A couple of days ago, we posted the “Statement of Understanding” from Trinity Academy — a private Christian school in Wichita, Kansas — that all students and parents are required to sign. While most of it was par for the course, like agreeing that the Bible is inerrant, that belief in the divinity of Jesus is the only path to salvation, and that pre-marital sex is a no-no, there was one part that took me by surprise.
Given the debate and confusion in our society about marriage and human sexuality it is vital that Trinity families agree with and support the school’s traditional, Christian understanding of those issues. Therefore, 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 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) lifestyle or alternative gender identity, the school should have the right, in its sole discretion, to deny the admission of an applicant or discontinue enrollment of a current student.
I think a fair interpretation of that passage says that the school could kick you out if they discover that you have a gay relative at home. Even if that person doesn’t attend Trinity, and even if that person were celibate, the school could theoretically punish you for living in a home where homosexuality was in any way permissible.
Since I made that post, the school’s website and Facebook page have gone offline, and many LGBT websites have posted about the policy.
On Friday, KSNW-TV ran a segment about the policy, asking school officials for comment. What they heard wasn’t exactly a denial of my interpretation:
Said Trinity in a statement:
… 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.
“Necessarily”? So they might deny admission if you’re gay — even though most Christian churches today will admit that homosexuality by itself isn’t a problem, as long as you never act on your desires.
And while officials say they wouldn’t deny admission to students “simply because they have a sibling who is gay,” the only way I can reconcile that line with the Statement of Understanding is that they would admit students with gay siblings as long as the family was trying to fix that person, perhaps through harmful conversion therapy or by kicking that sibling out of the house.
So their new statement really doesn’t change anything. And when the reporters went to the school for clarification, no one would speak to them, only giving more reason to be suspicious.
The station did talk to a former student at the school. He’s gay, though he never came out while he went there, for good reason:
It’s worth reiterating: This is a private school. They’re allowed to set whatever policies they want. But we’re allowed to point out how discriminatory it is, all in the name of Jesus.