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Anti-LGBTQ Crusader Spurs Teachers, Students to Quit Washington School

Kings School

The new head of the ministry that runs King's High School in Washington State has a long history of working against LGBTQ equality. 

At least five teachers quit and two students were unenrolled from King's High School in Shoreline, Wash., after the school's new overseer at CRISTA Ministries, which runs the 70-year-old school, emphasized a return to so-called core values that include staunchly anti-LGBTQ opinions. Several people left in response to what was deemed an administrative mandate requiring them to disavow LGBTQ people both professionally and personally, according to The Seattle Times.

"When it comes to sexual expression the Bible teaches us that sexual intimacy is reserved between a marriage between one man and one woman. And we, as a faith-based Christian organization uphold that belief and teaching, " CRISTA Ministries CEO Jacinta Tegman said, according to TV station KIRO. "We hire people who profess to be Christians and that they would uphold the teachings of the Bile. But we serve anyone regardless of their position. If they want to be here, we want them to be here."

Teachers at King's High School were told to follow and enforce the anti-LGBTQ values Tegman and CRISTA Ministries were reinforcing in the school. Several chose to leave.

The school has long advocated for adhering to "the historical biblical standards of morality," stating that the "the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments" are "inerrant in their original writings" and "of supreme and final authority," but the focus on ostracizing LGBTQ people has amped up since Tegman stepped in.

The parents of one incoming senior, Ruthie Mogg, who had attended the school since kindergarten, pulled her from the school when they heard about the school's archaic and harmful stance.

"They're hurting students and they're excluding a huge group of people who do not feel valued or that they can be themselves because of what's been said, " Mogg said about Tegman's views. "There are a lot of transgender, gay, and bi students at King's still. One transgender guy I was close with, and I'm thinking, Who is he going to be able to go and talk to, and know who is in his corner?"

A group of parents of King's students is organizing and working to find ways to support the LGBTQ students.

Tegman, who stepped into her post in January, has a long history of anti-LGBTQ activity. In 2006 she fought to rescind a law that added sexual orientation to Washington's antidiscrimination statutes. In 2004 she was among several Washington-based pastors who banded together to fight against marriage equality.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist