Evangelist Franklin Graham is showing support for a Virginia high school teacher who was fired for not using a transgender student’s preferred gender pronoun.
"Peter's lawyer is right to ask where are the teacher's First Amendment rights in all of this?" Graham said in a Facebook post. "Why is tolerance never a two-way street?
“These cases are cropping up more and more frequently, and just think of the ramifications,” he added. “Just ten years ago we wouldn't have thought this would even be possible. Where is this coming from? The school boards and teachers' unions are allowing this to happen.
“This is why it is so important for Christians to run for school boards, be involved, and let your voice be heard. Transgender policies are causing chaos, confusion, stealing privacy, and compelling speech. Deception from the Evil One."
Last week, a school board in Virginia unanimously voted to fire Peter Vlaming, the French teacher at West Point High School. He had worked at the school for nearly seven years.
A 9thgrade transgender student had requested being called by male pronouns, but in October, while Vlaming was teaching a virtual reality exercises in class, the French teacher said, “Don’t let her walk into the wall” as the 9thgrader avoided hitting a wall.
Vlaming claims it was a mistake and while he is Christian, he says he agreed to call the student by his new name only.
"I'm totally happy to use the new name," Vlaming said in an interview with WWBT. "I'm happy to avoid female pronouns not to offend because I'm not here to provoke...but I can't refer to a female as a male, and a male as a female in good conscience and faith."
Shawn Voyles, Vlaming’s attorney, says they are looking at appealing the school board’s decision.
"Tolerance is a two-way street," he said. "My client respects this student's rights; he is simply asking that his rights be respected as well.”
Photo courtesy: Creative Commons/Nancy Dowd
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.