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Morality in America

Morality in America

When studying the founding of the United States, you can’t help but encounter the faith of the nation’s forefathers. Time and again they recognized God’s hand in the shaping of America. You will find Him repeatedly mentioned in their words and documents. And you will find Him having an active, vibrant role in the country’s early history.

Today, God continues His work in America – but it’s in a nation that has clearly lost its moral compass. Every week, “Morality in America” will address the myriad of moral concerns facing the United States and undermining its Godly heritage:

  • Sanctity of life – abortion and euthanasia.
  • Sanctity of marriage – same-sex marriage and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.
  • Sanctity of the family – divorce, spousal and child abuse, out-of-wedlock pregnancies and absentee fathers.
  • Judicial activism (Supreme and lower court decisions).
  • Revisionist education in the public schools.
  • The perceived rise of Socialism and one-world government trends.
  • Attacks and media bias against Christianity.
  • And much more…

After you read, remember to intercede in prayer for America – that this nation will return to the Christian standards that once defined it.

Identity Crisis

MoralityInAmericaTomboy sparks public controversy

By Holly L. Meade

Sunnie Kahle has short hair and enjoys collecting coins, hunting knives and autographed baseballs. However, the eight-year-old Lynchburg, Virginia girl has left her private, Christian school apparently after administrators complained that her appearance was “not sufficiently” feminine. Yet, Jeff Abbett, administrator of Timberlake Christian Schools, was “heartbroken” that Sunnie’s guardians took the issue public and withdrew her from the school.

Doris Thompson, Sunnie’s great-grandmother and legal guardian says, “Sunnie realizes she’s a female, but she wants to do boy things. She wants to play rough and tough.” Thompson has raised Sunnie since she was an infant and when Sunnie turned five, she asked for a short haircut.

“She had hair down to her waist and she wanted to give it to a child with cancer,” Thompson said. “After we cut her hair she started wanting to wear jeans and a T-shirt. She didn’t want to wear her frilly dresses anymore.” Thompson said Sunnie maintained a 4.0 average in her academic work and the only disciplinary issue that she might have caused was that she wanted to wear boy’s pants as part of her school uniform.

Elementary principal Becky Bowman sent home a letter last month reminding Doris and Carroll Thompson of the school’s religious affiliation and its policy of refusing students who contradict a “biblical lifestyle.” Bowman wrote, “We believe that unless Sunnie and her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education.”

“To claim that we are condoning sexual immorality in our home is nonsense,” Thompson said. “We are Christians. We understand the Bible. Sunnie knows it very well. She has accepted Christ.” Thompson says Sunnie is simply a tomboy and that she’s too young to understand sexual orientation or gender issues.

Liberty Counsel, a Christian nonprofit legal group, released a statement on behalf of Timberlake Christian School stating the claims made by the Thompsons were either “inaccurate… or were quoted out of context.” The statement clarified that Timberlake Christian School is a ministry of the Timberlake Baptist Church and both institutions “believe in the authority of the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God as an infallible guide for our lives. The faculty and staff of the School love S.K. (Sunnie) and wants what is best for her as a person created in the image of God. We are deeply dismayed over the inaccurate and public nature of this situation and the false and inaccurate reporting.”

Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Matt Staver also quoted a verse from Proverbs that he thought perfectly described the situation: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

That word examines is literally to “search and to diligently test or scrutinize to find what is hidden.” Of course, any wise person should always hear both sides of a story before making a judgment. In the case of Sunnie Kahle, obviously there are more details than what is revealed through the media. Yet, it is important to acknowledge what is really important from God’s perspective—the heart of an eight-year-old child.

Author and theologian Dr. James Richards says, “The hearts of children are extremely vulnerable. Childhood is supposed to be the time when we develop a healthy view of ourselves and our world. However, healthy perspectives do not happen because a child is given the right information; they are the result of how a child is made to feel. God created us so that our childhood would be a time of constant learning and developments. This means every experience a child has can potentially affect his or her heart.”

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) Jesus reveals that little children have hearts that are pliable enough to admit the need to grow, change and develop. Adults, on the other hand, often insist they can see and so remain in their blindness.

Sunnie says, “I should just be able to be me and not let them worry about it.”

As you seek God in prayer today, remember Sunnie, her family and the faculty and students of the school. Ask Him to write the truth on their hearts and reveal their identity in Jesus Christ.

Holly Meade is a communications specialist, writer, speaker and teacher with a master’s degree in mass communication. She has extensive experience in creating and producing content for radio, television and the Internet.

Your Comments

The following expressions and comments are from our members and do not necessarily
represent or reflect the biblical or world views or opinions of the Presidential Prayer Team.

