POLITICS – ‘No Gays!’ Says HK’s International Christian School (And It’s Legal!) 56


International Christian School in Sha Tin has banned gay teachers, forcing staff to sign a ‘morality contract’ and a form which suggests sinners will be cast out like ‘heathens’.

The story was reported by Simon Parry in the China Daily, after an expatriate art teacher asked the school to clarify its stance. She received the following response from Admin & Recruitment Co-ordinator Sandy Burnett…

via China Daily

The applicant told China Daily, “It saddens me to think they can get away with this when they should be teaching their students tolerance. If they want to say you can’t live with your partner that’s one thing but to say you can’t be gay is unacceptable… It’s something people can’t control. It’s like saying you can’t be black… What happens if there is a gay child at their school?”

Page four of the school’s teacher application form (available online) insists that applicants must be ‘above reproach‘ in the area of sexual orientation. It then quotes Matthew 18:15-19, which suggests those who violate the policy will be cast out like a heathen and a tax collector“.

mVZcW8Rl.png (640×180)

In January, the Ming Pao confirmed that the principal had written to all staff members forbidding them to have gay sex or show gender non-conforming behaviour, even in private, or risk the sack. The ‘Standards of Biblical Ethics and Integrity’ agreement included a section on ‘unethical sexualities’, which listed bestiality alongside homosexuality.

In most developed countries, such discriminatory policies would be an affront to equal opportunity laws. However, Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission‘s rules deal only with disability, gender, ethnicity and family status discrimination. The city’s flimsy ‘Code of Practice‘ legislation for employers advises against homophobic recruitment practices, but it remains only a voluntary code. Employers in Hong Kong may still hire and fire workers simply because of who they love or choose to sleep with.

Christian International School, Hong Kong Principal, John Nelson

International Christian School Hong Kong Principal, John Nelson, approved homophobic policies

International Christian School refused to comment when contacted this morning. When asked whether they have policies on gay students, their Communications Officer abruptly ended the call.

qmhyBrz.jpg (249×43)

Hong Kong claims to be a ‘world city’ where diversity is celebrated and tolerance reigns, whilst International Christian School claims to foster students to be ‘better able to understand themselves, respect others‘. Does this homophobic policy exemplify Hong Kong’s attitudes? In some cases, yes – but overall, most people now support equal marriage and gay rights, as revealed by an HKU poll this year. The school may hire/fire whomever it wishes, but not if it’s based on something beyond someone’s control – like ethnicity, disability or sexuality.

As for Christianity, the school’s policy is not even in line with the teachings of love and acceptance, as put forward by Palestinian carpenter and philosopher Jesus Christ in the best-seller ‘The Bible‘. Even Pope Francis stated ‘who am I to judge?’ when challenged on gay marriage last year.

Readers may share their thoughts with International Christian School’s Principal John Nelson:

Call: 3920 0000 or email the office at [email protected] or the headmaster’s office at [email protected]

Shek Mun Campus,
Elementary School, Secondary School & Central Administration Offices 
International Christian School
1 On Muk Lane, Shek Mun, Sha Tin, N.T.

Readers can also lobby the Equal Opportunities Commission, who are currently powerless to act. Contact Dr York Chow Yat-ngok:

Call: 2511-8211 or [email protected]

Equal Opportunities Commission,
19/F., CityPlaza Three,
14 Taikoo Wan Road, Taikoo Shing.

You can also ask local journalists on Twitter to investigate this story or tell HK’s LGBT groups, such as  Pink Alliance, about the situation.

Hong Kong’s LGBT community…


  • Meaghan McGurgan

    I did an interview with a Christian University in the states to be a professor and I had to sign documents that I was a “good moral person” that upheld the Glory of God and beliefs in the Bible to be considered for the position. I also had to go through a really long morality clause when I was interviewed for a job with the Christian Amusement Park, “The Holy Land”, let me share that fun story with you another time. It’s not just in HK that religious schools discriminate based on orientation. It’s worldwide. It won’t change until the everyone stands up against it. Hiding hatred behind religious freedom is not my idea of Christian love.

    • Tom

      Things are changing rapidly worldwide – just a matter of time.

    • Joshua Justice

      so you think that because they don’t want homosexuals working there that they hate them? Or if they don’t want people having sex outside of marriage they hate them too? If if someone is doing drugs, they hate them too?

