The Evangelical Persecution Complex and the Christian Academy of Louisville's Homophobic Assignment

May 18, 2022 at 1:14 pm
Rainbow flags were abundant at a past Kentuckiana Pride Festival.
Rainbow flags were abundant at a past Kentuckiana Pride Festival. Photo by Kathryn Harrington

Christian Academy of Louisville wants its students to tell their queer friends that they are living sinfully and are terrible people. Sure, they phrased it with nicer words but this is what they are going for. The irony is astounding. It looks like, unsurprisingly, the persecution fantasies of modern Christians are again simply projections of their actions against others. 

In social media posts, JP Davis shared the assignment. The instructions read: “In at least 8 sentences, try to show the friend from the Bible, reason, and your personal friendship: that God’s design for them is good, that homosexuality will not bring them satisfaction, that you love them even though you don’t approve of their lifestyle.”

The assignment is one geared toward middle schoolers, kids who have either not begun to explore their own sexuality or who are just beginning to form their positions about themselves and others. It’s highly inappropriate to assume that the students who received the assignments aren’t also part of the LGBTQ+ community, and it is inappropriate and presumptuous to think that these children disagree with those who are part of that community. 

Modern Christianity, particularly evangelicalism, isn’t about love, if that love comes with conditions. If you can only love someone who abides by your rules, it isn’t love. It’s narcissistic, abusive and dangerous. While it is true that across the globe, Christians face dangerous situations (i.e. North Korea, some Middle Eastern nations), overall their fear of persecution, especially here in the United States, comes from their need to persecute others. 

In an article for the Atlantic, Alan Noble, an associate professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University, wrote in detail about the evangelical persecution fantasy saying, “In the United States, evangelical values have often been in tension with public policy and cultural mores, especially in the last several years; this includes recent debates over contraceptives coverage, abortion rights, and the rise of same-sex marriage. Some Christians anticipate major restrictions to religious liberty in the future as a result of these tensions, a concern that is not unfounded. But in anticipating such restrictions, it is easy to imagine, wrongly, that they are already here.”

Meanwhile, CAL is actively persecuting LGBTQ children. Being queer is as legitimate an existence as any other on earth. It is as old as any other way to exist and love on this planet. The way this assignment has been presented sounds like being homosexual is something you purchase on the black market. It’s ridiculous, and if it wasn’t such a harmful ideology, it would be worthy of much ridicule. How in 2022 are we still debating this? 

What other harmful archaic values are we allowing to trickle through our education systems?

I’m frustrated that Christianity has been given a bullhorn in our society. What good has it given us? From the damage to women’s rights, proper health and deathcare to the way we should shame people for who they love. Someone please enlighten me on the positive role of Christianity today.

I’m just not seeing it. Sure, as a personal choice, kept quiet like overeating ice cream, I can understand. But the way it has pervasively invaded the government, the health care system and education is unacceptable to me. It should be unacceptable to anyone, from any faith. There are places where religion doesn’t need to go and yet again; we’re seeing a sick example of this. Yes, I understand it’s a private Christian school. The problem is they wanted to go past their doors with this assignment. 

This school is harming children on the dollars of parents who are hoping that they can produce good citizens. If you’re a parent of a child at this school, rethink where your dollars are being spent. You can have good children, who are morally adept and kind without this. 

In a written statement following the assignment going viral, CAL Superintendent Darin Long said the school will evaluate the assignment to be sure it has “clarity in its purpose and language.” He also attempted to paint the course as simply an elective (as if that changes its harms) and went on to quote the Bible’s “Old Testament” regarding the “covenant of marriage” and sex within that “covenant.” 

Convenient picking and choosing of scripture to suit their needs. 

Here’s a complication for you, CAL: not everyone lives under the laws of your book. In fact, you don’t even live under the laws of this book. If you do, remove the polyester blends from your closets because Leviticus tells you to. Your preacher’s polyester suit is sinful. I digress because arguing the Bible is foolish; the book doesn’t keep itself consistent, so how can its followers? 

Long’s statement went on to say, “We believe that all individuals are created in the image of God and therefore should be treated with compassion, respect, dignity, and love at all times even in disagreement.”

In response to this assignment, Davis wrote a letter to himself in 7th grade. It’s a letter that LEO has published online and one that I think is worthy of a read. It is imperative that all children, regardless of who they fall in love with, know that they are loved and supported and that it doesn’t come with any conditions. 

If you’re a young person reading this online or in the LEO newspaper, you are loved and we fully support you... whoever you are and whomever you love. 

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