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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Blogs

Religion, sexuality and education

Chestnut Hill College, a Catholic institution in Philadelphia, fired an adjunct after learning he was in a same-sex relationship. While the college claims the instructor, the Rev. James St. George, hid his 15-year relationship from them, St. George and his students have said that he has always been open about his sexuality. But whether St. George lied about his sexuality or not doesn’t upset me. What upsets me is that a college fired a faculty member based on his sexuality.

St. George admits that he did not tell Chestnut Hill College about his sexuality upfront. But would a professor in a heterosexual relationship have to admit that they were in one during their hiring interview? Probably not.

“While we welcome diversity, it is expected that all members of our college community, regardless of their personal beliefs, respect and uphold our Roman Catholic mission, character and values both in the classroom and in public statements that identify them with our school,” Carol Jean Vale, president of Chestnut Hill College, said in a statement. “For this reason, we chose not to offer an additional teaching contract to St. George.”

The students who have been interviewed by the press seem to not have had a problem with St. George’s sexuality. And aren’t colleges supposed to foster the education of the students? If a professor was receiving positive reviews from students and giving them the education they wanted, why get rid of him just because he’s gay?

As someone who was born and raised a Roman Catholic, this upsets me greatly. It gives more terrible publicity to the religion.  And these days, the Roman Catholic Church really needs to be making more friends instead of losing them.