RELIGION

Gay Substitute Teacher Finds Strength In Faith After Being Denied Job At Catholic School

04/09/2015 07:13 pm ET | Updated Apr 10, 2015
Courtesy of Tyler McCubbin

A substitute teacher who says he was denied a job at a Roman Catholic high school when the administration discovered his sexual orientation is finding strength and support in his faith.

"My faith has grown during this time," Tyler McCubbin told The Huffington Post. "Love doesn't have any boundaries. It comes in various forms, and that's all were asked to do as Christians -- to love one another."

McCubbin, 26, said he started substitute teaching at the Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines, Iowa, in September 2014 and was offered a full-time position verbally in March. Before the paperwork had been signed, he said, the admnistration retracted the offer after discovering through social media that he was gay.

Iowa law exempts religious institutions from state non-discrimination laws. The Dowling administration didn't respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment.

Bishop Richard Pates, leader of the Des Moines Diocese, said McCubbin was denied the job due to his openness about his sexuality.

"The decision was not based on the sexual orientation of the individual, but it was based on the Facebook publicity that he has opened to the world," Pates told KCCI News.

“Catholic schools are an extension of the church and are committed to following the church's teachings and doctrine in employment matters," Dowling's superintendent, Luvern Gubbels, said in a statement to KCCI. "Our contracts contain specific language that outline the expected code of conduct in accord with long accepted Church teaching."

A Facebook group set up to support McCubbin on April 7, called "Dowling Catholic Alumni, Faculty, and Students Against Discrimination," garnered more than 2,000 members in just three days.

McCubbin, who identifies as Lutheran, posted a version of the Prayer of Saint Francis on the Facebook page on Thursday, reminding supporters that light can come, even "where there is darkness."

"Lord, make me a channel of your peace," he wrote. "Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair in life, let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, only light. Where there is sadness, ever joy."

A group of Dowling students staged a walkout on Wednesday.

Since speaking with the media about his case, McCubbin said, he was asked not to return to the school as a substitute teacher. He said he has been sending out applications for full-time positions at other schools.

McCubbin is one of several teachers to be denied a job or fired due to their sexual orientation in recent months. He said he has been "overwhelmed" by the support he's received from students, alumni and faculty.

"It makes me want to reach out to any other student who identities as Christian or Catholic and faces this discrimination, to let them know that, no matter what, at the end of the day you are loved by somebody," McCubbin said.

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