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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 8, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Eastside Catholic: Students impressionable and wrong to oppose church doctrine

Eastside Catholic junior Cammi Hansen chants with other students outside the Seattle Archdiocese office near St. James Cathedral on Dec. 20 to protest the dismissal of former Eastside Catholic Vice Principal Mark Zmuda, who was forced to resign because he broke his contract by marrying another man. (Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times).

Eastside Catholic junior Cammi Hansen chants with other students outside the Seattle Archdiocese office near St. James Cathedral on Dec. 20 to protest the dismissal of former Eastside Catholic Vice Principal Mark Zmuda, who was forced to resign because he broke his contract by marrying another man. (Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times).

About 80 people rallied in front of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle on Saturday to show support for Mark Zmuda, the popular Eastside Catholic High School vice principal and swim coach who was forced to resign last month after officials found out he had married his male partner. It was the latest in a series of demonstrations led by students and community groups to draw attention to Zmuda’s case.

Readers’ letters and email submissions have been streaming in steadily since the first reports of Zmuda’s firing. The majority of those we received during the weekend supported the school’s decision:

Students’ rebellion can’t sway the church

At what point does Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain end his AWOL status and enter the public forum to defend the Roman Catholic Church from The Times’ editorial scolding over bigotry and intolerance? [“Thanks to the students of Eastside Catholic for protesting Mark Zmuda’s ouster,” Opinion Dec. 20]. False charges left unchallenged become destructive to good order, discipline and the faith of the flock.

Barbara Guzzo and Kirby Brown also scold the church by selectively quoting Pope Francis’ recent words as sea-change on core values on sanctity of life and the traditional family [“Reinstate Mark Zmuda at Eastside Catholic High School,” Opinion, Jan. 3]. To date, the church has not — and will not — be swayed by young students’ rebellion or outsider demands and distortions.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput put the challenge boldly: “Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. “

James M. Olsen, Bainbridge Island

Impressionable students are the victims

Mark Zmuda is not the victim here, it is the impressionable students.

“He reached out to Crittenden, one of his former students at Eastside, because of the wide support he’s received from students.” Regardless of who is right or wrong in the decision to let Zmuda go, he has clearly instigated this situation by using students to further his own agenda. This is shameful.

Be a big boy, Mark, and fight your own battles. There are plenty of adult gay marriage supporters. Don’t continue resorting to sympathetic children to put your personal challenge to Catholic Church doctrines in the limelight.

Bonnie Stone, Kent

Children need a moral education

In response to the guest column about how Mark Zmuda should be reinstated at Eastside Catholic, The writers are wrong for the following reasons:

I do not take my car to Walgreens to get the oil changed, and I do not put any faith in those who argue doctrine or opinions based on feelings. Church doctrine does not change now or ever based on changing cultural values, something Zmuda’s supporters, and especially the foolish students at Eastside Catholic have not been taught.

This is an excellent example of why sending your kids to a religious institution, be it a high school, college or whatever, is no guarantee of a moral education, especially in this day and age. The Bible tells us that in the latter days, basically faith and correct belief will not be found on the earth.

If Zmuda wants to work at a private or public institution and is upfront about his lifestyle, then that is the decision of that institution. But Eastside Catholic has its values and requirements and Zmuda blew it.

Phil Stanat, Des Moines

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