Thursday, January 24, 2019

Q Toon: Room Catch-222

Religious conservatives are defending Karen Pence's decision to return to her job teaching art at Immanuel Christian School of Springfield, Virginia, a private school that bans LGBTQ students and staff. Mrs. Pence had taught there for twelve years while her husband was a Congressman, and their daughter Charlotte matriculated there.

(The sound you hear is that of the administrators of Immanuel Christian School scurrying to check whether the Bible approves of pre-marital matriculation.)

Defenders of the school and the Pences protest that the school has nothing against LGBTQ youth, it's just adhering to biblical principles and expects its straight boys and girls to do the same, too. Of course, little Valerie is not going to get kicked out of school merely for letting it slip that she has a boyfriend, but young Bradley will.

Since the students at Immanuel are all eighth grade and younger, most people would agree that they shouldn't be having sex at that age anyway. But Immanuel's restrictive policy goes further, extending to faculty, staff and parents.

Immanuel's admission policy requires the parents of students to be "born-again, Bible-believing" exemplars of right-wing Christian orthodoxy. Its "Parent Agreement" (revised last October 29) includes a clause reading:
"I understand that the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission to an applicant or to discontinue the enrollment of a student if the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home, the activities of a parent or guardian, or the activities of the student are counter to, or in opposition to, the biblical lifestyle the school teaches. This includes, but is not limited to, contumacious behavior, divisive conduct, and participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual [sic] activity, promoting such practices, or being able to support the moral principles of the school. (Lev. 20:13 and Romans 1:27.) I acknowledge the importance of a family culture based on biblical principles and embrace biblical family values such as a healthy marriage between one man and one woman."
Huffington Post's link to the school's employment application form is broken, but it's safe to assume that Immanuel's faculty (and their different-sex spouses) are also expected also to forswear "supporting, or condoning" homosexual or bisexual activity or marriage equality in any way.

So while Immanuel is legally protected by Virginia law to be as intolerant and bigoted as they want to be and there's nothing you can do about it, it's not intolerant on the part of the rest of us to observe that LGBTQ persons are never going to get fair treatment from Mrs. Pence's husband. Not without putting her out of a job.

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