How Do I Show All Are Welcome in My Public School Classroom without Promoting a Lifestyle Contrary to My Faith?

Question from a reader:

I teach at a public elementary school. There are many practices in the public system I am trying to come to grips with. The promotion of the LGBTQ+ community within the school is probably the most difficult for me. As staff we are encouraged to show support by posting a copy of the LGBTQ+ flag on our classroom windows or doors with the statement “All are welcome.” While as a Christ follower I believe all are welcome in my classroom, how do I continue to welcome all without promoting a lifestyle I do not support and believe is contrary to my personal worldview and faith in Christ? How do I share, show, and live the gospel without appearing to compromise to this movement?

Answer from Eternal Perspective Ministries:

We asked a Christian teacher we know and respect to share some thoughts in response to your question. Here is their advice:

Proactively adding one’s own version of signage/statement of acceptance shows that you agree with the values printed on your sign: that ALL are welcome in the classroom environment. The practical benefit to intentionally adding a personal sign, is that the teacher can choose different symbols to demonstrate this philosophy; not just a rainbow/transgender flag. This allows believers in public education to follow their conscience, while still remaining able to adhere to a philosophy of accepting all students to the learning environment.  

If it gets to a point where the school requires a particular flag to be displayed, the teacher needs to remember that the classroom belongs to the district, not the individual. This returns to a matter of following one’s own conscience. In general, proactively displaying what the teacher is comfortable with is probably the most effective deterrent against requirements of displaying icons one cannot comply with.

Here’s an article from The Gospel Coalition. While it may not apply directly to your specific question, it discusses the analogy of viewing your work at a public school as a garden to tend and grow, and not just a battlefield (though of course, as Randy has written about, there is certainly the reality of the spiritual warfare around us, and so prayer is important work we can do).

Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash