Sydney’s Penrith Christian School equates being LGBT with abusive relationships

Penrith Christian School listed transgender identity and same-sex attraction alongside ‘abusive relationships’ as behavior ‘unacceptable to God’ in a declaration attached to their application for registration.

Trigger Warning: This story contains details of homophobic and transphobic statements, which may be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or live chat.

Sydney private school principal Tracey Deal has defended the homophobic and transphobic statement of faith, which states that “adultery, same-sex attraction, transgender identity, pre-marital sex , same-sex sexual acts, and abusive relationships are all examples of relationships and behaviors that are not acceptable to God.

“While we are called to love those who have such relationships or behave in such ways, we do not endorse such relationships or behaviors.”

School defends statement

According to Guardianin a letter to parents, Deal called the controversy a misunderstanding and said the media had “misinterpreted a small part of the statement of faith and inferred mistreatment of students.”

Other parts of the statement of faith deal with “divine healing for the body” and “eternal punishment of the wicked (in the sense of eternal torment)”.

In 2013, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Penrith Christian School was forced to revise its statement of faith after it found it branded homosexuality an ‘abomination to God, a perversion of the natural order and one that must not be entered into “.

The school then replied that “the policy is now under review, according to Christian Schools Australia, which says the wording has been ‘misunderstood’ and that gay and lesbian students are treated with care”.

Sydney MP Alex Greenwich tweeted at the time: ‘Good to see Penrith Christian School now rethinking their approach to gay students.’

The discriminatory power of denominational schools

Earlier this week, Citipointe Christian College in Brisbane came under fire for its enrollment contract which stated that “any form of sexual immorality (including but not limited to adultery, fornication, acts homosexuals, bisexual acts, bestiality, incest, pedophilia and pornography) is sinful and offensive to God and destructive to human relationships and society.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to the controversy by saying faith-based schools would not be allowed to discriminate against LGBTQI students.

Soon after, he announced a proposal that would change the Sex Discrimination Act to prevent schools from discriminating on the basis of sexuality. However, schools would retain the right to expel and discriminate against students based on gender identity.

Moderate Liberal MPs have threatens to oppose the Religious Discrimination Bill as Labor has yet to publish a position.

Read Star Observer’s brief on the Religious Discrimination Bill.

If you feel distressed while reading the story, you can contact support services.

For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support, call QLife on 1800 184 527 or live chat.

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