      • Tom

        Hiring/firing someone because of their sexual orientation could indeed be construed as inciting hatred in many states. It is also an affront to Jesus’s very teachings.
        And again, pre-marital sex and drugs are choices – sexuality is not.

        • Joshua Justice

          Inciting Hatred? That’s a REALLY far stretch. Are they teaching anything else about hate? Are they teaching students to hate other people?
          I went to a Christian school and nothing like that was ever taught. In fact if you broke the rules, they would talk to you about it whether it was smoking weed or sleeping around, etc.

          I could easily say that it is just as natural for me to want to sleep with many women outside of marriage. Those are strong feelings too, just like some people are attracted to the same sex. Yet their belief is that I cannot do what I so strongly want to do: have sex outside of marriage.

          If you’re not a Christian, why do you care?

          • Jane Lam

            IT’S CALLED HOMOPHOBIA

  • Meaghan McGurgan

    I did an interview with a Christian University in the states to be a professor and I had to sign documents that I was a “good moral person” that upheld the Glory of God and beliefs in the Bible to be considered for the position. I also had to go through a really long morality clause when I was interviewed for a job with the Christian Amusement Park, “The Holy Land”, let me share that fun story with you another time. It’s not just in HK that religious schools discriminate based on orientation. It’s worldwide. It won’t change until the everyone stands up against it. Hiding hatred behind religious freedom is not my idea of Christian love.

    • Tom

      Things are changing rapidly worldwide – just a matter of time.

    • Joshua Justice

      so you think that because they don’t want homosexuals working there that they hate them? Or if they don’t want people having sex outside of marriage they hate them too? If if someone is doing drugs, they hate them too?

      • Tom

        Hiring/firing someone because of their sexual orientation could indeed be construed as inciting hatred in many states. It is also an affront to Jesus’s very teachings.
        And again, pre-marital sex and drugs are choices – sexuality is not.

        • Joshua Justice

          Inciting Hatred? That’s a REALLY far stretch. Are they teaching anything else about hate? Are they teaching students to hate other people?

          Ironically I went to a Christian school and nothing like that was ever taught. In fact if you broke the rules, they would talk to you about it whether it was smoking weed, cheating on their spouse, sleeping with a bunch of people, and a whole host of other things people did to break the rules. There was never any hate

          I could easily say that it is just as natural for me to want to sleep with many women outside of marriage. Those are strong feelings too, just like some people are attracted to the same sex. Yet their belief is that I cannot do what I so strongly want to do: have sex outside of marriage.

          If you’re not a Christian, why do you care?

          • Jane Lam

            IT’S CALLED HOMOPHOBIA

  • Randy

    After 6 long years of living in HK, it bothers me more and more about religion being used so much at schools. As a tutor, more than half of my students go to Christian schools and have weekly ‘religious studies’ classes. Why is there the need for this? Keep religion private and with your family.

    When China finally controls this city, hopefully they will do away with this practice.

    • Joshua Justice

      ya then the government can’t chase everyone underground like they still do in China. That’s a novel idea

  • Randy

    After 6 long years of living in HK, it bothers me more and more about religion being used so much at schools. As a tutor, more than half of my students go to Christian schools and have weekly ‘religious studies’ classes. Why is there the need for this? Keep religion private and with your family.

    When China finally controls this city, hopefully they will do away with this practice.

    • Joshua Justice

      ya then the government can’t chase everyone underground like they still do in China. That’s a novel idea

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  • Anonymus

    A system that forces students to blindly believe without having independent views should be challenged.

    Religion is a personal value and is to be kept personal. Education is a platform for us to receive knowledge while preparing, learning the essential needs of later life, yet if students are blind folded from all the diverse views and opinions they wouldn’t be able to decide what they actually choose to believe.

    • KC

      I agree but no one said ICS isn’t teaching a balanced view of sexuality and diversity? You don’t have to be homosexual to help students understand sex-ed and same sex relationships. Likewise as I understand, they teach a balanced view on world religions too. I agree that there’s more Christian emphasis but I don’t think the school “forces” students to be Christian, afterall deciding on a religion is a personal decision that each person takes individually

  • Anonymus

    A system that forces students to blindly believe without having independent views should be challenged.

