A high school teacher resigned after facing vicious backlash — including a death threat — for writing a column that cited the Bible. Now, some are coming to his defense.
Michael Stack, a former special education teacher at San Luis Obispo High School in California, contributed a column to his school’s newspaper, Expressions.
The column was in reaction to the May issue of the same paper that featured a story about supporting the school’s LGBT community. The cover of the issue showed a picture of two females who appear to be kissing.
In reaction, Stack wrote a column expressing his opinion that being gay is a sin. Read the full column here.
Stack’s column, though frank in expressing his opinion, is not overly combative. Stack opens the letter by saying, “I love the staff and students at SLOHS. My students know that. But I love God more, so in obedience to Him, I am writing this letter.”
The part that many found to objectionable reads:
“The Bible tells us that we are all accountable for our actions, and that teachers are especially accountable. I’m a teacher, and I don’t want to displease God any more than I already have with my sinful life, so in obedience to Him, I’m asking you to please slowly read and consider the following excerpt from the book of Romans, Chapter 1, verses 16-32, in the New Testament. It describes a deception that has happened in the past, and is happening again right now, not only at SLOHS, but throughout the world:”
Then, Stack cites a lengthy Bible quote, which ends by saying “…(t)hey refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them too.”
The quote is from the modern New Living Translation.
Stack ends the letter be writing, “I write you these things in order to lift up those who have stumbled, or may stumble, and put you back on the right path. I pray you each have a great summer, a wonderful life, and a perfect eternity. Love, SLOHS Teacher Michael Stack.”
However, quoting the Bible and expressing his private opinion was clearly too much for many. The column was published last Tuesday, May 9. The next day, San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon wrote on Facebook, “This is unacceptable.”
“A teacher at SLO High wrote this shaming letter against the LGBT community — a community that already has a high degree of suicide,” Harmon added.
Then, dozens of protestors showed up at the school. One held a sign that read, “Bigotry disguised as ‘Religious Liberty’ … is still BIGOTRY.”
Then, on Thursday, someone called the school and threatened to kill Michael Stack.
That afternoon, after not coming to work, he resigned in an email, writing, “God knows my heart, and my students know my actions, but the community apparently wants me out, so I hereby grant them their desires and immediately resign my position as teacher at SLCUSD.”
Many media outlets, in reporting on the incident, zeroed in on the end of the Bible quote that read, “(t)hey know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway.”
The Huffington Post wrote in its headline that Stack sent a “Shockingly Anti-Gay Letter.”
New York Daily News wrote that Stack resigned “after citing Bible verse about how gays ‘deserve to die.'”
And LGBTQ Nation’s headline read, “California teacher resigns after writing that gays ‘deserve to die.‘”
Now, some are coming out in support of Stack. Protestors gathered Thursday outside the San Luis Obispo High School in support of Stack.
One protester said, “We are here really to let the Christian students know that there are Christians in the county that do care and who stand with them,” and “they have the right to express their beliefs,” KSBY reports.
He held a sign that read, “Stand with Mr. Stack.”
Other signs read, “Not ashamed of the Gospel,” and “Love Your Neighbor.”