A Christian school in Waikiki, Australia, has fired one if its teachers after the man admitted that he is in a same-sex relationship, which the school said goes against its beliefs.
Craig Campbell, who until last month worked as a relief teacher at South Coast Baptist College, was fired after he posted a photo on Facebook suggesting he was in a same-sex relationship, according to the West Australian. Campbell reportedly confirmed the relationship to senior colleagues after students saw the online image.
Des Mitchell, the school’s principal, said that Campbell has been a loved and respected figure in his three years teaching at the institution, but pointed out that the school community’s foundational beliefs only recognize romantic relationships between a man and a woman.
“Young people are naturally inquisitive,” Mitchell said.
“The image he (Campbell) posted created interest in his personal life, including his sexuality. I shared with him that, at present, there is an inconsistency with his beliefs on sexuality and the college’s beliefs.”
Mitchell said in a separate 9NEWS interview that the Facebook photo in question that stirred questions around Campbell was of a “sexualized” nature.
“There was an adversarial engagement with the kids which was unfortunate,” the principal explained.
“We chose not to employ someone who’s openly gay, that may change in the future, I don’t know,” he added.
Australian LGBTI activists, such as Brian Greig, criticized the Christian college for its decision, and called for state anti-discrimination laws to be overhauled.
“People feel completely deflated by it and they feel resigned to it because there’s nothing we can do about it unless we change the law,” Greig said.
SCBC explains on its website that it is aligned with the Baptist denomination, and believes “in one true God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
“The teachings of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments form the doctrinal base,” it adds. “Families do not need to have a Christian faith to attend the College, but must be supportive of the Christian ethos of the school.”
As many as 61.6 percent of respondents recently voted in favor of gay marriage in Australia in a major national postal survey, though a bill to legalize the practice is yet to be signed into law.
Australia’s major churches said that they respect the will of the majority, but at the same time called for strong conscience and religious freedom protections.
“These protections must ensure that Australians can continue to express their views on marriage, that faith-based schools can continue to teach the traditional understanding of marriage and that organisations can continue to operate in a manner that is consistent with those values,” said Archbishop Denis Hart, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president, earlier this month.
Hillsong Church Senior Pastor Brian Houston, leader of one of the nation’s largest megachurches, said that his belief in the “Bible’s teachings on marriage” as being a union between only one man and one woman “will not change” despite the vote.
Houston also called on lawmakers to pass legislation that will protect the religious freedom rights of churches, pastors and others “to hold contrary beliefs based on the traditional teachings of scripture.”