Remembering back to my teaching days, some of my schools were more strict than others when it came to choosing books, but all of them didn't really check up on what I was teaching within the classroom. I loved the freedom, I didn't take liberties with that freedom to teach my own beliefs or at least I didn't intend to do so. But I don't think I ever went out on a limb to degrade like one educator just did.
Fr. Jerome Lavigne, the vicar for education at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary, said in a recent sermon the rainbow pride flag was invented by Satan and represents “lawlessness” and a “break from the natural order.”
These kind of comments make it open season on LGBTQ youth, saying it’s OK to openly discriminate against them. It’s not fine to bring those beliefs into a public school environment … These are the kinds of comments that breed hatred, violence and discrimination. – Kristopher Wells, an associate professor at MacEwan University who specializes in sexual and gender minority youth, education and culture. – thestar.com
Wells said the diocese needs to immediately remove Lavigne from his position as he visits public schools to represent the church at events and helps with confirmation preparation. He also says the diocese needs to apologize for Lavigne's statements.
According to thestar.com, Lavigne has a recent timeline of questionable affiliations and statements.
- Affiliated with white nationalist Faith Goldy.
- February 2016 – Invited Godly to Calgary for a panel discussion about sexual education in schools, a year and a half before Goldy would appear on a neo-Nazi podcast.
- February 2018 – Lavigne gave his sermon about the pride flag, called “The Rainbow,” to be later removed by the Diocese.
- September 2018 – Lavigne gave sermon called “Origins of Evil,” saying “there’s no such thing as ‘God made me this way’” when it comes to homosexuality. Video of the sermon was deleted after StarMetro sent a list of questions to Lavigne.
One Facebook member shared this on Fr Jerome Lavigne's page:
Just read about your comments about rainbow flags. THANK YOU for reaffirming my decision to leave the church. You are wrong but then again it was common place to burn witches at the stake
Some of us choose to EVOLVE.
Lavigne belongs to a Catholic school district that is facing some political and social bumps in the road recently itself. faced controversy.
- December 2018 – District stated teachers working in schools must sign contracts that bar them from having same-sex relationships.
- Two Calgary Catholic School District teachers are alleging they were discriminated against because of their sexuality.
In a statement, Calgary Bishop William McGrattan did not apologize for Lavigne’s comments or answer questions about whether the priest would face discipline.
With such turmoil within the walls of the Catholic Church, heck, most churches, leaders may need to have a tighter reign on what their representatives are saying.