Respect Equality

Kentucky middle school students asked to write letters to imaginary friend ‘struggling with homosexuality’

Students were asked to convince their friend that they are not gay using lessons from the Bible.
(Maskot/Getty Images)

Story at a glance

  • Middle school students at Christian Academy of Louisville (CAL) last week were asked to write a letter to an imaginary friend “struggling with homosexuality” and use lessons from the Bible to “persuade” them that they are not gay.

  • The assignment was first flagged by a gay Louisville, Ky. community member who posted screenshots of the homework to Twitter.

  • CAL Superintendent Darin Long told the Louisville Courier Journal that the school would be reviewing the assignment, but that it also believed marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Middle school students at a private Christian school in Kentucky last week were sent home with an assignment to write a letter to an imaginary friend “struggling with homosexuality.” Using teachings from the Bible, students were asked to “persuade” their friend in no less than eight sentences that they are not gay.

“The aim of your letter should be to lovingly and compassionately speak truth to the person you’re talking to in a way that does not approve of any sin,” reads a homework assignment to children at Christian Academy of Louisville (CAL) that was first flagged by a community member on Twitter.

“Modern day education assignment at Christian Academy of Louisville. Middle school. Write a letter to your homosexual friend explaining why it’s wrong. Shameful,” Louisville, Ky. business owner JP Davis captioned a post with two screenshots of the assignment, along with the hashtag “#stopthehate.”

Davis told the Louisville Courier Journal that a close friend whose child attends CAL had shown him the homework and was “visibly and understandably upset about the assignment.”

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“She doesn’t know how to handle it. … And her kid’s upset,” Davis said. In a series of follow-up tweets, Davis “completed” the homework assignment himself, writing a letter addressed to his seventh-grade self, who had been afraid to come out as gay.

“I’m sorry you can’t be yourself,” Davis wrote to his younger self. “I’m sorry adults teach something is wrong with you. Stay strong. You’ll find out by being yourself and staying strong…things really work out for you.”

CAL did not respond to Changing America’s request for comment, but Darin Long, the school system’s superintendent, in an email to the Courier Journal on Friday said the assignment had been given to students enrolled in a Bible elective class.

According to Long, the homework was part of a unit of study discussing humans and their identity and “in context, was how a person could discuss homosexuality with a friend from a biblical perspective with compassion and love.”

“This hypothetical friend conversation was for our students to review the class discussions and their perspectives on the subject,” Long said. “Moving forward, we will review this assignment to ensure there is clarity in its purpose and language.”

But Long added that the school teaches “with a Biblical worldview” and believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

“We believe that God created the marriage covenant to be between one man and one woman (Gen. 1:27, Gen. 2:24). We believe that sex is a good gift of God, to be celebrated within the confines of the marriage covenant, agreeing that all other sexual expressions go against God’s design. (1 Cor. 6:18, Gal. 5:19),” he said.

The homework assignment reflects a larger, nationwide debate over whether topics like sexual orientation and gender identity should be introduced in school. More than a dozen states this year have introduced legislation aiming to restrict classroom instruction or discussions related to either subject.