The May issue of San Luis Obispo High School's newspaper, Expressions, has two women kissing each other on the cover. Inside, there are articles exploring LGBTQ issues and a profile of two of the school's gay students, who are in a relationship.
It's refreshing for a high school publication to be talking so openly about the LGBTQ community, but one teacher's response sent these students' experience right back to the stone age.
Michael Stack, who is a special education teacher at the school, wrote a letter to the editor in response to the issue, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports. He says in the letter that he felt it was necessary for him, as a true believer in God, to respond.
"The Bible tells us that we are all accountable for our actions, and that teachers are especially accountable," he wrote. "I’m a teacher, and I don’t want to displease God any more than I already have with my sinful life, so in obedience to Him, I’m asking you to please slowly read and consider the following excerpt from the book of Romans, Chapter 1, verses 16-32, in the New Testament."
The verse he mentions is long, so we'll spare you all of the reading. But the gist of what it says can be boiled down to this paragraph.
"So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and shameful things with each other’s bodies... Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved."
Later on, the passage says that according to "God's justice" people who do bad things like this deserve to die.
While it's true that Stack himself never said that gay people deserve to die — he was just quoting the Bible — he mentions in the beginning of his letter that he believes every word of the Bible to be 100% true.
That's concerning, to say the least.
“I’m very strong in what I believe and in who I am, but for others still trying to find themselves, I feel like something like this will be really damaging,” Amber Ernst, co-president of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance told the Tribune. “It’s heartbreaking for them to see a teacher essentially say they’re going to hell.”
When word got out about Stack's letter, even the mayor chimed in to say that a teacher writing something like this is "unacceptable" and to urge the community to complain to the school district. But the school had no plans to discipline Stack, since students and staff “do not shed their First Amendment rights” when they walk into the school, according to a statement shared with local station KSBY.
On the Thursday after the letter was published, just two days later, the school got a call threatening Stack's life, the superintendent told the Tribune. Stack has since resigned.
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