In 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States recognized a 'ministerial exception' to discrimination and employment laws. This became a national impetus for diocese to change their contracts that they have with their employees. Unfortunately this stripped those employees from protection against discrimination. 

In Cincinnati Catholic schools, many teachers have already been fired for not following several official church positions on gay rights. Prohibited actions include: "Public support or publicly living together outside marriage"; "Public support of or sexual activity out of wedlock"; "Public support of or homosexual lifestyle"; “Public support of or use of abortion";"Public support of or use of a surrogate mother"; "Public support of or use of in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination"; "Public membership in organizations whose mission and message are incompatible with Catholic doctrine or morals."

Bishop Barber, of Oakland California, has changed the contract of the diocese to redefine teachers as ministers, leaving them defenseless and unable to sue if they are fired for discriminatory reasons.  This change goes not only against what it means to be Christian, but the charism of Bishop O’Dowd High School. Many teachers cannot support this contract. Those who cannot afford to quit will be forced to lie, and our community will lose many valuable teachers. 

Thus, we the students, parents, and all those with a vested interest in supporting the values of equality, openness, and friendship do petition Bishop Barber and the diocese of Oakland to keep the old contract. Or at the very least extend the deadline an additional year so our school may adapt and negotiate a new contract in an open dialogue. 

Letter to
Diocese of Oakland
Bishop of Oakland Bishop Michael Barber
We the community of Bishop O'Dowd, and all other Catholic schools within the Oakland diocese, and people of the world are opposed to the broad new ethics clause contained in the new staff contracts as it goes against the Catholic values of community in diversity, workers rights, and social justice. We also would like the contract amended as it allows for the ministerial exemption.