Education | Gay Youth | Religion | Tennessee

Rossville Christian Academy: Students To Be Militantly Heterosexual In Thought, Word, And Deed

TennFlagTennessee isn't the best place for gay kids to go to school. You've got kids penalized for trying to start GSAs; you've got kids assaulted for wearing pro-gay tee-shirts; you've got boys suspended for wearing makeup. And now this, a new guideline from a Christian school in Rossville:

Homosexuality is forbidden in scripture (Romans 1:27, Leviticus 18:22).  A staff member or student who promotes, engages in, or identifies himself/herself with such activity through any word or action shall be in violation of this policy.  Should the administration determine a violation of this policy, the person involved will be subject to disciplinary action with the possibility of permanent dismissal.  Any applicant who is not in compliance with this policy will not be admitted."

That is to say, a teen (or tween) supporter of LGBT rights could rightfully be expelled from Rossville Christian Academy.

The Academy serves children in grades K-12. And seeing as most parents of kindergarteners have no way of knowing whether or not their children will grow up to be gay, straight, or what, doesn't it seem like an awfully big risk to send them to school in which, upon arriving at adolescence, they might find themselves suddenly unwelcome? Isn't taking such a risk an example of uninentionally negligent parenting, at least?

In any case, the current crop of parents with children at Rossville Christian had no way of knowing the school would adopt this weird policy, and not all of them are happy it's happened. According to Memphis's Channel 3 News, one parent (who wished to remain anonymous) said:

My initial reaction is that it was specifically aimed at one person, and I felt very sad about that ... If you're going to single out one thing that you say is a sin, then maybe we have to address every single thing.

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  1. Chris, you're missing the point - the "bullies" are the family members of these LGBT Youth. It's their parents, their brothers and sisters, their uncles and aunts. All coming from a place of self-styled "Christianity"

    it's not "playing the victim" or "giving too much power" to point out the reality that Christianity in America is what is driving LGBT Youth to their historically-disproportionate suicide-attempt rate.

    You're talking about band-aids. I'm saying it's way passed the point of band-aids. hit the source. address the source. the source in America is right-wing Christianity, the Bullies are not just school peers - it's the families of these young people.

    check out the suicide stats for males aged 15-30 in utah. congrats, Mormons, on driving your own sons to take their lives.

    it's useless to tell LGBT Youth to ignore bullies - grown-ass adults in north america have a responsibility to address the problem at its root. being an anti-gay Christian won't stop you from having a gay child or gay family members. it will only ensure that your child or family member struggles with self worth.

    understand this.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Dec 24, 2011 4:38:15 PM

  2. Hebrews 8: 11-20. All those that put power in Levitican law should read it.

    And if you're going to use passages of the Bible as the basis for how you treat people it should be all or nothing. And I would expect these illiterates from this school to expell any student who eats shrimp, crab or lobster but what do you want to bet that that is not in their new bylaws.

    Look, this will only hurt this ridiculous school and hopefully in a few years as the 21st century catches up with them and enrollment drops and they are hurting for money, they'll discover bigotry is a money-loser. Ask Rick Santorum. Ask Michelle Bachmann.

    And half the kids at this ignorant school are telling their parents they're gay just to get the hell out of the sad, stupid place.

    Posted by: Bart | Dec 24, 2011 4:39:35 PM


    And what would you propose? Make laws that Christians can't express their views? That would have the opposite effect - if you could ever pass that sort of law, there'd be a Christian backlash.

    The way to win the war is by changing 1 mind at a time - by setting a good example, and proving to the "Good Christians" that not all gays fit the frightening stereotype they've created in their minds.

    We'll never win the war with sticks. We need to lure the reluctant Christian creatures with carrots.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 24, 2011 4:56:10 PM

  4. we need to be "Out" to all of those Christian, Chris, and to stop making excuses for hiding our being gay because we're "scared of what they might think" or we care too much about our own personal financial interests.

    it's very simple, Chris - grown-ass adults living in North America have no reasons whatsoever to continue to give excuses for being Closeted. I never talked about laws. I'm talking about grown men stopping giving cowardly excuses for their semi-Closeted lives.

    So take your own advice for once, Chris, and stop giving excuses for choosing to be Closeted to some people. Those people you're still choosing to hide your gayness from are the ones you should be making a greater effort to be Out to. I learned that lesson at age 17. It's time you learned it.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Dec 24, 2011 5:05:15 PM

  5. being from Memphis i can tell you Memphis is a very liberal place...and Mid-Town Memphis is amazing...but the rest of the state is a joke...they hate gay people and don't even try and hide it...Nashville is OK.

    Posted by: Drew | Dec 24, 2011 5:53:30 PM

    I'm not sure how to be more clear. I'm out. To everybody. You ask me if I'm gay, and I'll say yes.

