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Hating So Love Can Win

Yesterday my priest preached a good sermon on homosexuality, and sexuality in general. I mention this because I observed recently in this space that I had only once in my 26 years of practicing either Catholicism or Orthodoxy heard a sermon that mentioned sexuality. (Aside from the two or three I heard from an old priest in Fort Lauderdale who thundered prophetically against “homophobia”.)

Yesterday, my priest managed to give a substantive sermon that was understandable to adults without scandalizing children in the congregation — not an easy thing to do. He said that marriage between one man and one woman, and their rightly ordered sexual love, is an icon of the Holy Trinity. We cannot lose that truth if we are to know and to love God as God commands. He also talked about sexual disorder among heterosexuals — pornography, even lust between husband and wife — and how all of it must be repented of by Christians. Finally, he spoke of the duty of showing mercy to our fellow sinners, as we ourselves would want to be shown mercy. He reiterated, though, that if we lose sight of the truths of what God tells us in His Word about sex and sexuality, we will lose something vital to our task in this life of conforming our lives to Christ’s.

This was what happened to me, as I’ve written about before. In my twenties, I found the countercultural teachings of Christianity regarding sex to be exactly what I needed to pull me out of the trap I had laid for myself. Liberal Christians who told me that my sin wasn’t really sin were no help at all. Sexual permissiveness is the prosperity gospel of progressive Christians. Nadia Bolz-Weber and Creflo Dollar are working against the Gospel in equal measure.

It is a very difficult topic for pastors to cover, for obvious reasons. I’m grateful that my pastor chose to talk about it. The silence of pastors, priests, and religious leaders around the topic gives the impression that it’s not important. The position my priest took on the issue is Orthodox, but as we all know, highly unpopular in this culture.

I am certain that many, many Christians have no real idea how much hatred there is in America for any Christian who dissents from the progressive line on LGBT. Whitefield Academy of Louisville, Kentucky, is a private Christian school affiliated with a Southern Baptist church. It recently expelled a 15-year-old girl for putting on her Instagram a photo of herself wearing a rainbow sweater, behind a rainbow birthday cake. At first glance, this looked like paranoia. What kind of Christian school would kick a kid out simply for appearing in a social media image with a rainbow cake?

There was more to the story. It turns out that the school had been dealing with a long list of behavioral problems with this girl, including, I’ve been told by several sources now, unwanted sexual aggression (e.g., a parent of a female student at the school told me the expelled girl hit on his own daughter, making her very uncomfortable). And as I wrote here, Kayla, the 15-year-old, outed herself last year on her Instagram account, and had been posting images of herself and an apparent girlfriend. In one of them, she talks about sharing the girl’s bed. These were violations of the school’s ethics code, which the girl and her mother signed. The school’s administration and the girl’s mother met in October to talk about her behavior. It appears that the school gave her one last chance … but Kayla and her mom couldn’t resist trolling the school with a rainbow cake.

These details have not been in the mainstream media reporting, which decontextualized the cake photo. I only found out the truth about all this from a couple of sources who are not in the school’s administration, but who are close to the situation. They have been watching with frustration as the school has been smeared nationally by half-truths Kayla’s mother peddled to the media, which ate it up.

The Kentucky school is Whitefield Academy, named for George Whitefield, an early Evangelical. There are other, non-related schools named after George Whitefield. Over the weekend, I heard that Whitefield academies in other places have been receiving hate mail and abusive phone calls from people who mistake them for the Kentucky school. A source with access to the hate mail that the Kentucky school has received shared a representative sampling with me.

Nobody shows love and tolerance like Loving and Tolerant Progressives. This charming missive contains an image of Jesus Christ sodomizing himself:

Regarding admission information for Whitefield Academy, I wanted to start this email with an innocuous line so that you would open it and look at this image because you are a prolapsed anus of a person. Kentucky is a backwards 3rd world country being carried towards civilization by the rest of the US.

Eat sh*t and die.

This one, from a Mr. John D. in suburban Buffalo, anticipates the suppression of conservative Christians within society:

What ignorant individuals you are, expelling a young woman due to her sexual orientation (your perceived interpretation of a photograph)? I look forward to hearing how this impacts the future of your school. So thankful that our society is intolerant of ignorance like this.

I predict the school is shut down within two years. I can’t wait to read of it in the paper or hear it on the national news.

Oh and I’m a married (30 years) father of two children (currently in college) who have been taught that views like yours must be eliminated from our society. They are the future of our country, you are the past. They and their peers will shut you down, it’s just a question of how long it will take.

Can you hear me laughing?

This sage, Tyler K., knows what’s up:

Shame on you. You’re what’s wrong with Christianity. These actions embolden secularism. In this lifetime we will see religion dwindle to the addled brain ramblings of the ignorant until it only exists in history books as a cautionary tale.

