Joshua Payne-Elliott taught world language and social studies at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, a Catholic school. He was fired from his job he had held for thirteen years in 2019. The archdiocese mandated “that all Catholic schools under its purview enforce a morality clause barring employees from entering into same-sex marriages.”
Payne-Elliott filed suit with the Indiana Supreme Court claiming among other things, discrimination.
After loosing his case, Payne Elliott said, “We would also like the citizens of Indiana to know that millions of taxpayer dollars are being redirected each year from public schools (where teachers have enforceable contract rights and rights to be free from discrimination) to private schools which target LGBTQ employees. We fear for the well-being of LGBTQ students and faculty in Catholic schools.”
Sure he does. He wasn’t suing for reinstatement to his old job or a fat check for punitive damages or loss of compensation, he was trying to watch out for the welfare of LGBTQ students and faculty. How noble and magnanimous of him. He also had the liberty, and I assume still does, to teach in a public school where he will be received with open arms. But he chose to sue.
There are a number of issues inherent in this case. What about pay vouchers for sending children to a private versus a public school? I hear people say they do not want their tax dollars to pay for sending children to a private school. You know the old separation of church and state thing.
I agree, I don’t want their tax dollars to support private religious schools. But here’s a news flash, Christians pay taxes too. I do not want my tax dollars going to support a public school system that is less interested in giving my children a basic education and more inclined to ideological indoctrination.
I do not think it is unreasonable or unfair for Christians to want a portion of their tax dollars to go to pay vouchers to a school of their choosing so their children can receive a basic education amid an atmosphere that supports biblical morality.
Now let’s turn our attention to what words mean and what discrimination is. Words have a denotation, what they actually mean, and a connotation, what they have come to mean in common usage. Follow me carefully here.
The word promiscuous has been linked so often with the word sexual that we think the word is always referring to something salacious, but that is its connotation. Promiscuous’ denotation comes from Latin and means to be indiscriminate, to not discriminate. When used in the term ‘sexually promiscuous’ it means someone who does not discriminate with whom they have sex. That lack of discrimination is not, generally speaking, a good thing.
I am married and I am sexually discriminate. I am only sexually intimate with my wife, thereby discriminating against every other woman by refusing to be sexually intimate with any of them (not that there are any knocking down my door). I think that is a good thing. My wife thinks that is a good thing. God thinks that is a good thing (See Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18). This means discrimination can be a good thing, discrimination is not always a bad thing.
Discrimination involves a judgment call between what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment,” John 7:24. Jesus requires us to judge, to discriminate between what the Scriptures say is right and what they say is wrong.
Payne-Elliott says he was discriminated against; he was. He thinks that was a bad thing. The archdiocese discriminates by requiring its faculty and employees to conform to biblical morality. The archdiocese thinks that is a good thing. The Indiana Supreme Court decided it was too.