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[+] Private School Forces Gay Student to Leave.....
Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:03 pm
WestWithTheNight
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I believe you might have to register to view this article, so I will copy and paste with appropriate credits..

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/122104dnmettrinitygay.1402e.html


Gay student forced to leave school

Academy forced him to leave after learning of Web site he created


10:41 AM CST on Tuesday, December 21, 2004


By KENT FISCHER / The Dallas Morning News



Three weeks ago an 18-year-old honor student at Trinity Christian Academy was cruising toward graduation. He had already been accepted to a prestigious university, and the final months of high school seemed a mere formality.

He was a varsity athlete and a winner of service and citizenship awards at the fundamentalist private school in Addison. He was active in the school theater, was a yearbook editor and helped younger students with Bible study.

Trinity Christian was his second family, the student said, and by every indication he was one of the school's favorite sons.

But when the school's top administrators learned that the student had created a Web site where teens chat about homosexuality, he said they gave him a choice: either leave quietly or face expulsion for "immoral behavior," which is prohibited by the school's code of conduct.

In a matter of days, the student, who is gay, went from prized student to sinner outcast.

Today, the student attends high school in Plano, and students, teachers and administrators at Trinity Christian are left debating whether forcing the withdrawal of a popular lifelong student was the "Christian" thing to do. The case also shines a light on the moral culture clash with which private fundamentalist schools are increasingly wrestling.

"I feel completely violated," said the student, who had attended Trinity Christian since kindergarten. "The big lesson here for me is that you can't really trust anybody. That, and I should have kept my mouth shut."

Initially, the student, who is legally an adult, gave The News an on-the-record interview regarding the case. Later, after telling his parents about the interview, he asked that The News not publish his name. The student's parents declined to comment.


Headmaster's statement

Trinity Christian administrators would not talk specifically about the case. Headmaster David Delph issued a general statement about the school's discipline policy.

"As a community of Christian families we also believe the Bible provides insight to help us discern God's desire for our conduct," the statement reads in part. "Therefore we demand high Biblical standards of behavior from our students both academically and socially. Our families are asked to embrace these standards of conduct by signing a covenant with the school when students are admitted. Within this framework of Biblical standards and academic rigor, an atmosphere of enhanced learning, character development, and love are allowed to flourish."

John Craig, regional director for the Association of Christian Schools International, said honor codes at Christian schools play a critical role in establishing a school's culture.

"A school has the right and responsibility to fulfill its mission, and that may involve rules that not everybody is going to agree with," said Mr. Craig, who is based in Dallas. "But the honor code makes it clear so there can be no misunderstanding: Here's who we are, here's what we're about, and here's what we're trying to accomplish with our students."

Legally there is no middle ground: As a private religious school, Trinity Christian was well within its rights to force the student's withdrawal, said Brian Chase, a lawyer with the Dallas office of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which advocates for gay rights. Also, Texas has no law prohibiting discrimination against someone based on sexual orientation.

But simmering under the surface are questions about forgiveness, compassion and redemption.

"This is the problem that many Christian schools are bumping into today, more so than ever, because our culture is changing," said Dr. John McCart, president the Texas Organization of Christian Schools. "If schools don't know exactly what their position is, they're hung."

Those who work with gay teens say the expulsion of gay students from private fundamental school is quite common.

"I've heard of kids being outed in chapel in front of the whole school," said Marc Adams, who runs a Seattle-based group called Heartstrong that counsels gay students attending religious schools. "It happens all the time. It's just that so few people come forward to talk about it."

Since its creation in 1996, Heartstrong has counseled 831 students whose sexual orientation got them kicked out of their religious schools, Mr. Adams said.

"And those are only the ... [students] who found us," he said. "There are thousands more that we never reach."

Mr. Craig of the Association of Christian Schools International, which accredited Trinity, said students and parents shouldn't sign the codes if they're not going to take them to heart.

"When you sign something, that's your word," he said.

The student acknowledges that he signed the honor code, which in part states that students agree "to live by the standards of the Code which have been established for my own good and the good of the entire school community." The student also said he knew he could get into trouble at the school for being gay.


'Decision was political'

"I love TCA, and I think it's a great school," said Brian Reinhart, a Trinity Christian graduate and a friend of the gay student. "But I'd have to say that their decision was political."

Mr. Delph, Trinity's headmaster, declined to address such criticism. The statement he issued, however stated: "We strive to handle each situation, as Jesus Christ would. Since love is at the core of Jesus' nature, we try to ensure each student is surrounded by an abundance of loving care during any disciplinary process."

