A private Christian high school is defending a policy that allows it to deny admission to or expel students who live with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender family members.
Trinity Academy in Wichita, Kansas, requires applicants to sign a "Statement of Understanding" that outlines the institution's policies and values. The form, which was provided to the Friendly Atheist blog, features several clauses on respecting the Bible as the "authoritative Word of God"; requiring students to abstain from drugs, alcohol and premarital sex; and asking families to be "actively involved" in a local church. These aren't surprising coming from a religiously based school.
The final clause is unusual: It requires Trinity students and their families to adhere to the school's "traditional, Christian understanding" of marriage.
"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 lifestyle or alternative gender identity, the school should have the right, in its sole discretion, to deny the admission of an applicant or discontinue the enrollment of a current student," the form states.
Since when did Christianity start holding children responsible for the 'sins' of their parents, their siblings, aunts, uncles, or grandparents? Thomas Witt of Equality Kansas
Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, suggested this was not a very Christian thing to do.
"Since when did Christianity start holding children responsible for the 'sins' of their parents, their siblings, aunts, uncles, or grandparents?" asked Witt. "Adults are free to believe whatever bigotry they want, but using children this way is disgusting."
The school's headmaster didn't immediately return HuffPost's request for comment. Trinity did provide a statement to KSN TV last week defending the policy:
The foundation of Trinity Academy’s success is that we are dedicated to partnering with our families for the education of their students. Because of this dedication, our entire application process is designed to make sure new families know who we are and what we believe. Trinity Academy holds biblical views on human sexuality and gay marriage and we want prospective families to understand that. We feel that this is only fair given the disagreement and discord in our society over such issues. It is then up to the family as to whether they feel they can partner with Trinity and support these biblical Christian views.
Trinity would not and has not denied admission to a student simply because they have a sibling who is gay. Neither would we necessarily deny admission to a student with same sex attraction. We do not condone sexual activity of any kind for our students whether heterosexual or homosexual.
Morgan Faulkner, a 2013 graduate of the school, told The Advocate that he and other alumni leaked the form to "raise awareness" among prospective students and their parents.
"Manufacturing shame and moral panic for no cause other than bigotry and deep-seated prejudice is stepping far beyond acceptable boundaries," said Faulkner.
While private schools in Kansas are subject to some state regulations, these rules do not protect students against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) recently rescinded a previous governor's order granting anti-discrimination protections to LGBT state employees. Brownback also signed a bill that allows religious groups on college campuses to restrict membership based on sexual orientation.