Fired for Sin in the Year 2012


Sigh.

You may have heard the story of Emily Herx, a language arts teacher at a Catholic school who was fired after the school learned she was using IVF in an attempt to get pregnant. IVF is not allowed by Catholic teaching because the Church believes that life begins at conception, and in the IVF process embryos are often destroyed which is counter to their pro-life stance. In accepting a job at a Catholic institution, Emily had to agree to follow “tenants of the Catholic faith”, even though she herself is not Catholic.

I’m not even going to argue that one. Let’s pretend that it’s okay for the work environment to intrude upon your personal and private business. I am also going to preface this post by saying that right now we only know Emily’s side of the story, so there may be more going on here than meets the eye, but if the facts hold up I’m going to stay appalled.

As soon as her employer found out about her IVF treatments, despite eight years of apparently exemplary performance according to her annual job reviews, she was was not offered a new teaching contract. I’ve never seen a school that can afford to throw away great teachers, but apparently this one can, because Emily was not even given a chance to make things right with the school and keep her job.

What this story boils down to is that a woman in 21st century America was fired from her job for sinning. Not for sinning with a student. Not for talking about her “sin” to students. Not for teaching her students anything outside of Catholic teachings….No, she was fired for sinning in her private life. Well, who in that school hasn’t sinned in their private life? Are you telling me that no one working at that school is using birth control? No one is having premarital sex? No one is cheating on a spouse? No divorcees? What about mass every Sunday? Lying? Taking the Lord’s name in vain? Where does one cross the line of their particular sin being a fireable offense?

I find it hard to believe that every other employee at that school is following all of the tenants of the Catholic faith, even the priests, nuns and other religious, yet they have contracts next year. In fact Herx claims that it is well known that there are members of the staff who have had vasectomies, use birth control or are divorced. Yet according to her statement, it was she who was fired and even characterized as a ” grave, immoral sinner” by the church pastor.

Are you $%&&%&* kidding me?!?!?!?!

This is a woman who, along with her husband, is struggling with the personal, emotional and financial ramifications of infertility. They have made a personal choice that their family is not yet complete and that IVF is the best way to complete their family. They are NOT Catholic. She is not a priest or even a religious educator. How is it okay for her to be fired over this issue and how is it okay for her to be called out as a sinner?

It smacks of “The Scarlet Letter” and is even more egregious in light of the Church’s sex abuse scandal. It boggles the mind that an institution that covered up decades of child molestation  and even reinstated priests who were known pedophiles under the banner of repentance and rehabilitation, can take it upon themselves to administer such a harsh punishment on a woman who, by all accounts, was unaware that IVF was even against Church teachings.

The double standard would be laughable if it weren’t so awful.

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