Charles Finney School Draws Criticism For Biblical Stance

A Christian school in the Finger Lakes region has attracted unfavorable media attention for adhering to Biblical moral principles regarding sexuality.

According to, the Charles Finney School in Penfield, New York has changed its student handbook to state that students can be expelled from the school if they adopt LGBT identities or promote homosexuality or transgenderism at school. Despite the unmistakably clear Biblical basis for this stance, some parents have complained about it and described it as “hateful.” Another parent alleges that a “conversion therapist” who “‘could work with you to make you not gay’” was invited to speak at a panel discussion at the school.

In response, Finney President Michael VanLeeuwen stated that “‘the promotion of alternative lifestyles on campus [is] not permitted as they do not support our mission as a school.’” VanLeeuwen denied the allegation regarding a conversion therapist, but added that the school had held a panel discussion that addressed student questions about alternative lifestyles from a Biblical perspective. In a statement, the school indicated that it is “‘a very diverse, loving community’” that wants all of its students to know “‘that we love and care for them regardless of their political, religious, or sexual identity.’”

A member of the New York State Assembly has weighed in on the Charles Finney School’s stance about sexuality. Asm. Jen Lunsford (D-Perinton) stated that she has received complaints from parents about the school. Asm. Lunsford correctly noted that the First Amendment protects Christian schools that take traditional Biblical positions on sexuality that are consistent “‘with the ethos and values of the religion that they subscribe to.’” However, Asm. Lunsford also made the baseless and ludicrous claim that policies like the Charles Finney School’s are to blame for bullying, harassment, and “‘higher suicide rates among people who are LGBTQ.’”

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms thanks the Charles Finney School for taking a God-honoring, truthful stance on sexuality and gender identity. We are especially pleased that the school has emphasized its love for its students. For many years, the political left in America has relentlessly pushed the false narrative that Christians who disapprove of homosexuality and transgenderism are filled with hatred and intolerance. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 330,000 gay and bisexual men have died of AIDS in the United States. Given the serious health hazards associated with homosexual behavior among males, warning young people against that behavior is an act of love. Parents who disapprove of the school’s position are, of course, free to send their children elsewhere. As for Asm. Lunsford, NYCF is open to engaging dialogue with her about the difference between hatred and moral clarity. We also respectfully caution Asm. Lunsford against misinformed, inflammatory rhetoric that blames Christian schools for causing suicides.