One of Queensland’s largest independent schools has faced pressure for taking a stance on its Christian beliefs about gender and sexuality.
On Friday, Citipointe Christian College in Carindale sent a request out to parents to sign a new contract which states they must share the College’s commitment to fostering its doctrinal precepts in order to enrol their children.
Failing to do so will “constitute a serious departure from the religious precepts” upon which the College is based, and will give the school the right to exclude a student who “no longer adheres to the College’s doctrinal precepts including those as to biological sex.”
“Whilst each student is individually valued and equally encouraged to pursue opportunities in both academic and co-curricular activities, I/we 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,” the contract says.
Additionally, the “declaration of faith” section attached to the contract says the school consider “any form of sexual immorality,” such as adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, bisexual acts, bestiality, incest, paedophilia and pornography, to be “sinful and offensive to God and is destructive to human relationships and society.”
“We believe that the family as instituted and created by God is the fundamental building block of society… a family begins with the covenantal institution and holy estate of marriage as ordained by God between a biological man (husband) and a biological woman (wife) mutually and exclusively entered into for life.”
“We believe that God created human beings as male or female… These two distinct and complementary genders (biological sexes), together reflect the image and nature of God.”
“We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other.”
The reaction to the move has been mixed with advocates for the LGBTQIA+ organising an online petition asking the College to scrap the contract.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, 93, 696 people have signed the petition, with organisers accusing the school of “using their religious beliefs to openly discriminate against queer and trans students.”
“Sign the petition to show Citipointe that we will not stand for such blatant transphobia and homophobia,” former student and petition creator Bethany Lau wrote.
Lau, in an update on the petition’s site, said that the organisers were working closely with the media “to make sure that this issue isn’t forgotten!”
“We are in the process of reaching out to politicians to start collaborating with them,” Lau said. “All further updates will be posted on our official Facebook page, “Educate Don’t Discriminate”.
Meanwhile, supporters, including parents and conservative groups, have backed the school’s decision, with one person on Facebook calling it a “great move for the protection of all children” and another saying parents should send their children to a Christian school that “stands for what the word of God says.”
In a statement to The Epoch Times, Principal Brian Mulheran said the school does not “judge students on their sexuality or gender identity.” But instead, it seeks to “maintain our Christian ethos,” as well as give parents and students the right to “make an informed choice about whether they can support and embrace our approach to Christian education.”
“We have always held these Christian beliefs and we have tried to be fair and transparent to everyone in our community by making them clear in the enrolment contract,” Mulheran said.
“We believe each individual is created in the image of God, with dignity and worth equal to every other person. We unequivocally love and respect all people regardless of their lifestyle and choices, even if those choices are different to our beliefs and practice.”
The controversy emerges amid debate over the religious discrimination bill which, if passes, could allow faith-based school to hire teachers and select students based on the school’s religious beliefs.