Today, NC Policy Watch highlighted a recent report by the Asheville Citizen Times that talked of a religious school in Buncombe County, Temple Baptist School, that receives over a third of the Opportunity Grant money funneled into Buncombe County.
In the western part of the state, the “Citizen Times” reports that a conservative religious school that receives a third of Buncombe County’s opportunity scholarship money teaches students that homosexuality is a sin.
Temple Baptist School in West Asheville is also dismissive of the theory of evolution, the paper reports. It opts to evangelize about Young Earth creationism, which contends Earth is no more than 10,000 years old.
“What we do is based on the Bible as our foundation,” Brian Washburn, the school’s administrator, said. “So that’s going to influence our approach to teaching all of our subject areas,”
A religious K-12 school, Temple Baptist is at liberty to teach a strict interpretation of scripture. Yet while it is private, most of the school’s 148 students pay tuition with the assistance of public funding.
Over 90% of the voucher money used in NC is used for religious schools. And the use of a strict interpretation of the Bible to drive curriculum is not a new phenomenon in some of them.
A July, 2016 NC Policy Watch article by Chris Fitzsimon entitled “More taxpayer funding for voucher schools that openly discriminate against LGBT students and parents” offered another example of how taxpayer money was being used to fund schools that are allowed to teach any curriculum they choose. In fact, many have been able to discriminate against certain prospective students based on a variety of criteria, especially sexual orientation or identity.
In this particular article, Fitzsimon focused on Bible Baptist Christian School in Matthews. He described the situation:
The school collected more than $100,000 in public support for the 2015-2016 school year to pay for the education of 26 students who signed up for a voucher.
But not all taxpayers have access to the school. Gay students and students with gay parents are banned from attending Bible Baptist Christian School even though their tax dollars support it.
That’s not an unwritten policy quietly enforced by the admissions office. It is quite explicit that gay students and students with gay parents are not welcome.
Page 76 of the student handbook of the school includes a “Homosexual Conduct Policy” that makes it clear.
“The school reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to refuse admission to an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a current student. This includes, but is not limited to, living in, condoning, or supporting any form of sexual immorality; practicing or promoting a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity;”
The handbook lists Bible verses as references for its policies. One of the verses cited to support the anti-LGBT provision is Leviticus 20:13, that reads:
“If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them.”
Bible Baptist is not the only fundamentalist religious school that receives tax payer money that is allowed to do this, but the direct use of a Bible verse to validate discrimination seems to be a violation of the separation of church and state. Ironically, churches already are tax exempt, but now those churches with schools can stay tax exempt and use tax payer money to further their doctrines.
Temple Baptist School admits to adhering to a strict interpretation of the Bible to guide instruction. So did Bible Baptist Christian School. Maybe just look at the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, one of the books of the Torah, as a basis for admission criteria and student conduct, then it would make sense that they must adhere to all of its commands and verses.
And breaking any of these should be grounds for having to refund the public school system with the very money taken with a voucher to pay for tuition at the private, religious school.
No Red Lobster!
Lev. 11: 9-12 says,
- “These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
- And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
- They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
- Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.”
One cannot be caught eating at the Red Lobster or other seafood restaurant that serves certain prepared aquatic delicacies. Even if a student is not eating one of the forbidden menu items, watching others do so and not acting to stop it is just as much a sin.
No polyester / cotton blended t-shirts!
Lev. 19:19 says,
- Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.
It doesn’t matter if the t-shirt has the school’s name and a picture of a cross; it breaks the law!
Hair better be done right! And no tattoos.
Lev. 19:27-28 says,
- Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.
- Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
That’s right. No cutting of beards or tattoos of crosses on arms or legs, or anywhere.
Make sure to discriminate against those who are different.
Lev. 21: 17-21 says,
- Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
- For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,
- Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,
- Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;
- No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.
That’s right. If one is short, has a flat nose, is blind, crippled, has a curved spine, or wears glasses, he is not good enough to become a priest. Would that also mean that one who possesses one of those traits is not qualified to be a student at Bible Baptist or Temple Baptist?
No more sports. Or change the balls.
Lev. 11: 6-8 says,
- And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
- And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
- Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
Athletes can’t use pigskins. Both schools have athletics. Basketballs, volleyballs, and soccer balls used cannot have any leather. That would also include shoes. Athletic shoes in these sports tend to be made of leather.
Associating with mothers who went to church right after the birth of their children.
Lev. 12: 4-5 says,
- And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.
- But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.
That’s no church for the mother for 33 days after the birth of a boy. For girls it is 66 days.
No eating of fruit from a tree that is less than four years old.
Lev. 19: 23-24 says,
- And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.
- But in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy to praise the LORD withal.
That might be a lot of wasted fruit, but that is what the verses stipulate.
Your family can not own any land.
Lev. 25: 23 says,
- The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.
There should be no land deeds or evidence of property tax found in any home of any student.
There are many more laws in the other books of the Torah to explain, but if a religious school is to abide by one of them, then should they not abide by all of them? And if someone breaks the rules of the school is the school not allowed to expel the student? Sure. What if the school does not enforce the very statutes that is espouses? Then the penalty may have to be to give back the voucher money to the public schools.
However, there is one fundamental law that comes from the Bible that I think all schools should keep in mind whether public or one of the 300+ religious schools or private academies that receive voucher money. That is what Jesus said in Matthew 18 : 2-6.
- And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
- And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
- Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
- And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
- But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.