The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Catholic School Fires Atheist Teacher

Usually when we read about someone losing their job, we are saddened, especially today given the current state of the economy and the exceptionally high rate of unemployment. Keeping a job isn't always easy these days. But then I read a story about a fired teacher on the USA Today website and found myself saying aloud, "It's about time!"

Abby Nurre, 26, taught math at St. Edmonds Catholic School. in Fort Dodge, Iowa. But then the young teacher decided to join Atheist Nexus, an website for "nontheists." She went on to confess on her Facebook page that she did not believe in God. When the school discovered her professed atheism, she was called into the principal's office and asked for an explanation. This led to her suspension and eventual firing by the school board. The Diocese of Sioux City supports the decision to fire Nurre. Diocesan spokesperson, Kristie Arlt, stated, "The main thing is that she stated she didn't believe in God. It's pretty hard to put that same teacher in front of students in a Catholic school system." No kidding.

Well, it seems the young atheist is all aflutter over her firing and can't understand why the Catholic school system sent her packing. She actually sees no problem with an atheist teaching in a Catholic school.

The case has received a bit of publicity because the school wanted (appropriately) to deny her unemployment benefits since her beliefs (or lack thereof) violated the terms of her employment. A judge, however, ruled otherwise asserting that the school didn't prove misconduct. Ms. Nurre remains upset and told the Associated Press, "It still doesn't take back anything that happened, I never got to say goodbye to the kids."

She also, apparently, remains confused as to her beliefs: "I'm not an atheist. I'm not a Catholic. I'm not a Christian. I'm somewhere in between." Well, I'm glad she cleared that up.

I don't think I've ever run into a teacher in a Catholic school who openly professed atheism, but I have met a lot who openly and publicly (in their classrooms) disagree with Catholic teaching on all kinds of moral issues. They, too, should not be teaching in Catholic schools.

Three cheers for the principal, the school system and the Diocese of Sioux Falls.

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