I’ve Said It

I’ve Said It

I’ve said it a lot today, but it’s true – I am not surprised, but I am disappointed. Furthermore, I am disappointed because I am not surprised.

I’ve said it many times today, but I am not taking on the Church’s teachings. Rather, I am taking on their seeming unwillingness to learn from the wisdom of its people. The Church hierarchy contains much wisdom – wisdom that has informed many of us – but we have a lot of wisdom too. You should listen. Perhaps your rules and regulations won’t change, but no matter, at least you will open up dialogue and not fire people for having differing views than you.

I’ve said it a few times today, but I really do respect that the Catholic Church takes a stand. I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I respect when one takes a stand for what they believe. That said, just because one takes a stand does not mean that another is not entitled to an opinion, or employment.

I’ve said it so many times today, but it bears repeating that numerous employees of Catholic institutions come out, publically, in favor of war and the death penalty. They do not get fired. Ironic, in some ways, that you can disagree with the Church on matters of death, but not love.

I’ve said it too many times today, but I am sad. If the youth can learn something from this then I will continue to sleep well at night as I will still feel like a teacher.

I’ve said it a million times today and over the course of the past twelve years, but thank you to all of the students who directed me to this place. I take this stand in your honor. You taught me the value of service and compassion and patience.

I’ve said it numerous times today – Purcell Marian had nothing to do with my firing today, it was the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

I’ve said it a couple times today, but if you think that I took this stand to further my own political career then you don’t know me. I have said these things about equality for all since I was in the 7th grade. I have admired the challenge of creating and implementing public policy since I was a teenager. And I would never, five short months after I got married, jeopardize Katie and I’s livelihood for some idealistic whim or political ambition. No, if you think that, then you do not know me – and that is not your fault. I’d love to get to know you so you can see a different side of me. And I would love to learn from you.

I’ve said it many, many times today, but I do not know what is next. I will continue saying, “yes,” to the right things and, “no,” to the right things and see where this takes us. I firmly, in my soul, believe something great is down the line.

I’ve said it over and over today, but if this situation is causing anyone out there to have a conversation around the dinner table, in the pews or at the office about faith, institutions, reconciliation or the Church – then I will continue to smile. This is about accepting diverse thought. This is about having the difficult discussions that can change lives, communities and nations.

I’ve said it once, but I will continue to say it over and over again – I unabashedly believe that gay people SHOULD be allowed to marry.  Ethically, morally and legally I believe this.

42 Comments

  1. mike

    i am the honored one, tara. watching you grow into not only a well-spoken young woman, but a corageous one, is nothing short of inspiring. i am blessed to know YOU. much love.

  2. Shannon

    I attended St. Cecilia as a child and would have attended Purcell-Marian had we not moved, so your story is close to my heart. (I have 3 siblings who are P-M alumni.) I can only say how much I admire you for taking this stance at such personal cost. It’s these intolerant attitudes that chased me from the Church 20 years ago. Makes me so sad that so little has changed.

    Our thoughts are with you and I deeply hope something even better for you comes from all this. You’re an inspiration.

  3. Diane

    I am a born and raised Catholic. I attended a Catholic grade school and high school on the east side of town. I believe, as you do, that gays should be allowed to marry. I also believe our Priests should be allowed to marry and women should be able to become Priests. The Catholic church is spending so much money telling us to “come home,” yet they push SO many away. The God I worship is a LOVING God, not judgemental, not exclusionary. I wish I could say the same about the Catholic Church.
    Best of luck to you!

  4. Delores Martin

    Your REAL, and I’m glad you made your views clear. Its funny how the same Catholic Church does not firer rapist who violate children but woud let a married man go for expressing his views. It’s so sad that the Catholic Church has it’s views all screwed up. Maybe thats why the Pope quit. However Thank You for being there for my son his last year at Purcell, if it was not for you they would have kicked for being a teenager. Much Respect to you and your Family Thank You for being You 🙂

  5. Terri Manning

    Mike,
    I am a teacher at a Catholic school in Erlanger, Ky…right across the river. What can I do to support your stance? I would like to add my voice to yours and if it costs my job, so be it.
    “The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.” There are so many of us who know the current Catholic teaching is wrong and we cower in fear of losing our jobs. I am tired of cowering.

    Terri Manning

  6. Gini

    This was beautifully penned. I think there is a song amongst these words somewhere 🙂 Keep your chin up, and know that you are surrounded by love and support! All my love to you and K.T.!

  7. Mike

    You are wrong, wrong, wrong.

