Abandon Your Beliefs or You'll Be Punished: MT High School Christian Club Under Fire for Biblical Faith
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Students at Bozeman High School in Montana are protesting against a Christian club because they don't like the group's biblical beliefs about marriage and sexuality. That's led to a crackdown, and the Christian group is essentially being told this: Abandon your beliefs or forget about being an official school club.
Earlier this year, four female students spoke out against the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) club and their position on homosexual relationships, KECI-TV in Missoula reports.
The girls argue that FCA's statement of faith goes against Bozeman's motto which encourages "acceptance, respect, and integrity."
FCA's National Statement of Faith says, "God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman."
Sara Callow, the mother of two of the girls, says their concerns are centered around at-risk and vulnerable LGBTQ students.
"These girls have no problem with a Christian club. They're not anti-Christian or against kids having a safe place at school to share their faith together," she said.
Also, the girls disagree with the FCA's pledge to abstain from sexual relations until marriage.
Bozeman School Superintendent Bob Connors said, "We're happy the girls did come forward. They've handled it appropriately. I'm glad they took an active role in questioning the policy and procedures."
"Young adulthood is a time when you have a lot of questions about yourself, and it's not the school district's place to judge one way or the other, because right or wrong isn't the issue," Connors added.
The local FCA club was told to either change its name and continue functioning as an inclusive Christian club or follow the national mission statement and become an unofficial club.
"We want to make sure it's an inclusive place where every student is treated the same and has the same access to any club or activity, and so the inclusion factor is very important to us," Connors added.
On Nov. 11th, the girls brought their issues to a school board meeting. They argued that the administration took an excessive amount of time to address their concerns.
They said they didn't feel like the matter was taken seriously and suggested school administrators take sensitivity training.
Bob Veroulis, state director of the Montana Fellowship of Christian Athletes, said the group does not discriminate against any students or require children to sign purity pledges. But it does require adult leaders to ensure they represent the FCA's values.
Connors said the Bozeman High School principal has not heard back from the local chapter with the option they will choose for the club.
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