A San Luis Obispo high school teacher has caused widespread outrage across the internet and in his coastal California community after publishing an anti-LGBTQ article in the school's student-run newspaper. The teacher quoted a Bible verse that advocated the death of people who take part in homosexual acts.
According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, the letter came from special education teacher Michael Stack. It was published on the school's journalism website in response to a earlier issue of its print edition, which focused on LGBTQ issues and featured an interview with a gay couple.
After reading the edition, Stack wrote that he was forced to speak out since he "didn't want to displease God." In his opinion, the Bible is "without error," and he cited an excerpt from the Book of Romans to emphasize his point.
The passage condemns homosexual behavior, saying people who engaged in homosexual acts "became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip … They know God's justice required that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway."
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Referring to the passage, Slack told the school's newspaper that this "deception ... has happened in the past, and is happening again right now, not only at SLOHS, but throughout the world."
According to KSBY, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast, Ryan Duclos, said he worried about what kind of damage the teacher's letter might do. "In the LGBTQ community, there is a high rate of suicide. It's things like this that can push a student to end their life," said Duclos.
Even a local priest, Father Ian Delinger, weighed in to support the students and denounce Stack's letter. "We are here as Christians to express the love of God, and expressing the love of God is not by negating and undermining two young students' personhood," he said.
KBSY reports that the letter caused students and parents to rally outside the school to show support for the LGBTQ community in San Luis Obispo. At least one community member was unhappy enough with Stack's letter to send him a death threat.
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However, Stack had already turned in his resignation letter prior to publishing the letter. In it, he defended what he had said: "I exercised my First Amendment rights and submitted my opinion to a public forum … Now people are exercising THEIR First Amendment rights by responding to that letter. This is how America is designed to function."