Current and former Trinity students say heterosexual students who've been sexually active also have been forced to leave the school.

Trinity Christian receives no government support; its annual $15 million budget is wholly supported by tuition, fund raising and investments, according to its federal income tax return. With nearly 1,500 students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12, it's one of the area's largest private schools. High school tuition starts at $11,200 per year, plus fees.

The student said he began telling friends and teachers about his homosexuality last spring after hearing a Bible teacher announce in class that gays were bound for hell. He said teachers and counselors at the school were supportive and understanding.

Ironically, he said, his popularity among students began to rise when word got out.

"Suddenly," he said, "I was the cool gay kid."

But he said administrators didn't think he was "cool" last month after a student brought his Web site to their attention.

The site, which is not pornographic or sexually explicit, is a place for gay teens to meet, chat and post pictures of themselves. The student said a similar site was instrumental in his coming to terms with his own sexual identity.

As of Thursday, his site had 1,724 registered members. He announced his forced expulsion on his Web site. Others on the Web have published similar accounts of his story.

One day last month the student said he saw some Trinity Christian students looking at his site in the school library. On a whim, he posted an online survey on the site asking how many users were Trinity Christian students.

When confronted, the gay student acknowledged setting up the site and admitted he is gay, he said.

He also asked school administrators not to tell his parents about his homosexuality.

"Next thing I know, Mom and Dad are walking in the door," he said.

The student said several school administrators and teachers, in an attempt to help keep him from being expelled, coached him on how to handle the situation.

He should tell the headmaster, for example, that he wasn't gay. Instead he should say that he was "confused." He should say he wanted to be straight. He should agree to counseling. He should also take the Web site offline immediately.

"I did all of those things, but it didn't matter," he said.

The student said a few administrators told him his Web site was the key issue because it encouraged other teens to explore their homosexuality. So in a sense, the student said they told him, he was fostering the immorality of others.

Facing expulsion, the student said he chose to leave so his high school records would be free of disciplinary actions.

Nevertheless, "I love Trinity," the student said. "The faculty, the kids, they were my family for 13 years. They can't take that away."
E-mail kfischer@dallasnews.com


What are your thoughts about this?

I know perfectly well that it was perfectly legal for TCA to enforce this policy, but do you think it is correct?

This leads to another question of mine.... My own alma mater (coincidentally TCA's main rival in football..well, before we sucked) has a policy expelling pregnant girls, and (if he fesses up) the father as well. Do you think this is a correct policy as well? Is ending a Biblical education the right thing do to in this kind of situation?

How do you think this reflects upon Christians as a whole (just read the feedback site on DallasNews.com) ?

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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 3:18 pm
Sam
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I've seen articles and situations like this before and each one makes me sick. The headmaster's comments in this situation are ridiculous, claiming to foster an environment of love, acting as Jesus would.

How many things did Jesus say about homosexuality being a sin?

In my mind, the student is finding more of his spirituality, which in this case is overtly Christian, because he is coming to terms with who his Creator made him to be. He is becoming 'more' of a Christian as he delves into more of his identity. I applaud him for encouraging other students to live a life of integrity and honesty, which is the type of life Jesus encourages us to live.

It's great that God used a pregnant teen to birth someone who was so God-inspired that he turned the world upside down. Maybe Mary was kicked out of Nazareth Christian School as well.

Homosexuality cannot be a sin, no matter what fundamentalists want us to believe. Remember, people used the Bible to justify their racism and sexism, too.

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Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004 8:24 pm
Indie
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Sam wrote:
The headmaster's comments in this situation are ridiculous, claiming to foster an environment of love, acting as Jesus would.


I agree. I went to a conservative Christian college where this sort of thing happened all of the time. Meanwhile, the leaders of the school spent most of their time kissing the butts of rich folks, fishing for money. The love of money is something Jesus had a lot to say about.

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[+] 
Posted: Tue Jan 04, 2005 10:43 pm
Indie
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Read and compare this article which includes an evangelical church's response to a gay teen member.

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[+] we don't have the luxury
Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:52 pm
astrotoby
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Sam wrote:
How many things did Jesus say about homosexuality being a sin?

Homosexuality cannot be a sin, no matter what fundamentalists want us to believe. Remember, people used the Bible to justify their racism and sexism, too.


This is only true for those rare christians who don't actually believe in the authority of scripture. The rest of us are denied this luxury, unfortunately.

