A Christian school in Brisbane has been slammed after its updated enrolment contract allowed it to expel students for coming out as gay or transgender.

Last week, Citipointe Christian College in Carindale asked parents to sign the updated enrollment contract that had the offending clauses with regard to their child’s sexual orientation and gender identity. 

Trigger Warning: This story has details of homophobic and transphobic statements that might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

The school’s contract comes in the background of Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushing the federal parliament to pass the Religious Discrimination Bill, that among other things allows faith-based institutions to discriminate in their recruitment policies. 

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An online petition started by former Citipointe Christian College student Bethany Lau demanding that the school recall the amended contract has garnered over 90,000 signatures and counting. 

“Citipointe is using their religious beliefs to openly discriminate against queer and trans students, as well as threatening to take away their education,” the petition, which has been signed by many former students and staff said. 

Contract Equates Homosexuality With Bestiality

The new contract equated homosexuality with bestiality, incest and paedophilia. 

“We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including but not limiting 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,” the contract stated.

It further asked parents to agree to enrolling the students only on the basis of their “biological sex”. 

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“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 school gave parents one week to sign the contract adding that failing to agree with the terms will “afford Citipointe Christian College the right to exclude a student from the College who no longer adheres to the College’s doctrinal precepts including those as to biological sex…”

School Defends Contract

Following the public outcry over its homophobic and transphobic contract, the school in a statement defended the “freedom to maintain the school’s Christian ethos”. 

“We believe that each individual is created in the image of God, and that we are all equal and should be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect and dignity. Our Church also believes in the teachings of the Bible that hold that marriage was instituted by God as between a man and a woman and whichdo not distinguish between gender and biological sex.”

Principal, Pastor Brian Mulheran said that the school has 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.”

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“We are seeking to maintain our Christian ethos and to give parents and students the right to make an informed choice about whether they can support and embrace our approach to Christian education,” said Mulheran. 

Mulheran said that the school would not expel gay and transgender students, adding, “Citipointe does not judge students on their sexuality or gender identity and we would not make a decision about their enrolment in the College simply on that basis.”

“Not Very Christian”

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace was among those who criticised the school. “I think this is unacceptable. Every student deserves to feel accepted and supported at school. The ‘values’ laid out in this document don’t seem very Christian to me,” the minister said.

The Attorney General’s office meanwhile pointed out that school had sought out legal advice on the issue. States and territories in Australia have carved out exceptions in their anti-discrimination laws allowing faith-based schools to discriminate against LGBTQI students and staff.

The Attorney General referred to the Religious Discrimination Bill introduced in the Parliament.

“Once enacted, the Religious Discrimination Bill will ensure Australians are protected from discrimination on the basis of religious belief or activity – just as they are protected from discrimination on the basis of age, sex, race and disability,” the Attorney General’s office said in a statement.

“This Religious Discrimination Bill delivers on the Government’s commitment to protect religious freedom in Australia, consistent with our response to the Religious Freedom Review. It does not affect religious exemptions in existing Commonwealth, state or territory anti-discrimination law,” the statement added.

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

 

 

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