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Sacred Heart of Mount Pleasant, MI Rescinds Gay Student’s Invitation to Speak At Graduation Ceremony

April 27, 2012

Here it is in little ole bitty Mount Pleasant, MI, lots of bigotry straight from the Bishop in Michigan.  The man’s speech is below.

There has been a backlash already from this small school’s statement.  I have been to this school, with my child, and I thought the school appeared very “traditional,” to say the least.  There are pictures of girls cheerleading, girls playing basketball, but a huge focus on boys’ sports.  There are very few female athletic coaches, a very small female presence in general.  There are two gyms in the school, hallowed halls of athletics, and the facility is beautiful for a rural Catholic school, but the sentiment behind Sacred Heart seems lacking, a surprise given its moniker.

So far, other Michigan news’ organizations have commented on the school’s refusal to let their alum speak at graduation because he is engaged to a man, and now the story has made the national news:

This incident also comes on the heels of a recent visit from a Catholic bishop who gave a speech to the school seniors. The students asked the bishop about the church’s stance on homosexuality, challenging the hostility the church has shown to LGBT people. While the bishop’s responses about church doctrine on gay people wasn’t surprising, the exchange caused a disturbance in the meeting, with some students even walking out on the Bishop.

The school is already facing heat for its decision to bar a speaker based solely on his sexual orientation. Local papers like Central Michigan’s Morning Sun are reporting on the story, pointing out that the school’s website was down on Thursday morning. A Facebook page called “Let Dominic Speak” has already been created, and Twitter has been spreading the young man’s video like wildfire.

As of now, the school and its administration has remained quiet on the issue, despite repeated attempts to contact them. Administrators say they are looking into the issue and will issue a statement at some point in the future.

As for Dominic Sheahan-Stahl, he is disappointed in the school’s reaction:

I’ve talked with the principal and told him I forgive him. Principal Starnes said he was very sorry and feels it’s the biggest mistake of his life. He let fear of backlash take over. I just wished he would have initially taken the high road and just let me speak at my brother’s graduation. I just never want this to happen again to anyone.The open hostility of the Sacred Heart toward even allowing a gay person to speak at their school’s graduation is shocking, especially given that the objection wasn’t to the speech’s content or message but just to the very fact that Sheahan-Stahl is an openly gay man. Trying to deny the very existence of LGBT people at their school, even family members and alumni just trying to be part of what should be a joyous occasion, is beyond just religious teaching and doctrine.

It’s close-mindedness that shows a surprising lack of heart, sacred or otherwise.

The school’s bigotry isn’t lost on anyone at a national level, but I wonder how much effect it will have at a local level. Right now, the school’s lack of heart seems to be hurting the very families that attend it.

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