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Catholic Schools Have Right to Hire, Fire for Mission, Says Legal Expert

Saint Francis Academy
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Don’t be intimidated.

Robert George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and author of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life, recently mounted an interesting defense of Catholic schools’ right to hire and fire for mission.

That right has come into question in recent months, since same-sex marriage was legalized in several states and some teachers and administrators at Catholic schools were fired or asked to resign after their same-sex marriage came to light.

The media in reporting these cases has often portrayed the schools in a bad light, students and alumni have created petitions and loudly protested, and questions about the legality of the schools’ decisions have been raised.

Writing at the Mirror of Justice blog, George posited a hypothetical case of a Muslim school with a popular vice principal “Mr. Khalil” who rejected the faith’s prohibitions against alcohol, sexuality and modesty.

"So, when an opportunity comes his way to become a business partner in a new "gentleman's club" featuring alcoholic beverages and nude dancing — he takes advantage of it. And he makes no effort to hide his involvement in a "sideline" strip club business from his students. On the contrary, he freely acknowledges and discusses it when asked, and even makes use of some club promotional objects (e.g., "Lady Godiva's" pens and coffee cups) in his office. Moreover, he is identified as a partner in the business in an article about it in the local newspaper — an article in which he was quoted extensively based on an interview he gave the reporter.

"Zaytuna terminates Mr. Khalil's employment. In my opinion, the school should certainly have a legal right to do that. But I believe it has a moral right to do it, too. Indeed, I think it is right for the school to do it. In fact, I would go so far as to say it would be wrong for the school not to do it — it would be an injustice, given the school's mission and concomitant obligations to the Muslim children and families it exists to serve."

Courtesy of Catholic Education Daily of the Cardinal Newman Society.

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