The Catholic Church continues its war on women in ever-more bizarre ways, tying itself into all kinds of knots as it tries to enforce its policies on the people over whom it has some authority. For example, the church seems to hate the thought that women might be getting pregnant in ways that it does not approve of based on its medieval ways of thinking. As a result, it finds itself embroiled in legal cases that do not show it in a good light.
A former first-grade teacher at Kettering’s Ascension Catholic School is suing the school, Ascension Church and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati in federal court, saying officials discriminated against her a year ago when they fired the unmarried woman after she told the principal about her pregnancy.
Kathleen Quinlan of Kettering, who has since delivered twin girls, said in the Dec. 14 lawsuit that her firing for moral reasons was discriminatory because male employees who engage in premarital sex don’t face the same consequences “insomuch as they do not show outward signs of engaging in sexual intercourse (i.e., pregnancy).”
But the church is not only opposed to women getting pregnant outside of marriage, it is also opposed to women getting pregnant while married if the pregnancy did not occur through ‘normal’ sexual activity.
In Indiana, Emily Herx made national headlines in April when she sued the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend in federal court, saying the diocese discriminated against the married teacher when officials fired her for having in vitro fertilization treatments. Diocesan officials say the procedure is “gravely immoral.” She said other employees violate Catholic teachings without consequence.
And it is not only in vitro fertilization that is verboten, so is artificial insemination.
The Cincinnati archdiocese is facing a pending federal lawsuit similar to Quinlan’s, filed by former parochial teacher Christa Dias of Clermont County. The 2011 lawsuit claims the single woman was fired after she became pregnant through artificial insemination.
And who was this person who was entrusted by the church to uphold its high moral values and thus had to fire Dias because she did not meet those standards? It was the principal Rev. James Kiffmeyer, “who was suspended from 2002-2006 on allegations of sexual misconduct against two male students in separate incidents while he was a teacher at Middletown’s Fenwick High School.”
Religious groups often practice a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. As long as you are discreet and don’t flout your violations of their rules (whether it be sex outside of marriage, contraception, abortion, etc.) you can be in good standing within the institution. And it is easier to do so if you are a man. But as more women begin to feel that what they do is not wrong and thus not bother to hide them, it looks like the Catholic Church is going to keep the courts pretty busy for some time to come.