A private Christian school in Sydney, Australia, has taken the spotlight after the school included same-sex marriage in a list of relationships prohibited by God. The school brazenly listed same-sex marriage along with abusive relationships and adultery.
Last week, Brisbane's Citipointe Christian College got pounding condemnations from activists and advocacy groups for student contracts with clauses pertaining to sexuality and gender. This time, Penrith Christian School in Sydney did a similar thing and got backlash. Penrith made it a part of the enrollment process for parents to "read and understand" their statement of faith.
The school's principal, Tracey Deal, doubled down on the belief that same-sex marriage is as deplorable as adultery or an abusive relationship. Listing same-sex marriage as one of the "fallen relationships."
In a letter addressed to parents on February 7, Deal said she's disappointed that the "media have misunderstood and misinterpreted a small part of the Statement of Faith."
"Adultery, same-sex attraction, transgender identity, premarital sex, sexual acts between members of the same sex and abusive relationships, are all examples of relationships and behaviors which are not acceptable to God," Deal explained.
"Sexual relationships should be exercised exclusively in a marital relationship between a male and female," Deal said through the letter. Asked by the Guardian to respond to the criticism, Deal declined to give any comments insisting instead that they have been taken "out of context."
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pushing for a new bill to protect "people of religious faith." On February 3, Morrison said he would update the bill to include protection for students from being expelled due to t their sexual identity. However, the bill will also make schools that insist on their statement of faith immune from any legal actions.
Dr. Meredith Doig, president of the Rationalist Society of Australia, said Penrith and Citipointe are just the tip of the iceberg. "Their 'biblically-based' anti-LGBTI views will become much more commonly seen if the religious discrimination bill is passed," she said.
Jeremy Wiggins, executive officer at Transcend Australia, a parent-led support network founded in 2012, calls the bill harmful and warns that it would "give license to faith-based employers to discriminate at will."