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Catholic H.S.: Gay Student Can't Accept Matthew Shepard Scholarship on Stage

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Catholic H.S.: Gay Student Can't Accept Matthew Shepard Scholarship on Stage

BY Michelle Garcia

May 08 2012 1:36 PM ET

A gay high school senior was told that he cannot formally accept the Matthew Shepard Scholarship at his Catholic school's annual awards ceremony, despite being encouraged to apply for the award from school administrators. 

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 A gay Iowa teenager has been told that he cannot receive the Matthew Shepard Scholarship at his Catholic school's annual awards ceremony.

Prince of Peace Catholic school senior Keaton Fuller was initially told that he could accept the scholarship at his school's awards ceremony on May 20. According to the Eychaner Foundation of Des Moines, Iowa, which granted the scholarship, Fuller even learned of the scholarship from his school, and the principal issued a statement to notify the scholarship committee that he could accept the award at the ceremony.

But weeks later, the opportunity to formally accept the scholarship at his high school has been revoked after pressure from the local Catholic diocese. "It is difficult to understand how after I have spent 13 years at this school and worked hard during all of them, I would be made to feel that my accomplishments are less than everybody else’s," Fuller wrote in a letter to the student body and staff. "This whole ordeal has been incredibly hurtful, and I am even sadder that this will be one of my last experiences to remember my high school years by."

The Matthew Shepard Scholarship grants $40,000 to an openly LGBT student attending the University of Iowa the following fall. Fuller won the scholarship based on his academic work, as well as his work to reduce homophobia at school and in his community.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 4,000 people have signed a Change.org petition supporting Fuller and asking the school's principal, Superintendent Leland Morrision, and Bishop Martin J. Amos to have a change of heart.

by on May. 8, 2012 at 2:51 PM
Replies (31-40):
AnotherKim
by on May. 8, 2012 at 7:47 PM
1 mom liked this

What teaching would that be going against? Is there a "do not accept a scholarship award in public" teaching? What bullshit. The school has accepted this young man as he is until it is a PUBLIC acceptance.

Quoting 12hellokitty:

In a different article Fuller states

“Everybody at the school has always been very accepting and extremely encouraging toward me,” Keaton Fuller, a senior at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, Iowa, told msnbc.com. “That’s why the latest turn of events has been such a surprise -- I feel invalidated and unaccepted.”


So because The Church is not willing to go against it's teaching Fuller feels "invalidated and unaccepted"?  It's sad that he can so quickly write off the acceptance and encouragement he received from classmates and staff because of not being able to receive a scholarship on stage.  Someone needs to tell this young man regardless of sexual orientation we all experience moments of invalidation and unacceptance.  He could have made a bigger difference if he had respected the teachings of the Church and agreed to receive the scholarship at the awards ceremony.     


AnotherKim
by on May. 8, 2012 at 7:54 PM

It shouldn't . Not everyone in the Church is like this. Just like not all Christians are assholes.

Quoting jessilin0113:

The CC completely disgusts me.


AnotherKim
by on May. 8, 2012 at 8:00 PM
1 mom liked this

The CATHOLIC school encouraged him to apply for this scholarship. If they didn't want to acknowledge his scholarship, they shouldn't have encouraged him to apply for it. If the school doesn't want to publicly acknowledge this GAY student's achievements then they shouldn't have accepted his parents money for the last four years.

Quoting LavenderMom23:

STOP trying to force Catholics into things they don't want to do, that is bullying.


GLWerth
by Gina on May. 8, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Hypocrisy and Catholicism are usually hand in hand.

They accept his parents' tuition money, encourage him to apply for this scholarship, but want to pretend they never knew he was gay...ah well, they never claimed to be tolerant, kind, or accepting.

I'll never understand why people choose to belong to this organization that is stuck in the dark ages.

FrogSalad
by Sooze on May. 8, 2012 at 9:15 PM
It's stories like this that give lie to the adage, "hate the sin, love the sinner."
TruthSeeker.
by Milami on May. 8, 2012 at 9:21 PM
The school should not encourage their students to seek out the scholarship if the have no intention of acknowledging it.
It really seems to me some teachers and guidance counsellors really wanted to help this boy succeed and did their best but were thwarted by the powers that be.
12hellokitty
by Platinum Member on May. 8, 2012 at 9:22 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Amos told Fuller’s parents last week that church policies on guest speakers would prohibit it, the Diocese of Davenport said in a statement. The policy says, “We cannot allow any one or any organization which promotes a position that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church to present at a diocesan institution.”

The diocese’s statement congratulated Fuller for winning “the generous award,” and said it would be announced by a school employee during the assembly.


 

Sounds like they are accepting him in PUBLIC.  Tolerance is not a one way thing.  IMO the Bishop is being very accepting of this student.  What it seems is that people are unwilling to provide any tolerance for the teachings of The Church. 

Quoting AnotherKim:

What teaching would that be going against? Is there a "do not accept a scholarship award in public" teaching? What bullshit. The school has accepted this young man as he is until it is a PUBLIC acceptance.

Quoting 12hellokitty:

In a different article Fuller states

“Everybody at the school has always been very accepting and extremely encouraging toward me,” Keaton Fuller, a senior at Prince of Peace Catholic School in Clinton, Iowa, told msnbc.com. “That’s why the latest turn of events has been such a surprise -- I feel invalidated and unaccepted.”

 

So because The Church is not willing to go against it's teaching Fuller feels "invalidated and unaccepted"?  It's sad that he can so quickly write off the acceptance and encouragement he received from classmates and staff because of not being able to receive a scholarship on stage.  Someone needs to tell this young man regardless of sexual orientation we all experience moments of invalidation and unacceptance.  He could have made a bigger difference if he had respected the teachings of the Church and agreed to receive the scholarship at the awards ceremony.     

 


_Kissy_
by on May. 8, 2012 at 9:36 PM
Why cant the CC bend the rules like they do for the pedophiles?
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
foxfroggy
by Bronze Member on May. 8, 2012 at 9:53 PM

Here's what I wrote when I signed the petition:

Shame on this school and diocese. Jesus' command to love one another had no "except" and John 3:16 has no asterisk. He worked hard for his scholarship and probably face a lot of hate speech those 13 years excused as religious dogma and deserves recognition like any other scholarship winner. It was bigotry like this that grew into the evil that took Matthew Shepard's life. 

Amyinthesky
by on May. 8, 2012 at 10:06 PM

He is a kid, let him go on stage like everyone else and accept recognition for his accomplishments. No matter what your beliefs are they can give him that.This is no longer a religion/political debate it is something that will impact someone else's life. Leave him be.

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