    Religion is a personal value and is to be kept personal. Education is a platform for us to receive knowledge while preparing, learning the essential needs of later life, yet if students are blind folded from all the diverse views and opinions they wouldn’t be able to decide what they actually choose to believe.

    • KC

      I agree but no one said ICS isn’t teaching a balanced view of sexuality and diversity? You don’t have to be homosexual to help students understand sex-ed and same sex relationships. Likewise as I understand, they teach a balanced view on world religions too. I agree that there’s more Christian emphasis but I don’t think the school “forces” students to be Christian, afterall deciding on a religion is a personal decision that each person takes individually

  • Joshua Justice

    It’s a private school. If you are not a Christian, then don’t work there, or send your student there if you don’t agree with their beliefs. Will you also do the same thing because they don’t believe in sex before marriage? or using drugs?

    • Tom

      Believing in pre-marital sex or taking drugs are choices – being dark-skinned, disabled or gay or not. The school may hire whomever it wishes, as long as it doesn’t discriminate against people over things they cannot control.

      It’s really, really simple. And it’s the law in most civilised territories.

      • Joshua Justice

        really? It’s the law? Could you please reference other countries where a private religious school has been forced to hire someone that does not share the same religious views?

        After you do that, why don’t you also explain to me how the attraction to the same sex is different than my attraction to many different women. The Bible would say both of us would not be able to act on our passions or attractions.

        So again, why are you not contacting every religious school, including other religions? Posting info for people to call and harass the administrator is pretty low, as is posting a sign that insinuates that the Principal ‘hates fags.’ I noticed you changed that.

        I was once a huge fan of this site, but you really lack integrity on this witch hunt. It’s a private school whose beliefs you do not share. Get over it

        • KC

          agreed especially with the last line.

        • Andrew K.

          Well said!

          Even the language in which this case has been handled communicates bias.

          The school hasn’t “banned” gays or “Said no!” to gays in the manner implied, as if they were changing their position or drawing some kind of line in the sand.

          The fact is that this, and many other Christian institutions, have ALWAYS held any sexuality outside the boundaries of heterosexual marriage to be sinful. For nearly two-thousand years, at that! There’s nothing new here, so why the dishonesty, pretending as though there were?

          Christianity hasn’t changed; society has changed. And yet we’re the ones being portrayed as “radicals.”

          • Tom

            The school have confirmed in a letter above that they do not welcome gay teachers.

            It’s called homophobia.
            Some people are gay. Some Christians are gay. Get over it.

  • Joshua Justice

    It’s a private school. If you are not a Christian, then don’t work there, or send your student there if you don’t agree with their beliefs. Will you also do the same thing because they don’t believe in sex before marriage? or using drugs?

    • Tom

      Believing in pre-marital sex or taking drugs are choices – being dark-skinned, disabled or gay or not. The school may hire whomever it wishes, as long as it doesn’t discriminate against people over things they cannot control.

      It’s really, really simple. And it’s the law in most civilised territories.

      • Joshua Justice

        really? It’s the law? Could you please reference other countries where a private religious school has been forced to hire someone that does not share the same religious views?

        After you do that, why don’t you also explain to me how the attraction to the same sex is different than my attraction to many different women. The Bible would say both of us would not be able to act on our passions or attractions.

        So again, why are you not contacting every religious school, including other religions? Posting info for people to call and harass the administrator is pretty low, as is posting a sign that insinuates that the Principal ‘hates fags.’ I noticed you changed that.

        I was once a huge fan of this site, but you really lack integrity on this witch hunt. It’s a private school whose beliefs you do not share. Get over it

        • KC

          agreed especially with the last line.

        • Andrew K.

          Well said!

          Even the language in which this case has been handled communicates bias.

          The school hasn’t “banned” gays or “Said no!” to gays in the manner implied, as if they were changing their position or drawing some kind of line in the sand.

          The fact is that this, and many other Christian institutions, have ALWAYS held any sexuality outside the boundaries of heterosexual marriage to be sinful. For nearly two-thousand years, at that! There’s nothing new here, so why the dishonesty, pretending as though there were?

          Christianity hasn’t changed; society has changed. And yet we’re the ones being portrayed as “radicals.”

          • Tom

            The school have confirmed in a letter above that they do not welcome gay teachers.

