Evangelical Christians are under fire as an Alberta school board is demanding a Christian school stop teaching “offensive” scripture that indicts homosexuality as a sin, the National Post reports.
The offending passage is from 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which states: “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
The Battle River School Division (BRSD) first asked Cornerstone Christian Academy, not far from the Alberta capital of Edmonton, to remove the scripture from the school’s statement of faith. They also asked that the word “quality” be redacted from the mission statement that the school offers “quality educational programming.”
CCA agreed to the demands. Board chairwoman Laurie Skori then said that wouldn’t be enough. The school would have to cease from even teaching the scripture, saying that “any scripture that could be considered offensive to particular individuals should not be read or studied in school.” She said exactly what she meant in a subsequent piece of correspondence that read: “For example: any teachings that denigrate or vilify someone’s sexual orientation.”
That was too much for the school. CCA chairwoman Deanna Margel said the school had a right to teach what it wants.
“That’s a completely different directive, and it was shocking. Absolutely shocking,” said Margel.
“You can’t just pick and choose those scriptures,” she told the National Post. “We need every single word there to challenge us, to call us to greater understanding. We’re talking about freedom of religion, but we’re (also) talking about freedom of expression,” she said.
The school, which teaches students from kindergarten to grade 12, has asked the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom for legal assistance. The conservative activist group that defends “the constitutional freedoms of Canadians through litigation and education” has come to the school’s defense.
“Trustees enjoy the legal right to send their own kids to various schools that align with the parents’ beliefs and convictions. But these trustees have no right to impose their own ideology on schools they disagree with,” said the group’s president, John Carpay, in a statement.
Spokeswoman for the school board, Diane Hutchinson, said they are making the demands because “gender and sexual minorities” were added tot the province’s human rights code in 2015.
“In our province there is a heightened awareness and a heightened sensitivity” around LGBTQ issues, she said, downplaying concerns of censorship.
But Carpay says this is about freedom of religion and expression and that “Alberta has one of the most diverse education systems in Canada,” Carpay told the Post. “It’s really contrary to government policy for any school board to try to squelch that diversity.”
If the conflict between the school and the board is not resolved, CCA will have three choices: find a new board, become a private school or shut down.