Regarding the West Point transgender student and his treatment by a teacher: West Point’s School Board correctly made the difficult decision to terminate Mr. Vlaming’s employment.
As an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, I do not understand Mr. Vlaming’s rationale in claiming his action to be a matter of religious freedom. I have not read any explanation for reaching this conclusion, and do not find any supportive basis in Christian scripture or tradition. It seems a personal decision without warrant.
While a supportive local church has invited him to speak in January, I regret the congregation is not offering similar care and kindness to the student and his family.
Our Constitution seeks to protect the rights of vulnerable minorities. Simply because Mr. Vlaming has religious beliefs does not allow them to trump the student’s rights, or privilege them over published policies of a secular entity such as West Point Public Schools. If Mr. Vlaming was unwilling to comply, he should have sought employment elsewhere.
It seems clear the School Board’s decision is not based on his personal qualifications to teach French or how he practices his faith off campus; it has to do with insubordination and unwillingness to adhere to stated policies and directives.
I pray for all concerned in this difficult time: for Mr. Vlaming and his family and the student and his family, who seem to have no advocates but West Point’s School Board. I am thankful for the board’s commitment to doing the right thing by enforcing approved policies, even when difficult.
Rev. David Hindman, Ed.D.