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CNN Anchor Compares Catholic School Policy with Sharia Law Execution

When a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati fired teacher Christia Dias, it was because by becoming pregnant through artificial insemination, she violated the teachings of the Catholic Church and the terms of her contract. Last week, CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield attempted to compare Dias' firing with a Sharia law execution, reported NewsBusters.

"Well if it's an Islamic school and they decide to go with Sharia Law and they decide to stone me for this, they can't do that either," argued Banfield, comparing the termination to segregation.

"Then don't sign up to be the teacher," responded prosecutor Christine Grillo. "You are deciding to work for a Catholic school. It's just like deciding to attend a Catholic school. You are there – you must abide by the rules and regulations or they are free at will to kick you out."

From the transcript of "CNN Newsroom" on May 30:

CHRISTINE GRILLO, prosecutor, Brooklyn District Attorney's office: It's contractual. This is a contractual law issue. And when you think about it, there are so many other issues at play. There is your sexuality, there is premarital sex, there's artificial insemination. People full of opinions about all of this. But when you cut simply to the point here, she went to work for a Catholic school. The Catholic school has rules. In order to work for that school, they have you sign a contract to follow our rules. You can't say ignorance. It's no defense. It's just no defense, not even in this.

...Because this is a Catholic school. You are deciding to work for a Catholic school. It's just like deciding to attend a Catholic school. You are there – you must abide by the rules and regulations or they are free at will to kick you out.

BANFIELD: At what point, though, do their rules and regulations stomp all over your rights as an American? For instance, I could go to that school and sign up as a teacher, and they can't tell me that I can't drink from a water fountain because I'm white.

GRILLO: Right. However, they're not saying that within the Bible and the practices of this religion that you can't drink out of a water fountain because you are white. These are long-known standards and beliefs of the Catholic faith. And if you want to go and work for a school that is teaching this Catholic faith –

BANFIELD: Well if it's an Islamic school and they decide to go with Sharia Law and they decide to stone me for this, they can't do that either.

GRILLO: Then don't sign up to be the teacher. If you can't –

BANFIELD: But they can't do it. Even if you sign up and sign that contract, federal law protects you. You would think it would protect you against these kinds of tenets.

GRILLO: Protecting you from stoning you to death and protecting you from your ways to conceive or – actually, no one even mentioned the sexuality. That I'm surprised that they didn't even go back to her about the sexuality. If that's within the contract, I don't know. But just what you're saying, let's say that Islamic school does not allow you to show your face, that you need to wear the appropriate garb required for Islamic religion. And you decide that, no, I'm not going to do this anymore. You can lose your job. You must abide by the contract that you've signed up to work for.

BANFIELD: I could argue about this all day because if they force me to go get my driver's license and wear that veil, I'd say no. No, because the law won't let me. But you have to come back and we'll have to talk about this once we figure out where they go with this case. Christine Grillo from the Brooklyn D.A. She is tough. She is so Brooklyn.

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