By now many of you have heard of the case of Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard of Nashville, whose family had applied for a spot at Davidson Academy, a private Christian school. If not, you can get caught at this story from USA Today originally posted by The Tennessean.
The case has generated a lot of discussion and that's great. Sadly, there are many bad arguments floating around in the comments sections of stories about it. Let's go through some of them.
1. "It's a private institution. They can do what they want." Yes, we know. No one is disputing that Davidson Academy is private. No one is disputing their legal right to admit whom they want. This is not an argument. The argument should be about whether they should discriminate and for many of us that is what the argument is about.
2. "You're bullying Christians." Really? How exactly? Is the public disclosure of discrimination bullying? I'm not aware of the LGBT community trying to persuade the police to raid Davidson Academy or use any governmental authority to crack down on them. Don't you have to have power over someone to bully? The other problem with this argument is that the family are Christians. Greg Bullard is pastor of Covenant of the Cross. Some are trying to present an absolute division between Christians and the LGBT community. There has been overlap for as long as Christianity has existed.
3. "Why would they even want their children to attend?" Brian and Greg have already expressed that they want their children to go to a Christian school that includes the basics of the same Christian faith they hold. But they don't have to give a reason. They are the parents. We're not. Why are we second guessing them?
4. "They're just stirring up trouble." Well, first, this is ad hominem and, hence, not a real argument. Second, no, they were led to believe they could apply. Third, I suppose the implication is that those who experience discrimination should just take it and not say or do anything. But, really, how can anyone expect a parent who simply wants the best for his or her child to do that?
5. "It's not God's design for marriage." Look, a quick reading of the Bible gives us a variety of patterns for marriage. It would take too long to go into that here. Second, even if for some reason you granted that two men can't have a biblical marriage, which I refuse to do, but if you did, then why does that automatically mean the children can't be admitted to the school? My guess is that the school isn't comfortable with the questions it would raise. But any school that calls itself an "academy," a concept which relies on the tradition started by Plato, cannot shrink from questions.
No doubt, there are other arguments that have come up. But these are the five I keep seeing. Let's hope we can improve the discussion of this sad event by discussing it more productively.