  1. michelle says:

    I think it is important to remind children what is girl vs. boy behaviors, hair styles and clothes so they can properly identify themselves with the correct gender before it becomes a problem and before, in their mind, they begin to question their gender themselves. However, I wear pants and slacks and do not consider them to be masculine because what I wear with them looks feminine, have seen short hairstyles that are worn femininely. I don’t believe the school made a big deal of this but the have a feeling the parents did. They could have handled the disagreement discreetly (not making it public), so as to protect the child’s feelings (if that is their concern) but also, remembering we cannot always completely protect our children from things that may hurt them. Hypothetically, if she chooses to live a homosexual lifestyle she will be hurt far worse than a mere letter coming home in the mail. If they are strong in the faith I believe people will not be so easily offended by someone’s opinion and they would seek out God’s will in this situation.
    When my sons were younger and wanted a girl toy I simply said, no those are for girls. If you want to play with girl at school and play with one of these toys that is fine but we are not going to buy one for you. Another example is my mother in law let my 3 year old son put on her knee highs, we simply asked her not to let him do that, he is a boy and boys don’t wear knee highs…

  2. michelle says:

    …He needs to understand early what is for boys and what is for girls. None of my childerns hearts where hurt because we did not let them buy girl toys or wear their grandma’s pantyhose, they don’t even ask any more. With this eight year old my concern is that she is starting to identify as a boy but maybe it is just a phase as well. I wanted a skateboard when I was a young girl but it was because I wanted to hang out with the cute boys down the road, not because I wanted to be a boy. I think it maybe pretty hard to tell until she is well into puberty. The best thing that can be done when a parent sees this is pray for their child. God can make changes instantly if he wants. I will pray for her.

  3. Lori Bevard says:

    I think that too much is being made of this all the way around. A little eight year old girl liking her hair short and wanting to wear jeans is not abnormal. Don’t put a label on her for such action of innocence. When I was little I was a tom boy, grew up with five brothers, I played baseball, football, tag, shot rifle, played cowboy and Indians,and the list goes on. Likewise when my son was a tyke, I let him have a baby doll and we used it to teach how we treated babies, how to hold, carry, and treat a baby. He grew up just fine. No where does the bible teach thou shalt not play with guns, knives, or baby dolls , and so forth. If the little girls school has a dress code that she did not adhere to, then you need to deal with that, but come on now, a child at eight years old should not be labeled because of jeans and short hair. How many grandmas out there have their hair cut short, and curled tight or bobbed. Does that make you a candidate to be considered gay? Let’s be more careful about building a mountain out of a mole hill. I would rather see a little girl of eight wearing jeans and short hair, than learning to wear makeup and worrying whether she is feminine enough to attract the boys. She has plenty of time to become a young lady, don’t write her off so soon.

  4. Dr N says:

    As a Pastor I face these issues head on. Children are gifts from God. We need to be careful how we label them and how we judge their appearance. It’s clear she is being raised correctly by her family and that her issue of dressing tomboyish is a normal action. I feel the school has reacted too harshly before they used wisdom looking into the child’s background. The child seems perfectly normal. I would have to say from hearing the situation that judgment has come too quickly and should have been metered with love. Even though a school has to maintain a certain decorum they also must show love and understanding. Tomboy dress is not gay… It’s just comfortable.
    My daughter was raised with three boys and was a tomboy all her young life. After her first child she was labeled I. The neighborhood as “Tom-mom” as she played with the others while teaching her child to play. She is a great mother now of three and still loves to be outside. Never gay, just comfortable with who she is in Jesus!
    She’s a strong Christian and leader in,the church. Tomboy is just active not gay!

  5. michelle says:

    Honestly, I do have friends with an eight year old they have been genuinely concerned was gay…from when he was even younger than eight. They always identified him as a boy, with boy clothes, boy toys, etc. Now that he is older they are almost sure he is. I don’t know how you would even change something like that except pray for them. I feel for anyone who has to deal with this, parents and the child.

  6. michelle says:

    I want to add one thing, I think the majority (not always mind you) of this is coming from a break down of proper parenting when the children are young. That includes a family structure with a mom and dad that spend proper time in their children’s life. (Can be from both parents working a lot or just not engaging with their kids or the break down of marriage in society today). Boys need to identify with men or their fathers, when very young, and sort of detach from their mother. Sort of an initiation process. When this does not happen, it has been proven many do not develop properly. Even heard a sort of a testosterone bath happens in the brain to change their minds to “male”. They may begin to identify with the female rather than the male if this does not happen. I have two boys and have not researched girls development but I am sure their are certain developmental things that should happen with them as well. I honestly thing this is a generational sin…that we can pass to our children through sex before marriage, leave a child with only one parent. I have heard it said a gay man in some cases maybe looking for the love of a man to replace what they needed from their father. Which God is the perfect father and could right this all, I believe, if they turn to Him.

