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Archbishop is upset that people are being ‘mean’ over a decision to fire a gay teacher for being married to a man

Nick Duffy May 6, 2020
Archbishop is upset people are being 'mean' over firing of gay teacher

Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis Schnurr (Official photo: Archdiocese of Cincinnati)

A Catholic Archbishop has complained that people on the internet are being very “mean” about his decision to sack a teacher for being gay and married to a man.

There have been protests at Alter High School in Kettering, Ohio, over the decision to sack beloved English teacher Jim Zimmerman, who had graduated from the school himself and worked there for 23 years.

Zimmerman was let go after a copy of his marriage certificate was anonymously sent to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which runs the school.

The Catholic archdiocese, which describes homosexuality as “disordered” and “immoral”, has faced protests from students – who have rallied in support of Zimmerman.

Archbishop is upset that people have been ‘mean’ about decision to fire gay teacher

Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis Schnurr has now waded into the row, admitting the teacher was sacked for his so-called “life choices” while at the same time denying homophobia.

In a letter to the local community, the religious leader attempted to paint the archdiocese as the real victim, condemning a wave of “misinformed and mean-spirited comments” online about the firing.

Somebody call Ant-Man, because even the world’s smallest violin definitely isn’t small enough for this.

Schnurr added: “The policies guiding schools of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are informed by the enduring teaching of the Catholic Church – not by hate, bigotry, or homophobia, as some have alleged.”

Archbishop is upset people are being 'mean' over firing of gay teacher
Last week, Catholic school students gathered to protest from their cars in support of their favourite teacher (Instagram/@molly_goheen)

Gay weddings are ‘confirmed life choices contrary to Catholic teaching’, apparently

The archbishop continued: “We do not judge people, as such judgment is reserved for God alone, only behaviour.

“Behaviours that are not regrettable mistakes but are rather confirmed life choices contrary to Catholic teaching cannot be offered to young people as a witness to the faith, no matter the many other outstanding attributes a person may possess.

“Sometimes, personal decisions mean that an individual and an organisation are simply no longer compatible – nothing more, nothing less. We hope and pray that you might prayerfully consider this.”

He added: “It saddens all of us that this matter has caused a fracture in the wonderful, strong Alter community. My hope and prayer is that we are able to stay united in charity as members of the family of God.”

The tone-deaf message is unlikely to go down well with supporters of the teacher.

Last week, dozens of students and alumni gathered in a park next to the school in support of their favourite teacher. Adhering to social distancing rules, they stayed in their cars, sounding the horns playing a set of Zimmerman’s favourite songs.

The students say he is “more than just a good English teacher” and encourages them to speak their minds in class.

“He’s super intelligent, but he makes us think for ourselves – he gives us space to have our own opinions and voices,” Alter student Molly Goheen told the Dayton Daily News. “He’s one of the best teachers at Alter.”

More: Archbishop, Archbishop of Cincinnati, Catholic, Dennis Schnurr, Education, Jim Zimmerman, Religion

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