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Memphis private school’s parental training sparks public protest

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 9:57 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Biblical teaching? Or a lesson about hatred? A training session for Briarcrest Christian High School parents brought out protestors from the LGBTQ community.

The class is called “God Made Them Male and Female and It Was Good: a Gospel Response to Culture’s Gender Identity.”

The invitation to the course went on to say, “When Superman is rewritten as homosexual, when parents allow children to choose their genders, and some schools are embracing students for being courageous by coming out...how do you respond biblically?”

As parents met inside the school Tuesday night to learn how to have biblical conversations with their children about sex, protestors gathered outside, just off the edge of school property, since the private school wouldn’t let demonstrators or the media into the meeting or on campus.

“It just hurts me so much to think of the damage that training faculty and parents on how to be unaccepting of their children could do,” said protestor Emily Campbell. And they can’t speak up for themselves.”

“As clergy, I want to tell them that despite what their parents are being taught inside, they are loved by God. Period,” said Pastor Terri Weaver.

Hollen Barmer attended Briarcrest more than two decades ago. During a Zoom interview with Action News 5, she described being ridiculed, even threatened by other students for being part of the LGBTQ community.

“The only thing that surprised me about this training session was the brazenness and callousness,” she said. “I really think this one program is the tip of this insidious, oppressive iceberg.”

In a statement to Action News 5, Briarcrest said:

“Briarcrest is a Christian School that teaches and upholds the biblical principles found in scripture. We affirm our unity in Christ and that we are all created in equal in God’s eyes. We will continue to strive to teach our students what is true and just in light of God’s word. We love people enough to tell them the truth about biblical sexuality.

We have a responsibility to teach students about all aspects of biblical truth, including biblical sexuality. In addition, we strive to support parents in their efforts to raise biblically literate children who learn to defend their beliefs with gentleness and respect. Furthermore, as our culture attempts to silence biblical truth, we will proclaim the hope of the Gospel.”

The Briarcrest code of conduct posted on the school’s website says students can be expelled if they engage in homosexuality, bisexuality, or transgender-related actions on or off campus.

Demonstrators say the policy, and the school’s teachings are dangerous.

“Queer youth in unaccepting homes are eight times more likely to commit suicide,” said Campbell. “I just want kids to be able to see people and know there is happiness. There are people who will love and support you, no matter what. And you are not broken.”

“I really think Briarcrest needs to look closer at the culture that it is promoting around supposed Christianity,” said Barmer.

In a statement, OUTMemphis said, “While Briarcrest’s bigotry and harmful culture has long been public, this new curriculum was a saddening reminder. With so much to celebrate about our advancements, this new information was a reminder of the significant portions of Shelby County and surrounding areas where it is unsafe for LGBTQ+ youth and families.”

Action News 5 reached out to Briarcrest for an updated response to OUTMemphis and others, but the school declined to comment.

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