MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Despite controversy, Briarcrest Christian School continued to hold training sessions to help parents discuss sexuality and gender identity on Tuesday.
Briarcrest leaders say they’re holding training sessions to provide parents with a ‘gospel response’, but advocates for the LGBTQ community say they should be trying to create safe spaces for all students.
A message sent to parents at Briarcrest Christian school for a training session titled “God Made Them Male and Female. And It Was Good. A Gospel Response to Culture’s Gender Theory” has some concerned.
Ginger Leonard with the Tennessee Equality Project works to advocate for the equal rights of the LGBTQ community.
She said this is something that shouldn’t happen even at a private Christian school.
“I can’t imagine what lives in the heart of a parent or a person who deals with children to think it’s even ok to have that conversation. It’s beyond me,” she said.
But former representative and Memphis area preacher John Deberry says it’s the parents right.
“It only becomes hatred and intolerance when we don’t have the right to say what we want to say and believe what we want to believe,” he said. “If they believe in a biblical moral code then it is their absolute constitutional right to do so.”
Deberry said this is setting a potentially dangerous precedent.
“We’re creating an environment and culture to where if we don’t all agree, if we don’t walk the same path, if I disagree with you then there’s something wrong with me,” he said.
LGBTQ advocates are hopeful this leads to another kind of conversation moving forward.
“I think we start to have a bigger conversation with parents of all groups that we can sit down in a safe environment and talk about why we believe this or that and where is it that we can meet in the middle so we can have conversations with these children who are beginning to express differently,” said Leonard.
Briarcrest emailed a statement to WREG that reads in part: “We will continue to strive to teach our students what is true and just in light of God’s word. We love people enough to tell them the truth about biblical sexuality.”
OUT Memphis also released a statement that reads in part: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this repugnant approach to youth education. We call on the administration of Briarcrest to open their eyes and acknowledge the harm they are inflicting.”
You can read the rest of OUT’s statement and access other resources here.