Christian School Asked to Stop Teaching ‘Any Scripture Considered Offensive’
A K-12 Christian academy near Edmonton, Alberta, was asked to stop teaching passages from the Bible that might be offensive to others, specifically the verse used as part of the school’s statement of faith, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which reads, “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Cornerstone Christian Academy, a public school in partnership with the Battle River School Division under its “Alternative Learning” program, agreed to the initial demands of the board in removing that verse reference from the statement of faith, as well as a request to remove the word “quality” from their advertisement that “CCA offers quality educational programming.” With such cooperation, board chairwoman Laurie Skori then added another request that CCA stop teaching and reading “any scripture that could be considered offensive to particular individuals. In a follow up letter, Skori clarified, “For example: any teachings that denigrate or vilify someone’s sexual orientation.”
But that is where CCA drew the line, as stated by chairwoman Deanna Margel:
“That’s a completely different directive, and it was shocking. Absolutely shocking. You can’t just pick and choose those scriptures. We need every single word there to challenge us, to call us to greater understanding. We’re talking about freedom of religion, but we’re (also) talking about freedom of expression.”
Margel’s attitude showed the school was easily complying with the initial requests. “The specific reference and the word quality were not a big issue,” she said. “Out of respect of the relationship we’ve had with them, we can say, ‘okay, this isn’t the key point here.’” But as a Christian school based on the Bible, Margel thinks censoring scripture is taking it too far.
CCA has sought legal guidance from a conservative activist group, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom, which released the following statement:
Trustees enjoy the legal right to send their own kids to various schools that align with the parents’ beliefs and convictions. But these trustees have no right to impose their own ideology on schools they disagree with.
According to the National Post, school board spokeswoman Diane Hutchinson said the request was sent in compliance with the Alberta Human Rights Act, which added special protections for “gender and sexual minorities” in 2015. Hutchinson said Alberta has “a heightened awareness and a heightened sensitivity” to the homosexual community and ensures the state isn’t engaging in any type of censorship of religion.
CCA’s partnership with the school board puts them under an umbrella of the state, but with a promise that the school board wouldn’t “meddle in the ‘essential nature’ of the school’s programming,” according to the Post. But Hutchinson said that CCA will have to “find the place where we can agree on where the boundaries are” on which scriptures are approved for reading.
If an agreement can’t be reached, the school will be shut down. Otherwise, it can turn private or find another school board to represent them.