Your privilege is showing.

An excitable person named Angelina writes with exhortation in mind:

SHAME ON ALL OF YOU! You and your school is a joke and God himself would be ashamed of your actions for judging a child based on a rainbow cake. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? THIS IS A CHILD! I would really love to know how a rainbow cake goes against your school policies. Clearly you show that you hateful against gays and LGBTQ and this will be exposed. I will be blasting your school all over social media and to the news. REALITY CHECK…..there are gays in your school and there are transgenders in your school. Oh you think because you are not aware that it won’t come to your school….WRONG!! Open your eyes to the world we live in. SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOU who call yourselves children of God but are out here judging a child!! GOD says to love everyone, not discriminate and that is exactly what you are doing. Ya’ll make me sick and I can’t wait for God to judge you at heaves gate!

Stephen C. wonders whether the kid might be a future Nobelist:

You should be ashamed of your institution and your boss. What sort of educator expels a young girl over a RAINBOW BIRTHDAY CAKE?!?!

This girl could be an important thinker in this world and you’ve just casted her out. You are the same as the educators who expelled Einstein for “going against the grain”.

Are you all so blind and filled with hate to think that LGBT has a monopoly over the “rainbow”?? Does that mean that little girls who like rainbows and unicorns also are lesbians and not WORTHY of your joke of a school.

News flash! No one cares if people are gay anymore! The world has moved on, so should you, bigots.

Aubrey, who Knows Better, lays into these troglodytes:

Shame on all of you.

Sincerely,

A loving, caring, faithful, RATIONAL and SANE Christian

Tim has some advice for the school administration:

I find it unfortunate I need to waste my important time in the day to reach out to the individuals responsible for expelling a young female for, well I’m not sure, enjoying a rainbow? I mean unless you put it upon yourselves to assume more from a simple post, which even if she were to consider herself part of the LGBT community, so what.

Please do what is best for the interest of the children at your school and step down. You have proven that you don’t belong in developing the youth of our nations. This is a disgusting act of bigotry by people who have shown when in a position of power, the don’t know how to use it without abusing their role. The lack of intelligence in this decision is baffling, especially considering your supposed to be educators.

Do the right thing and step down from your positions.

Brent shares his conviction that Baptists in Louisville are just about on the same level as Muslim tribesmen who commit mass murder:

It must be a heavy burden carrying around so much hate. As a parent to a teenage girl, I am certain that any sane, caring person would never do such a thing to a 15 year old girl.

You people are little better than the Taliban.

One day I am confident you will come to the realization that you have done a terrible deed (although this is likely only one of many). Until then you can continue to relish in the hateful burden you have put on yourselves.

Dustin R. is farklempt:

As a dedicated educator of this wonderful country, it is absolutely disgusting to hear that a student was expelled because of “lifestyle choices.” Call yourself a Christian, but a Christian you are not. Christ would have not approved of this whatsoever as he sat with the criminals, drunks, and prostitutes. Regardless of the religious aspect, your job as an educator is to help students reach their absolute academic and professional potential in which you are failing to do so. To expel a student over a shirt, a cake, and even sexual orientation is not a character of an educator in any sense. You and your staff are not educators. I refuse to let all of my hard work be ruined by your reputation.

Furthermore, what you have showed this country is that if you are different than others, then you have no place at your academy. This is why private religious schools are nothing but brainwashing academies for the mindless. This girl will go onto amazing things in her life and be more of a human and a Christian than you will ever be.

Marlene G. says they’re serving the devil:

According to Whitefield Academy’s parent/student handbook, the school seeks to work in tandem with children’s families to “mold students to be Christ-like.”

Isn’t it ironic that YOUR behavior isn’t Christ like? Didn’t Christ accept and love ALL people?

This is what is wrong with you and your school – you are going about Christianity and teaching morals all the wrong way. Maybe, if you truly do want to end up in heaven, you will start loving and accepting the people that Jesus loves instead of being mean and judgmental. Walk in someone else’s shoes for a time instead of being mean and Satan-like to 15-year old girls.

Mark T. hates Kentucky:

Talk about snowflakes?? You’re apparently scared of your shadow.

Congratulations on your contribution to these impressive KY statistics:

Health Care #44
Education #38
Economy #33

Someone has a multi colored cake, and a sweater with some stripes and you’re so insecure that you chose to expel them?? Ever thought of re-instituting the inquisitions? Of course I’m sure you take an equal stance with racism and swastikas right? Or maybe it’s how you get your power trip, intimidating and bullying little girls? OR are you a eunuch without the courage to stand up to some donor who called on phone demanding action?

Maybe you thought the press would do you good? Maybe even get an best bully of the year award from #MoscowMitch?

Maybe you hit your head and thought the year was 1920 instead of 2020.

