Baptist institution is willing to work with parents who are sex offenders
Dr. John Collier, the pastor at Parkview Baptist Church and president of the Parkview Christian Academy, speaks during a church service on July 21.
BY MATT TRACY
Community News Group
A married lesbian couple in Waco, Texas, is expressing outrage after their daughter was rejected admission to a local Christian school simply because her parents are gay.
Brittney and Stacy Ready were recently informed that there was an opening for their daughter at a school that operates as a ministry arm of Parkview Baptist Church. The church has a daycare known as Parkview Christian Childcare Center and a K-12 school called Parkview Christian Academy.
The parents and their daughter, Callie, went to the daycare to begin the enrollment process and everything seemed fine — until the very end.
In a July 18 Facebook post shared widely, Brittney wrote, “The director was super sweet and welcoming to us and Callie! We go to leave with paperwork in hand only for the administrator to call us into his office to let us know that he heard that Stacey and I our [sic] ‘mates’ (first off we aren’t animals) and because of that they cannot welcome her (Callie). That ‘byLaws are byLaws’ and their Christian based faith that they would not be able to accept our child.”
The parents were especially upset because Parkview does not explicitly outline any LGBTQ-related policies. Neither the daycare nor the K-12 school mention any such policies in their handbooks, even though those handbooks do explicitly state that parents who are sex offenders can enter school property and attend events at the school.
Parkview Christian Academy states on its website that it “admits students of any race, color and nation of ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities made available to students at the school. Parkview Christian Academy admits students who are non-Baptist, but all students and parents must be in agreement with the Statement of Faith.”
Had Brittney and Stacey known they would be rejected, they said they wouldn’t have bothered applying in the first place.
“Maybe y’all should post that you don’t accept children of same sex marriage and let your directors know so they as well know to ask the questions up front,” Brittney wrote.
She continued, “So does that mean ‘unwed parents’ can not enroll their kids? Does that mean ‘divorced parents’ cannot enroll their children there? Because sin is sin and Jesus sat and welcomed allllll the sinners. We were not trying to plague your daycare sir, WE ARE GAY, our daughter IS NOT!”
Even in the absence of LGBTQ-specific policies, the school’s guidelines reflect a culture of strict rules built around conservative Christian traditions. The website states that each student “will be disciplined as needed with firm Christian love, according to individual needs. A student must learn to submit to authority. If a student learns to submit to teachers, parents, and others in authority, then he or she will learn to submit to God’s authority in his or her own life.”
Comments on Ready’s Facebook post illustrated a variety of concerns about the school’s culture and policies, including allegations of racism as well as invasive policies banning people from working there if they are not married to a significant other they live with. One woman, Destiny Marie Beasley, said she worked at the school for four days but was asked during her interview if she was married.
“I said yes and they said, ‘good because if you weren’t then we couldn’t hire you if you lived in the same home as a man you weren’t married too [sic],’” Beasley wrote.
Stephanie Howard, who attended the school from elementary school through middle school, said she was one of only three black kids at the school and “hated going there.”
“After a church director told her son not to play ‘N***** Music’ on the way back from a football game, I was over it,” Howard wrote.
All in all, the Facebook post yielded 199 comments featuring a range of complaints from people recounting bad experiences at the school. Three days after the Ready family’s Facebook post went viral, Dr. John Collier, who serves as both the pastor at Parkview Baptist Church and the president of Parkview Christian Academy, oversaw a July 21 church service and seemed to address the criticism surrounding the school.
“Before we get into our study, let me just say a couple of things,” Collier said during the service, which was posted in its entirety on YouTube. “One of our ladies this morning mentioned to me after the service that some of her friends, when she decided to come to Parkview, said, ‘I can’t believe you’d go to a church like that.’… I said this to her, and I think maybe it bears repeating to you tonight. People that talk about us don’t really know us. I do preach hard and I take a hard stance on morality and godliness and spiritual living. But outside the pulpit, I try to be as nice as I can be. That’s difficult sometimes.”
Collier did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment for this story. Principal/ administrator Amy Landers and student ministries pastors Joey Crenshaw and Doug Landers also did not respond to requests for comment.
Attempts to reach the school by phone were unsuccessful and school officials did not return voicemail messages seeking comment on the afternoon of July 23.
Updated 4:24 pm, July 23, 2019