Same-Sex RI Couple Outraged After Being Called “Abhorrent” by Christian School

Monday, May 21, 2018


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Reverend Bryan Speroni (Photo: FB Public)

A same-sex married couple in Rhode Island said they were appalled when they inquired about preschool opportunities at a local Christian school — only to be told that their lifestyle is “abhorrent.” 

Lisa Hazard, who lives with her wife Karen in Burrillville and eight adopted children, six of whom have special needs, told GoLocalProv that after inquiring about preschool opportunities at the Pascoag Community Christian School, that she was sent the following language by the church — which she said dissuaded her family from applying. 

“I just want to bring out that this bigotry and hate that continues,” said Hazard. “I feel that they’re just covering their bases, knowing they likely can’t outright reject us.  But after getting this, I would not subject my child to that.”

Hazard shared the four-page letter that she received in the mail, which contained the following language. 

“Whereas the Bible, the word of God, clearly identifies homosexual practices as sin and abhorrent to God, the members of the Pascoag Community Baptist Church, resolve that those of homosexual persuasion cannot be received into the fellowship of this church, nor can they be hired or used in any way. 

Be it further resolved, that it should be discovered that a member, hired person, etc. is a homosexual, that person’s relationship to the church, whatever it may be, will be terminated."

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Pascoag Community Baptist Church

Family Reacts

Hazard explained what she said were the set of circumstances that led up to her going public with her story.

“When I called to inquire about the preschool, I spoke with the coordinator. I asked what's the church's feelings on alternative families? She said I’ll have to have the pastor call you.  He just said ‘we have strong beliefs -- I would like to mail the doctrine to you’,” said Hazard, before receiving the letter. 

“Basically what he said was I'm not prohibited from applying, but I can't even consider going to the school now,” said Hazard. “They told me I'm a sinner and I'm not welcome.”

Hazard said that with eight children — and one with a severe seizure disorder — she and her wife were simply looking for a schooling option closer to their home. 

“The school did give us the opportunity to fill out an application, but after reading the doctrine which reiterated their beliefs -- I feel like legally they're covering themselves, because they get money for bussing from the districts,” said Hazard. “I just want to bring out that this bigotry and hate continues in 2018.”

"This church uses our public school system's sports program because they don't have one, such as a track," said Hazard. "They don't seem to have a problem using it when it's to their convenience.

Church, Family Trade Responses

The Reverend Dr. Bryan Speroni at the church provided the following statement when reached on Sunday — which Hazard fired back at. 

Speroni, when asked for comment, sent the following statement:

Community Christian School was telephoned by a prospective parent regarding enrolling her four-year-old student in the church’s preschool program.  This prospective student’s parent never filled out an application or actually applied to the school.  Additionally, this prospective student’s parent was told by phone that the student would be enrolled if she wanted to place the child in a preschool program run by a Baptist church.  The prospective student’s parent was given a copy of the church’s statement of faith that was voted on by the church membership years ago for her to review.  At no time, did any church or school official ever state that the child would not be welcome to enroll.  Any statement to the contrary is patently false.

Due to Internet confusion on this point, the church has been blitzed with on-line attacks and received safety threats to our campus by a major campaign now being waged on-line.  With recent church and school shootings, we are forced to put our campus on high alert and notify law enforcement to make sure that no misguided individuals act violently toward children on our campus.

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A portion of the four-page letter that Hazard says she was sent.

We would ask all parties involved to defuse the dialogue and maintain a safe and civilized conversation on these important issues. Baptist churches, Catholic churches, Jewish synagogues, Muslim Temples, and other religious organizations all take religious positions on issues such as what constitutes appropriate sexual conduct or marriage.  We would hope that the interested on-line community would respect the rights of all American citizens to worship as they deem best and to train their children consistent with their sincerely-held religious beliefs.

Hazard said she took affront with the response from the church. 

“I think it’s pretty harsh, and I feel a little upset with the fact that I have nothing to do with the online campaign,” said Hazard. “And I never said I was [denied admission] — I just said what happened with the letter I received.”

“The fact that he said he contacted law enforcement?  I can’t help with what the Internet reaction was.  I can’t help who called or who did any of that.  If people are that incited, they’re incited for a reason. I was simply trying to raise awareness,” said Hazard.


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