            It’s called homophobia.
            Some people are gay. Some Christians are gay. Get over it.

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  • Ken

    Where did John Nelson say “God hates fags,” am I missing where the link is? Does he actual hate people who are gay, or just affirm that their lifestyle doesn’t line up with what his private school wishes to promote. If this was enforced at a public school, then it’d be a crime, but it seems to me allowing people to practise their beliefs in a private institution, even when people disagree, is the ultimate sign of freedom. #defamationishongwrong

    • Tom

      Thanks “Ken”… No-one has quoted John Nelson as saying this. The article concludes that he *believes* it because of his actions. Also, he has outright refused to comment otherwise.

    • Tom

      Let me try again to respond to this…
      No-one has quoted John Nelson as saying that. The article concluded that he *believes* it because of his actions. Also, he has outright refused to comment otherwise. Nevertheless, I’ve added an adjective as not to cause upset about supposed defamation.

      Private or public, it is wrong (and in many places illegal) to discriminate against someone over something they can’t control – like ethnicity or sexuality.

      If you feel John was the victim here and defamation the ‘injustice’, then you’ve a very warped view of what justice and Christianity are really about.

      • Joshua Justice

        come on now, you are putting words in his mouth and you have crossed from journalism into a realm that lacks journalistic integrity.

        • Tom

          My amendment is very fair and I at no point quoted him as saying anything… Besides, this is just a humble commentary blog – it ain’t Reuters.

          • Joshua Justice

            no it’s not fair at all. That saying is associated with a real hate group that Christians in the USA hate. Not many people talk like that in the USA who are Christians.

            Ya, so now you changed it… again, if you don’t share the same belief, why the witch hunt? Why are you trying to change people that you don’t even like? That’s the most bigoted thing out of this whole situation, ironic as can be

          • Tom

            I made *one* alteration at your request. Now you’re upset I made it… I don’t dislike anyone… There is no witch-hunt – it is newsworthy… Nor have I said anyone is associated with any US group… Nor have I directly quoted any staff, as they will not comment.

            I am now closing this thread.

          • Joshua Justice

            It’s not newsworthy as this is a type of contract for many religious institutions all over the world. Also, you never did provide any link that states that having a policy like this is illegal anywhere in the world.

            ‘God hates fags’ is a quote that is related to only one extreme group that literally is comprised of less than 30 people. Keep the nonsense off your blog man

  • Tom

    Thanks to all of the ICS staff for dropping by the comments section today!

  • Quinsilver

    I’m Christian and I feel that this is unfair – that is the reaction to this email which seems to be the cause of the uproar. it does not say anywhere that teachers are not allowed to be gay. In fact I’m pretty sure there are gay teachers there, and in general there are gay preachers and clergymen and gay Christians. (shock horror). Then after that the whole article assumes basically what was never stated. Poor journalism and also dare i say judgemental “Christian-bashing”.

    It does say that they do not want same-sex relationships which is a very high standard and difficult position for someone who is gay to take. But in the same sentence it says the same of any sexual relationship or act outside of marriage which is also an incredibly high standard. And yet the uproar is not that no heterosexual teachers are allowed to teach at this school. Because yes if we are honest, can most of the world hold to that standard of no sex outside of marriage, and would they even want to?

    Now whether anyone agrees or disagrees with a school that has very high standards for the personal conduct of teachers is another matter altogether. The whole of society used to care about the personal conduct of politicians outside of their job duties so when the president had an extramarital affair, their career was in trouble. Basically this school is going down that route. I think that they are allowed to do that. It’s one school. If I were a teacher I would not have the sense of entitlement that says I should be as hireable in a French school as say a teacher of French nationality, and the same thought process should apply to a Christian school. In fact I’m sure that many many expats pick up their monthly paychecks on the basis that, in Hong Kong, being white is considered a qualifying factor for teaching English or gives them some sort of advantage in many jobs… Being white or being of French nationality is out of anybody’s choice but everybody seems to accept that without an uproar.

    On a side note, like you said in your article about the heathen and the tax collector (who were the “gay” people of society at that time, basically disliked, mistrusted and outcasts) – Jesus if he were here now he would have special compassion for gay people. he would hang out with them, spent time with them and made them part of his gang, his trusted friends and followers. That’s what happened with prostitutes, tax collectors and women (who were not considered equal to men in that historical context)….

