23 January 2015

All Are Welcome--As Long As....

One of the reasons why we become jaded, blase or even cynical is that we didn't start out wanting to be those things.   

I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know.  Still, I think it bears telling in light of a story that came my way.

Greg Bullard is a senior pastor in his local church.  He and his husband, Brian Copeland, have won awards for their service to families in their home state of Tennessee.  That service includes running the only LGBT food pantry in their state.  Said pantry serves more than 200 families every month and addresses a problem--poverty in the LGBT community--that is often overlooked.

Whatever their sexual orientation or family configuration, one would expect that their son would be welcome in any school.  OK, maybe not "one".  I would expect that. I imagine you, dear reader, would, too.  So would many other people.

And, being that Greg is a senior pastor, I would expect--or, at least, hope--that his son would be welcome in a Christian school, even if that school is not affiliated with the same denomination as the one that includes Greg's church.  

Turns out, the school--the Davidson Academy--is not affiliated with any particular denomination, though it was "founded by Christians and operates in the Christian tradition based upon clear tenets of faith and practice."

Where did I find that verbal morsel I quoted in my previous sentence?  Where else:  in the letter the school sent to Greg and Brian.

Now, that clause can be interpreted in all sorts of ways.  But, it seems that interpretation of what "Christian" means, what the "Christian tradition" is and what constitutes "clear tenets of faith and practice" is dependent, at least to some degree, on geography--at least here in the good ol' USA.  And, since we're talking about Tennessee, it's not surprising that it was interpreted in a way to exclude the son of two pillars of the community--one of whom happens to be a senior pastor.

Really, I don't want to be snide and cynical.  But it's hard not to be because it's not surprising to learn that Christianity is interpreted to practice hate and exclusion in a particular part of this country where such things seem to happen more often than in other places.

Then again, I would expect--or, at least, hope--that even in Tennessee, there is a school with a supportive environment and high academic standards that would be glad to have the son of Greg Bullard and Brian Copeland walk into its doors.   

One can hope.


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