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'Deplorable'; Christian Academy of Louisville under fire for controversial assignment

Students were told to write a letter to a friend of the same gender who "struggled with homosexuality" and “persuade them of the goodness of God’s design.”

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Louisville private school is facing criticism after a viral Facebook post showed a class assignment where students had to write a letter to a friend of the same gender who “is struggling with homosexuality.”

The assignment told students at Christian Academy of Louisville that the aim of the letter was to “lovingly and compassionately speak truth to the person” in a way that “does not approve of any sin." 

JP Davis, who posted the screenshots on Facebook, called the assignment "deplorable." Davis told WHAS11 he found out about the assignment after a friend, who has a son at the school, reached out to him wondering what she should do because she was appalled.

“My heart breaks for this age of kids,” Davis wrote in the post. “This is not my Christianity.”

Credit: JP Davis
Above is the assignment titled "CW Letter to a Homosexual Friend" that was assigned to students.

In an interview, Davis, an openly gay man, said he made the post because he had to hide his sexuality for many years.

"CAL can be a Christian school without teaching hate. I know what it feels like you're entire childhood for someone to tell you there's something wrong with you and you need to pray and you're going to hell," Davis said. "I don't want young people to have to experience what I had to experience and endure. That's why I think it's important not just to talk about it, but demand change from a policy perspective."

Kylee Marcy said she graduated from CAL in 2002 after attending from K-12th grade. She said she's disappointed that the school hasn't changed.

"Some of the things that I learned there, I grew up to unlearn," Marcy said. "Certainly, I went to school with gay people that graduated from Christian Academy and they certainly felt ostracized by the school and the curriculum."

Another CAL alum, Jen Tullock, told WHAS11 she was enraged but not surprised by the assignment.

Tullock, an openly gay author and actress who will star in upcoming movie musical "Spirited" alongside Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell later this year, said that she knows how dangerous this sort of rhetoric is as she has experienced it herself.

"My ten years at CAL taught me that my value; that my very worth as a human being, was conditional," she said. "This cruel lie, and the lie that any child can or should reverse their very nature, has and will continue to harm the children to whom it's taught."

Tullock said that educational institutions are meant to inspire and edify the young minds they serve. She said to use those institutions as a platform to breed prejudice, "goes well beyond reckless."

"It is an outright incursion of the soul," Tullock said. "My heart breaks knowing these abuses continue today."

Credit: JP Davis
Above is the rubric students needed to follow to complete the controversial assignment.

Darin A. Long, superintendent of the Christian Academy School System, said that the assignment was part of a unit of study that discusses: “What are humans and where is their identity?”

“This particular assignment, in context, was how a person could discuss homosexuality with a friend from a biblical perspective with compassion and love,” Long said.

He said that the school is a Christian-based private school that teaches all content with a biblical worldview defined in the school’s Statement of Faith and Theological Documents, which is made available at the time of a student's application.

“We believe that God created the marriage covenant to be between one man and one woman,” he said. “We believe that sex is a good gift of God, to be celebrated within the confines of the marriage covenant, agreeing that all other sexual expressions go against God’s design.”

Long said the school would review the assignment to ensure there is "clarity in its purpose and language" moving forward.

Read the school’s full statement:

We have been made aware that a student assignment from one of our middle school bible elective classes has been posted on social media. The assignment is part of a unit of study which discusses “What are humans and where is their identity”. This particular assignment, in context, was how a person could discuss homosexuality with a friend from a biblical perspective with compassion and love. This hypothetical friend conversation was for our students to review the class discussions and their perspectives on the subject. Moving forward, we will review this assignment to ensure there is clarity in its purpose and language.

Christian Academy of Louisville is a Christian-based private school system that partners with families that desire a Christ-centered educational environment. We teach all content with a biblical worldview which is defined in our Statement of Faith and Theological Documents which are provided at the time of student applications, during family interviews, and in our school and parent partnership agreements.

We believe that God created the marriage covenant to be between one man and one woman (Gen. 1:27, Gen. 2:24). We believe that sex is a good gift of God, to be celebrated within the confines of the marriage covenant, agreeing that all other sexual expressions go against God’s design. (1 Cor. 6:18, Gal. 5:19)

We believe that all individuals are created in the image of God and therefore should be treated with compassion, respect, dignity, and love at all times even in disagreement.

Darin A. Long, Ed.S.

Superintendent

Christian Academy of Louisville School System

Fairness Campaign Executive Director Chris Hartman later sent this statement:

Shame on Christian Academy of Louisville for assigning this shocking anti-LGBTQ homework that encourages kids to try to change their friends who identify as LGBTQ. 

It is appalling, but not surprising. While CAL is a private school, this is a preview of the type of prejudicial instruction Kentucky taxpayers will soon be underwriting in charter schools. 

An assignment like this that send a message rooted in anti-LGBTQ discrimination is the type of thing that leads to higher rates of depression and suicidality among LGBTQ youth. CAL is really recruiting kids to become conversion therapists, which is downright dangerous. 

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