  • Quinsilver

    I’m Christian and I feel that this is unfair – that is the reaction to this email which seems to be the cause of the uproar. it does not say anywhere that teachers are not allowed to be gay. In fact I’m pretty sure there are gay teachers there, and in general there are gay preachers and clergymen and gay Christians. (shock horror). Then after that the whole article assumes basically what was never stated. Poor journalism and also dare i say judgemental “Christian-bashing”.

    It does say that they do not want same-sex relationships which is a very high standard and difficult position for someone who is gay to take. But in the same sentence it says the same of any sexual relationship or act outside of marriage which is also an incredibly high standard. And yet the uproar is not that no heterosexual teachers are allowed to teach at this school. Because yes if we are honest, can most of the world hold to that standard of no sex outside of marriage, and would they even want to?

    Now whether anyone agrees or disagrees with a school that has very high standards for the personal conduct of teachers is another matter altogether. The whole of society used to care about the personal conduct of politicians outside of their job duties so when the president had an extramarital affair, their career was in trouble. Basically this school is going down that route. I think that they are allowed to do that. It’s one school. If I were a teacher I would not have the sense of entitlement that says I should be as hireable in a French school as say a teacher of French nationality, and the same thought process should apply to a Christian school. In fact I’m sure that many many expats pick up their monthly paychecks on the basis that, in Hong Kong, being white is considered a qualifying factor for teaching English or gives them some sort of advantage in many jobs… Being white or being of French nationality is out of anybody’s choice but everybody seems to accept that without an uproar.

    On a side note, like you said in your article about the heathen and the tax collector (who were the “gay” people of society at that time, basically disliked, mistrusted and outcasts) – Jesus if he were here now he would have special compassion for gay people. he would hang out with them, spent time with them and made them part of his gang, his trusted friends and followers. That’s what happened with prostitutes, tax collectors and women (who were not considered equal to men in that historical context)….

  • KC

    I like some of the posts on this blog but I think this one is really judgmental and misses the point. More christian-bashing and sensationalist than good, well thought content.

    I would raise specific points about what you wrote but I don’t feel like a constructive discussion would take place given that you appear to already have consigned yourself to a certain belief about this issue.

    • Tom

      There is nothing sensational, judgemental or Christian-bashing – the facts speak for themselves. It remains a homophobic policy.

  • KC

    I like some of the posts on this blog but I think this one is really judgmental and misses the point. More christian-bashing and sensationalist than good, well thought content.

    I would raise specific points about what you wrote but I don’t feel like a constructive discussion would take place given that you appear to already have consigned yourself to a certain belief about this issue.

    • Tom

      There is nothing sensational, judgemental or Christian-bashing – the facts speak for themselves. It remains a homophobic policy.

  • Andrew K.

    Biblical Christians, such as myself, sincerely belief that the Bible teaches that homosexual activity is wrong.

    Furthermore, it is wrong for you to demand that a Christian institution with the stated purpose of teaching traditional Christian values engage in hypocrisy by teaching a set a values (that only monogamous, heterosexual marriage within the bonds of marriage) which they do not require of their faculty and staff.

    Why don’t you go bully an Islamic school down the street? You know they have the same standards.

    • Tom

      Homophobia is not a Christian value – end of story.

  • Andrew K.

    Biblical Christians, such as myself, sincerely belief that the Bible teaches that homosexual activity is wrong.

    Furthermore, it is wrong for you to demand that a Christian institution with the stated purpose of teaching traditional Christian values engage in hypocrisy by teaching a set a values (that only monogamous, heterosexual marriage within the bonds of marriage) which they do not require of their faculty and staff.

    Why don’t you go bully an Islamic school down the street? You know they have the same standards.

    • Tom

      Homophobia is not a Christian value – end of story.

  • Tom

    The Disqus admin board indicates that some commenters are using multiple ‘sockpuppet’ accounts from the same IP address to falsely create an impression of consensus. For this reason, this comment thread is now closed.

  • Tom

    The Disqus admin board indicates that some commenters are using multiple ‘sockpuppet’ accounts from the same IP address to falsely create an impression of consensus. For this reason, this comment thread is now closed.

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