School Board in Canada Tells Christian School to Stop Teaching ‘Offensive’ Scripture

If there’s one type of school that you might expect to be able to select Scripture verses to use in teachings, it would be a Christian school — but if you’re going to school in Alberta, Canada, that right is currently under attack. Cornerstone Christian Academy in Alberta is currently under fire for including Scripture references that school board members say violate diversity rules.

The school is fighting back and defending their right to have students exposed to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which states: “Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” The school board is requesting that the offending verse be removed from the school’s statement of faith, because it could denigrate an individual’s sexual orientation.

“Quality” Education

The original concern raised by school Board chair Laurie Skori was to have the term “quality” removed from the marketing materials for the school, leaving “quality educational programming” feeling less impressive. While the Christian school initially agreed to this term change, as well as requesting that the offending Scripture be removed from the school’s statement of faith, the third demand — that any teachings that vilify someone’s sexual orientation be wiped from the curriculum — was more than the school could stomach.

Deanna Margel, the school’s chairwoman, noted that this new directive was “shocking”, further stating that “We need every single (Scripture) 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.”

Biblical Teachings

From the standpoint of a Christian education, Cornerstone Christian Academy leaders believe that all Scripture should be learned and considered. By limiting the study to just those verses that are deemed to be unassuming and palatable to a broad spectrum of readers means that the school will effectively be reducing the freedom of not just religion — but also the freedom of expression of both teachers and students. CCA has retained legal counsel in the form of JCCF, the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedom, in the hopes of removing the ban.

A Parents’ Choice

Perhaps one of the most important pieces of information is that CCA is not a mandated school in the district. Instead, it’s similar to a magnet school in the U.S., where parents send their children to a school that aligns with their ideologies and belief systems. However, JCCF asserts that the trustees of the Board are attempting to subvert the ability of the school to freely interpret canonical literature, which includes verses in the Torah, Koran and Guru Granth Sahib as well as the Bible.

Tensions are High

Both sides appear to feel strongly about their direction, and no one is backing down as of yet. As the cost to the community continues to grow, Margel is hopeful for a quick resolution, but expressed frustration that CCA was not being allowed at the table for ongoing discussions. “I am encouraged that we can now sit down and talk,” Margel said, “because the reason for taking this to media attention was we felt that we were not being heard. We were totally being shut out of having a conversation.”

Ongoing Challenges

Unfortunately, the school board has a fair amount of oversight, and if the outcome is in favor of the board the options for CCA are limited. If the school disagrees with the outcome of the discussions, they can either shut down the school, comply with the requirements or find a new school Board. The Board argues that the impact to the community is already significant and negative, with townspeople taking sides either for or against the teaching of the specific Scriptures in question. With the school year ending on June 30, 2017, the clock is ticking to find a resolution that will work for all parties before the new school year starts or risk changing boards in the middle of a school year.

As the conversation continues, advocates for both sides will be watching the resolution of this dispute closely. Heightened concerns for the safety of children as well as a position of encouraging diversity by the government means that this conversation will be ongoing for at least the near future.

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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