Target: Catholic Diocese Bishop George Leo Thomas
Goal: Re-hire schoolteacher Shaela Evenson who was wrongly terminated for being pregnant out of wedlock
A schoolteacher in Montana was recently fired because she became pregnant out of wedlock. An anonymous tip was sent to the Helena Diocese disclosing Evenson’s pregnancy, and the Catholic school now refuses to hire her back even though its actions may have been unlawful. Urge the Diocese Bishop to reverse the decision to fire Evenson, and encourage him to offer her job back.
Shaela Evenson taught literature and physical education at Butte Central Catholic School for eight years. Sadly, the Catholic Church is strict when it comes to enforcing the moral system, and will not favor a longtime teacher if she violates the code. The Church teaches that sex outside the bounds of marriage is condemnable and, in the past, has approved the termination of other women for similar incidents.
Still, many have rallied to support Evenson and thousands have signed petitions urging the Church to retract their decision. Many believe that those responsible for Evenson’s termination should heed the words of the Pope, who encourages people of faith to act in love and humility, and recently shocked audiences when he proposed the humble question “Who am I to judge?” in such controversial cases. Others believe that only an intervention by Pope Francis himself would impel any change.
Fortunately for Evenson, her lawyer Brian Butler represented a woman in a similar Ohio case, and won it. The jury was told that even though an employee signs a contract containing a morality clause, the individual is not exempt from federal and state protections against discrimination. Therefore, though an employer may require a woman to sign a contract stating she will not become pregnant, it is unlawful to fire her if she chooses to do so anyway.
Urge the Catholic Diocese in Helena to reverse this decision and offer Shaela Evenson her job back.
Dear Catholic Diocese Bishop George Leo Thomas,
Recently, a well-loved schoolteacher was terminated because she became pregnant out of wedlock. Though the Catholic Church teaches that pregnancy outside the bounds of marriage is wrong, it is also wrong to terminate an employee if she becomes pregnant, as such a decision violates state and federal discrimination policies.
Not only is this decision legally questionable, but it is also incredibly hypocritical. Many have rallied to support Evenson as a result. Thousands have spoken out against the decision and signed petitions urging you to reverse your decision. I, too, urge you reconsider your actions. Please make the right choice and offer Shaela Evenson her job back.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Krista Kennedy via Flickr