UA needs sunlight
Any issue on which I find myself in complete agreement with Max Brantley justifies further comment. His recent column on the situation with the UA-Fayetteville administration (Nov. 14) was right on the money (no pun intended). The administration treats the university as its personal fiefdom. AD Jeff Long's recent raise and bonus is the latest case in point. Chancellor Gearhart's background is in fundraising, not administration or financial management. He is clearly not up to the task of effectively running a major university. That the administration is under criminal investigation breaks this graduate's heart. Before his termination, university bureaucrat Brad Choate (another former fundraiser), had a salary of approximately $350,000, which is offensive to tax- and tuition-paying parents. I can only imagine how many directors and assistant directors of diversity are on the payroll. Despite the best efforts of the Board of Trustees (some of whom I have the pleasure of knowing, and I think the world of them), the tradition of not rocking the boat is no longer sufficient to remove the rot from our flagship institution. Louis Brandeis said that sunlight is the best disinfectant, which still rings true. A good place to start would be for them to understand that while the FOI Act does not apply to the UA Foundation, it does apply to the university. You could remove half of the administration and, I swear, no one would notice. There needs to be a good housecleaning, starting at the top.
Mount St. Mary debate continues
The good Rev. Sam Seamans missed the point. The highly qualified and popular schoolteacher wasn't fired because she spoke against or disagreed with the church, she was fired because of what she was!
The fact that a liberal organization might fire anyone under the same circumstances doesn't change the Catholic school's shameful action.
Neither is justified.
I don't think many of us expect any sudden changes in the church's medieval thinking.
The good news is that this excellent teacher now has a job at a more enlightened school. The real losers are the students she left behind.
Compliments go to Bishop Sam Seamans for his understanding of part of the adulteress story used to show the hypocrisy of the Rev. Malone in the Nov. 14 letter section of the Arkansas Times. Then he erred when he inferred that the Rev. Malone had no other choice except to hurl stones of job loss at the teacher. He used a silly "Calling the pope Catholic" argument to show Malone had to brand her a sinner. However, did Malone have to fire her? The bishop's awkward observation that the female teacher deserved to be stoned according to Catholic doctrine left the reader wondering which way the good bishop leaned. Both priests seem to need a pound of flesh. In that regard, he and the Rev. Malone make fine bedfellows. The bishop brought up the "Sin no more" quote as if one's orientation is a sin. Orientation is not a sin. However, an often-repeated comment in Christian churches is that we are we all sinners. Moreover, what is sin? Does it not mean simply "missing the mark"? That was a wonderful thing Jesus said, "Sin no more" or, in other words "Try to be on target in the future." It was a kind, gentle, non-condemning statement fitting for all of us.
Perhaps the bishop and the Rev. Malone could do with some target practice. Jesus has helpful advice in that regard. Namely, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God, the things that are God's." Following the advice of Jesus would have prevented the confrontation between the law and the church that led to a teacher being dragged before the public and stoned (fired).
From another article in that same edition of the Arkansas Times, it sounded like the teacher was on target with both her students and the nuns who operate the school. Bishop Seamans, would you ever speak of women as "spitting out babies"? Given that vile phrase, do you not consider the misogynous priest more of a problem than the orientation of the teacher? It is possible that his ugly attitude toward women had more to do with the firing than her orientation.
Remember how long it took the church to agree that the earth was not the center of the universe. Science has shown conclusively that all the various orientations are natural occurrences and not disorders. It might surprise the reverends to know that there are at least eight orientations. Knowing that, the church leaders are remiss in their doctrine creation. Just think how many more people on which they could inflict hate. The Rev. Malone got it right when he said he was not the bedroom police. However, he convicted the teacher for a bedroom offense that Jesus never mentioned in the Gospels. He used the heavy hand of religion to override the law.
Did Jesus want priests to be bullies? The teacher had just the splinter of bad publicity in her eye and the church with the log of pedophilia and other serious offenses in their eyes elected to fire her for what she had been doing for the past 14 years. In time, the homophobic teaching of the Catholic Church will change, and then they will have a lot of apologizing to do. The mind, like a parachute, works best when open. The strong wind of Pope Francis's words, "Who am I to judge," had no uplifting effect on Malone's closed chute. Had only the Rev. Malone understood his pope or followed the example of Jesus, the Mount would have a gifted teacher and a life lesson. Finally, I got the impression that Bishop Seamans was self-righteous as he indirectly told us how much better his church was than the Catholic Church. I will spare you the scripture lesson for that mistake.
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