A religious education director at a Montgomery County Catholic school—Waldron Mercy Academy—has been dismissed because, parents say, she is lesbian wedded to a woman. Many parents have voiced support for the educator, Margie Winters, director of religious education and outreach, calling her “inspirational” and “dedicated.” Now they’re directing their ire not at the school and its sponsor, the Sisters of Mercy, but at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Archbishop Charles Chaput. “It’s time to get the attention of the Archdiocese and the Catholic hierarchy and let them know this is illegal,” said Katie Culver, who has three children at the school. Parents and alumni will meet tonight to discuss the matter and “to unify in support of Margie,” Culver said. Waldron Mercy’s principal, Nell Stetser, addressed Winters’ dismissal in a letter Friday to parents. “[O]ur school recognizes the authority of the Archbishop of Philadelphia, especially in the teaching of religion, because we call ourselves Catholic,” she wrote. Despite her “amazing contributions” to the school in Merion Station, the school opted not to renew Winters’ contract, Stetser wrote. “Margie certainly has enriched the lives of everyone in the WMA family . . . however, my duty is to protect our school’s future,” Stetser wrote. “In the Mercy spirit, many of us accept life choices that contradict current Church teachings, but to continue as a Catholic school Waldron Mercy must comply with those teachings,” she wrote. Some parents are not buying it.
UPDATE: My blog neighbor Jen Fitz has more and links to a Think Progress report that fleshes out some of the details—including underlining the news that the school reportedly knew about the teacher’s situation when it hired her.