A public school board has asked a Christian school in Alberta, Canada to remove Biblical passages from its student handbook because the trustees believe that the verses might contravene the province's human rights code.
On Thursday, Battle River School Division (BRSD) board met with officials of Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA) in Kingman, Alberta to discuss the board's request to drop certain Bible verses from its student handbook, CBC reported.
The Christian school's handbook contained a reference to I Corinthians 6:9-11, which states that neither "fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate ... shall inherit the kingdom of God." The document also includes a verse from the fifth chapter of Galatians which refers to adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness.
BRSD's Diane Hutchinson said trustees were concerned that the verses in the handbook might contravene Alberta's human rights legislation, but CCA board chair Deanna Margel said that the reference is a scriptural footnote in an updated Statement of Faith.
Margel said that the academy has agreed to drop the Bible verses from the handbook, but the school has raised concerns that the board now wants to limit what Bible passages can be taught to the students.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), which is representing the school, stated that CCA will not allow the school board to dictate which parts of the Bible are acceptable and which are not.
"The government's duty of neutrality, required by the Supreme Court of Canada, means that a school board cannot dictate whether verses in the Torah, Koran, New Testament or Guru Granth Sahib are acceptable," said JCCF Carpay in a press release, as reported by Life Site News.
According to CBC, the board had planned to announce that CCA had agreed to remove the passages from the handbook at Thursday's meeting. But instead, board chair Laurie Skori expressed disappointment about how CCA went public with the board's request.
"We are now at the centre of a firestorm as a result of information distributed without our knowledge, by the Cornerstone Christian School Society board and their partner in this process, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms," Skori said.
"Hate mail is flowing, misinformation and fear-mongering are widespread. The Cornerstone society has compromised our reputation, risked our safety and broken our trust," she added.
Skori has maintained that the school board does not intend to restrict any of CCA's religious teachings. The board moved a motion to meet with CCA's officials to discuss whether the academy will adhere to the public school board's rules before June 27.