    The Archdiocese of Cincinnati should had fired you. I applaud the Archdiocese for kicking you out of your position. Have fun in the unemployment line.

    People who are employed by the Catholic Church should uphold the teachings of the Church. You should read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sir, especially the sections on chastity and homoseuality (#2357-through-#2359).

    Please don’t give me that “First Amendment” nonsense.

  8. mike

    thank you, mike, for your point of view. i have read through the catechism throughout my 29 year history studying in catholic schools, and understand that my opinion that “gay people should be allowed to marry” does not synch up well with the teachings of the holy roman catholic church. that said, i never taught my personal opinion to students. i did, however, always teach students (when i was in the classroom) to question, respectfully, teachings they did not understand – which is in accordance with church teachings. regardless, i respect your opinion, and wish you all the best. thank you for reaching out. peace.

  9. mike

    terri – thank you dearly for your heartfelt support. i truly hope you do not lose your job like i did! it kinda stinkes:). your support of me is more than enough. i very truly appreciate it. here’s to good things – much love.

  10. Jim

    It takes courage to choose the hard right rather than the easy wrong. Mike, you are demonstrating that courage! You are definitely a role model to follow. You do not stand alone as demonstrated by most of the comments herein. As an outsider of the Catholic Church, I have never understood the stands that are taken by many of the leaders of the Church. Fortunately, you and others are taking a stand to challenge those positions that seem to be in conflict with Christian teachings. I wish you the best. You will prosper!

  11. I respectfully disagree, Mike. The issue or act of marriage is something created by and advocated by God. The Bible is the inspired Word of God via important, God-inspired men. The Bible says that homosexuality is wrong, and He says its among the most disliked by God. So how can you work for an institution who advocates God’s perfect Word and take a stance that is oppose that of God, whom you and I serve?

  12. mike

    stanley – thank you for your respectful disagreement. to answer your question, i can work for an institution who advocates God’s perfect Word by living that perfect Word every single day as an example to my students of a loving, forgiving Christ – and by never imposing my own personal views onto them regarding social issues (in this case, marriage equality). while i DO disagree with the church’s stance on marriage equality, i very much am influenced by the Word to live WITH those who need the most support – namely, the mariginalized, the poor, the youth and the ostracized. the gay community strikes me as, at least, two of those. resultingly, in addition to having no personal problem with marriage equality, i also feel called to defend it. again, thank you for reaching out – the dialogue that this unfortunate situation has spurned is truly beautiful.

  13. As someone who’s been fired from a number of church positions over the years, mostly for being gay, and at least once for stating my opinions in public on my (now defunct) blog, I thought I’d drop by with a little bit of encouragement. And a thank you.
    I get the impression that God isn’t sitting idly by while many of his people stand in accusation against the gay community. I don’t think Jesus would choose that side of the fight; it seems to me that he who spent his free time hanging out with tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners would probably be pretty okay with gay people. So all that to say, thanks for siding with Jesus on this, in spite of the difficulties it may have caused you personally. Thanks for being an ally.
    And God bless your future endeavors, your public life and you continued service to the community!

  14. Peggy

    Mike, as a Marian grad and the parent of 3 children who have graduated from PMHS I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for the kids at PMHS. I don’t know how important you have been to them. Talking to them like adults, encouraging them to do their best and giving them the tools to do so if need be. I know my daughter, Megan is devestated. She always had some story about you when she came home from school. I am actually driving up to UD just to see her later today. I feel like she just needs a hug. Sounds silly but I am lucky that she is close enough that I can do it. I am praying that things work out for you and your wife. I will definitely be signing up to help in your council race in 2017.

  15. I just read the article on Yahoo! and I have to tell you that I absolutely love the way you are handling this. I read the article and was thinking…”This is exactly how my husband would handle this situation.” I love that you are solid with your convictions. Congratulations on being a great human being…

  16. Mike, as a Christian (southern baptist Pentacostal) and a supporter of gay marriage ina very conservative area of the country – suburban Atlanta, Ga, I relate to you.

    Thank you for not only standing up for your believes but also being the kind of witness Jesus asked us to be on the mount and in the streets. I support your decision and since I also blog, consider you heroic. Hang in there.

    I write not only at my own place – http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com but also as a columnist for http://www.sprocketink.com where I write 3 columns a week. I would love to interview and discuss how blogging and believing mix. you can contact me at thomaslburson@yahoo.com or @TLanceB on twitter.

    God Bless.

