they must zealously preserve their independence from the perceived mediocrity of the public school system, and if the parents who send their children to those schools have voluntarily and eagerly abandoned the public school system, then why would any of them accept public education tax dollars in the first place? Wouldn’t that compromise their moral rectitude, and taint their independence?

In case you don’t click the link, he’s taken the route that his sense of morality (and the majority he claims) has gotten to the point where it’s perfectly all right for homosexuals to be married and believes that our secular society is quite past the “medieval claptrap” of calling them abominations, and yet it still happens in some circles.

The money thing is interesting here. I suspect independent high schools like Little Flower couldn’t afford their Catholic elitism without public pennies pouring in. The only way they can offer the supposedly superior school experience is with that money.

A quick trip to their website gets me the school’s mission statement and core values:

Compassionate Service
We make our school, our community and our world a more just and caring place.

What do the kids at the school think of their school’s decisions regarding the fate of their music teacher, Lisa Reimer? Was that just and caring?

Integrity
We are honest, trustworthy, and faithful to our vision.

Part of their mission statement reads, “to educate young women within an intercultural Catholic faith community to realize their full potential: spiritually, intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally.”

Are there any gay kids at that school? What are their thoughts about all this? McMartin reminds readers that private schools have the right via freedom of association to selectively hire only those who fit their moral requirements but I’ll point out that I’ve seen nothing written anywhere that suggests Ms. Reimer isn’t a devout and practicing Catholic in every other way. And as McMartin also points out, it’s not like the Catholic church isn’t having same-sex relationship issues of its own right now. Clearly the morality around exercising a homosexual predilection is kind of fluid. If the church is content to let it happen, why can’t the school? At least Reimer’s involved with an adult rather than one of the kids under her tutelage. Can’t really say the same for all those bishops.

Personal Excellence
We strive to realize our personal potential and support others in reaching theirs.

Unless they’re gay? The school issued its own press release stating they were under the impression that Reimer willingly acquiesced to work from home and were “quite surprised” by her press release indicating quite the opposite.

Maybe it will turn out that Reimer misconstrued the reason she was asked to work at home and is overly sensitive to perceived criticism of her way of life. According to the full press release issued by the school, she’d been hired for a maternity leave term from September of 2009 to June 2010. When her partner was approaching her baby day, Reimer asked for some leave, which was granted.

If there’s still two months worth of school year, I don’t know why the school chose to insist she work from home instead of returning to class, though. Maybe the school suggested the change for some reason unrelated to her gay lifestyle (like she’s a crappy teacher who’s done the girls no good at all) and this whole thing’s been blown out of proportion.

But maybe Reimer really does have a case here and their decision to keep her away from the school has everything to do with her sexuality they don’t want their girls to catch the gay cooties. We can certainly question the school’s intention and wonder about this “support” they supposedly value. Does it not extend to their teachers, no matter how short a term they’re working?

Respect
We respect the dignity of each person, our traditions, our earth and ourselves.

But do they really? It seems traditions and keeping up the appearance of respectability is of greater importance than dignity in this case.

Simplicity
We live without ostentation, valuing the dignity of each person rather than possessions and appearances.

They care a lot about how those girls look, judging by the spiffy private school uniforms embroidered with the school’s initials. It looks like they have a nice yard to upkeep, plus a tennis court, possibly a track, and computers and science labs that have to be up to date as well. Six thousand dollar tuition can’t cover everything. And they’re proud of the fact that they aren’t begging for money from other Catholic organizations like Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese and Project Advance. Of course not. They’re happily taking all the cash the public coffer offers them to run that school they want to possess. They just don’t want to look greedy.

Spirituality
We strive to live in fidelity to the guidance of the Spirit in the Roman Catholic faith tradition and practice and to be Christ’s Light in society.

This value could be done without, but if it was then they’d be no different from the public schools they claim aren’t good enough for these properly Catholic children.

How to end this.. I guess I’ll finish with McMartin:

let us remember that we now live in a province and country where same-sex marriage is legal, where homosexuals are protected from discrimination in the public working realm and where a substantial majority of citizens does not find homosexuality a moral abomination. Most just don’t give a damn. I’ll bet they believe their sense of morality hasn’t suffered for it, either. I’ll bet they believe it’s — excuse the expression — Christian of them.

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Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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