FreeThought Fort Wayne

        Be Reasonable

She and her exes live in Texas

Posted by Andy Welfle on January 2, 2009

Marquis LaFortune and Benjamin Stakes

Benjamin Stakes and Marquis LaFortune

Score one for the Catholics. A Catholic high school teacher was fired for getting divoriced.

The reason for her termination turns on a theological tenet. According to Catholic doctrine, participants in a marriage must be an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. LaFortune told the principal that her fiance had been divorced – a proceeding not recognized by the Catholic Church.

The deacon was concerned with whether the first marriage of LaFortune’s fiance, Benjamin Stakes, had been declared invalid by a Catholic tribunal and thereby annulled. His concern, however, did not sit well with LaFortune, who refused to resign from her job or seek an annulment – a process that could reach to Rome and take more than a year.

It’s no secret the Holy See has a problem with change. They didn’t officially apologize for the imprisonment of Galileo until 1992. Hell, I remember when girls couldn’t be servers (altar boys). So the fact that they refuse to recognize divorice isn’t surprising.

And true, since over half of all marriages end in divorice, some of them should never have been married in the first place. But divorice protects people every day. It saves peoplel from spousal abuse, rape, exploitation, and even suicide. None of this matters to the Vatican — they live in a black and white world, with no room for exceptions.

No wonder their numbers are rapidly declining. They need all the teachers they can get.

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5 Responses to “She and her exes live in Texas”

  1. Man, that’s something you’d expect to read in a Steinbeck novel. She’s fired from her job because her fiance was divorced. Insane.

  2. hmmm… Am I supposed to feel bad for her?

    She joined a religion and she refused to play by their rules. Is that the world’s smallest violin I hear?

  3. Mary Ann said

    Andy,
    Just to clarify, this is Ms. LaFortune’s first marriage, it is her new husband that was divorced. When the school found out that he had been divorced, that is where the problems started.

    We shouldn’t feel bad for her per se, but we should be questioning why a female teacher at an all boys school is suddenly terminated in such a fashion. Does this school want us to believe that no one working at the school, from the custodians to the secreataries, counselors, lunch room staff, athletic coaches and classroom teachers, no one has ever been divorced or married an individual who was divorced? Having taught in a school much like this one in another state, I can assure you that divorced people were part of the staff, many having remarried. Why is it that this one school implements this tenent yet others don’t? Why was Ms. LaFortune singled out?

    As I posted on my own blog, is this school selectively choosing which Laws of the Church they are going to espouse? What about premarital sex? Are we to believe that no one that teachers or works at this school, including the students have not had sex outside of marriage? This too is a tenent of the Church yet, I can assure there are students have sex who will not have their academic life threatened because of it. Why? Because Mommy and Daddy pay a pretty penny to the school in the form of tuition and there is a pretty good chance that they make nice hefty donations so that certain things cause the adminstration to look the other way. Money talks, pure and simple.

    It is also very possible that an contributing factor is that within a few years children would be born and she may well leave the position so, better to get rid of her now before she gets tenure.

    No matter how holy, pure or Christ-like these schools attempt to appear, in the end it is all about the Benjamins.

  4. It is also very possible that an contributing factor is that within a few years children would be born and she may well leave the position so, better to get rid of her now before she gets tenure.

    Mary Ann, I think you’re onto something here. This may be more about sexism than religion. In this case the cited religious tenet is just an excuse to remove her from power. Of course, if the sexism is derived from the religious precepts then we’re right back to blaming this on religion.

    As far as feeling sorry for her, well, I think Skeptigator is being unduly harsh here. She didn’t choose Catholicism, she was born into it. However, let’s assume she chose to convert to Catholicism. So what? Does that make her any less deserving to protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Because that’s where I see this falling. She was discriminated against on the basis of religion, and/or her sex. I think her employer would have a hard time proving a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification exception in this instance.

  5. Dear Nueralgourmet,
    In the setting I was in, there was a true difference between what was allowed by a male teacher vs. a female teacher. We had a teacher whose father was ill in another country and he was given 2 weeks off to go see his father and there was no issue. Another female teacher took a week off due to a death in the family that was also a long distance away and when she had my annual review it was thrown in my face that she took 11 days off that year (5 of which were due to the death). When she said that it was due to the death in the family, the administrator/priest said, “I knew you would say that.” I can guarantee you that the man who took two weeks off wasn’t told a thing because he was also a coach of one of the school’s sports teams.

    I could go on and on … yet in the end it is the students who suffer from losing a teacher they enjoyed and cared about them.

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