by Natalie Krebs
41 days ago
Posted In: News
at 11:11 AM | Permalink
Bill would prevent teachers from marking off students' answers based on religious beliefs
The Ohio House passed a bill on Wednesday extending students' abilities to express themselves religiously in public schools. The bill will continue onto the Senate.Students' religious expression is limited to non-instructional times like lunch periods and after-school activities. HB 425 would permit religious expression in the classroom and on exams and homework assignments, going so far as to prevent a teacher from punishing or rewarding a student's response that is based on his or her religious beliefs. Rep. Bill Hayes, a Republican from Harrison Township, introduced the legislation back in January. He says the bill is simply to clarify what is permitted for religious expression in public schools. "It seems that many school administrators, school boards, teachers, parents and even students are sometimes confused about the extent to which they may engage in religious expression in the school setting," Hayes said. "HB 425 seeks to address that very problem and respond to it." Hayes previously introduced the same bill during the last legislative session, but the session ended before it made it to the House floor for a vote.Rep. Michael Curtin, a Democrat from Columbus, brought up concerns about the bill from the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, the only organization to testify against the bill in front of the House's Community and Family Advancement Committee in February. The ACLU said the language of the bill is too broad, possibly forcing teachers to have to choose between obeying the law and enforcing academic standards in the classroom. "If the assignment is on biology, human evolution, et cetera, and a student writes a paper on intelligent design or the Earth being 10,000 years old," Curtin said, "does the instructor have the ability to flunk that student for his paper being out of context?" Rep. Stephanie Howse, a Democrat from Cleveland, disagreed that public schools should be required to accommodate students' religious beliefs to the bill's proposed extent."When we send our children to public schools, it's an expectation and a right that each of our children receive an unbiased education," Howse said. "It is upon this educational foundation that our children can build their values and choose a route of expression."
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Will anyone reading this even live long
enough to witness the world’s major religions change their closed ranks,
homophobic ways and teachings?
by Hannah McCartney
Repeated discrimination in local Catholic Church takes spotlight
The Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati has been mired in quite a bit of trouble over the past several years for its morally outdated (and unjust) policies, and now one of the allegations has reached the courts. Today marked the second day of juror hearings in a schoolteacher's lawsuit against the Archdiocese and the two schools from which she was fired for violating her civil rights. In 2010, schoolteacher Christa Dias, a single, non-ministerial employee at both Holy Family and St. Lawrence Schools, parochial schools owned and operated by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, became pregnant via artificial insemination. At five and a half months pregnant, she asked her employers for something millions of U.S. women ask for every year: maternity leave. She got more than she bargained for, though, when her employers fired her, assuming Dias had engaged in premarital sex (one of the many "moral" no-nos in the Catholic Church — for women, at least). She was informed that she was let go because she'd violated a moral clause in the Catholic doctrine that she'd agreed to adhere to when she signed her employment contract, which, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, makes it okay to discriminate when the discrimination falls under something called "ministerial exception" — a pesky and vague part of civil labor laws exempting religious policies from some basic rules for equality in the workplace. Ergo: Women who are fired by the Catholic Church for getting pregnant face unfair discrimination because men aren't held to the same standard. Obviously, it's impossible to detect whether or not single male employees are engaging in premarital sex (but they probably are). The basis of Dias' lawsuit is that that little gender caveat is an inherent for of discrimination against women because women and men aren't held to the same moral standards. Although her employers originally told her she was fired for premarital sex, they later retracted that assertion and said that the use of artificial insemination was immoral, also a violation of the Catholic doctrine. According to the AP, Dias today told jurors she didn't realize that artificial insemination was a violation of church doctrine or that having the procedure could get her fired. The archdiocese's attorney, Steve Goodin, says that Dias was not discriminated against because she signed a contract that clearly commanded she abide by the Catholic doctrine. CityBeat reported on a similar case of discrimination by the Catholic Church earlier this year ("Unforgiven Offenses," issue of Jan. 9, 2013), which detailed a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio by former schoolteacher Kathleen Quinlan, who was also fired from her non-ministerial position at Ascension Catholic School in Kettering, Ohio, in December 2011 after she approached her principal, told him about her pregnancy and offered to work behind-the-scenes until she gave birth. Again, her employers and the Archdiocese used the "morality clause" to defend their position. And then there was Johnathan Zeng ("Gays, Even Christians, Need Not Apply," issue of June 13, 2012), who was offered a job as a music teacher at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (CHCA) Armleder School after two weeks of discussions; Zeng even put on a teacher demonstration in front of a third grade class. When a board representative asked him point-blank if he was gay, Zeng told the truth: yes, he was gay. All of a sudden, Zeng was out of the running, even though he was already pinpointed as the most qualified applicant. The outcome of Dias' case could set a major precedent for courts ruling on ministerial exception in the future. Last year, the Supreme Court ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, courts sided with the church in a fired teacher's discrimination lawsuit, ruling that because she had some religious duties as a teacher, federal discrimination laws didn't apply.Some local Catholics, at least, are firing back against the archdiocese's archaic policies; recently, Debra Meyers was ordained as Cincinnati's first female Catholic priest by the Association of Roman Woman Catholic Priests, despite opposition from local Catholic leaders and the Vatican. Read our interview with her here.
1 Comment · Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Attorney General Mike DeWine says Obamacare infringes on religious liberty, but Republicans just want special economic rules for religious institutions.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I did truly love the man I thought I was
marrying. I don’t, however, think I would have married him if I were
raised differently. What I mean is: I’m a Christian.
0 Comments · Thursday, January 3, 2013
I met Father Bollman in 2001,
immediately after the April riots, at a community forum. He was among a small group of concerned
citizens who, during those troubled times, came to talk, to share grief
and anger, to take the first tentative steps toward building a united
city-wide coalition to address the escalating problems between the black
community and the Cincinnati police.
0 Comments · Tuesday, December 4, 2012
WEDNESDAY NOV. 28
Whether it’s London, England or London,
Ky., people tend to get pissed off when they find out their children
have been banned from one day entering the pearly gates of heaven.
3 Comments · Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Many people think the mention of religion, politics or sex
are the topics that are most likely to cause frowns, anxious looks or
angry stares if they’re brought up during conversation in mixed company. I humbly submit, however, that they’re wrong.
6 Comments · Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Don’t believe the tall tales spouted by Newt Gingrich, Steve Chabot or Dusty Rhodes. Despite what some overly excitable white,
middle-aged men will tell you, recent federal rule changes that mean
women will be able to get free birth control don’t infringe on religious
by Kevin Osborne
As Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and other Catholic officials speak out publicly against a new federal rule involving free birth control, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defends the switch and says the criticism is misguided.Last month the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — known informally as “ObamaCare” — would require nearly universal coverage of contraception.