What’s remarkable about the recent events that led Sister Jane Dominic Laurel to take a sabbatical from her teaching post at Nashville’s Aquinas College isn’t that she found herself in hot water after a controversial lecture last month at Charlotte Catholic High. It’s that her incendiary speech appears to have not been a random case of going rogue. It was just that she finally found herself challenged on an incredibly dubious line of educational thought.
Sister Jane created a minor firestorm in March after she spoke to high school students and allegedly “told them that single and divorced parents caused kids to become gay; that homosexuals cannot live normal, productive lives; and that gays can’t be good parents.” When students later told their parents the nature of the talk, families protested and launched a change.org petition, saying they would not have subjected their children to the talk if they’d known the full nature of it, and calling her remarks “offensive and unnecessarily derogatory.” Just last week, Sister Mary Sarah Galbraith, the president of Aquinas College, issued a supportive statement saying that “The presentation was given with the intention of showing that human sexuality is a great gift to be treasured and that this gift is given by God. It appears that this message was not universally accepted. The hope of Aquinas College is that no one was left feeling that they are not loved by God.” A counter petition supporting Sister Jane was also started, acknowledging that “She said that by partaking in masturbation will lessen your masculinity and that through the absence of a parent in the home will also make a greater risk for homosexuality.”
Sister Jane has cancelled her upcoming speaking engagements and is now commencing her sabbatical. Maybe she can use that time to read a few books, or talk to some gay people whose parents loved them just fine. And if she ever wants to teach again, it’d be great if she learned a few facts first.