EDMONTON, Alberta — A Christian school in Canada says that it is shocked after recently being told by the local school board that it should not teach any “offensive” Bible verses to children, particularly those those that refer to homosexuality.
Cornerstone Christian Academy in Kingman, approximately an hour outside of the provincial capital of Edmonton, says that it was approached by the Battle River School Division and asked to remove 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 from its student handbook.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” the Scripture reads.
“And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
“We asked them to not include it, but perhaps use a different piece of Scripture,” Diane Hutchinson with Battle River told Metro News. “There is a lot of love in the word of God. We were concerned about that specific piece of Scripture, given today’s legislation and sensitive environment.”
She was referring the addition of homosexuals and transgenders to the 2015 Alberta Human Rights Act.
The academy removed the Scripture as requested, but became concerned when Board Chair Laurie Skori advised school officials that “any Scripture that could be considered offensive to particular individuals should not be read or studied in school.”
She then clarified in another email, “For example: any teachings that denigrate or vilify someone’s sexual orientation.”
The note took academy officials aback.
“That’s a completely different directive, and it was shocking. Absolutely shocking,” Cornerstone Chair Deanna Margel told the National Post. “You can’t just pick and choose those Scriptures. We need every single word there to challenge us, to call us to greater understanding. It’s just so important.”
She said that she feels the directive is an infringement upon the school’s freedom of religion and speech.
The academy has since obtained legal representation from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom.
“The government’s duty of neutrality, required by the Supreme Court of Canada, means that a school board cannot dictate whether verses in the Torah, Koran, New Testament or Guru Granth Sahib are acceptable,” attorney John Carpay said in a statement.
Skori told the National Post that she is disappointed that school officials took the matter to the media, and that it has hurt the board’s reputation and resulted in “hate mail” and “fear mongering.” Margel said they went to the media because the board wasn’t listening to their concerns.
The two groups have until the end of the month to reach a resolution. The academy might have to find a new board if the matter remains impasse.