INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (LifeSiteNews) – The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed Wednesday that Catholic high schools have a right to hire and fire teachers in accordance with the Church’s teachings.
The August 31 ruling came as part of a three-year battle over the firing of an openly homosexual male named Joshua Payne-Elliot who is “married” to another man. An earlier ruling from an appeals court found that his lawsuit could move forward.
Following a directive from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Cathedral High School fired Payne-Elliott in 2019 in order to remain in good standing with the Church and continue calling itself Catholic. Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, on the other hand, lost permission to call itself Catholic after it refused to follow the archdiocese’s orders and fire Payne-Elliot’s “husband.”
The court ruled against Payne-Elliott, who tried to argue that the archdiocese improperly interfered with his relationship with Cathedral High School. The court ruled that the archdiocese properly allowed the high school to decide to either use the Catholic moniker and fire the openly dissident teacher, or it could retain the teacher and forfeit its right to refer to itself as Catholic.
The archdiocese had the right to do this under the “church-autonomy doctrine,” which states that “a
civil court may not (1) penalize via tort law (2) a communication or coordination among church officials or members (3) on a matter of internal church policy or administration that (4) does not culminate in a criminal act.”
The use of the name “Catholic” is an example of a “matter of internal church policy,” according to Indiana’s highest court.
UPDATE (26th January 2023):
Enoch Burke is facing severe fines of €5000 per week if he backs down in his stand for the truth about gender ideology.
SIGN: We stand with this brave Christian in his defense of the truth
Burke is facing a daily fine of €700 if he does not obey a court order barring him from attending the school he was fired from.
Having spent 108 days in jail last year for his refusal to abide by the court order, he was officially fired last week by the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Wilson’s Hospital School in Co. Westmeath, Ireland.
Responding to High Court Justice Brian O’Moore’s decision to fine the teacher €700 per day from Friday unless purges his contempt of the court order, Burke told reporters that the judge “wants to fine me for the profession of my religious beliefs.”
“What has become of us as a nation, to fine somebody for their religious beliefs?,” Burke asked. “We’re at a time in this country where people are at their wit’s end, with the cost of everything as we know...and Brian O’Moore, a judge of the High Court, has sat down and said to himself that not only will you have to pay for all those things, but you now have to pay for your religious belief.”
“He’ll make you a pauper for the profession of your religious belief,” Burke added.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TODAY
The teacher declined to answer questions on whether he would continue to attend the school and face significant fines, or purge his contempt of court.
An Evangelical Christian who taught German, history and politics at the school for four years, Burke has consistently maintained that to use transgender pronouns would violate his religious beliefs and that his subsequent suspension by the school, and the court orders against him, were therefore unjust.
Jailed on September 5, 2022, Mr. Justice Brian O’Moore released Burke on December 21st, despite the teacher’s unwillingness to purge his contempt of the court order barring him from the school’s property.
Mr. Justice O’Moore said today that he hoped the prospect of paying almost €5000 in fines every week would “end his (Burke’s) utterly pointless attendance at a school which does not want him on its property”.
The judge warned however that the fines could be increased if they do not have the desired effect.
Burke was fired by the school last Friday and has shown up at the school grounds for work each day this week, despite being arrested and released on Tuesday.
He has until 2pm GMT on Friday to officially purge his contempt before the court or the €700 daily fines will begin to be applied.
Mr. Justice O’Moore admitted today that it was not “immediately attractive” to jail the Christian conscientious objector again as he theorized that Burke had exploited media attention surrounding his imprisonment last year for his own ends, while the judge also considered the schools suggestion to sequester the teacher’s assets to be futile.
Prior to his imprisonment, Burke told the High Court that “transgenderism is against my Christian belief.”
“It is contrary to the Scriptures, contrary to the ethos of the Church of Ireland and of my school,” the teacher added. “I love my school, with its motto Res Non Verba, actions not words, but I am here today because I said I would not call a boy a girl.”
“It is insanity that I will be led from this courtroom to a place of incarceration, but I will not give up my Christian beliefs,” he insisted.
Burke also promised Mr. Justice Max Barrett on September 7th that he would “never leave Mountjoy Prison if in leaving that prison I must violate my well-informed conscience and my religious beliefs and deny my God. I consider it commendable that I chose to obey God rather than man.”
Irish teacher Enoch Burke has been arrested and jailed after refusing to use a transgender student's preferred pronoun, "they", in the classroom.
This insane step by Irish authorities must be called out for what it is: the unhinged intimidation of an educator by demented ideologues.
Please add your name to our urgent message to the High Court today.
SIGN: Enoch Burke must be freed immediately as an educator who upheld the truth
Burke was suspended by his school for refusing to use the transgender pronouns of a student, even confronting his principal about the irrationality of the situation, and defying a subsequent court injunction barring him from performing his teaching duties.
He is now in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin after being brought before a judge on 5 September who found Burke to be in contempt of the injunction by attending work after his suspension.
Burke, who told the High Court “I am here today because I would not call a boy a girl”, made clear that he would not abide by the injunction because it would violate his conscience as a Christian.
“Were I to obey the order of the board of management and the order of the court, I would have to accept that sticking by my belief in male and female is wrong,” he said. “It is not something I will do. It is in violation of my conscience."
“Were I to go into the school and bow to something I know to be manifestly wrong, it would be a shame and a disgrace on my part,” he added.
You can identify as a parrot if want but why should people like Enoch Burke be forced to play along with it?— IrishConservative (@RealIrishCONS) September 2, 2022
This defiant attitude has now prompted Burke's arrest and imprisonment in an Orwellian debacle that should send warning signals to the watching world.
Mr. Justice Burke ordered Burke be "committed to Mountjoy Prison and remain therein until he purges his contempt or until further order of this court.”
Defending himself, Burke replied: “I cannot purge my contempt by holding my Christian beliefs in contempt."
Burke hugged his father and brother before being taken away by Gardaí to Mountjoy Prison.
Please share this petition with as many people as possible - it's clear that leftists will not tolerate dissent on this absurd issue unless we all push back.
SIGN: Enoch Burke must be freed immediately as an educator who upheld the truth
Irish teacher jailed after refusing to use transgender pronouns - LifeSiteNews
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, hailed the ruling as a victory for religious freedom.
“Courts can’t decide what it means to be Catholic – only the Church can do that,” Luke Goodrich, a senior counsel and vice president of the nonprofit, stated in a news release. “By keeping the judiciary out of religious identity, the Indiana Supreme Court just protected all religious institutions to be free from government interference in deciding their core religious values.”
“The court’s decision today was a common-sense ruling in favor of our most fundamental rights,” Goodrich stated. “Religious schools will only be able to pass down the faith to the next generation if they can freely receive guidance from their churches on what their faith is. We are grateful the court recognized this healthy form of separation of church and state.”
Payne-Elliott’s attorney Kathleen Delaney told the Washington Examiner that she is reviewing the possibility to refile a new complaint, which the Supreme Court allows. Her client criticized school choice programs in a statement provided to the media.
“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,” he said in a statement. “We fear for the well-being of LGBTQ students and faculty in Catholic schools.”
Meanwhile, an elementary school administrator in Connecticut has been placed on leave after admitting during a covert interview that he would not hire Catholics or conservatives as part of an agenda to indoctrinate children with liberal values.
Cos Cob Elementary School assistant principal Jeremy Boland told an undercover Project Veritas reporter that Catholics are “brainwashed” and that they, along with teaching applicants above 30 years-of-age, are “stuck in their ways,” leading him to employ discriminatory tactics in hiring teachers.