If a person believes the bible is true and whatnot, then I guess they have to believe sexual immorality is a sin, and homosexuality is sexual immorality according to the bible. So most christians have to believe that homosexuality is a sin.

Unless they have the convenient out, as you do, of deciding for themselves which parts of the bible they need to pay attention to and which parts they can ignore.

Lucky.

[+] Re: we don't have the luxury
Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 1:01 am
Indie
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astrotoby wrote:

Unless they have the convenient out, as you do, of deciding for themselves which parts of the bible they need to pay attention to and which parts they can ignore.

Lucky.


I've never met a Christian who didn't pick and choose which parts suit them. Do you do everything the Bible says?

I personally envy people who have deluded themselves into thinking they have everything figured out. That must be convenient.

Since God predetermines everything, maybe she wants Sam to believe that homosexuality is okay.

But I'm really more curious about the original post. I'd really like to know why people get kicked out of Christian institutions for things that are never mentioned by Jesus but not for the things that Jesus did mention. Please explain that to me.


Last edited by Indie on Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:04 pm; edited 2 times in total

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[+] It's cool
Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 2:04 am
astrotoby
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I don't do everything the bible says, of course I don't. I strive to. That's the point. I think most people sort of realise that this is a goal that sinfull unperfect people cannot attain, unfortunatelly. You know the whole idea that we're all sinners and that the only perfect person to live on the earth was Jesus, who happened to be God.

I don't have everything figured out, of course not. Luckily God, being God, actually does have everything figured out. And he has given us an idea of what he has figured out in written form, namely the bible. God does predetermine everything, so I'm sure the "she" wants you to call her a "she", and that "she" wants Sam to think that homosexuality is okay, for some reason only know to "her", since that's what happened, even though "she" clearly says that homosexuality is not okay.

God knows what will happen in every situation, who will believe what, who will be wrong, who will be right, who will be stupid, who will be smart. It's all already written in the stars in the mind of God, since the beginning of time. Y'all believe what you believe. It's cool.

See, what I believe is that the scenario that's playing out right now is the best possible scenario that could happen, and out of the millions and billions of things that could happen this is the one that somehow will produce the greatest good in the end. It has to do with this "possible worlds" theory that I learned about in my Philosophy of Science class is college years ago. So like I said, it's cool. Believe what makes sense to you. Talk about things and think about things and believe in things and change your mind about things however you do. This is how it's supposed to be.

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Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:51 am
Scott Mc
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Quote:
But I'm really more curious about the original post. I'd really like to know why people get kicked out of Christian institutions for things that are never mentioned by Jesus but not for the things that Jesus did mention. Please explain that to me.


I think that what has happenned is "we" have made a distinction among sins and have ranked them, so to speak, based on our own perception of how distasteful or uncomfortable they are to us. We forget that the person that only commits one sin 'his' entire life (let's say it was coveting another person's shoes) has no less of a need for salvation than a person who commits a murder a day. This is extremely unfortunate for Christ-followers and non-Christ followers alike. Let's don't forget that the one trait that we all have as humans is that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all have the same need for a savior to restore our unity with God.

As for the comments that Indie and AstroT have made about God and predetermination, I disagree with this philosphy. Its not inconsistent for God to know everything and be able to control everything and for humans to have free will and the ability to decide things. This doesn't violate God's sovereignty. God created us in God's image, and part of this is having the ability to think and having will and volition. and having a conscience to know right and wrong.

I know people say that God is 'omnipotent' so he can do anything. If he allows anything to happen that he could have stopped (which is everything) then he willed it to happen. This, I think, is a very boxed up view of God. The words omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and benevolent do describe traits of God, but the are really logical limitations that have been put on God by philosophers over the ages who try to prove or disprove God and should not be used as our sole description or limiters of who God is or what his character is.

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Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:28 am
Indie
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Scott Mc wrote:
As for the comments that Indie and AstroT have made about God and predetermination, I disagree with this philosphy.


I don't believe it either. I was just making fun of Toby who I'm hope won't mind it since he knows God intended me to do it.


Last edited by Indie on Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

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[+] I'm human too
Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 6:42 pm
astrotoby
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I am human after all, and I still feel joy and pain and the whole spectrum of human emotion. Just because I know everything is already mapped out doesn't mean that I don't care about anything or have feelings. I love feeling, personally. I very much enjoy intense feelings of any kind. Sometimes things really hurt, and pain is hard to get perspective on because it hurts so much, but it's really beautiful if you think about it a certain way. Not saying I crave pain, I just like to feel. I'm numb so much of the time that when I actually do have a feeling that isn't controled by my intellect it's the best thing in the world. It means I'm a human too. The best thing about being a human is that we can feel so much.

