Author Topic: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again  (Read 3082 times)

cssml

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Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« on: August 26, 2015, 07:30:44 PM »
Based on the 'cake story', the following story about St. Mary's Academy, a Catholic school in my own community which I have close ties to, is bound to be in the news for some time.
 
  http://www.kgw.com/story/news/2015/08/26/catholic-school-rejects-hire-due--same-sex-marriage-view/32381067/

3 parent meetings are planned for tomorrow, I will try to attend one of them.

The mayor of Portland has already stated the following: (my emphasis):

“Portland is a city that embraces rights and opportunities for everyone. Those aren’t just nice words. They are also the law," ...  "We believe St. Mary’s Academy, and every other public, private and nonprofit organization in the city, should follow the letter and the spirit of the law, and our shared values.”

Oddly, this is not the first time Oregon has tried to tell the school founded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary to get in line.  See the following landmark Supreme Court case for religious schools.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierce_v._Society_of_Sisters

"On November 7, 1922, the voters of Oregon passed an initiative amending Oregon Law Section 5259, the Compulsory Education Act. The citizens' initiative was primarily aimed at eliminating parochial schools, including Catholic schools"


LutherMan

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2015, 08:03:16 PM »
Based on the 'cake story', the following story about St. Mary's Academy, a Catholic school in my own community which I have close ties to, is bound to be in the news for some time.
 
  http://www.kgw.com/story/news/2015/08/26/catholic-school-rejects-hire-due--same-sex-marriage-view/32381067/

3 parent meetings are planned for tomorrow, I will try to attend one of them.

The mayor of Portland has already stated the following: (my emphasis):

“Portland is a city that embraces rights and opportunities for everyone. Those aren’t just nice words. They are also the law," ...  "We believe St. Mary’s Academy, and every other public, private and nonprofit organization in the city, should follow the letter and the spirit of the law, and our shared values.”

Oddly, this is not the first time Oregon has tried to tell the school founded by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary to get in line.  See the following landmark Supreme Court case for religious schools.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierce_v._Society_of_Sisters

"On November 7, 1922, the voters of Oregon passed an initiative amending Oregon Law Section 5259, the Compulsory Education Act. The citizens' initiative was primarily aimed at eliminating parochial schools, including Catholic schools"
Did you ever hear about the Bennett Law?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennett_Law


Steverem

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2015, 10:15:50 AM »
They caved:   http://www.kgw.com/story/news/2015/08/26/catholic-school-rejects-hire-due--same-sex-marriage-view/32381067/ .

But ... but ... Charles assured us that churches would never be coerced to hire active homosexuals/marry same-sex couples/disavow their opposition to homosexual behavior.  Is it possible that our own humble correspondent has underestimated the power and the speed of the zeitgeist to dismantle millennia of social convention?

Dan Fienen

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2015, 10:22:13 AM »
There are a number of ways that this could be viewed.  It could be decided that a counselor at the school does not have an integral role to play in the religious education of students.  One wonders if in her counseling Lauren Brown will be expected to uphold Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality or if she will counsel against the teaching of the institution that hired her.  Or will they need to totally remove Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality from the school in order to make Ms Brown more comfortable.

Portland Oregon has shown itself to be a less than inclusive, welcoming and safe community for some people.  If you beliefs concerning homosexuality do not conform to the city government's norm you are to check those beliefs at the city limits.  Diversity does not include those who do not conform to the accepted group think.  How freedom loving!?! >:(
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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DCharlton

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2015, 11:28:55 AM »
They caved:   http://www.kgw.com/story/news/2015/08/26/catholic-school-rejects-hire-due--same-sex-marriage-view/32381067/ .

But ... but ... Charles assured us that churches would never be coerced to hire active homosexuals/marry same-sex couples/disavow their opposition to homosexual behavior.  Is it possible that our own humble correspondent has underestimated the power and the speed of the zeitgeist to dismantle millennia of social convention?

Since the assurance did not pass through the editorial process and was not published by a newspaper, he may not have been speaking ex cathedra.
David Charlton  

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SomeoneWrites

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2015, 11:32:23 AM »


Portland Oregon has shown itself to be a less than inclusive, welcoming and safe community for some people.  If you beliefs concerning homosexuality do not conform to the city government's norm you are to check those beliefs at the city limits.  Diversity does not include those who do not conform to the accepted group think.  How freedom loving!?! >:(

I tend to agree with a lot of your posts.  These types of constructions always bother me, though.  I don't think anyone who espouses freedom, diversity, and tolerance are advocating them without limits.  I'm hearing what a number of people like that value is that they can work together and such. 

As a comparison, and only a comparison, it would be like
Person A - "We don't want segregation"
Person B - "If you segregate the segregators, you're segregating."

I think it misses the point.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2015, 11:43:12 AM »
So what limit would you support here?  Can an institution founded and run by a group of Roman Catholics operate according to Roman Catholic teaching or are Roman Catholics in Portland Oregon forbidden to teach according to the Roman Catholic church? 

A question.  Now that Ms Brown has been hired at St. Mary's, what if in Chapel a sermon is preached pointing out that homosexual activity and same sex marriages are contrary to Roman Catholic teaching?  Could Ms Brown sue the school for creating a hostile working environment?  Could the LGBT community force St. Mary's to fire any employee who would preach such a sermon?

I also wonder about the implications of this incident for the LCMS.  I seem to remember that we have an educational institution located in that city.  Will they need to submit what is being taught in that school to the city government for approval?   
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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pearson

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2015, 12:02:25 PM »

I don't think anyone who espouses freedom, diversity, and tolerance are advocating them without limits.  I'm hearing what a number of people like that value is that they can work together and such. 

