You would expect a teacher working for a liberal, progressive school to get in trouble for putting up a Facebook post with an impassioned critique of the gay rights movement’s use of the 14th Amendment.
You would not expect a teacher working for a Catholic school to get in trouble for such a posting. But you would be wrong, as Matt Franck explains here.
I’ll add a couple of remarks on this situation.
First, it is troubling that people would mobilize immediately to seek this woman’s removal from her job. Even if she had posted something unduly combative, I don’t think it is a just or humane tactic to try to get her fired or to pressure her to resign. I am not talking here about how to approach the problem if someone posts something obscene, defamatory, or illegal online. I am referring to what you do when someone defending a point of view goes beyond the bounds of civility. This happens all the time, especially online, where people lose sight of the fact that they are arguing with other flesh and blood human beings. When it happens, the person should be corrected. But it does not seem right to throw somebody overboard for something like this, especially if he or she has served the school well for a number of years.
Second, in its statement on the issue, the school sets up a policy that is pretty problematic. They say:
It is the policy of the school that all faculty and staff demonstrate respect and sensitivity to all people at all times and to avoid offending any individuals or groups.
The problem is with the second half of the statement. Of course faculty and staff should demonstrate respect and sensitivity. But you can’t place the burden entirely on them to “avoid offending any individuals or groups.” It is reasonable to ask your faculty not to be deliberately offensive. But since sometimes people take offense unreasonably, you can’t make the faculty responsible for never giving offense.