Brian Copeland and Greg Bullard only want for their kids what all parents do: the best possible education. For these two Christian men, a local private Christian academy held out that promise. And then it took the promise away.
Copeland, a local realtor, and Bullard – the pastor at Covenant of the Cross church – received a rejection letter from Davidson Academy dated January 14 which cited the Bible (“absolute in its truth and authority over daily living”) as well as its admissions policy (declaring that conduct “in opposition to the mission” of the school or detrimental to its “credibility with its constituency”) in support of the pre-emptive decision.
The specific reason offered was homosexuality.
On January 21, Copeland shared the letter on Facebook, careful to redact the school’s name, and (as of this writing) it has since been shared nearly 200 times. The couple continually refused to name the school, and Copeland expressed on his post that his only desire was to “share this to let my friends know that discrimination affects people you know and love and still hurts no matter how many times you go through it.” He added, “I chose to not share the name because the kids who go there deserve respect and to learn in peace. It’s not about me getting my way. My children will not go there under this person’s administration. It’s about telling the story that there are real faces and feelings that open letters like this.”
The letter referenced a specific page number in the school handbook which allowed The Tennessean to identify the school as Davidson Academy. “We chose this school because of its rigorous faith-based K-12 academics and extra curricular activities,” Copeland wrote. He and Bullard submitted an application on behalf of their son because a friend who’s own child is a student there had confided the likelihood there would be no problem. Over the phone Copeland fully disclosed to an administrator that theirs is a “two-dad family” and an appointment to tour the facility was made. The next word they received was the letter from the school rejecting them outright.
The couple made the following comment, obtained exclusively by Brian Sullivan for O&AN
"We respect the right of every private institution to have policies that reflect their values. After being told by several people that they would be a potential welcoming fit, we placed them on our visitation list. We would’ve never tried to enroll our children had we known their stance. Many will say that gay fathers should know better than to try a Christian institution, but we believe that every child deserves access to a faith-based education. Through this experience, we’ve had more than four schools reach out and welcome our children. It’s been an eye-opening experience that we’ve learned so much from."
No one is disputing the right of a private school to set its own policies. However, Copeland noted on Facebook that “an acquaintance called the school this morning and told them she had been through a divorce because she cheated and that she now lives with her three kids and her boyfriend. The administrator welcomed them with open arms and offered an appointment.”
The policy cited in the letter to reject Copeland and Bullard’s children speaks to “any lifestyle” incongruent with the school’s mission. Further, the school believes “strongly in a strict interpretation of the Scriptures regarding the institution of marriage.” Thus the policy seems unevenly applied. Numerous passages in the Bible are often cited by “strict interpreters” of scripture as forbidding unmarried couples from living together.
Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project, in his statement to The Tennessean, points to yet another disturbing outcome of this situation. He believes the letter has been shared so often, and has impacted so many people, because it reveals how rejection of homosexuals has lasting and negative effects on the children.
“Do you hit an entire family,” Sanders posed, “if you have a disagreement with the parents? That’s why this has legs. That's why this has power. That's why this has emotional impact.”
Read the letter here.
Photo via Daily Mail