On July 4 of this year, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the state’s biennial budget, which includes making EdChoice, Ohio’s voucher program, universal. It’s the eighth state to do so.
Eight weeks later, on August 30, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland issued its “Parish and School Policy on Issues of Sexuality and Gender Identity.”
Among its many sweeping provisions:
- Parents must be informed if a staff person becomes aware that a minor experienced “gender dysphoria or gender confusion.”
- No use of preferred pronouns and no nicknames “if the purpose and/or effect is to (i) obscure or contradict the person’s God-given biological sex, (ii) promote the idea that one’s gender is different than one’s God-given biological sex….”
- No person can attend a dance, mixer, or similar event “with a date of the same God-given biological sex or publically (sic) express and/or display sexual attraction to or romantic interest in members of the same sex at such event.”
- Under the heading “Personal Appearance and Dress,” every person “is expected to refrain from acting in a manner the purpose of which is to hold themselves out as being a sex or gender that is inconsistent with the person’s God-given biological sex or which, regardless of intent, has the effect of causing confusion or scandal regarding the person’s sex or gender relative to the person’s God-given biological sex.”
- “No person may publicly advocate or celebrate sexual orientation or identity in ways that are contrary to the Catholic Church’s teaching”—including “displaying symbols such as ‘LGBTQ pride rainbows’ or ‘LGBTQ pride’ flags.”
- “No person shall engage in so-called social transitions, surgeries, or medical treatments,” including puberty blockers.
Visitors to Mansfield Christian Schools website are greeted with a pop-up window exclaiming that, due to the new legislation, the system is seeing “a surge in demand from Christian families,” under the headline “Affordable Education for All.” Well, not actually “all.”
They, too, have a similar policy of discrimination.
“Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person…. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; I Cor 6:9-10.) We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Mansfield Christian School as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the school’s members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Mansfield Christian School in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender and Sexuality.”
(On the same statement of principles, the school also states the belief that humans were “not in any sense the product of an animal ancestry, but made in the divine image.”)
The Chapel Hill Christian School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, also touts the new legislation on its website. “Today the opportunity to give your child a dedicated and rewarding Christian education is now more attainable due to recent updates to the Expanded EdChoice Scholarship Program, which was a part of House Bill 33, signed by Gov. DeWine on July 3, 2023.”
The problem isn’t just that these institutions discriminate, but rather that, as institutions of learning, they are teaching and perpetuating discrimination. And they are doing it with public dollars, in the name of all Ohioans.
Our Lady of Peace, a Columbus Catholic school, reassured parents that the state money would not interfere with its way of doing business.
“Although we’ve heard the concern that accepting EdChoice money comes with “strings attached” and waters down Catholic education, this has not been our experience. We have always accepted EdChoice funding, and we’ve never been asked to compromise our identity in Christ Jesus and in His Church. If anything, we’ve found that the program only enriches our school and opens new opportunities for evangelization.”
Those opportunities for evangelization—and discrimination–are increasingly brought to you by the citizens of Ohio.