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Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:46 PM

Indiana School Decides Not To Discipline Teacher Who Says Gays Have No Purpose In Life

Source: Think Progress

When news broke that a group was trying to create a gays-free prom at Sullivan High School in Indiana, special education teacher Diana Medley’s anti-gay comments quickly became viral on the Internet. In addition to saying that homosexuality is a choice, she went so far as to say that gay people have no purpose in life. A Change.org petition with over 15,000 signatures is calling for disciplinary action, Dan Savage has called for her to be outright fired, other Indiana teachers are countering her message, and thanks to reddit, even the principal from Billy Madison has chimed in. It seems, though, that the school is not taking any action.

Superintendent Mark A. Baker released a statement Tuesday distancing the Northeast School Corporation from her position but defending her free speech:

I would like to clearly state the Northeast School Corporation has never denied any student the right to attend prom or any other Northeast School Corporation sponsored event due to their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Furthermore, the Northeast School Corporation has never denied any student access to any events sponsored by Northeast School Corporation. This includes sports, plays, musicals and any other extra-curricular activities.

In regards to the story that WTWO aired on February 10, 2013, the Northeast School Corporation employee that was interviewed was expressing her First Amendment rights. The views expressed are not the views of the Northeast School Corporation and/or the Board of Education.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/02/13/1588631/indiana-teacher-who-says-gays-have-no-purpose-in-life-not-going-to-be-disciplined/

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Reply Indiana School Decides Not To Discipline Teacher Who Says Gays Have No Purpose In Life (Original post)
alp227 Feb 2013 OP
justiceischeap Feb 2013 #1
alp227 Feb 2013 #3
obama2terms Feb 2013 #31
Hosnon Feb 2013 #7
justiceischeap Feb 2013 #8
Hosnon Feb 2013 #10
leftynyc Feb 2013 #21
Hosnon Feb 2013 #23
leftynyc Feb 2013 #39
leftyohiolib Feb 2013 #9
dbackjon Feb 2013 #13
CreekDog Feb 2013 #16
patrice Feb 2013 #2
DissidentVoice Feb 2013 #14
patrice Feb 2013 #20
DissidentVoice Feb 2013 #32
patrice Feb 2013 #34
Cirque du So-What Feb 2013 #4
magical thyme Feb 2013 #11
bluestateguy Feb 2013 #5
midwest irish Feb 2013 #6
DissidentVoice Feb 2013 #12
alp227 Feb 2013 #17
DissidentVoice Feb 2013 #19
alp227 Feb 2013 #22
DissidentVoice Feb 2013 #30
alp227 Feb 2013 #33
firenewt Feb 2013 #25
Trillo Feb 2013 #15
DissidentVoice Feb 2013 #18
timdog44 Feb 2013 #28
Xithras Feb 2013 #24
alp227 Feb 2013 #26
Xithras Feb 2013 #35
alp227 Feb 2013 #37
uriel1972 Feb 2013 #27
get the red out Feb 2013 #29
VA_Jill Feb 2013 #36
McCamy Taylor Feb 2013 #38

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:52 PM

1. And in defending her first amendment rights, he has given her permission

to continue using defamatory language towards LGBT kids, which gives an example to other kids that it's okay to denigrate their LGBT classmates. If a teacher can bully with words, why can't they?

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Response to justiceischeap (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:56 PM

3. Possibly the best point anyone can make in this thread.

Thank you very much. These impressionable children NEED to know the line of free speech ENDS with bullying/ad hominems.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:35 PM

31. Exactly

This teacher is a bully, and the school needs to keep their eye on her. If I had a child at that school I would work very hard to make sure my child didn't end up with her.

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Response to justiceischeap (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:06 PM

7. I actually prefer:

(A) Say stupid shit publicly, get massive public backlash

over

(B) Censorship

It teaches a good lesson, in my opinion: You can say what you want, but you are responsible for what you say.