  7. michelle says:

    I also agree with Dr. N that being a tomboy does not make you gay. I am not a girly girl, and never have been. Not sure a letter coming home was that big of a deal either, the parents could have simply spoke with the school.

  8. Kim says:

    A friend posted an article on Facebook about a student having to turn his NRA shirt inside out. I remarked that the school has the right to set and uniformly enforce dress codes, and if the parents want to change it, they can campaign the school board for those changes. Timberlake has the right to set a dress code, and being a private school, can set other standards as well. The family had to know this; if they forgot, their bad. The school has stated there are other issues, but will not talk because of confidentiality laws.

    Who is screaming at who? From what I can gather, the family, and now, this girl will be the the 15 minute poster child for inequality. Once again, the media is used to browbeat anyone who doesn’t agree, left or right.

  9. Lori Bevard says:

    I realize what one sees and hears is not always exactly how things come down in the first place. I also agree any place of work, or school may have a dress code and it is up to us to follow and up to them to enforce. The Intent I hear in the article though is not about following a dress code but suggesting her selection or choice was not feminine suggests style rather than following a dress code. Most dress codes would say what is acceptable not what they do not find acceptable. If a quote of dress code says a girls must wear a dress no more than two inches above the knee, then of course jeans did not match, if it states girls must have hair longer than four inches long and hers was shorter that too would be against code, there was no mention of not following a dress codes but rather an attack on who the little girl portrays to them. We can only express an opinion based on what is presented and not on what might not have been said. There was reference to that she may have not represented a biblical lifestyle, now I would like to know what that has to do with her short hair or liking to wear jeans??? Maybe someone wiser than I can enlighten me. But I remember several characters in the bible who were not the typical to there peers.

  10. Mary says:

    None of this would be an issue were it not for the “gay agenda” we have to deal with now a days. This is ridicules and should not even be an issue that anyone should be dealing with outside the parties involved. Does anyone remember how Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird” felt about having to wear a “stupid old dress” to school? Yes, this should have just been a dress code issue, but from what I have read here, that is not all it is. I really feel sorry for kids today. I played baseball, played with matchbox cars and also had Barbie dolls and other “girl toys”. No one thought anything of it. Sexual orientation is not something an eight year old should even have to be concerned with. Back in 1971 when I was her age I don’t even think there was such a phrase. God forgive us!

  11. michelle says:

    Mary I see what you are saying…I do think the gay agenda has sparked this. The school did not bring it to the attention of the child but the parents did, I think we have to remember that. We do not have all the details in the case either there could be a lot more to this than one thinks. Maybe the school should have simply had a private meeting to discuss this suspected problem(s) instead of a letter. It was made(by school? or parents?)into a bigger deal than it should have been and think it has to do with the gay community trying to be part of everything and all the “discrimination” shouts that the school felt it should be “nipped in the bud” at the first sign of anything possibly gay. Further more I think the parents would suspect something themselves and they apparently do not. Like I said, the parents I know suspected from very early on 2 or 3 years old that their son maybe homosexual. There is also masculine and feminine homosexuals so we cannot really know. I will not buy girl toys for my boys…just my preference, believe it helps them to develop more toward their own sex. I am not afraid either to let them play with girl toys, pulled my Barbie’s out of the attic and they laughed hysterically when they pulled off their clothes to change them (definitely boys). Other than an outfit change they were not interested for long. Food items, cash register, even a little people house have been apart of their collection. They take care of their “pets” (stuffed animals)…

  12. michelle says:

    …as a girl would her dolls. I don’t what people to think I am saying you should be some kind of freak about it either. I simply raise them as boys and not as gender neutral. I think it is important.

  13. Janie says:

    I think the school stating in a letter the child was not sufficiently feminine should have been handled in a very sensitive manner for this young girl by the school officials and the guardians. I think there are homosexual people who are born that way due to hormones, but I also think there are some who are influenced by events in their life during vulnerable years. I do think there is a gay agenda that wants society to accept them as normal. In fact they do not want to stop until we all agree their behavior is normal. I would never want a gay person hurt and have no objections to civil unions. I disagreed with the BSA vote to allow homosexual boys in that organization due to the ages and influence. I think the school should have worked with the guardians to determine what was going on with this child. At eight it would be hard to tell if a girl was sufficiently feminine. If the school knew of other behaviors they should recommend counseling.


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