  17. Christine

    Mike, so now your words and the strength of your love has a chance to “fly” through the world via the internet – – perhaps that was His hope all along? I look forward to following your writings, hearing the dialogs and learning from the many ways His voice is heard. Many are thanking you for your strength and your stance (and that is right), however, I feel in your words that there was nothing said or done requiring or looking for thanks – – you are living an honest life and doing only that which such a life requires. I do believe, however, that you deserve a great deal of thanks for the courage it takes each and every day to live just such a life and bear witness to His call to love. I am saddened each time I am reminded of what SILENCE can bring – in all things. I find comfort though in the sure knowledge that – In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you (John 14;2) – that, combined with the surity that I am not called to UNDERSTAND His universe, just to live HIs love wherever I am in that universe gives me strength to stay open to the many sounds of His voice in the universe and to TRY and not judge, lest I too be judged.

    So, Mike, thank you for the reminder!

  18. Tony B. Moore

    Mike……I was so sorry to hear that Purcell Marian decided to let you go……….I have always been proud to be a graduate of Purcell (class of 1973). Not anymore……….Thank you so much for speaking out and taking a stand. You will certainly have my vote in 2017. God bless you.

  19. Lauren

    I grew up in Cincinnati, was raised Catholic, and attended Mount Notre Dame. I would just like to thank you for supporting equality for all people. I am no longer a practicing Catholic because I fundamentally disagree with the church on this issue.

  20. Antonio

    As a 22 year old Catholic, I attend church on a weekly basis and do enjoy practicing my religion. However, I strongly agree with your view that gay people should be allowed to marry. They are human beings and deserve to have equal rights. I strongly applaud you for stating your views and for standing up for gays. Some people might decide to say that I’m not a real Catholic for not agreeing with all the views that the Catholic Church expresses, however, I beg to differ. I consider myself a Catholic, but a Catholic that grew up in a new generation which has much different views than the old generation. I support gay marriage and while others might not agree with me, I’m not asking anyone to agree with me but to just respect my views and I’ll do the same for their views.I will not give up on religion or being a practicing Catholic since it has become an integral part of my life; however, I will continue to share my opinions including the right to marry for all no matter what their sexuality might be. I hope you are able to stay strong during this time and may you have a blessed day.

  21. Mark

    Mike: I know that you have a contract but you also have freedom of speech, especially in the context of what happens outside of work hours. I strongly support your position on equality and more importantly your right to be able to freely voice your opinion. Be strong and best of luck. You are destined to do more so I’m excited to see where this road will take you.

  22. Terri

    Is there anyone that has an idea of how we can protest? I would love to organize something that indicates there are many of us who think this is very unChristian. Any ideas?

  23. Mike Mentz

    Mike, i too found your post on Yahoo and I can’t tell you how inspired I am by your brave actions. A quick tally of the comments posted on your blog confirms that public opinion is changing on this issue. And rightfully so. I pray for the day when loving, committed same-sex couples can share in the dignity of having their relationships recognized and held in the same regard as their heterosexual counterparts. How anyone could want anything else for their children, gay or straight, is beyond me. If people could just step back and think, what if it were me? What if it were my child? With all the problems in the world, why are we fighting love? I commend you for the stance you’ve taken and I sincerely wish you the best. God bless.

  24. Brian Schlemmer

    Mike,

    I signed the petition because a coworkers wife and friend sent me the request. My stance it was important to her so it was important for me to sign, even though I didn’t have a clue the underlying meaning of the petition. Her husband then sent me a link and had a conversation with me prompting me to read your blog.

    As a gay American citizen I want to THANK YOU! I work, pay my taxes, have enlisted in the military…..done everything as any other citizen of this county yet I can not legally marry the person I love and want to spend the rest of my life with. I tried for the first 26 years of my life to be the person that would be accepted by the masses igonoring who I really am and what would make me really happy. I risked losing my family and close friends by coming out and living life the way I should, as a gay man. I did loose some people but that just showed me that the didn’t really love me for me they loved me for the ideal of what they thought I should be.

    I applaud you for standing up for what you believe and sticking to them. Contact me when you start to run you race for council, I would love to be on your team!

  25. mike

    brain – your words are inspiring. thank you so much for your support and love. here’s to brighter days and to dancing the good dance (as opposed to “fighting the good fight”:) )

  26. Jason C.

    …if this situation is causing anyone out there to have a conversation around the dinner table, in the pews … – then I will continue to smile.

    No talking in church! 🙂

    Seriously, though, try the Episcopalians–they have good schools, and are the perfect embodiment of what many of the commenters here (and perhaps you) claim to be looking for in a church. They ‘listen to the wisdom of the people’ that you’re talking about–they literally vote on what is and is no longer doctrine. If enough people embrace gay marriage, then gay marriage is now a sacrament; if enough people want women priests, women are now priests. And so on.