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Response to Hosnon (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:16 PM

8. But does it effect her daily life?

With no personal consequences for her other than public humiliation (which I'd bet she is getting her equal adoration from the other side), there's no reason for her not to continue speaking poorly about LGBT kids. Sadly, when I was a kids most teachers/schools were considered a safe, neutral environment (depending on your school district of course). Not so for today's kids.

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Response to justiceischeap (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:44 PM

10. Probably not in the long run. But her students saw the backlash and she likely won't be speaking

about this topic ever again. She's a guidance counselor and the school district let her off easy. This is more than enough reason to declare her unfit for her job and I'm sure her superiors and friends (whether pro- or anti-marriage equality) have told her to shut it for her own good.

Also, this keeps the issue fresh in the minds of advocates and their allies. The occasional asshole generally helps a cause (assuming the cause hasn't "won" yet). Plus, it's not in the South so it also reminds people that it is a national problem, not a regional one.

Edit: Oops, she's not a guidance counselor but a special education teacher. Her job isn't likely at risk, but I'm willing to wager she won't be as vocal about this issue next time.

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Response to Hosnon (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:46 PM

21. Is she were my kid's guidance counselor

I would demand a change saying she wasn't fit to guide anyone.

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Response to leftynyc (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:56 PM

23. I incorrectly identified her as a guidance counselor.

She's just a teacher.

And I agree, were my LGBT child in her class, s/he would be immediately removed from the classroom.

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Response to Hosnon (Reply #23)

Thu Feb 14, 2013, 07:28 AM

39. Same here

I wouldn't want this cretin anywhere near my child, gay or not.

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Response to justiceischeap (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:23 PM

9. this is a good parenting time to explain that the 1st amendment protects even stupid things that

are said and to explain to your child that that teacher is being a bully and that just because that teacher is acting like an ass doesnt mean you can.
that being said, this teacher is around developing minds and should be removed

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Response to justiceischeap (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:06 PM

13. Exactly - a heart for you!

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Response to justiceischeap (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:12 PM

16. how can an LGBT student in her classroom feel safe? there's just no way.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:56 PM

2. "At Will" employment at it's "best". TTE, "We can hire all of the bigots we want, thank you very

much!"

And even if there is a union involved in this situation, it's usually the minority position, so it ALSO has to keep its head down about what constitutes PROFESSIONALISM in the classroom and how propagandizing religious bigotry is NOT professional.

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Response to patrice (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:07 PM

14. Surely thou jest...

"Unions" and "Indiana" in the same sentence? I came from Indiana originally and believe me, the place is the most "at-will" friendly and "union-hostile" place I can think of.

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Response to DissidentVoice (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:37 PM

20. I wasn't sure, so I was trying to frame that as an "if there are unions" they're probably weak and

hence keeping their heads down, when they SHOULD be leading THE WAY on issues having to do with professionalism, ESPECIALLY in education.

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Response to patrice (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:36 PM

32. They are weak

They are weak, when they exist, and it's mostly public-sector workers like teachers, state employees, etc.

Union-busting is quite the norm in Indiana. Since it is so ardently "at-will," you can be fired for just MENTIONING unionisation. Anti-union groups have free reign at almost any employer, but pro-union organisers are pointedly excluded.

I don't know about the legality of it, but it happens frequently.

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Response to DissidentVoice (Reply #32)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:53 PM

34. Tell me! I live in BrownKochistan, Kansas, have watched family elders go through their

decline in Long-Term-Care and in other health care resources, where nurses and CNAs & CMAs can get fired for deviating, for some individual patient's needs, from the corporate "Risk Management" strategy, read that "Doing LESS with LESS" for more profit (and that goes for "non-profits" too, btw). All of those folks have a story to tell that CAN cost them their jobs and there's NO ONE to go to bat for them and for those in their care, so mum's the word there too.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 01:58 PM

4. Not the first time I've heard that abhorrent opinion

mostly expressed in the form of criticism that gays are not busily procreating. When I point out that same-sex couples make fine parents, I am met with horrified expressions. When i mention heterosexual couples who get married when the woman is past child-bearing age, I typically hear crickets.

