Catholic school insists it’s not prejudiced because it only thinks homosexuality is ‘immoral’ – not homosexuals themselves
A school in the Philippines is facing criticism after it said staff can be fired and students expelled for engaging in the “immorality” of homosexuality.
Assumption College-Iloilo, a Catholic school run by the Sisters of the Religious of the Assumption in Iloilo City, made the comments in a recruitment policy and in enrolment documents.
The handbook says: “Immorality, which refers to acts that are contrary to Catholic morals, teachings and values as defined, described and/or discussed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, including but not limited to… homosexuality… is considered a grave offence sanctionable by dropping from the rolls after due process.”
The discriminatory policy has been roundly criticised by LGBT+ people and allies in the Philippines.
More than 80 LGBT+ groups and individuals signed an open letter to the school saying they are “not immoral”.
“When an educational institution values its name and reputation over upholding the lives and dignity of its students, its shows that it upholds bigotry instead of justice, hate instead of compassion,” the statement said.
LGBT+ groups have slammed the Philippines school for ‘upholding bigotry’.
The letter claims that the groups have heard stories of anti-LGBT+ discrimination from past students of the school.
“In fact, many of them are fearful of being ‘outed’ or being ‘discovered’ in Assumption Iloilo.”
It underlined that LGBT+ people had been stripped of their rights and their safety in the school as a result of the policy.
Discrimination is immoral.
“Discrimination is immoral,” they continued.
“If we are committed to pursuing the highest standards of education for our students, then we must recognise that creating a safe, non-discriminatory, and gender-sensitive environment is a critical foundations or this standard.
“We cannot presume to be offering our students the highest quality of education as we remain complicit in and refuse to root out the violence that LGBTQ+ students face in our institutions everyday.”
The signatories closed their letter by demanding that the school scrap its immorality clause and welcome all students and staff.
“As a Catholic school that professes to uphold justice without borders, Assumption Iloilo must be one with the LGBTQ+ community in creating a world of genuine equality.”
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The school responded to the backlash in a statement posted to its website, and claimed that their policy is not discriminatory.
They suggested that there is a difference between a person’s “acts” and their “condition” – implying that queer people are accepted as long as they don’t have any romantic or sexual relationships.
“As a Catholic institution, Assumption Iloilo is within its rights to adopt a definition of what constitutes immorality with the teachings of the Catholic Church,” the statement said.