Monica Toro Lisciandro, who owns a performance studio in Florida, also spent part of her days teaching kids about theater at Covenant Christian School in Palm Bay. As a believer herself, she loves the opportunity to help kids “feel seen and heard and loved.” It’s why she worked at the school for the past three years.
But this month, she was fired after someone outed her as a lesbian in a committed relationship.
There’s nothing conservative Christians despise more than happy gay people.
… Last week, Head of School Lorne Wenzel wrote an email to musical theater parents:
“I am sorry to say that for personal reasons, Mrs. Lisciandro is not able to continue teaching our musical theater class. We are aggressively pursuing another teacher to finish the class and (direct) our play, and I will keep you posted,” Wenzel wrote.
It’s beyond foolish to replace a beloved teacher in the middle of the school year. To do so for no other reason than faith-based bigotry is yet another reason no decent person should remain in conservative Christian churches — and the reason many of those kids will likely never return to church when they’re older and no longer living at home.
But as we’ve seen with Catholic schools that operate the same way, private Christian schools are allowed to enforce their own rules even when they’re blatantly discriminatory. (In fact, Florida has no anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people from getting fired for the same reason at public schools.)
Lisciandro was fired because of her same-sex relationship, but her list of supposed “sins” includes (gasp) attending a Pride parade and (gasp gasp) allowing an LGBTQ group to use her studio space for a meeting.
She’s frustrated because the school’s actions go against everything she believes Christianity ought to stand for:
“And so to think that something like this could happen to [the students] makes me feel really upset and angry, because they deserve better. So I can’t be quiet about it. I can’t be silent about it,” she said.
“Because I want kids to see me and know that you can be a Christian and you can be gay. You can be gay, you can teach at a Christian school. You don’t have to feel shame about who you love, or who you are, or how you were born to be,” she said.
The school would be a better place if people like Lisciandro were employed there. Unfortunately, she’s at the mercy of people who use religion as a weapon to hurt others, all in an attempt to be more “Christ-like.”