Christian School Wants to Expel Students with Gay Family Members. Should They?

Posted on July 7, 2016 in Public Policy, Religious Freedom by

WichitaTrinityShould a Christian school be allowed to expel a student or refuse the application of a prospective student simply because that person has a gay relative? That is the position one school in Kansas is taking; and they are receiving a lot of political and social heat for it.

Trinity Academy, a small Christian school in Kansas says it is “a Christ-centered, college-preparatory education for students committed to spiritual growth and academic excellence.” The school claims test scores are far above average and most kids are involved in the music program.

Trinity also says that it reserves the right to expel any student or prospective student with a gay family member. The school’s policy states:

“Given the debate and confusion in our society about marriage and human sexuality it is vital that Trinity families agree with and support the school’s traditional, Christian understanding of those issues…Therefore, when the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home is counter to the school’s understanding of a biblical lifestyle, including the practice or promotion of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) lifestyle or alternative gender identity, the school should have the right, in its sole discretion, to deny the admission of an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a current student.”

On the surface this looks very bad. And the media did everything in their power to make it look as bad as possible. But is this really a bad policy?

Consider one scenario: a student applies to go to Trinity Academy. The student appears to have everything in order except for the fact that the student has two moms. During the entrance interview the two moms and the student present themselves as Christians and answer questions about their “family.” Both the moms and the student profess to whole-heartedly support the biblical principles and mission of the school. The moms encourage the school to include “alternative lifestyles” in their celebrations of family. What does the school do?

Scenario two: A student living with her dad joins Trinity Academy. After several years of attendance the students’ father gets “married” to his male partner. The father claims to be a Christian and supports the school but simply wants the freedom to live a gay lifestyle. The father urges the school to be more inclusive of the LGBT community. What does the school do?

In the highly politicized culture we live in it has become absolutely critical for Christian organizations to implement policies designed to protect themselves from potential litigation. It appears that Trinity Academy has implemented such a policy.

On the one hand I can see where this policy could cause a stir. On the surface it looks like a step over the line into a place where Christians can appear discriminatory. Without fully understanding the policy it gives the impression that the school is overstepping their bounds and reaching into the living room of students’ families. But…

One the other hand this could very well be an example of a Christian organization seeking to protect itself from potential litigation. There can be no doubt that people and even our government is targeting Christians and their businesses and organizations through lawsuits. We hear more and more of Christian groups being discriminated against, Christian business owners being sued, and Christian organizations being targeted for their values and convictions. This being the case it has become increasingly necessary for Christians to seek preemptive protections.

Look, the simple reality is that Trinity Academy could admit a student with the full cooperation and support from the students’ family only to find themselves being sued for “discrimination” for seeking to operate according to their deeply held religious convictions. And while I do not believe that every homosexual person wishes harm against Christians for their beliefs, sadly, many do. And they are willing to be used by the media and government to attack the religious freedoms of Christians.

So while I’m perfectly willing to admit that this policy appears troubling on the surface, I’m not ready to condemn the school for it. In fact, I would be more willing to assert that we will see more Christian schools, clubs, and organizations implement such policies in the future.

The right to live and do business according to ones deeply held religious convictions is a foundational principal of our country. It is one of the dearest and most treasured freedoms we enjoy. It is also one that is under relentless attack. Rather than ignore the attacks I would rather see proactive action like those of Trinity Academy. It may not be the perfect solution but at least they are doing something. At least they aren’t living in apathy afraid of what the pc police might think.

There’s a way to live peaceably with people and this may be the starting point; a point where people are called to respect religious convictions and show tolerance for divergent views. Once we can all come to the place where we are willing to live and operate with such respect we may see people and our culture begin to heal.

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