Religious schools that discriminate should face consequences – Greeley Tribune
The leaders of northern Colorado’s Catholic schools have the freedom to believe that being transgender or homosexual is a sin, and the Denver Diocese can order schools to discriminate against transgender students, including by refusing enrollment.
But all discrimination is wrong, and those schools should be held accountable by every organizing body in this state and nationally for choosing to refuse to enroll students who are openly transgender and for excluding same-sex parents from school activities.
We urge all religious high schools in this state to remember that participation in the Colorado High School Activities Association, which organizes sporting events and activities between schools, is a privilege. All member schools’ governing boards are required to adopt the non-profit’s bylaws, and those are extremely clear on this issue.
“Participation promotes respect for diverse cultures, creeds, socioeconomic status, racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender identity and geographic backgrounds,” reads one part of the bylaws.
CHSAA’s bylaws also require member schools to commit to “zero tolerance holding ourselves, student-athletes, educational leaders, coaches, officials, judges and the many stakeholders accountable in creating an environment that is free from racism and discrimination.”
If transgender students are not allowed in the front door of the school, those students are automatically facing discrimination for every sport and activity that the school offers. CHSAA must start looking at whether religious schools are violating the nonprofit’s bylaws and other schools found to be violating their anti-discrimination policy. We were unable to get a response from CHSAA about whether or not this is ongoing or whether there is a review process for schools accused of violating the bylaws.
No one can force the Denver Archdiocese or Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila to do the right thing and reverse this policy. And this board respects freedom of religion.
But we urge Aquila to reconsider, and those schools not directly under the authority of the diocese should consider their own policy that does not kick kids out of school or ostracize the same-sex parents of enrolled students.
The 17-page document released by the diocese outlining “‘Guidance for Issues Concerning the Human Person and Sexual Identity” includes the latest policy from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops: “A person’s discomfort with his or her sex, or the desire to be identified as the other sex, is a complicated reality that needs to be addressed with sensitivity and truth. Each person deserves to be heard and treated with respect; it is our responsibility to respond to their concerns with compassion, mercy and honesty.”
But the document later makes clear – if a student refuses to reject that desire in all ways, including at home and on social media – enrollment or re-enrollment is not an option, and this decision should be presented to parents as the best thing for the student
Kicking a kid out of school – for who they are – is not compassion. It is not kindness. It is not respect, and it is not mercy. Telling students and their parents that this is being done for their own good is also not “honesty.”
Students have siblings in schools, friends, and trusted teachers and advisers. The fact that the church feels that the environment they create at their schools is so hostile to those struggling with gender identity that it is in the kids’ best interests to be removed from that setting is very telling indeed. For example, the document covers everything from prohibiting same-sex couples from attending school dances together to prohibiting boys from wearing makeup. The environments in these schools sound even hostile to athletic girls and effeminate boys.
We find it hard to believe that adults – who spend their careers working with children and teens who are challenging in all kinds of ways (explosive tempers, know-it-alls, anti-social behavior, severe intellectual and physical disabilities, disobedience, dabbling in atheism or agnosticism, etc.) — cannot find a way to compassionately accommodate a child or teen who is LGBTQ without violating their religious beliefs.
But if the church feels that having transgender students and same-sex couples in their schools is a threat to their religious beliefs, then the hard tradeoff they are going to have to accept is losing the privilege of being included in this state’s organizing body for sports. and activities.
— The Denver Post Editorial Board, Nov. 14