    Here's how I've approached being out since the mid-1990s:
    I have a gay bumper-sticker on my car. During the course of conversations, when family comes-up (what did you do last weekend?) I say something like: "Michael and I did so-and-so." Nearly everybody gets the idea eventually, and accepts my being gay, because I'm comfortable with being gay.

    The reason I don't make a point of being gay (making a public announcement, or talking about being gay when it's not relevant) is that it would be COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.

    Maybe it's different in NewZealand.

    Let me relate a big story in the US recently...Tim Tebow...he's a good Quarterback in professional American football. And he's Christian. VERY Christian. And he announces to the world, at the oddest times, that he's Christian and loves God. It's just weird. People don't like it.

    Tebow's Christianity is irrelevant to his playing football. My homosexuality is irrelevant to my weather forecasting.

    I choose not to be a Tim Tebow-of-homosexuality because I think, at-least in America, we'll gain full equality FASTER if we take every opportunity to be open about who we are...but NOT if we are bullies about it. We should make people COMFORTABLE with them we're not so different from them..."different" scares people...we're really not so different...we just happen to be attracted to people of the same sex...there's no reason to fear us.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 24, 2011 6:46:31 PM

  7. What do you expect, its Tenn!

    Posted by: Rob | Dec 24, 2011 8:05:29 PM

  8. @Chris: I don't pretend to speak for Little Kiwi, but I beleive he lives in North America. I'm sure that he knows who Tim Tebow is, and we all know that Tebow is insane.

    Anyway--and this is a general point that isn't directed at you, Chris---I've always been frustrated when guys disclose that they didn't come out until their late 20s or their 30s. I'm 39, so it's not like these guys are from a different generation. So I fully understand Kiwi's frustration. I cannot accept the myriad rationales I've heard from closeted gays who are living in urban areas, are financially independent, and have friends--even gay friends--who usually know that they're gay but are unwilling to acknowledge it.

    I can understand people in very specific circumstances who feel the need to compartmentalize their lives and not come out to a hyper-religious family, intolerant employer, or hateful community. That said, I consider most closeted guys to be wimps, for lack of a better word. I don't wear a rainbow flag 24/7, and in fact a lot of people think I'm straight--though not because I'm trying to mislead anyone.

    Coming out is the most effective way to advance our rights. When straight people discover that gays aren't aliens they could never understand, that creates allies. It hurts all of us when gays are too weak to be honest with themselves and their friends, especially given the dramatic shifts in public attitudes in the past 20-30 and especially 5-10 years.

    Yes, everyone's story is different. But you can only make excuses for so long to justify the closet. And we can't expect respect from other people until we respect ourselves. So many gay people make such a bigger deal over it than do straight people. And if people have a problem with it, they're not worth your time.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 24, 2011 10:03:31 PM

  9. Why do we sit back and let all our hard won human rights be taken from us. Why don't we do a "Million Man (or women)" type Tennessee? Send gay men and lesbian's in to try and make change like it was done in the 60's for African Americans. There is so much to be learned and used from past struggles. Where's Harvey Milk when we need him? We have become way too comfortable and willing to allow things to happen in "other" states so long as it doesn't effect us in Boston, NYC and San Francisco.

    Remember the slogan "Silence = Death" from the 80's? Well, it still does. "Marriage" is not our only issue and the more we let ourselves be bullied by unjust government and laws the faster we will find ourselves with no rights at all.

    Posted by: Mitchell | Dec 24, 2011 11:13:30 PM

  10. Simply quoting the shellfish prohibition to Christians doesn't work because it's incomplete. But there is a way to use it to change their minds.

    The Old Testament prohibits shellfish and stealing. Shellfish is out. Stealing is still in. If we want to change their minds, we must show Christians that homosexuality is in the 'shellfish category' and not the 'stealing category.' Until we do, the argument is incomplete and ineffective.

    Fortunately it's very easy to do. Jesus taught that only the commandments based on "Love your neighbor as yourself" matter. (Matthew 19:16-19) Paul taught the same thing too. (Romans 13:8-9) Eating shellfish doesn't violate "love of neighbor" so it's out. Stealing does violate "love of neighbor" so it stays in. Homosexuals can love their neighbors as themselves, therefore that prohibition is in the shellfish category, and is therefore out.

    There is a great site dedicated to teaching the LGBT community how to successfully win over the Religious Right. It is at

    Some of the information was used to help get two anti-discrimination measures passed in Bowling Green, Ohio during the 2010 election cycle. Some pastors even formed a coalition to support the anti-discrimination measures. The Religious Right's misrepresentation of the Bible is the last barrier to full LGBT equality. Tear this barrier down, and equality will be here to stay... forever.

    Posted by: Osvaldo | Dec 25, 2011 9:05:50 AM

  11. From my understanding, the school's actions are legal under our current rule of law and not subject to losing government funding. Until the 14th Amendment is expanded to include a ban against discrimination based on sexual orientation, this crap will continue.

