Houston private school is latest battleground in gay rights movement

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
Lutheran High North makes the student handbook which states the school's moral conduct clause available online.

HOUSTON (Christian Examiner) -- Lutheran High School North, a private Christian school in Houston is the latest academic institution to come under fire by gay activists and mainstream media following a student's emotional response to being asked to uphold the Christian beliefs and conduct as stated in the school's student handbook.

Video blogger Austin Wallis released a YouTube video Feb. 1, in which the emotional 17-year-old high school junior claimed the school's administrators forced him to choose between his homosexual lifestyle and enrollment at the school. To date the video has more than 300,000 views.

Houston's local news KHOU reported the teenager came out as gay six months ago on his YouTube channel and that the Lutheran Education Association of Houston requested he remove the channel because it promoted a "sinful lifestyle."

The principal "said that in the Bible it declares that being a homosexual is a sin and we cannot have you promoting a sinful lifestyle on air to the public and that you'd either have to take down your videos or leave the school," Wallis told the news station.

The school's headmaster Dallas Lusk told the Texas Observer via email that the allegations against the school were "misrepresented" and provided a written statement on behalf of Wayne Kramer, the executive director of the Association that oversees LHN and its two sister schools.

"We profess and proclaim our Christian beliefs with the foundations and authority taught in the Bible, all within the teachings of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod," Kramer's statement said. "We respectfully require students to adhere to these accepted values and moral beliefs. Sometimes, as in this case, students have to make choices and decide whether their beliefs align with our community and we respect their choices. We also respect student privacy and do not comment on any individual student or their actions."

Though Wallis' mother claimed the request was a surprise, the school's values and beliefs and conduct expectations are expressed in writing in the 2014-2015 student handbook available to both parents and students online.

The school's stance on the issue can be found in the "morals clause" section of the longstanding written policies which states:

"Lutheran High North reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant and/or to discontinue enrollment of a current student participating in, promoting, supporting or condoning: pornography, sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bisexual activity; or displaying an inability or resistance to support the qualities and characteristics required of a Biblically based and Christ-like lifestyle."

Earlier this year, Davidson Academy, a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee received similar misrepresentative media exposure for upholding its written policies.

In that instance, the gay parents of a pre-school aged child lashed out at the school's admission policy on social media and the story was later circulated by news outlets. Policies written in the handbook were stated to apply to students, parents, and staff and claimed that any lifestyle conduct incongruent with the academy's beliefs, like homosexuality, were grounds to refuse admittance.