Get a life, goodness knows your kind of insecure evil isn’t going to see a comfortable afterlife. And just in case you’ve ever ‘actually’ asked the questions WWJD? You ‘might’ even be able to look yourself in the mirror and admit that this ISN’T what he would do.

You’ve just provided the case study on statistically why the younger generation is fleeing the church.

Mark [deleted]

ps – God doesn’t like BIGOTS either.

Francine, a professional counselor, demands that the administrators at this Baptist school pay attention to the gangs and the drugs that no doubt infest their campus:

I read the article regarding the 15-year old girl who wore a rainbow shirt on her OWN time to celebrate her birthday party. WHO ARE YOU to dictate what she can and cannot wear on her own time? You should be ashamed of yourself! Shouldn’t you be more worried about REAL inappropriate behaviors ON the school campus such as sexual abuse, gangs, drugs, and bullying? Those are the REAL issues you should concern yourself with. To expel a student for wearing a rainbow shirt? REALLY? I hope the parents sue you for all that you are worth! BIGOTRY AT ITS FINEST!

Martin B. has a potty mouth:

Jesus hates you with every fiber of his being and he was not the son of God because there is no God and you are all wasting your time on this earth with that bullsh*t.

Go f*ck yourselves, oh, whoops, isn’t that against your religion, f*cking?

Happy C. is all “bless your heart”:

Matthew 7:1….perhaps you all should go back and read it. In case, your limited knowledge of things prohibits you from doing so, it states: “Judge not lest ye be judged” .

To expel a student from your campus because of an article of clothing is the most sexist, toxic masculinity, discriminatory thing I’ve seen in a while. A teenage girl being raised in a decent home and you have the never to judge her? Such a complete disgrace that is. In a time when the climate of America is to tear everyone down, for you to feel that you are entitled to do the same is a terrible act of aggression towards that young lady.

Instead of hating you, I’ll pray for your soul. The way your actions are speaking louder than words on this matter, you will clearly need it.

Michael B. is unclear on the concept:

I am a 63 year old Christian man…………and you are a pathetic excuse for a human being. You might just want to have a little re-read of your bible. I hope your despicable little school dies the horrible death that it deserves.

One more:

What’s the point of actually expelling a teenage student for her own beliefs? I’m also going to add the fact you guys stated that you guys approve of what ethic and beliefs your teachers and students have but show off in the end that it was pure bullsh*t?

F*ck you biased a*s snowflake boomer crybaby b*tches. I hope karma gets to ya’ll soon.
Most of us have VPNs and fake emails so do not try and pull any shit off after this.

And so on.

I am reminded of something an Evangelical college professor told me about the students at his institution. He said that they are all products of church youth groups who present Christianity as entirely about relationship. Consequently, they believe that niceness is next to godliness. When they encounter people who say that Christianity is mean, they have no idea how to respond.

If you, Christian reader, are not preparing yourself right now to be hated, and to be okay with that, you’re going to be flattened by what’s coming. Seriously.

By the way, Al Mohler took up the Whitefield Academy case on his podcast today. He says that this case offers “a huge lesson for all of us.”

Mohler says that many Christian schools are not prepared, either from an administrative or public relations stance, to deal with cases like this. Mohler: “If you begin at any point to operate on anything other than the most explicit statement of Biblical beliefs … then you’re in big trouble.”

If you are an administrator at a Christian school, and your school does not have explicit language in its policies stating what it believes on sexuality and what it requires of students and their parents, I strongly urge you to check out the sample documents on this schools page on the Alliance Defending Freedom site, and waste no time at all adopting them as official school policy. You will need them. About the public relations problem, you had better work it out in advance how your school will respond if a case like this comes up. The bottom line, though, is that the media will generally have no interest in being fair, and you will draw onto yourself an incredible amount of hatred from the Very Online mob. Better to get it sorted how to deal with that now, before the national spotlight strikes you.

UPDATE: I am told that there have been over 1,000 e-mails received by Whitefield Academy, and hundreds of nasty phone calls. Over 12,000 Facebook and social media posts. My source says that the school’s headmaster received the worst of it. Some of these missives expressed the wish that he would die.

Today I’m working on one of the final chapters in my next book, about the coming soft totalitarianism. The spark for the book came from a man who phoned me after Memories Pizza was mobbed by haters in the spring of 2015. The small town Indiana pizza parlor was run by Evangelical Christians, who told a TV reporter (when she asked) that no, they wouldn’t cater a gay wedding. The story went viral, and people from all over the country threatened violence against them. The man who called me said his elderly mother, who in her youth was jailed for six years as a political prisoner in communist Czechoslovakia, told him that this was exactly the kind of thing that happened in her home country when communists took over: the mob scapegoating ideological dissidents.

And here we are.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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