When Is a Gay Cake Enough?

Have you seen the story from Louisville? To people unfamiliar with the world of evangelical education, the story might seem incomprehensible. To this reporter, it looks like a savvy 15-year-old (and her mom) just outfoxed her school principal.

gay cake

Out, vile monster!

Here’s the little that we know: Whitefield Academy, a conservative evangelical school in Louisville, just expelled a freshman. Why? The immediate cause was that the student posted a picture of herself wearing a rainbow sweater and smiling in front of a rainbow-colored birthday cake.

Even super-conservative Christians such as Rod Dreher have expressed their disapproval. As Dreher tweeted,

Unless there’s something not in the story, this sure sounds like an idiotic, even cruel, move by the Christian school

Moreover, the story has drawn unwelcome attention to the school from other sources. Curmudgucrat Peter Greene doesn’t mind if conservative Christians embrace their values, but he does care if public tax dollars fund it. And as Greene wrote recently,

This is some first rate bluegrass bullshit (and the type preferred by Secretary DeVos). . . . the end result is exactly precisely the same as spending tax dollars on vouchers for private schools. Private schools just like Whitefield Academy.

Why would Whitefield Academy do it? I have zero inside knowledge, but my guess is that Bruce Jacobson, the head of the school, simply goofed. He played right into the student’s hands. Jacobson tried to explain that the student was not kicked out only for the cake/sweater “incident.” He explained that she had been in trouble for two years, following a series of unspecified “lifestyle violations.”

I’m guessing Jacobson overestimated his own power. He assumed people would take his word for it. Instead, he faces a teenager and her mom who know how to generate bad publicity for the school. And instead of being known in Louisville as a serious Christian school with well-behaved students, now Whitefield Academy will be known as the kooky right-wing anti-gay school who kicked out a kid for a cake.