When it comes to racism, bigotry and societal injustice, most everyone agrees that it’s a nasty stain that needs to come out as soon as possible.
But when it comes to agreeing on how that stain should come out, that’s where things get dicey pretty quickly.
How quickly? Well, just ask Chris Lindholm, Pequot Lakes High School’s recently resigned superintendent, who experienced a bit of a firestorm over his suggested method for stain removal, which was more akin to ripping out the carpet and replacing it with hard-wood flooring. That isn’t necessarily bad, unless of course you were only hired to clean the carpet, not replace it.
In case you missed it, this past April, parents discovered a video that was intended for students’ eyes only, where Lindholm’s stain-removing ideas were explicitly clear. Over the past few years, Lindholm has been using the National Seed Program, which stands for “Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity.”
“Equity” and “diversity” - what’s so bad about that? Well, nothing - unless those words have been appropriated with a different meaning in order to disguise their true meaning.
And that is precisely the question at hand that the school’s board and faculty need to answer without equivocation if they want parents to back off from DEFCON 1.
Are they teaching against racism or are they teaching anti-racism? Are they pushing for equal opportunity or equal outcome? Are they pushing for inclusivity and diversity of ideas or inclusivity for those who share the current, culturally accepted ideas and ever-evolving moral norms?
Because depending on those answers, I’m not sure we can play together anymore since our worldview divide is teetering on unbridgeable.
For instance, if my daughter is sitting at the lunchroom table, and a fellow student asks her view on marriage, is it considered bigotry and bullying if she shares her 2,000-year-old Christian beliefs on the matter? Will she be called into the principal's office to atone for her hate speech?
If so, then I trust that you can see why we have a problem here.
“But why can’t we just check our worldviews at the door? Maybe the lunchroom just isn’t the appropriate place for such controversial conversations?” OK, sure - that’s certainly a conversation worth having; however, not if we are going to rope off my worldview with yellow tape while others are allowed to roam about freely.
If my Christian beliefs are inappropriate within the walls of a school, then why aren’t your humanistic ones? Make no mistake, programs like SEED are not worldview free - they are telling you things about the nature of reality, human existence and moral truth. And pretending like that’s not the case when it is - or even worse, trying to hide it - is only going to result in parental uproar that hits deafening levels.
Now, for the record, and I need to make this crystal clear: The divide here is absolutely not over whether bullying and bigotry are wrong and have no place within the walls of a school. As a Christian, I firmly believe that all humans are made in the image of God, and therefore, are worthy of dignity, respect and honor.
Consequently, I am raising my children to love and serve others regardless of race, religion or sexuality - gay, straight or otherwise.
However, loving someone also means being willing to tell them the truth, and the truth is joy and happiness cannot be found in the L, the G, the B, the T, or the Q. It can only be found in Christ. Christ alone is Lord and King, and He alone deserves our worship.
Consequently, programs like SEED simply aren’t capable of getting the stain of racism, bigotry and injustice out of the human heart - only Christ can. Only the blood of Jesus is capable of washing our sin-stained hearts white as snow, and until we recognize this, that nasty stain isn’t going anywhere.
Zach Broom is pastor at Eagles Nest Church in Breezy Point.