As for the school board's 1st Amendment defense of her horrible statement, I expect that it wouldn't stand up to serious opposition.

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Response to Cirque du So-What (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:44 PM

11. ask if that applies also to "spinster aunts"

You know, the "unattractive" female in the family that never attracts a decent spouse.

Maybe they should be euthanized, as they take up space and are useless eaters. Or should they just go buy some sperm, get out the turkey baster and become single moms to advance gawd's plan?



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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:01 PM

5. If I was a parent with her teaching my child, I'd yank em out of her class

And if the school refused, I'd yank em out of the school all together.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:02 PM

6. What if she said this about Irish Catholics

 

Would the Northeast School Corporation say it was just fine and dandy? Why is it ok to discriminate against anyone?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:05 PM

12. It's Indiana!

It's Indiana, and what's more, it's SOUTHERN Indiana. I originally come from Northern Indiana, which is a BIT more like Michigan or Illinois, discounting the fact that I come from about 25 miles from where Dan Quayle is from.

However, Sullivan is very near where my wife comes from (Brazil) and where I had the misfortune to spend six miserable years from the time we got married in '99 until we moved to Michigan in '07.

This does not surprise me in the least. Indiana is one of the most blood-red of all "red states." Once you get outside the major metropolitan areas (South Bend, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, etc.) the more like the South it is...and the further south you go (meaning: south of I-70) it's REALLY like the DEEP South. I lost track of how many Confederate flags I saw as bumper stickers, licence plates and flying outside residences (and Indiana was on the UNION side)!

People tend to almost-robotically vote Republican, even if they don't know who's on the ticket: "my daddy and grand-daddy voted straight Republican, and that's good enough for me, especially to keep them rotten Commie Democrats out of office." Democrats who DO get elected to state/national office do so by being as "GOP-lite" (meaning: DLC) as possible (Evan Bayh, Frank O'Bannon).

The first "Rush Room" in the country was in Mishawaka (about 15 miles west of where I came from).

ANYTHING that is outside the right-wing "norm" is going to be punished somehow (ostracism if you're lucky, violence if you're not), and those who are seen as upholding "traditional Hoosier values" (as Diana Medley would be seen) are going to be given a pass, if not openly applauded.

It sucks, but it's the way it is. I don't regret leaving Hoosierland for a minute.

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Response to DissidentVoice (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:19 PM

17. What about the college towns like Bloomington (Indiana U) or West Lafayette (Purdue)?

Are those places, while outside the big cities, at least NOT wannabe right wing Southern towns?

And here's a 1993 AP article about Rush Rooms.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:24 PM

19. I include those too

Bloomington, especially.

It's really like an enclave from somewhere else. My aunt was on the library staff at IU for several years.

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Response to DissidentVoice (Reply #19)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:54 PM

22. In fact, the liberal commentator from PBS and PRI Tavis Smiley

grew up in a little military town between FW and Lafayette, Bunker Hill. Home of the Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base.

I also think that Gary (Michael Jackson's hometown), which is in the Chicago metro area, is further left than Idpls or FW.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #22)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:33 PM

30. Have you ever lived in/been to Indiana?

Just curious.

I speak from the POV of a native...and my opinion is not objective.

As an "outsider," you may well be more objective.

My mother lived in Gary, but that was before I was born. Unfortunately, it's gone from a booming steel city to a virtual mini-Detroit (I live about an hour from Detroit and it's tragic what's happened both there and in Gary).

I am quite familiar with both Grissom and Ft. Wayne. I have spent a lot of time in both places as I was in the ANG 122nd TFW, based at the Fort Wayne Airport. I remember Grissom when it was an active SAC base and one of the designated landing grounds for the President's NEACP (meaning: if you were on a marked NEACP route on base and an alert/drill sounded, you got the HELL off no matter what it took!). All that's left there are some AFRES tankers, I think. A buddy of mine was a Technical Sergeant there a long time ago, but I haven't seen him in many, many years (he's probably retired now).

