This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 22, 2022:
Barry McKeen, a pastor and school administrator of Grace christian School in Valrico, Florida, has been under attack ever since NBC News learned of an email he sent to parents in June. McKeen has remained strong and stalwart in the face of those attacks.
Grace Christian School, located about 14 miles east of Tampa, offers a strong Christian education to students from pre-K through 12th grade. In June, McKeen sent an email to parents planning on enrolling their children for the upcoming fall semester. The email was titled “Important School Policy Point of Emphasis … Please Read,” and included these statements:
We believe that God created mankind in His image: male (man) and female (woman), sexually different but with equal dignity.
Therefore, one's biological sex must be affirmed and no attempts should be made to physically change, alter, or disagree with one's biological gender — including, but not limited to, elective sex reassignment, transvestite, transgender, or non-binary gender fluid acts of conduct (Genesis 1:26-28).
Students in school will be referred to by the gender on their birth certificate and be referenced in name in the same fashion.
We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; I Corinthians 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:2-7).
Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately.
While the policy is not new, it must be understood and accepted completely, the email said, adding that parents would “have to agree to all policies and procedures before your student may start school in August.”
This was enough to light the fire of indignation among those who don't follow Christ. In the days immediately after NBC reported on the email, the school came under withering attack, with threats of violence and death threats against McKeen, his family, and his staff.
The Epoch Times reached out to pastor/administrator McKeen on Monday to learn that he remains fixed in his policies and in his determination to keep the school grounded on its purpose:
To help every student to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:17);
To encourage all students to “love the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their mind, and to love their neighbor as themselves.” (Matthew 22:37-39); and
To give Christ the pre-eminence in all things. (Colossians 1:18).
The Times asked if the tidal wave of indignation and threats had subsided. Said McKeen:
The backlash for about a day and a half was very severe, a lot of death threats, burn-my-house-down threats. And then after about a day and a half, most of our commentary turned positive, because some of the more, I guess you could say, conservative outlets started picking up the story.
In the last two weeks, thanks to those “conservative outlets picking up the story,” Grace Christian School has received more than 7,000 emails, with 80 percent of them positive, and many letters of encouragement, some of them enclosing checks.
Those letters and checks came from around the world, with the school receiving more than $45,000 in unexpected donations. Said McKeen, “One guy gave $5,000. I've never met him. He's never been to our church or school. But he read about the story and said, ‘I believe what you're standing for, and here's some money.'”
The small school now has a waiting list of more than 100 potential students hoping to gain acceptance for the fall term.
McKeen expressed surprise and dismay that his email had generated so much reaction. Following the NBC story, he told Fox News:
If I backed down from something like this, I'm abandoning what God has said is the truth.
I [asked] how is this hard for people to understand? This is what God said. This is one of the many reasons we have a Christian school, and we're not going to abandon this policy. God has spoken on these issues.