According to a story in the Roseville Press-Tribune, on Tuesday, April 25, one day before the Day of Silence, between 20 and 25 students arrived at Oakmont High School in Roseville wearing T-shirts declaring “Homosexuality is Sin. Jesus can set you free.”
Because the shirts violated the school’s dress code that prohibits offensive messages, the students were called to the office and asked to turn them inside out or wear a loaner shirt, Oakmont principal Kathleen Sirovy said.
Although some of them agreed, 13 did not comply with the directive and were suspended for defying authority and disruption on campus.
The next day 20 students showed up at school with gay-supportive T-shirts. Again the school confiscated any shirts that were considered potentially offensive.
One student was suspended when he refused to change his shirt, which featured the crossed-out image of a crucifix.
“Anybody who did anything that was negative to a group, any label, those were the (T-shirts) that we collected,” Sirovy said. “Any shirts that were positive, did not name (a group) and were not negative or offensive to a group were allowed to stay on campus.”
In AgapePress today is a story about a planned lawsuit against the school district for suspending the students that refused to remove the anti-gay T-shirt. The Pacific Justice Institute will be representing the 13 anti-gay students free of charge — but will not be defending the free speech rights of anti-Christian students.
Ignoring the pro-gay students that had their shirts confiscated and the one student suspended, the AgapePress reports:
The legal firm points out the school evidently did not take into account where religious students may have been equally offended by pro-homosexual expressions on other students’ shirts.
The anti-gay students and their supporting organizations claim that there is a double standard being applied.
Meantime, with the blessing of the school district, other students on campus were wearing shirts openly promoting homosexuality.
For example, the pro-homosexual expressions that religious students found offensive include:
[Kirstyn] Schilling, who donned a shirt reading “Love thy fellow man” and “Love doesn’t discriminate,” was allowed to wear the shirt throughout the day because it was positive, she said.
This issue will be here with us for a while and is likely to grow more confrontational before it is finally resolved. The similar Chase Harper case is on appeal and it is not clear how that will eventually be determined. The balancing act between religious freedom, free speech, and protection from harassment and bullying in a compulsory setting is difficult and emotional.
However, in my opinion, these young religious activists and their adult agitators should carefully consider the long term results of their actions. In today’s cultural climate, the contrast between “Homosexuality is Sin” and “Love thy Fellow Man” is not a comparison that works in their favor.