Calif. -- The Roman
Catholic Dioceses in Oakland and Cincinnati have come under fire for new
morality clauses that require teachers to conform to church teachings in their
Some parents, teachers and students worry teachers could be fired for being gay or engaging in behavior the church frowns on, such as having sex outside marriage, or for supporting gay family members.
The morals clause (aka "morality clause") rears its pious head from time to time in the news, but it's been with us for a long time, especially in faith-based establishments. Some people wouldn't be employed if not signing the (sometimes) cryptic contract that melds private life with profession.
It wasn't until the 1920's that the morals clause hit its stride --- because of a Hollywood scandal.
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was an early Hollywood star of
immense magnitude (pun intended) who garnered an almost obscene salary for his
antics after the First World War. He was the first real Hollywood "star"
and lived a lavish lifestyle that included parties and women. At the height of
his fame (indeed, after signing Hollywood's first million-dollar contract), he gave
what was to be his last party in San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel. It resulted
in 3 days of debauchery, the death of a young starlet, Virginia Rapp, three
successive murder trials (the first two resulted in hung juries) and the end of
Arbuckle's career. It also resulted in the self-censorship of the Hollywood
movie studios - and the morals clause in the contract of every actor tethered
to a studio.
Arbuckle's scandal was followed by Babe Ruth's drinking and womanizing, so in 1923, morals clauses for sports athletes went into effect. *
The problem with morality clauses today is not that morality has been outdated, but that it has been dispersed through walks of life and "lifestyles": what seemed totally immoral in Fatty Arbuckle's day is more an accepted part of the human condition. But there are factions in the U.S. (namely, the Christian Right) who frown upon the human condition. They look upon it as a curse, somewhat like Original Sin.
WASHINGTON -- The Human Rights Campaign [HRC] on Tuesday delivered a letter to the Vatican on behalf of nine teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholics schools for either being LGBT, or supporting an LGBT family member.
The letter, delivered to the Nuncio, or diplomatic representative of the Holy See, requests a meeting with Pope Francis "so that you may hear our personal stories firsthand and see the impact the Church's actions have had on us all."
The move comes as Catholic dioceses in Cincinnati and Oakland have implemented new teaching contracts which contain morality clauses that require teachers to conform to church teachings in their private lives or face dismissal.And Cleveland Makes Three