‘I will always put my faith first’: Catholic health educator fired for refusing to teach birth control

A former Texas health-center worker said she was fired and discriminated against after refusing to teach patients about contraceptive practices that, she says, violate her religious beliefs.

Karen Alexia Palma, a devout Catholic, filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday, nearly six months after she was fired by Legacy Community Health in Houston.

As part of her job as a health educator, Palma taught a family planning class three times a month. For a year and a half, she said, Legacy Community Health had been willing to accommodate her religious beliefs by allowing her to play a 20-minute video about birth control instead of personally talking about it with patients. A registered nurse also was on-site to answer questions patients might have about contraceptives, she said.


This is tyranny.

To be blunt, it sounds like she chose the wrong job.

In similar fashion, a Catholic should not apply for the job of executioner and then claim he/she can’t pull the switch because of religious beliefs.

Nor can a pacifist join the Rangers and later claim a religious exception from the work.

If she is that opposed to it, why is she okay with having someone else teach about how to commit sins in her place. I think the company did her a favor, especially if her new employer is a religious institute more in line with Catholic teachings.

The real questions are whether teaching this particular segment is an essential function of the job and whether it cannot be accommodated without undue hardship to the employer.

There aren’t enough facts in the article to tell us. Based solely on what the employee said about it, and assuming her statement is true, then the employer really did violate the Equal Employment Rights Act.

But the other side is not presented in the article.

It sounds as if her religious situation was acceptable when she was initially hired for it appeared from the article she had been showing the birth control video. Now they’ve had a change of heart with the change of management. Thus it’s a time for this woman to move on in my opinion.


I think they are going to have a difficult time because she has been on staff for 3 years, they had previously accommodated her and there is another employee willing to perform the tasks.

That said, it might have been a good idea to take a different position in the organization which wouldn’t have presented a conflict. It appears they offered a choice.

I agree. Employment should be completely at will. But that isn’t how it works. Every other religion and lifestyle has to be accommodated. So I wish her luck in her lawsuit.

According to this article,

This simple accommodation let her fulfill the 2 percent portion of her job description without violating her conscience for over a year-and-a-half. But that wasn’t enough for new management.


Also, from linked article:

As far as relevant statutes and case law for Palma’s case goes, The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, religion, or national origin.” And under the current corpus of case law, employers are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” for their employees’ religious beliefs and practices, so long as the accommodation doesn’t place “undue hardship” on the employer.

Furthermore, last year’s Supreme Court ruling in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch determined that an employer cannot refuse to hire someone simply to avoid providing reasonable accommodation to the potential employee.


First Liberty’s Jeremy Dys noted to Conservative Review that not only was the contraception video substitute proven to be a viable accommodation for over a year, but that there were other staffers ready and willing to take over for Palma if needed.

“Here, it never was an undue hardship. Let’s be honest,” Dys said. “Here, 2 percent of her job had to be accommodated.”

The state religion must be upheld. All others must yield.


Why should Catholics be the only ones who are forced to accomodate to the system, while other religious, ethnic, sexual minorities get accomodations fitted to their needs?

It’s not like this person applied for a job at Planned Parenthood. This apparently was a tiny fraction of her duties, and they could be done by someone else. The secularists won’t be satisfied until all practicing Catholics are removed from all education, health care and social service positions.

What about diversity?

I will expand on what I said before. Christ did not promise you that life would be easy if you follow Him. He did not promise you would be treated fairly. As a matter of fact, He promised pretty much the exact opposite.

While it would be nice if Catholics were treated the same, it is not necessarily something we should desire. When we are persecuted, even in minor ways, we are being given an opportunity to share the joy that being His follower brings, no matter what the circumstances. We are also being given a chance to feel a small portion of what He suffered for us.

It’s not just a health educator, suffering a mild loss of a job. We also have to think of the welfare of adults and children who will be forced to have **only **secularists to teach them about health.

I am willing to turn the other cheek for myself, for my own welfare. Should I also be willing to turn the other cheek, sacrificing the welfare of children?

My son works for the government in developmental disabilities. He was pressured by the employer to set up what would be extremely inappropriate sexual behavior for the disabled clients. He refused, and with a letter from a pastor, was granted an exemption from having anything to do with that activity (though it sure won’t help him in terms of promotions). But what about the clients? I am sure the State got some other staff to facilitate this.

There is an evil trend towards passivity among Catholics. “Turning the other cheek” does not mean putting others at harm.

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