Most people natually assume that my way of thinking cancels out my ability to care about things and get involved, but this just isn't true. I love to care and feel and get involved. I'm very interested in those types of things.

I love being so happy that I can't stand it. I love being so sad I can't even believe it. These types of experiences are amazing in that you can't control them or talk yourself out of them. You can't help the feelings, no matter what kind of reasoning you use. It's amazing.

This being said, I still am probably more resilliant than the next guy to personal attacks and such. Not that I feel personally attacked. I'm fine. This is fun.

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Posted: Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:03 pm
Indie
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Sometimes I'm a big jerk without even meaning to be. I really meant to just be joking Toby. If it bothers you I'll edit.

And what I mean about not doing everything the Bible says is stuff like "greet one another with a holy kiss" which nobody I know does. But different people have different ideas about what's important for today and what's just cultural.

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[+] You're not a jerk
Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 5:23 pm
astrotoby
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Indie, the very last thing in the world you are is a big jerk. I'm sure you are many things, but a jerk is not one of them. I don't think you're a jerk.

I was merely taking the opportunity to expound a little bit about my puzzling outlook on life and clear up a common misconception about my views on feelings. It wasn't neccessarily in response to you, even though I guess it was something you said that triggered it.

I don't feel persecuted against or made fun of in any way. I have not a bitter bone in my body. I am enjoying this forum and the discussions I've been a part of, and you are a significant contributor, which I appreciate.

As far as the school kicking out the gay kid, what did he expect? These people don't want sexually active kids in their school, that's just the way it is. It's in their bloody handbook or pledge or whatever he had to sign. They don't want any of their students having sex at all, and they'll kick out any sexualy active person, heterosexuals too.

Here's my take on it: If you want to go to that school and you want to have any type of sex you have basically three options. You can sign that thing and accept the fact that if you get caught your ass is expelled, or you can sign it and actually practice abstinence for awhile, or you can go find another school where they don't make you sign pledges that you're not going to follow. It's pretty simple.

If you lie about something on an application or sign something without intending to go along with it, you shouldn't be surprised if you get kicked out.

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Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 9:44 pm
Indie
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I didn't think you would be offended but I wasn't sure by your post.

It is my opinion that leaders of a Christian institution should act like Jesus. Sure its against the rules of the school to have sex (I don't think it even said that he did in the article). But are we going to get nitpicky about rules or are we going to obey the spirit of the law, the greatest and 2nd greatest commands? The story in the Bible about Jesus and the woman caught in adultery is illustrative. The rules said she should be stoned but Jesus followed the law of love rather than the letter of the law. That is what I would like Christians today to do.

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Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 6:38 pm
astrotoby
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That would be nice, you're right. People should be nice. But they're not. Schools should be nice and friendly and inclusive and perfect, but they're not.

Sometimes people who believe in certain things have convictions about bringing up kids to believe the same things, which is not bad, because kids need to have some type of belief system, either to adopt or to rebel against, otherwise they grow up without beliefs or convictions of their own.

Plus if you believe one way of thinking is right and another is wrong, then you're going to want to spread the word about that belief and hopefully enlighten people who don't believe the correct things. This makes sense and is a good motivation actually. If people believe something wrong, it's a good idea to try and teach them about what is right.

Schools have to have rules and guidelines spelled out in some type of handbook, so they can have something in black and white to reffer to for disciplinary matters and other matters that come up. Some educators put emphasis on certain rules over other ones, especially regarding student's behavior while attending the school. Some tend to focus on areas of morality and conduct and lifestyle.

These types of schools are basically in existence to perpetuate and carry on legacies and traditions of morality, and if you are fundamentally opposed to those types of traditions and legacies then you should think about attending another school. If you're a pacifist don't go to West Point, you'll get kicked out. If you hate movies don't go to film school. If you're gay, don't go to Trinity Christian.

[+] censorship
Posted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:49 pm
astrotoby
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Did somebody edit my ***** post!!??!!?? You better hope I don't find out who you are, you ******, because I will "kick you out"!!!!!!

I keed, I keed. I'll try to watch my French. But I am from Canada, so I don't know how good that's going to work out. We're bilingual you know.

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