UPDATE: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno’s Office of Education released a statement today criticizing Gordon for his comments.
“Mr. Gordon is not authorized to speak on behalf of the Diocese of Fresno or Garces Memorial High School, and neither the Diocese not Garces…condones Mr. Gordon’s recent postings,” said Superintendent Mona Faulkner.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Garces Memorial High School has apparently dismissed a theology teacher after more than 100 students, parents and alumni signed an online petition complaining that he’s been spreading “unacceptable messages of ignorance and hate” on social media and in the classroom.
Garces teacher Timothy Gordon has some strong opinions about Black Lives Matter, about sexual orientation and about street violence, and they seem to have cost him his job.
Americans watch, and in many cases participate in the marches for social justice taking place in their communities, viewing them through the lens of their own experiences and biases. Gordon is no different in that regard. He expresses those views often too — on Twitter, Instagram and in his own regular webcast, Rules for Retrogrades.
But this week his particular lens offended a substantial portion of the garces community.
Posts such as “Who looks gayer? Pics below.” The post is accompanied by photos of Father James Martin, a Manhattan priest prominently supportive of LBGTQ rights, and a mask-wearing, pastel-dressed protest marcher.
And: “Best news I’ve heard all planned riot/plandemic. As Vincent Vega (the John Travolta paid assassin character from Pulp Fiction) says: ‘It’d been worth them doing it just so we could’ve caught them doing it.” Let’s dispatch some mobs with force!”
The Garces Administration had apparently seen enough because — according to one of Gordon’s posts — he was fired.
Bakersfield attorney H.A Sala, who has one daughter at Garces and another entering in the fall, was one of the parents who complained to the Garces administration. He said Gordon is no victim here.
“I pointed out what Mr. Gordon tweeted,” Sala said. “I attached the tweets and I said this was what he said. … He advocated deadly force against someone that basically is committing an act of vandalism. There can be no other interpretation. And there were other tweets that he issued that supported that use of lethal force in circumstances where it was not justified… And a tweet where he clearly denigrated the sexual orientation of individuals and … black lives matter. And so, the tweets spoke for themselves.”
Sala’s daughter Jackie, 17, issued a statement Thursday praising Garces Principal Pyka Peck for taking the action she did.
Gordon established a Patreon account, similar to a Go Fund Me page, that at last check had tripled his $10,000 goal — with nearly 500 donors.
What does Garces have to say about this? Nothing. KGET.com was referred to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, whose spokeswoman, Mona Faulkner, said the Diocese does not comment on personnel matters.
Efforts to contact Gordon and two of his supporters got only a bounceback from the email address listed on his Patreon page.
For now, those looking for Gordon’s side will take his public comments for an answer — and there are many. Gordon might have lost his platform at Garces, but he would seem to have plenty of others online.
Read Jacqueline Sala’s statement below:
Garces teaches us to open our hearts to repent of racist attitudes, behaviors, and speech which demean others. Garces teaches us to open our ears to hear the cries of those wounded by racial discrimination, and their passionate appeals for change. Garces teaches us to have courage to seek equality for all in our communities.Jacqueline Sala, Garces High School student
It is these principles that have guided and inspired me throughout my years at Garces and what motivated me to denounce the tweets posted by theology teacher Tim Gordon. Those tweets were antithetical to the values Garces has instilled in me and in my fellow students. I heard the cries of those wounded by discrimination and unequal treatment. My school also heard those cries and acted swiftly to terminate a teacher who advocated the use of unjustified lethal force, for denigrating an organization that seeks equal justice, and for denigrating and mocking the sexual orientation of others.
Our principal, Myka Peck, demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in not condoning the comments made by Mr. Gordon. It was the right thing to do.
It is such leadership and courage that instills immeasurable pride in me to be a part of the Garces family. I could not be prouder of my school.
It could have been easier, perhaps, for the school to disregard Mr. Gordon’s public comments or to issue a reprimand, but to do so would have ignored the grave impact his comments had on the importance of equality and tolerance, and the rejection of racism, bigotry and inequality. Inaction would have left the impression that our school affirmed the unlawful acts and bigoted comments reflected in Mr. Gordon’s tweets. This would have been intolerable and contrary to what Garces strives to achieve in instilling strong moral values and providing a superlative Catholic education.
I am grateful that we have a strong and courageous principal who is willing to reject intolerance and bigotry. I am grateful that we have a principal who is willing to stand for the virtues of our Catholic faith and upon which our country was formed — that all persons are created equal.
This story has been corrected to more accurately identify Fr. James Martin.