    Merry freakin' Christmas.

    Posted by: Rodney Wollam | Dec 25, 2011 10:04:34 AM

  12. Yeah, this crap and a bottle of Jack will get you a long hard F*ing. And maybe if you are lucky he will be the one on his knees and won't be praying...

    At least that's what I found out with these military 'christians'... :p

    Posted by: mmike1969 | Dec 25, 2011 11:18:50 AM

  13. @ PAUL R:
    I agree with you completely!

    But, to me, LITTLE KIWI's gay militantism seems very Tebow-like, and may be couter-productive.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 25, 2011 11:44:04 AM

  14. that's funny, Chris, because just a few days ago you were very clear that you hide your homosexuality from anti-gay Christians because you "dont want to offend them" and you also said that you have no problem "taking a bigot's money"

    so when you get your story straight (no pun intended) you can try again.

    p.s. "You ask me if I'm gay, and I'll say yes." that's what cowardly wimps say. real men don't wait to be asked. learn this.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Dec 25, 2011 4:10:44 PM

  15. @ LITTLE KIWI:
    Subtlety seems to be lost on you.

    I do NOT hide my homosexuality from anyone. I gave you examples of that.

    But I also do not feel it's appropriate NOR helpful to our quest for equality (or my quest for financial rewards) to talk about homosexuality unless we can make it relevant to the conversation.

    I have deeply religious clients who know I'm gay, and I'm not shy about talking about it...but there are lots of times it's just not relevant.

    I think Tim Tebow makes a lot of us think Christians are a bunch of kooks. And I think your gay militantisn makes straight people think gay people are a bunch of kooks.

    I think I can be more effective at changing people's minds if they get to know me, and like me, and find out during the natural course of conversations that I'm gay, partnered for 21 years, and much like straight folks. With my approach, people can't just dismiss me, because they've already decided they know and like me.

    So we disagree on how best to further our cause for equality. Your approach may sway some minds. I happen to think my approach is better. But we're both on the same let's stop name calling.

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 25, 2011 6:04:53 PM

  16. @Chris and Kiwi: Happy holidays to both. We can all do this in our own ways. As long as we're trying to make progress, we can take our own approaches.

    Most of my friends are straight, and my 17-year relationship lasted longer than most of theirs. People are people.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 25, 2011 6:50:40 PM

  17. Brandon Thorpe wrote:

    "Tennessee isn't the best place for gay kids to go to school. . . . you've got boys suspended for wearing makeup."

    It's too bad when a writer for a major gay blog needs to be called out on promoting gay stereotypes as if he is some sort of homophobic 10-year old kid.

    Brandon, listen closely: being a gay boy does not mean that you wear makeup and those boys who do wear makeup may or may not be gay. "Gay" is not synonymous with "crossdresser" and when you equate the two, you are telling a lie. Stop it.

    Posted by: Steven | Dec 26, 2011 8:43:58 AM

  18. the supreme laws of the bible the ten commandments don't mention homosexuality but do mention adultery so how many of these people can past muster.

    Posted by: walter | Dec 26, 2011 3:44:22 PM

  19. I applaud Rossville Christian Academy for the stance they took on homosexuality. I am a youth pastor, and I have seen society degrade tremendously over the past 30 years or so. Rossville Christian Academy is not some flag-waving, slave owner that still lives in the confederacy. They have done everything to ensure that they are politically correct in society, but without compromising their integrity. In fact, a number of years ago, they changed their mascot from “Ol’ Colonel Rebel” to the “Wolves”, because of how times have changed.

    One thing that cannot change is their stance on sin. Homosexuality is not just ONE sin, it is a lifestyle of sin, that cannot be accepted any more than a lifestyle of drugs, promisuous sex, or alcohol. I’m sure if a student had a habitual drug habit, or any other lifestyle of sin, it would not be condoned on campus any more than homosexuality. God forbids it, just like any other wrongful lifestyle. And be clear, God does not hate the sinner, ONLY the sin. God loves us all and calls us all unto Him. This is simply a witch hunt from those who will try and force the school to abandon their BIBLICAL beliefs.

    I have never been so proud of my alma mater! Thank you for taking a stand!

    Rev. Chris Pleasants
    Proud Alum of RCA, 1991

    Posted by: Chris Pleasants | Dec 29, 2011 9:11:57 AM

  20. There is probably a self loathing closeted homosexual in charge of Rossville Academy. No real straight man is so preoccupied with asserting his heterosexuality.

    Posted by: jack | Jan 6, 2012 11:49:21 PM

  21. It is a christian school. If you don't like it, leave. The rule was not targeted at one student. There was a lot more going on that is not being said. There were things being said on facebook, etc. It HAD to stop, before it got out of hand and someone may have gotten hurt. This was being proactive before they had to be reactive!! They were forced to do something.

    Posted by: KLynnF | Apr 2, 2012 2:44:34 PM

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