Fired for NOT Lying

Released: Thursday, December 13, 2018

We’ve all read about officials having to resign in disgrace for telling a lie. The negative consequences of lying have been documented since the Garden of Eden, when the Serpent deceived Eve.

But the West Point School Board unanimously agreed to fire Peter Vlaming, high school French teacher, for NOT lying to (and about) one of his gender-confused students. (The town of West Point, Virginia is thirty miles east of Richmond and forty miles north of Jamestown).

Much has been written and reported about this absurd decision by the school board, Superintendent Laura Abel, and other administrators. But I want to break this down into smaller, very clear concepts. As Christians are increasingly attacked for our faith, clarity is one of our greatest defenses against the culture’s intentional confusion. We must equip ourselves to speak biblical truth powerfully on this and similar issues and against the schemes of the Enemy: “For he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

Let’s start with terms: Merriam-Webster defines the noun lie as “a : an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker or writer to be untrue with intent to deceive,” (e.g., “He told a lie to avoid punishment.”) and “b : an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker or writer.” It cites as examples “the lies we tell ourselves to feel better” and “historical records containing numerous lies.”

It is an outright lie for anyone to claim that the ninth-grade teenage girl at the center of this travesty is a boy. No matter the amount of hormones, surgery, or other extraordinary measures, biological sex is fundamentally represented in every pair of chromosomes in our body. God created this young woman as female. No amount of rebellion against her Creator by her or her parents can change that simple reality.

After spending the previous school year in Peter Vlaming’s French class, outwardly abiding by the obvious truth that she is a girl, she reportedly made a decision over the summer to “identify” as a boy. She wanted to start the current school year with a male name and “present” herself as a male.

Peter Vlaming agreed to use the girl’s new preferred name but drew a line against calling her by male pronouns. Vlaming simply avoided using pronouns at all to refer to his student, until he called on other students to keep “her” from running “into the wall.” Ironically, she was blindly walking toward potential harm as she wore a “virtual reality” visor.

This evidently was too much for the female student, her parents, and the West Point High School Principal, Jonathan Hochman. Vlaming was questioned by the administration and clarified that while he respected the student and was willing to abide by using her new name, his Christian faith and conscience wouldn’t allow him to call any woman a man or vice-versa.

After a four-hour hearing, the school board sided with Superintendent Abel and Principal Hochman in a five to zero vote. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, they dismissed Vlaming on the grounds he supposedly “discriminated” against the student by NOT using incorrect pronouns and “created a hostile learning environment” that made the student and her parents “feel disrespected.”

In reality, this girl and her parents are openly disrespecting God and despising the good gifts He granted them. Her parents are similarly enabling dangerous gender confusion in their child by not getting her the help she actually needs. It’s estimated children with gender dysphoria come to embrace their gender in up to ninety percent of cases.

From a civil rights perspective, Peter Vlaming, a beloved teacher at West Point High School, was discriminated against for his Christian faith, harassed, and wrongfully dismissed. Peter’s First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion and free speech were grossly violated by his principal, his superintendent, and the school board as they all tried to coerce him to abuse his conscience and perpetuate a lie. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

To cite Merriam-Webster again, injustice is “1 : absence of justice : violation of right or of the rights of another : UNFAIRNESS, 2 : an unjust act : WRONG.” “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Matthew 18:7).