Education

Christian school scraps ‘contract’ comparing being gay to paedophilia after blistering backlash

Maggie Baska February 3, 2022
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A sign for Citipointe Christian College in Australia surrounded by shrubbery

Citipointe Christian College has withdrawn a 'contract' that compared being LGBT+ to incest, bestiality and paedophilia. (YouTube/ABC News Australia)

Australia’s Citipointe Christian College has withdrawn a reviled contract that compared being LGBT+ to incest and paedophilia after backlash from parents.

The school in Brisbane sent families a document last week that said the college would only enrol a student “on the basis of the gender that corresponds to their biological sex”.

It also declared that homosexuality and bisexuality are “sinful” and later compared being queer to bestiality, incest and paedophilia.

After harsh backlash from parents and the broader community, Citipointe Christian College has now backtracked on the contract.

Pastor Brian Mulheran, the school’s principal, said in a statement that the school “deeply” regrets that the document resulted in some students feeling “they would be discriminated against because of their sexuality or gender identity”.

However, he argued the school should still be allowed the “freedom to continue to provide an education based on our shared beliefs”.

Mulheran said the college “does not and will not discriminate against” queer students as “being gay or transgender” doesn’t ‘diminish’ an individuals “humanity or dignity in God’s eyes”.

“I hope that by withdrawing the contract we can return all of our focus to the Christian education of our students as we begin this new year,”” Mulheran said. “Every individual is created equal in the image of God and should be treated with compassion, love, kindness, respect and dignity.”

He continued: “This will continue to be at the heart of our college and help us to come together again as a community.

“Our society gives freedom to people to be a part of groups with shared beliefs. Citipointe has the freedom to maintain its Christian ethos and this is an essential part of Christian education and choice for parents.

“As a college established for religious purposes, we will continue to provide an education based on our shared beliefs.”

Citipointe Christian College is among the largest independent schools in Queensland, CNN reported. It boasts that it has a student population of around 1,700 from primary through to secondary education.

The contract invoked harsh criticism from across the country, prompting one teacher to resign and a former student to create an online petition in protest.

Helen Clapham Burns said she had quit her teaching job and withdrawn her son from Citipointe Christian College after the anti-LGBT+ document came to light. She told the Project that the decision had ‘blown her son’s world apart’ as he won’t be able to attend school alongside his friends.

“Not only could I not sign that as a parent, I couldn’t agree to be a teacher in a school that had that vocabulary and language around some of the most vulnerable kids that we interact with,” she declared.

The petition, which has over 155,800 signatures, argued that the initial contract would mean that the college could use “their religious beliefs to openly discriminate against queer and trans students, as well as threatening to take away their education”.

Queensland’s education minister Grace Grace, who has a non-binary child, told ABC News that her department had received several complaints from parents and students the college over the anti-LGBT+ document.

“It’s actually quite distressing… to hear that someone like that would be treated the way that school has said,” Grace said. “In this day and age, to see this happening, is actually quite unbelievable.”

She continued: “We strive for an inclusive and supportive school environment — that is what we should be doing — and no student should be denied a world-class education because they are a member of the LGBTIQ+ community.”

More: Australia, Christianity, Homophobia, transphobia

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