Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Balance On The Lesbian Parents

A private Christian school in California has expelled a 14 year old student because her "parents" were lesbians that lived together. The media and some talk show hosts have had some fun with this story, predictably portraying the school as a bunch of religious zealots.

"Your family does not meet the policies of admission," Superintendent Leonard Stob wrote to Tina Clark, the girl's biological mother.

Stob wrote that school policy requires that at least one parent may not engage in practices "immoral or inconsistent with a positive Christian life style, such as cohabitating without marriage or in a homosexual relationship," The Los Angeles Times reported in Friday's edition.

As I read the story, the student applied under false pretenses, and the policy in place applies equally to heterosexual couples living together as it does homosexual couples. The story does not identify the girl's father and whether he would meet the "Christian lifestyle" test.

I do not agree with the school's position on this subject, but I understand it. My own personal view is that the school should do everything to educate and prepare the child to live the Christian lifestyle the school professes. The parents are not the students. While the students' open co-habitation should be fair game, I would not "punish" the student for the parents immoral behavior.

The Bible does, however, make clear that sexual relations outside of marriage are immoral, and it is ridiculous to expect a Christian school to turn a blind eye to openly sinful conduct without any comment to its pupils. Just because the world around a Christian school openly accepts and even celebrates sin is no reason to ridicule a Christian institution should.

It is fair to point out that Christians tend to focus on the homosexual angle. I think the subject gets a disproportionate amount of comment, though part of that may be the focus on the subject by the press.

There are several reasons though why Christians may feel more free to condemn homosexual conduct. First, homosexual co-habitation is a sin of conduct as opposed to a sin of the heart. It is, thus, easier to identify the guilty.

Second, homosexual conduct has a political lobby. Many Christians feel, probably justifiably, defensive as their beliefs are in fact under attack by the homosexual lobby that seeks not only tollerence (which many Christians myself included are happy to provide) but acceptance and celebration of their lifestyle.

Third, I think it is human nature for humans to more loudly condemn the sins with which they do not identify or struggle. Thus, you hear much less about sins of the heart, e.g., greed or lust, or about common sins even among believers, e.g., gossip. These sins are, I believe, equal in God's eyes to sexual misconduct (other than adultery, which falls into the top 10). They are not, however, as easy to identify and more likely to make the accuser uncomfortable. Homosexuals are such a small percentage of the society, and even less so among the society of Christians, that they are an easy target even for those with their own logs in their eye.

So Christians take it on the chin again. Not because they are hypocrites, as is usually the reason the press pounces. Rather, perhaps, because they are not.


At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:35 PM, Blogger tee bee said...

KJ, I'm on the fence about allowing kids of families in opposition to the school's codes to attend. In my humble experience as a small Christian private school student in my high school years and the parent of kids in several small private Christian schools, such kids as Shay Clark lived with considerable conflict, and introduced this conflict to the other students.

Most such students never stayed for more than a year at the schools, and struggled to make and keep friends - because of their own defensiveness about their parents' ideology, and often the parents' unwillingness to open their homes to Christian friends of their children.

Kids should not be put on the spot to evangelize, they're not trained or prepared for it; nor should the safety of the place their parents have paid hard-earned money for them to study be compromised. These are not reform schools.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger tee bee said...

The other issue you raise is the reflection on Christians for taking a stand on homosexuality.

This is a sad trap that many have allowed themselves to be drawn into. The issue should not be homosexuality - which has played up its status of 'otherness' - but sexual sin. All such sin is abhorrent to a holy God. He is merciful to us, as we should be to others.

However, the unrepentant court destruction. Those who don't love others enough to be truthful about issues of sexual sin - and point rightly to the author of life as having reason and authority to order our behavior - court disaster for themselves and their families.

The flashpoint is our social order. While Christians should graciously reach out to those in their communities, they should not go where they are not bidden. By the same token, Christians must be concerned with the outcome of law that they are responsible for under a democracy. They must make their views known, and support them in good conscience.

And they'll be attacked for it, by people who will use any excuse to limit their influence. The Shays may say they won't fight the ruling - they were probably looking to place their daughter in another school soon anyway - this didn't hit the media by chance, and I doubt the school has heard the last of it.

PS You ask where the girl's father is; he's probably a petrie dish unable to put up any kind of fuss.

At 1:56 AM, Blogger KJ said...

I think we agree on your second post. As to the first, I appreciate the idea that the parents are probably looking for a place to delay facing such issues. At the same time, unless the student's conduct is to blame (i.e., she make the school a reform school, as you put it) then I think we are missing the opportunity to reach someone who might be receptive. Note the policy only required one parent to live a Christian life. The other could be satan.

And as for the Christian being vigilent as to all sexual sin, I noted the policy was consistent on that point. It forbid all sexual co-habitation - staight, homo, or transgendered I assume.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger tee bee said...

I thought the policy was well-written, and the schools do desire to use their gifts to the fullest in serving those they can. That's fine and good; but remember, this thing came to a head because young Ms. Shay was out of control at a school function.

Somehow, in conveying this to the parents, it became clear about the living arrangements, which I find hinky. It's not like they're knocking on the door and asking all occupants to explain why they're living there. If administrators are just calling home or asking the parent who signed the kid up at the school to meet, which is the most likely scenario, there's no reason for the revelation. Someone made it known to the administrators that the family was a two-mom household.


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