    But if being Episcopalian is not appealing to you–you want to be a Catholic, dammit!–is that because you know in your heart that it is a religion founded not by Christ (Mt 16:18), but by a man (Act of Supremacy, 1534)?

    The Catholic Church cannot go the route of voting on doctrine–this is why when we had ecumenical councils to decide contentious issues in the past, the bishops who wouldn’t sign on to the council’s consensus weren’t just in the “voting minority” and go back home about their business; they were anathematized as heretics and no longer Catholic. This is because the Church’s teachings aren’t made up on the spot, the product of a moment; they are–or so we believe, anyway–the “deposit of faith” Christ entrusted to His apostles and handed over (literally traditio, where “tradition” comes from) back in the back when. Can we use logic and derive other propositions from that initial deposit of faith (God the Father is God; God the Son is God; God the Holy Ghost is God; but God is … one; ????; of course, God is One, but a Trinity of Persons!)? Absolutely. (Read Newman’s “Development of Christian Doctrine” for the best exposition of this.) Can we use popular desires and hopes to have the Church reverse or declare that some currently inconvenient aspect of that deposit of faith is to be discarded? Absolutely not.

    My best wishes in your job hunt, I know personally that this is a trying time.

  27. MikeM

    jason – i have heard so many great things anout the episcopalians. i am catholic – love it – but this post (for some reason) got me thinking. i want to know more. i will search info on the church, pray about it, etc – but if you have any pertinent info, feel free to e-mail it to me through this site. much love – thanks

  28. Deacon7

    Good riddance, and please- have fun in a secular, democratic, culturally affirming church where the Holy Spirit, the Magisterium and the sacraments are ignored. You truly deserve each other sir.

  29. Sly Cotto

    I’m a former Catholic…
    I no longer believe there is a god of any kind, but that is beside the point.
    What I want to say is that I wish there were more people like you, who while maintaining your faith, have the honesty and integrity to say what you believe, despite church alleges is “the truth.”
    I have no problem with people believing what they may… but I take issue with organizations trying to force a certain belief on others, especially when that force comes at the price you’ve paid by losing your job.
    My wife is a teacher, and I know it takes a special individual to take on that “calling”.

    Good luck to you, sir.
    Thank you for being a model of decency and honesty… especially to people like “Deacon7” up above me, who just expressed the kind of contemptible behavior I’ve seen from too many so-called “Christians”.

    Sly

  30. J.B. Just Bible

    Rom 10:17 NKJV – SO THEN FAITH [COMES] BY HEARING, AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD.
    Rom 3:4 NIV – Not at all! Let God be true, AND EVERY MAN A LIAR. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”
    1Cr 6:9 NIV – Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? DO NOT BE DECEIVED: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
    Num 23:19 NIV – God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

    GOD SAID IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mar 1:15 NIV – “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
    Act 3:19 NIV – Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

  31. Jim H

    Contrary to Deacon7, I feel like the Holy Spirit is definitely at work here. You seem to me to be an honorable man whose experience of life and his fellow human beings is simply leading him to a place where he cannot defend — in his private writings and thoughts — the current orthodoxy of the Catholic Church as it pertains to a particular group of people.

    As a gay man striving to be an active part of the body of Christ in my Catholic parish (in music ministry), I too have felt the stress of being in dissent/staying true to myself while simultaneously striving to conduct myself in a way that does not require my parish priests and other parish staff to compromise their own beliefs.

    My partner of 24 years died almost 6 months ago after a long battle with cancer, and I have regularly experienced God’s grace in the support I have received from my parish. Never once did we ask for explicit “approval” of our relationship, nor did we hide or attempt to misrepresent who we were. Nor was any such explicit “approval” ever given. Yet, the staff and my fellow parishioners treated us with nothing but kindness, allowed us to share our gifts of music, time and $$, allowed us to worship alongside them, and continue to give me comfort in my grief.

    I have prayed about staying in the Catholic Church for years, and over time it seems more and more true to me that I need to remain part of this Body and be known. I certainly know that without this connection, it would be all too easy for me to drift away from God. I need to be challenged, encouraged, supported in my faith. Whether by being known my presence will or should change others’ views on church teaching, that is in God’s hands.

    I know for sure that there are a lot of people like me who have not been as lucky in their families or parishes as I have been, and they sorely need spiritual healing and reconciliation.

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