Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Karen Pence's School Causes Progressive Students to Feel "Unsafe"

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A progressive, independent school in Washington DC is refusing to play Immanuel Christian School in basketball because their biblical beliefs cause some students to feel unsafe.

Be informed.

A few weeks ago Immanuel Christian School made national headlines when it was revealed that Second Lady Karen Pence would be working there as an art teacher.

Karen had worked there in the past during the years Vice President Pence served in Congress.

When the LGBTQ community heard Mrs. Pence would be working there, they threw a fit. They were outraged over the school, its beliefs...and I'm certain, the fact that Karen Pence was now teaching at the school.

LGBTQ rights activists were outraged by the school's "exclusionary policies" regarding gay marriage, transgenderism and other LGBTQ related issues.

In fact, Immanuel Christian does require all students and faculty---including Pence---to sign a moral pledge when joining the school that reads in part, "I understand that the term 'marriage' has only one meaning; the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive covenant union as delineated in Scripture."

It continues:
"Moral misconduct which violates the bona fide occupational qualifications for employees includes but is not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside marriage ( e.g.premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use of pornographic material or websites, and sexual abuse or improprieties toward minors as defined by Scripture and federal or state law."

The school's Parent Agreement further notes that ICS reserves the right to refuse admission to or kick out any student whose family environment runs counter to biblical principles. They outline the same moral biblical principles named above, stating that any family unwilling to support those moral principles cannot enroll their child in the school---quoting Lev. 20:13 and Romans 1:27.

Once the biblical beliefs of the school became known to the wider public, Newsweek Magazine carried this headline: "Karen Pence Teaching At Anti-LGBT School."

When Sheridan School in DC became aware of Karen Pence teaching at ICS, and of what the school believes, they contacted Immanuel through an email noting that "some students did not feel safe entering" Immanuel Christian School and therefore the school would no longer be playing away games against the Christian school's sports teams.

In a letter obtained by Rod Dreher and The American Conservative, Jessica Donovan, head of Sheridan, the K-8 progressive school, wrote a letter to the parents explaining that she and other leaders and students at the school had talked about playing the Christian school and had decided against it because of the obvious challenges.

"Some of the challenges," she said, emerged as "we understood that some students did not feel safe entering a school that bans LGBTQ rights. Forcing our children to choose between an environment in which they feel unsafe or staying home was not an option."

Donovan also noted that "We were clear to separate the ideals of Christianity with the policies of this particular school, as we play many Christian schools that support LGBTQ rights."

A while back, Rod Dreher wrote a book titled, "The Benedict Option," in which he advocates that American Christians must begin to prepare for the coming "Dark Age" by embracing an ancient Christian way of life.

I do not agree with the extent to which some have taken Dreher's suggestions of separating from the culture and exiting society because we are clearly directed to be "salt and light" in a dark, decaying world. To be absent from the culture is to become silent, nonengaging and ineffective in the world, which is not consistent with Scriptural teaching.

However, Dreher rightly defines our culture, and what we as biblical Christians can expect to face. I believe he is more advocating creating a parallel culture than advocating to withdraw from current culture.

He says the way forward is actually the way back---all the way to St. Benedict of Nursia. He describes the sixth-century monk, horrified by the moral chaos following the fall of Rome, as one retreating to the forest, creating a new way of life for Christians---building communities, etc.

Dreher believes Benedict saved "not just Christianity but Western civilization as well." I don't know about that, but am certain that today is not unlike the days following the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Today, a new form of barbarism reigns---absent the trappings of Rome, but not absent the rot and darkness. Too many believers are blind to it, and our churches are too weak and too conformed to the world to resist it.

Politics offer little help because we are experiencing a spiritual crisis more than a political one.

Dreher says we must embrace exile from mainstream culture and construct a resilient counterculture---we need a renewed church that can sustain believers in the dark ages that has overtaken us---these days are for building strong arks for the long journey across a sea of night.

Deher's thoughts merit consideration.

However, there is a better way.

Consider these promises:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deut. 31:6).

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Is. 41:10).

Rather than withdraw, consider this:

"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed...Therefore we do not lose heart" (II Corth. 4:8,9,16).

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.

Be Informed. Be Faithful. Be Bold. Be Prayerful. Be Strong.