Here’s a question for the secular left — when religious liberty collides with the desires of LGBT citizens, is there any case where religious freedom should prevail? How about when a lesbian couple tries to force a private Christian school to educate their child?
A five-year-old San Diego, Calif. girl is at home, instead of starting off kindergarten with her friends, because her school, the Mt. Erie Christian Academy, refused to welcome her any longer because she has two moms . . . The child, who had attended Mt. Erie for pre-school and summer school was abruptly cut off when her parents were called in on the Friday before Labor Day, just before school started, where the pastor broke the news:
The child’s parents are looking to file suit, hoping to force their child’s readmission to the school:
The mothers are seeking an attorney to file a civil rights lawsuit against the school. When asked by the news team if it was discrimination to stop the child from attending because of her mothers, a woman who described herself as the school’s director, said, “The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. We don’t condone any sinful lifestyles.”
This should be an open-and-shut case, for the school. It’s not a public institution, it doesn’t take public funds, and the school’s handbook contains this crystal-clear statement:
Mt. Erie Christian Academy is a religious, Bible-believing institution providing education in a distinct Christian environment, and it believes that its biblical role is to work in conjunction with the home to mold students to be Christ like. On those occasions in which the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home is counter to or in opposition to the biblical lifestyle that the school teaches, the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, living in, condoning or supporting sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity; promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school (Leviticus 20:13a; Romans 1:21-27; Matthew 19:4-6; I Corinthians 6:9-20).
The local news, however, found an attorney who actually believes that refusing admission to a five-year old could be as psychologically damaging to her as human sacrifice or amputation. I sincerely hope he’s been misquoted:
[San Diego attorney Eugene Iredale] said both California and federal cases have upheld the right of private institutions to bar membership based on religious beliefs. That is exactly the opposite of discrimination laws that pertain to publicly-funded programs and businesses that cater to the general public.
“Now the question is where do you draw the line?” Iredale asked. “If you have a religion that believed in human sacrifice or amputation of the arm or the hand for theft, would we permit that in the interest of permitting the free practice of one’s religion? I don’t think so, and one could argue that psychologically… this is as devastating to the little 5-year-old girl as some of those other vicious practices.”
I’m on the board of my kids’ Christian school, and we clearly and unequivocally both teach and practice that the school can’t do its work without the full support and cooperation of the parents. One of the great advantages of private education is the partnership between parents and schools, and the notion that we would be forced into partnership with people who fundamentally reject our values is antithetical to any meaningful conception of religious freedom. If this controversy goes to court it will present an interesting lesson for those who believe that Christians can leave the culture wars behind and safely retreat to their own enclaves. The radical left will find you. When the goal is destroying a belief system, there is no safe way to freely exercise your faith.