Citipointe Christian College, a school in Brisbane, the capital city of the Australian state Queensland, has asked families to sign an enrolment contract that contains a ‘statement of faith’, which asserts that “homosexual acts” and “bisexual acts” are immoral and comparable to bestiality and paedophilia.
The statement also includes a declaration that implies that Trans students in the school will only be recognized by the “gender that God bestowed”, meaning the sex they were assigned at birth.
The college is one of Queensland’s largest independent schools and is allied to the founding church of the Christian Outreach Movement, Citipointe Church. The ‘statement of faith’ that can be found in their enrolment contracts is directly taken from the constitution of the Christian Outreach Centre. It contains the following words:
“We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including but not limited to: adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, bisexual acts, bestiality, incest, paedophilia and pornography) is sinful and offensive to God and is destructive to human relationships and society.”
As the federal government tries to push through its religious discrimination bill, a Queensland school is drawing criticism for issuing a contract that condemns homosexuality, and allows them to exclude trans students.#TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/qoXiZggHxe
— The Project (@theprojecttv) January 30, 2022
The contract also requires parents to agree “that, where distinctions are made between male and female (inclusive of, but not limited to, for example, uniforms, presentation, terminology, use of facilities and amenities, participation in sporting events and accommodation) such distinctions will be applied on the basis of the individual’s biological sex.”
In case the contract is signed by parents, it will “afford Citipointe Christian College the right to exclude a student from the College who no longer adheres to the College’s doctrinal precepts”.
The discriminatory contract sparked public outrage among the LGBTQ+ community, as well as parents and Australian politicians. An online petition was launched demanding the revision of the enrolment contract and, in a few days, it gained more than 140’000 signatures. Moreover, the Human Rights Commission, the human rights watchdog in Queensland, has received multiple complaints from parents arguing that the school was discriminating against their children on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
I am appalled to read the enrolment contract of Citipointe CC. I stand with parents, teachers and students outraged by such bigotry & extreme right ideology.Families seeking a Christian edn should not have to contend with discrimination based on their child’s gender or sexuality
— Mrs Corrine McMillan MP (@mc_millan4) January 30, 2022
Queensland’s Education Minister, Grace Grace, confirmed that a review will be carried out to establish whether the school breached legislative obligations. The case has been referred to the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board, which is in charge of ensuring that all schools meet the required criteria for state funding and will establish whether the college breached the condition that students be treated equally.
Meanwhile, in a statement published on the school’s website, principal Brain Mulheran explained that the school “has always held these Christian beliefs” and that they “have tried to be fair and transparent to everyone in our community by making them clear in the enrolment contract”.
Mulheran also said that the school does not pass judgment on their students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, which seems contradictory at the very least when their enrolment contract compares LGBTQ+ people to paedophiles. In a less than reassuring comment, he proclaimed: “We unequivocally love and respect all people regardless of their lifestyle and choices, even if those choices are different to our beliefs and practice”.
Here’s a beautiful, loving response to the Citipointe Church outrage from Bishop Jeremy Greaves – sent to all Qld Anglican schools today.
This confirms my strong conviction that we must amplify the voices of liberal Christians who are working for justice within the church. pic.twitter.com/LA1HzLNNSB
— Chrys Stevenson ? ? (@Chrys_Stevenson) January 31, 2022
Following the backlash the school received, the principal sent out a video message to parents granting them a two-week extension on enrolment, reassuring that he had listened to their concerns and inviting them to “make the right decisions for themselves”, making it clear that the school had no intention of backtracking on their demand that parents sign those enrollment contracts.
This example is not the only worrying news we’ve received lately concerning education and LGBTQ+ issues. Other countries like Poland in Europe and Florida in the US have recently adopted discriminatory legislation regarding education and LGBTQ+ themes, proving that such trends are not confined to just one part of the world.
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