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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Cincinnati Christian School learns teacher gay, rescinds job offer
2012-06-05

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Washington — The Human Rights Campaign and Equality Cincinnati are calling on the Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy to do the right thing and not discriminate against LGBT candidates in their hiring practices. Last week, the school extended a verbal offer to Jonathan Zeng for a position at their Armleder School in Cincinnati, and several hours later rescinded the offer of employment after directly questioning Mr. Zeng about his sexual orientation — and learning that he is gay.

Cincinnati includes sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination protections. However, HRC respects that Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, as a religious school, is exempt under the law. But that doesn't make their action morally right. Polling last year found that 86 percent of Christians believed the very tenets of their faith compelled them to support protections for LGBT people under the law. HRC and Equality Cincinnati are calling on members and supporters to contact the CHCA administration and Board of Trustees, urging them to do the right thing and hire the most qualified candidates for open jobs — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"The majority of Christians and people of faith believe LGBT people deserve dignity, respect, and equal protections under the law," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "The Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy put Jonathan Zeng through an interview process and concluded he was one of the best people for the job. Jonathan's sexual orientation should in no way change that assessment, but the school appears to have taken Jonathan out of the running simply because he was gay. This is an injustice to both Jonathan and the CHCA community — it sends the message to students that there's something wrong with being gay."

"My dealings with the Armleder community have by in large been welcoming, kind, and professional," said Jonathan Zeng. "In my interview, I discussed extensively both my education philosophy and how my faith shaped me. Unfortunately, I now believe CHCA's stated practice of not hiring openly LGBT people to serve as educators stands in direct contradiction with the school's values and mission statement, and also in direct contradiction of the values we as Christians are called to promote."

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy touts diversity as one of its most important values on the institution's website. Speaking to their goal of embracing diversity, the school says: "CHCA is committed to a culture that celebrates diversity. We recognize that each person is uniquely created in the image of God, and our community should reflect the diversity and unity of the Kingdom of God. In order to prepare our students for success in life, we desire to instill in them an appreciation for and willingness to learn from those with backgrounds different than their own. Our dedication to diversity is reflected in our core values, which affirm our belief in the value of each person and our commitment to a vibrant sense of community."

HRC and Equality Cincinnati's petition to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy can be accessed at: https://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1467.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Equality Cincinnati is working for full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in Greater Cincinnati, and to prevent discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.


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