I don't know a lot about FWA itself...my base was at the FWA IAP, which is south of the city (http://www.122fw.ang.af.mil/) and I sure don't make any pretence for the base being a liberal haven (though politics weren't much of an issue when I was there long ago...just doing your job WAS).

Bunker Hill isn't much of a town, especially since Grissom went inactive...and Tavis Smiley actually is from Kokomo, about 20 miles to the south (and an absolute DEVIL to drive through) on U.S. 31.

Indy has some surprisingly liberal areas (Broad Ripple).

I really do not know much about Lafayette other than driving through on I-65 and thinking Purdue University football sucks (I grew up in the shadow of the Notre Dame Golden Dome).

I'll tell you one place to avoid: TERRE HAUTE. The place stinks (literally; the "Terre Haute Smell" is legendary) and is almost a textbook definition of "apathetic," despite being the home of Indiana State University. Steve Martin actually got kicked out by the then-Mayor (Pete Chalos). He appeared at ISU when he was first starting to get known and much of his routine that night was on the smell. The audience thought it was hilarious, but Hizzoner didn't. Steve was invited to not return.

http://www.topix.com/forum/city/terre-haute-in/TK22BVPILNR6CKPOD

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Response to DissidentVoice (Reply #30)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:40 PM

33. No I've never been to Indiana.

Smiley went to high school in Bunker Hill, near Kokomo, but Wikipedia for some reason said "grew up in Kokomo". I fixed that.

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Response to DissidentVoice (Reply #12)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:26 PM

25. As far as I can tell, Indiana's only purpose is to prevent Michigan from crashing on top of

 

Kentucky. I've spent my entire 60 years living here - not by choice. If you look at quality of life rankings, schools, health care, state services, politics and most everything else, Indiana is a deep south state. If you are anything left of far right wing, you are not welcome here.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:07 PM

15. Since LBGT have no purpose

Then heteros purpose is breeding?

What is the purpose of non-LGBT folks who never have kids? Do they have a purpose?

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Response to Trillo (Reply #15)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:23 PM

18. I don't have kids

My wife and I are heterosexual, and we decided as a personal choice not to have children.

We have been married for almost 14 wonderful years, and anyone who would try to tell me that our marriage is somehow "less" because we made this choice...

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Response to Trillo (Reply #15)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:32 PM

28. My wife and I

also have no kids. Do we have a purpose? We are both retired RNs with a combined 75 years of nursing behind us. Apparently we don't have a purpose. We have neighbors who have been in need and we have helped them for the past 30 years we have lived where we do. Do we have a purpose?
Then I wonder if this teacher showed up at school with the confederate flag flying on her car and said black people had no purpose, would the superintendent defend her and let her keep her job?
And if she showed up at school flying the papal flag and said all non catholics have no purpose, would the superintendent defend her and let her keep her job?
I'm not sure where to go with this. First amendment rights imply a certain responsibility to what you say, no matter what you might personally believe. If you don't like the LGBT community, that is OK, don't be one, just don't teach your hate. If you don't like protestants, that's OK, don't be one, just don't teach your hate.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:07 PM

24. It's tragic, but it's the correct decision.

She expressed her verbal opinion during an interview outside of work hours and away from her place of work. If they disciplined her for that, they'd just be making her a very wealthy woman. She would absolutely own their arses in court.

The First Amendment protects her, just as much as it protects us. Unless the school can demonstrate that she's behaving in a biased way on campus, or is expressing these views to her students at a school related function, there isn't a heck of a lot they can do. It would be extremely difficult for the school to show any sort of authority over her right to express herself, when the interview took place at a church on a weekend (I went back and watched the original interview again just to make sure).

