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Christian school administrator defends institution's policies of referring to students by biological gender, denying LGBTQ students: 'We're not going to be hateful, but we're not going to back down'
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Christian school administrator defends institution's policies of referring to students by biological gender, denying LGBTQ students: 'We're not going to be hateful, but we're not going to back down'

A private Christian school in Florida reminded parents that students will only be referred to by their biological gender. The school also informed parents that students participating in LGBTQ lifestyles would be asked to leave. The school's administrator has fired back at critics who have questioned the policies of the institution.

On June 6, the Grace Christian School in Valrico – approximately 20 miles east of Tampa – sent out an email to parents with the subject line: "Important School Policy Point of Emphasis. ... Please Read."

"We believe that God created mankind in His image: male (man) and female (woman), sexually different but with equal dignity," the email stated, according to NBC News.

"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)," read the email from Grace Christian School Administrator Barry McKeen.

The school's policy noted, "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)," the email added.

"Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately," the email continued.

McKeen highlighted that the school does not permit unmarried heterosexual students to be overtly sexual.

"God condemns any sexual activity outside of marriage," McKeen told Fox News. "I tell people, if a kid came in the doors, exclaiming how he was having sex with his girlfriend, that student would be expelled as well."

McKeen pointed out that the policy of not allowing LGBTQ students to attend has been in place since the school began 49 years ago. McKeen added that the email was sent out so parents could "agree to all policies and procedures before your student may start school in August."

McKeen rejected requests for comment from NBC News.

McKeen defended his school's policies following some backlash from the NBC News article.

McKeen – who has served the Grace Community Church for more than 20 years – released a video addressing the alleged controversy.

"I chose not to talk to the reporter, because usually based on the call sign, based on the channel, you can usually tell what they're trying to say and what they're going to be trying to prove and I think it was clear from the get-go that this person is, is not for us, but against us," McKeen said of the NBC News reporter.

The senior pastor said the school's policy against transgender and homosexual students is "rooted in the scriptures."

"God has spoken on those issues explicitly, aggressively," he said.

McKeen noted that "almost every Christian School has such a policy."

"I'm not going to backpedal. And it is our policy now. It will be our policy going forward," the pastor remarked. "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change."

"We are not a hateful group of people," he stressed. "We don't hate students who are of a particular persuasion."

"The biggest issue that happens in this culture is because you believe something and you stand for something – that you're automatically hateful," McKeen continued. "We are not hateful. Probably that's the thing in the article that hurt the most."

"This is a private Christian school where parents choose to send their kids to the school," he said. "And it's not for everybody."

"The Bible says God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We're not going to change because God's not going to change. And we're not going to be hateful, but we're not going to back down from this policy. This has been our policy that this is our policy, and this will be our policy," McKeen concluded.

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