‘We’re Not Hateful’ Says School After Telling LGBTQ Students to GTFO

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Our Mission and Beliefs: The mission of Grace Christian School is to provide the highest quality of education based upon Biblical principles. It is our desire to provide the best Christian education and training for ALL children, for God is not a respecter of persons.

One of the first things you might read on the website for the Grace Christian K-12 School in Valrico, Florida, is its mission statement, reading "[t]he mission of Grace Christian School is to provide the highest quality of education based upon Biblical principles. It is our desire to provide the best Christian education and training for ALL children, for God is not a respecter of persons."

But if you are a parent of a child in that school, what you read in an email on June 6 of this year was that if your kid happens to be gay or trans, they will be asked to leave and never come back. So perhaps whoever designed that website should stick a little asterisk next to the ALL, in order to specify that by ALL children, they mean ALL heterosexual, cisgender children. Not the other ones!

The email, sent by school administrator Barry McKeen and titled "Important School Policy Point of Emphasis. ... Please Read," told parents that they would be required to acknowledge and agree to this before their children started the school year. It also conflated being gay or trans with an absolutely wild number of entirely unrelated sexual practices and referred to a "biological gender," which is not a real thing.


Via NBC:

"We believe that God created mankind in His image: male (man) and female (woman), sexually different but with equal dignity," the email said.

"Therefore, one's biological sex must be affirmed and no attempts should be made to physically change, alter, or disagree with one's biological gender — including, but not limited to, elective sex reassignment, transvestite, transgender, or non-binary gender fluid acts of conduct (Genesis 1:26-28). Students in school will be referred to by the gender on their birth certificate and be referenced in name in the same fashion."

It continued: "We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; I Corinthians 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:2-7)."

"Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately," the email said.

While the policy is not new, it must be understood and accepted completely, the email said, adding that parents would "have to agree to all policies and procedures before your student may start school in August."

It's being done in this particular way for a reason. While normal and reasonable people are aware that being gay or trans is part of one's innate identity, the same as being heterosexual or cisgender are, anti-LGBTQ activists have sought to portray them as being paraphilias, and especially deviant ones at that.

By saying "elective sex reassignment, transvestite, transgender, or non-binary gender fluid acts of conduct," they mean to associate being transgender with transvestites — meaning men, usually heterosexual, who get off sexually by wearing women's clothing. They're doing the same thing with "homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography." They're trying to put LGBTQ identities in the same category as bestiality and incest. They're trying to make them out to be not just sexual, but deviantly so.

This has been the tack for a while. Conservatives know they lost the culture war when it came to just dismissing LGBTQ adults as bad and sinful and undeserving of basic human rights. They lost that a while back, they've since regrouped, and they're now going with this "We just want to save the children from being sexualized!" approach.

At least one student so far has left the school as a result of the policy.

The email was a factor in prompting the family of a 16-year-old girl, who is gay and was a student at the school, to transfer her to another religious school that is more accepting.

"It's not like my daughter goes around wearing rainbow flags or anything like that," the teenager’s mother said. "But I'm not going to have her feel ashamed of herself for any reason."

The woman and her daughter asked that their identities be withheld out of fear of harassment.

Barry McKeen, the school's pastor, despite refusing to speak to NBC for its story, issued a video response on Facebook in which he complained that the school was being singled out, despite the fact that other Christian schools around Florida have similar policies.



"I also point to the policy that deals with human sexuality and addresses that even our students who are heterosexual." he said, trying to compare not allowing LGBTQ students in the school period with his desire to otherwise police the sexual activity of the heterosexual students. "They’re students, they’re young people, they shouldn’t be sexual at all. God condemns any sexual activity outside of marriage. And that’s also in the policy."

"It is true that a student can not come to our school, knowingly for us, and be transgender or homosexual. This is rooted in scriptures," he said. "God has spoken on those issues, explicitly, aggressively, and we have had these policies in our school since day number one in the early 1970s. This is not new."

Oh, well if God said so.

McKeen went on to complain that people suggested that he said that "if you are gay, you're going to hell," saying, "I can assure you I did not say that." He explains that what he actually said was that being gay is a sin and you go to hell for committing sins. So, very different thing there. He was also very upset by the fact that people seemed to think the school's behavior was hateful.

"We are not a hateful group of people. We don't hate students who are of a particular persuasion," McKeen explained, seeming to not understand that he literally has a policy at his school that LGBTQ students have to leave, which is pretty explicitly hateful. He also claimed that he and his wife have "homosexual friends" who understand and respect their beliefs, adding, "And years later in some cases, they still appreciate what the school meant to them."

So one can assume they were not kicked out of the school for being gay, despite the policy having been in place since the 1970s?

McKeen ended his video statement by saying that he's not trying to get approval from anyone in the media or on the internet. "I seek the applause of heaven," he said, which is one hell of a mental image. This large, bald, Dean Norris-looking adult man getting a standing ovation from God and all of the angels for being cruel to a bunch of kids, Jesus just standing there beaming with pride. Can't you just picture it? Because if there is one thing Jesus loves, it is suffering little children.

Surely, Barry McKeen will earn himself a real nice spot in heaven for making these kids lives just a little harder than they needed to be.

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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