PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- A Johnson County Catholic parish has been thrust into the national spotlight.
St. Ann's Catholic School and Church, located on Mission Road in Prairie Village, rejected a kindergartner for this school year, when the child's parents admitted they are in a same-sex marriage. Now, supporters of that couple want the decision, made by the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, reconsidered. St. Ann's church leaders remain silent on the issue, for the most part.
A petition in support of the family is circulating, and, as a Google Document, it's gathered more than a thousand signatures. People in the Johnson County Catholic community, including many who attend St. Ann's Catholic Church, are angry over the school's handling of that student and family.
"To be outraged, you really have to be surprised," Joe Skates, one parent who signed the petition, told FOX 4 News on Thursday.
Skates, who said both of his sons attended another Catholic school in Johnson County, makes no secret about his dislike for organized religion, and the situation involving that student at St. Ann's doesn't help. That child's parents, both of whom are female, are legally married.
"You have the Archdiocese saying, 'We're not going to allow this child of an openly gay couple into this school,'" Skates said.
In late February, St. Ann's pastor, Craig Maxim, sent home a letter to parents, stating same sex-marriages don't comply with the church's beliefs. On Thursday afternoon, the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, sent a statement to FOX4 News that supported Maxim's statement.
"The hypocrisy is so insane. I just really don't get it. They need to change. They need to modernize," Skates said.
"You have two people who are trying to raise a child, and do it in a family atmosphere and send them to a place that is a Christian school, and they're saying we're not going to let your kid in here to learn our views and get a good education because your parents aren't something we approve of."
FOX4 News also received emailed comments from one parent, one who signed the petition, but asked to remain anonymous for news purposes. Those comments said, "...As you can see from the petition, the community of St Ann is heavily supportive of the message in the letter." "...the ball is in Archdiocese court and it is their office who needs to answer as to what is next with regards to policy changes."
FOX4 News also reached out to the family in question, visiting their Johnson County home. No one answered the door, or the voicemails left for them. Skates said many people associated with the petition are afraid to speak out for fear of backlash from their fellow Catholics in Johnson County.
"The sins of the parent is their perspective. Punishing the child for the parent's views is my perspective," Skates said.