The pastor at a Florida Christian school said he would not “cower” to woke “Tiktokers” amid vicious backlash to school policy that stipulates students will only be referred to by their biological sex assigned at birth.
Grace Christian School Pastor Barry McKeen told Fox News that he and his family have received death threats after a recent email reiterating the longstanding policy to parents drew publicity.
McKeen said the Valrico school has been forced to hire additional security to guard against potential threats.
‘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,” McKeen told parents in the June 6 email.
The hardline policy also promised expulsion for gay or trans students.
“Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately,” the missive stated.
McKeen responded to the backlash against the school’s position in a Facebook post and said the policy would remain in place.
“That is rooted in scripture,” he said. “God has spoken on those issues explicitly, aggressively, and have had those policies in our school since day number one in the early 1970s.”
McKeen said the wave of criticism will not alter his stance.
“I’m also not going to cower from it and I’m not going to backpedal,” he said. “I don’t answer to bloggers or Tiktokers. I answer to God.”
An NBC report on McKeen’s email referenced a gay student whose parents pulled her from the school because of its LGBTQ position.
“It’s not like my daughter goes around wearing rainbow flags or anything like that,” the teenager’s mother told the outlet. “But I’m not going to have her feel ashamed of herself for any reason.”
Other students told the outlet that they had to stifle their sexuality to avoid a campus backlash.
One student said her gay friend sometimes went into a school bathroom to cry, NBC reported.
McKeen acknowledged that the school’s posture could make some students uncomfortable.
“I would think that a school that is standing for biblical values is going to be discomforting to somebody who is not,” McKeen said. “This a private Christian school where kids choose to send their kids to school. It’s not for everybody.”
The pastor said he had received hundreds of messages of support in addition to those opposed to the school’s policies.