As a comparison, and only a comparison, it would be like
Person A - "We don't want segregation"
Person B - "If you segregate the segregators, you're segregating."

I think it misses the point.


You're right; it does miss the point.  Your example demonstrates a problem: when any proposition (i.e., a claim) becomes self-referential, it ultimately collapses into incoherence.  Self-referential propositions eventually congeal their meaning and become genuine paradoxes, as your example shows.

But I suspect Pr. Fienen's comments are directed at a larger target, one which I'm confident you also grasp.  Is the political state entitled to curtail the freedom of private entities within society in order to force those entities to conform to declared public norms?  The modern political state has the power to do so, and it may create the legal context for doing so.  The question is: may the political state legitimately (i.e., morally) exercise that coercive power over private entities engaged in private transactions within a free society?

Tom Pearson 


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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2015, 12:04:00 PM »
So what limit would you support here?  Can an institution founded and run by a group of Roman Catholics operate according to Roman Catholic teaching or are Roman Catholics in Portland Oregon forbidden to teach according to the Roman Catholic church? 

A question.  Now that Ms Brown has been hired at St. Mary's, what if in Chapel a sermon is preached pointing out that homosexual activity and same sex marriages are contrary to Roman Catholic teaching?  Could Ms Brown sue the school for creating a hostile working environment?  Could the LGBT community force St. Mary's to fire any employee who would preach such a sermon?

I also wonder about the implications of this incident for the LCMS.  I seem to remember that we have an educational institution located in that city.  Will they need to submit what is being taught in that school to the city government for approval?

Thank you for replying.

Believe it or not, I'm more in agreement with you.  The comment I was speaking to was concerning the "How freedom loving" sentiment.  Those types of things strike me as odd.

On the other hand, I DO think Catholics, Lutherans, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and such can have institutions that teach and preach according to their traditions.  I think there are federal limitations that are already in place concerning things like if there was some extremist sect that jeopardized national security or something like that. 

I went to a Catholic high school that had a gay world religions teacher.  But that was before gay marriage was a thing, so I don't know how they would handle it now.  But they did have a morality code which all students and staff were obliged.  I think that's kinda how it goes and how it should go.  So if that guy got married, I can see him losing his job, and that makes sense to me.

And if the public doesn't like it, they can be vocal about it, and that makes sense to me. 
And if it got to the supreme court and they forced the school to keep the teacher, I'd think they made the wrong decision and would write a letter to my congressman to overturn it. 

 
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SomeoneWrites

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2015, 12:08:42 PM »

You're right; it does miss the point.  Your example demonstrates a problem: when any proposition (i.e., a claim) becomes self-referential, it ultimately collapses into incoherence.  Self-referential propositions eventually congeal their meaning and become genuine paradoxes, as your example shows.

But I suspect Pr. Fienen's comments are directed at a larger target, one which I'm confident you also grasp.  Is the political state entitled to curtail the freedom of private entities within society in order to force those entities to conform to declared public norms?  The modern political state has the power to do so, and it may create the legal context for doing so.  The question is: may the political state legitimately (i.e., morally) exercise that coercive power over private entities engaged in private transactions within a free society?

Tom Pearson

Well spoken all around.

On a quasi-philosophical level (And Scott Yakimow can help me here if he chooses as well) - how is it possible (or is it even possible) to take a position of saying something like "I don't want segregation" without it collapsing on itself.

Is it that the shorthand fails?

Can we say "I don't want someone excluded from participation in society on basis of race, gender, identity, sex, ethnicity, or orientation"
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David Garner

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2015, 12:17:39 PM »


Portland Oregon has shown itself to be a less than inclusive, welcoming and safe community for some people.  If you beliefs concerning homosexuality do not conform to the city government's norm you are to check those beliefs at the city limits.  Diversity does not include those who do not conform to the accepted group think.  How freedom loving!?! >:(

I tend to agree with a lot of your posts.  These types of constructions always bother me, though.  I don't think anyone who espouses freedom, diversity, and tolerance are advocating them without limits.  I'm hearing what a number of people like that value is that they can work together and such. 

As a comparison, and only a comparison, it would be like
Person A - "We don't want segregation"
Person B - "If you segregate the segregators, you're segregating."

I think it misses the point.

I think the problem is the loudest voices calling for tolerance, freedom, diversity, etc., tend to find the limits of all of those virtues at the end of their own noses.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

pearson

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2015, 12:21:28 PM »

Can we say "I don't want someone excluded from participation in society on basis of race, gender, identity, sex, ethnicity, or orientation"


Sure, any individual can say that.  The question is: is the political state morally entitled to coerce private entities in society, engaged in private transactions, who may have principled (i.e., conscience-bound) convictions regarding either A) a limited or even eccentric definition of what "participation" consists in; or B) a limited or even eccentric definition of what counts as "exclusion"?

Tom Pearson

SomeoneWrites

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Re: Religious freedom and secular values are butting heads again
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2015, 12:30:05 PM »

I think the problem is the loudest voices calling for tolerance, freedom, diversity, etc., tend to find the limits of all of those virtues at the end of their own noses.

I'm not sure I agree.  I think it's a problem of shorthand.   


Can we say "I don't want someone excluded from participation in society on basis of race, gender, identity, sex, ethnicity, or orientation"


Sure, any individual can say that.  The question is: is the political state morally entitled to coerce private entities in society, engaged in private transactions, who may have principled (i.e., conscience-bound) convictions regarding either A) a limited or even eccentric definition of what "participation" consists in; or B) a limited or even eccentric definition of what counts as "exclusion"?

Tom Pearson

You could probably guess that I think these things are socially constructed.  Someone reading this conversation probably just won 5 dollars.
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