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Response to Xithras (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:26 PM

26. I remember the case of the NJ teacher who posted anti gay comments on facebook.

One gay DUer who was also a teacher and Gay-Straight Alliance advisor wrote at the time: "The simple fact is that she has a right to her opinions on her own time and on her own dime. Just as I do. Provided that she treats all students equally she shouldn't be fired." That teacher's story generated a fiery exchange between people who held that DUer's opinion and others who believed like another DUer: "Her position as a school teacher is freely chosen. When she chose to be a school teacher, she chose to abide by certain rules of conduct that other people are not subject to. "

So would you defend this Indiana teacher if she publicly posted her hateful beliefs on Facebook, Twitter, newspaper letter, etc.?

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Response to alp227 (Reply #26)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:58 PM

35. I'm not defending the teacher. At all.

I'm defending the school. The teacher is an ass, but the school made the choice they needed to make. It may be an unpopular one, but unless her statements can be shown to be a violation of the law or of her contract, she could sue their asses off if they fired her over a comment she made on her own time and away from her place of work.

Let me start by pointing out that, as a bisexual, I'm not a fan of this at all. I rank it up there with the ACLU going to court to defend the KKK all those years back. It's repugnant, but it had to be done. I also agree with the first commenter in your link above, and not the second.

The problem with the second opinion is that it could be applied to any job out there. All jobs are freely chosen, and if we allow employers to apply rules of conduct to their employees that apply even when they aren't working, then the concept of "freedom" goes out the window. The second opinion is the same position used by conservatives to justify employers threatening to fire Obama voters, or defending the right of employers to terminate people because of their social or political activities. I don't agree with that and I never will. NO EMPLOYER should ever have the right to punish an employee for exercising their civil rights away from the workplace. That's doubly true when that employer is the government itself.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:30 PM

37. So what if you found out your kid's teacher posted on racist or anti-Semitic message boards?

Now think twice before bending over backwards to defend those who hold LGBT people like you in contempt.

What if you were a black or Jewish parent and you discovered your kid's teacher's facebook had all sorts of wall posts from white nationalist/anti-Semitic websites like Occidental Observer, American Renaissance, VDARE, etc.?

Or you were an Asian parent and you learned that the woman who recorded that "ching chong ling long ting tong" viral video when she was in UCLA would be substitute teaching in your kid's class?

And in response to this:

if we allow employers to apply rules of conduct to their employees that apply even when they aren't working, then the concept of "freedom" goes out the window...the same position used by conservatives to justify employers threatening to fire Obama voters, or defending the right of employers to terminate people because of their social or political activities. ...NO EMPLOYER should ever have the right to punish an employee for exercising their civil rights away from the workplace. That's doubly true when that employer is the government itself.


So are you against moral clauses in contracts? So should the Democratic National Committee not be allowed to fire an office staffer who voted Republican? Can the Ellen DeGeneres Show production company conduct thought police on its employees to weed out homophobes?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:28 PM

27. By allowing bigots to remain you can "unofficially"

prevent minority kids from accessing services, by giving them the impression that they won't be welcome or helped. So whilst technically there are no rules against minority kids participating or accessing services they still can be excluded efficiently.

That being said, I understand the bind the district is in, in regards to the free speech thing. However they should look very carefully at the teacher in question in case she is discriminating against LGBT kids in her care.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 04:32 PM

29. My only question

Is that if she had said something that Fundamentalist Christians found offensive, would the school believe in free speech for her then?

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:14 PM

36. Basically,

Indiana is trying real hard to be Kansas.....and we all know that Kansas isn't even in Kansas any more! But this is about worthy of anything coming out of the Sunflower State these days.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:57 PM

38. Ignorant teacher. Homosexuality serves a purpose.

Particularly in the era before birth control, having a portion of the population not procreate allowed cultures to have priests, shamans, scholars, warriors and others who were not busy 24-7 raising and feeding children. The presence of "non breeders" and post menopausal women made civilization possible. The Catholic Church's doctrine of celibacy shows that this advantage is still appreciated to this day.

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