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September 25, 2005

Despite my bias, I'm obligated to speak

I actually read the story of the 14 y/o girl expelled from a private Christian school because her parents are lesbians a couple of days ago. I hesitated to write about it, but after reading Jody's excellent piece on the subject, Giving Christians a bad name, I realized I needed to add my voice rather than recuse myself from the subject. First I need tell you of my bias.

About 1987 I looked to enroll my daughters at Ontario Christian and it was I who rejected the place.

I lived in Ontario, CA, between 1983 and 1999. I was married, a full-time homemaker with very young children (daughters born '79, '81, '83, '87). Jennifer (eldest) was already reading at age four but because she was a winter baby she would not have been able to start public school until she was close to six years old. That was when I found a loving, family-oriented private school only a few blocks from my home, Bethel Christian. Jenn started there the fall before she turned five and thrived. However, the school closed at the end of her third grade term (Erin was in kindergarten, Heather in preschool) and I had to start looking at other schools in the area and Ontario Christian School had a local reputation for excellent academics.

They have two campuses, k-8 on Euclid Ave., the high school is on Philadelphia. I called, then stopped by the Euclid campus, chatted with the office people and took home a huge packet of paperwork which I immediately started reading.

And something just didn't sit right with me.

Certainly, my girls ... er, my family ... met the initial criteria. We were members of a local Catholic church and attended regularly, I knew my girls would meet their academic standards, but I was bothered by the whole issue dealing with family "immorality." The section had an almost scolding quality. Add to that the fact that the FAMILY was to be interviewed and "passed" by the Board of Trustees before admission was granted. Was this a prep school or a Christian school?

This wasn't the loving embrace of the girls' old school. This wasn't Welcome the stranger, the Christian call to offer hospitality. This wasn't the humbleness of accepting people as they are and being witness through one's own good works.

Ontario Christian School was operating from exclusivity and a parsimonious spirit.

I tossed the application in the trash.

I'm not aggitated by the Leftists and anti-religious bigots who have gleefully been using this incident to finger-point. Even if this were the most welcoming of Christian schools and the story had been how this girl and her family were embraced and supported, they would not be caught dead praising the school. And in the ensuing years I am no longer an active member of a church. But I feel I must still speak out against OCS, even though they have every right, legally, to be as "exclusive" as any prep school that interviews "the family" before admission. Certainly, a snooty prep school expelling a student because, say, it was revealed mommy and daddy had not the ivy league education as required would not have generated the kind of outrage - some legitimate, some faux - this story has. Dennis Prager (in another context, but valid here)

When a secular person commits evil, it is surely evil, but it doesn't bring God and religion in disrepute. When a person commits evil in God's name, however, he destroys the greatest hope for goodness to prevail on earth -- widespread belief in a God who demands goodness (ethical monotheism). There is nothing as evil as religious evil.
I'm not calling what OCS has done "evil", but they have, by their own uncharitable actions, brought disrepute to other Christian schools who do lovingly fulfill their mission to their students.

Posted by Darleen at September 25, 2005 06:55 AM


Hey, I, someone you would probably call a Leftist, have been singing the praises of the Dream Center here in LA, a Christian organization that welcomed in Katrina families and provided them with a safe place to stay, access to medical facilities, school, etc...

I agree with you and Prager, when people act like this in the name of God it does destroy hope and increases the distain many people feel about religious people who say one thing and do another.

Posted by: Mieke at September 25, 2005 08:55 AM

Actually, Jody wrote that piece on OCS!

I'm really glad you wrote about your experience with the school--it sheds a lot of light on to the story. Maybe some of the leftards screaming about the Bush religious rethuglikkkans will see it and understand this is nothing new, and not a place we're proud of.

I have to wonder, why did the women even want to send their child there, knowing their views on what constitutes a "moral" family? Hmmmmm....

Even so, the school ought to be vilified for admissions based on parents rather than the kids. I'm pretty sure my daughter wouldn't be allowed to go to school there, with her being the child of a twice-divorced mother (the horror!!!).

Posted by: Beth at September 25, 2005 08:55 AM

Thanks, Beth. I guess I wasn't paying attention to the "posted by" line. I've corrected it above to reflect Jody's authorship.

Jody, forgive me?

Mieke, I consider you more a liberal than Leftist, and my differences with today's contemporary liberalism is only where it has been subsumed by Leftism.

There's a lot of great religious schools out there, but it only takes one or a few "we are superior" ones like OCS to smear them all.

Posted by: Darleen at September 25, 2005 09:06 AM

Hi Darleen, I first read about this on Gay Patriot. Thanks for your interesting story.

Posted by: PatC at September 26, 2005 11:28 AM