I was going to go with a more "traditional" image of Jesus, but this painting, by Antonio Ciseri, 19th c. is called "Ecce Homo!" (Behold the Man!), and that was too good to pass up! (It depicts Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Jesus of Nazareth to onlookers.)
Okay, this is crazy...
From a judgment made this week, and reported on AP news:
Court: Christian school can expel lesbian studentsPosted: 01/27/2009 05:29:59 PM PSTRIVERSIDE, Calif.—A California appeals court has ruled that a private Christian high school has the right to expel students because of an alleged lesbian relationship.
The 4th District Court of Appeal in Riverside on Monday upheld California Lutheran High School's right as a private, religious organization to exclude students based on their sexual orientation.
Two teens filed a lawsuit claiming they were discriminated against after they were expelled from the Wildomar school in 2005 because of an alleged lesbian relationship.
A court in Riverside found that the school had the right to expel the girls because the school isn't bound by the same anti-discrimination laws as a business establishment.
John McKay, attorney for California Lutheran, says the school's goal is to educate children based on Christian principles.
The attorney for the girls could not be immediately reached Tuesday.
Would the school have expelled the students for suddenly being black (suddenly discovering African American Ancestry?) I think not.
Would the school have expelled the students for suddenly realizing they didn't believe in God after all and that they were atheists? I wonder...
But the school DID expel the students for suddenly realizing that same-gender attraction was a part of who they intrinsically are.
Now I suppose I could make the argument that you should be allowed to have a school whose goal was to only have people who believe in "A" attend. Anyone who believes something different would be excluded.
But should you be allowed to have a school whose goal is to only have people from one group attend? And anyone outside that group can be excluded? (i.e., no asians or blacks?) I'm really uncomfortable with that...
One problem with this is that kids generally don't choose their school themselves, their parents/caretakers do. And understanding and being true to your sexual orientation is often a process of unfolding that takes time and courage.
It seems really unfair that if a high school student growing up in a culture and a school that's pretty homophobic to begin with finds the courage to be honest about their same-gender attraction - and then, against all odds, finds another student who has been on the same journey, and they fall in love...
For them to be expelled seems cruel.
For the court to tell the school that it's okay for them to discriminate against GLBTQ students, for them to expel the girls for being bi, or lesbian, seems like a horrible precedent.
The issue of expelling the girls for WHO THEY ARE is the crux of this.
Maybe a private religious school can set up rules against dating for everyone (stupid and pointless though that would be) but to kick out kids based on their innate being is just plain wrong.
Now I did read the court's opinion (you can download it here.) Basically, they said that the school is like the Boy Scouts - because their mission is to instill the "values" of their organization, they can exclude anyone who doesn't live up to those "values," and it's legal.
I argue that it's not moral. It's not what Jesus would do.
And this is my problem with the Boy Scouts, too! Being Gay does not conflict with the core values of the Boy Scouts, trying to help kids grow up to be:
trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
And it seems to me, being Gay does not conflict with the core value that Jesus taught, either, to have each of us:
reach out with love
But I guess the school isn't really interested in what Jesus would do.
What do you think? Did the court rule correctly? What about what the school did?
Watch for my follow-up post next week: How the girls were found out!