Jack Conkling is a social studies teacher at Prairie Middle School, as well as an assistant freshman women's basketball coach at Buhler High School, in Hutchinson, Kansas. He's also an evangelical Christian. And he's virulently anti-gay. We only know this because he chose to deliver a disgustingly homophobic rant on Facebook.
In his rant, Conkling compared gays and lesbians to murderers, thieves, and cheaters and proclaimed that they will not "enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Doesn't it just warm your cockles to know that this man is around possibly LGBT youth?
Follow me below the fold.
This is what Conkling posted on his Facebook wall:
All this talk in the news about gay marriage recently has finally driven me to write. Gay marriage is wrong because homosexuality is wrong. The Bible clearly states it is sin. Now I do not claim it to be a sin any worse than other sins. It ranks in God's eyes the same as murder, lying, stealing, or cheating. His standards are perfect and ALL have sinned and fallen short of His glory. Sin is sin and we all deserve hell. Only those who accept Christ as Lord and daily with the help of the Spirit do their best to turn from sin will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. There aren't multiple ways to get to Heaven. There is one. To many this may seem close minded and antagonistic, but it doesn't make it any less true. Folks I am willing to admit that my depravity is just as great as anyone else's, and without Christ I'd be destined for hell, if not for the undeserved grace of God. I'm not condemning gay marriage because I hate gay people. I am doing it because those who embrace it will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And I desire that for no one.Breaking news, huh? There's an anti-gay evangelical Christian in Kansas. He spews his hatred on Facebook. Who cares? Facebook is private, right?
Well, first of all, Facebook isn't private. When you post on Facebook, what you write is visible to more people than just yourself. What you write suddenly becomes public business, no matter what your privacy settings are.
Also, it should be noted that Conkling is friends with students. That makes this particular incident all the more repulsive. He's subjecting kids--some of them possibly LGBT--to this kind of seething anti-gay vitriol. Many even reacted directly to his post.
When you're a public school teacher--a role model--shouldn't you have a little more discretion than to launch these kinds of confused, asinine tirades in a public space? Shouldn't you have a little more sense than that?
Apparently not, according to Conkling. He claims he was only speaking from his heart. Of course, he's the victim here.
I wrote what I wrote for my Facebook friends who understand my heart and my intent. I understand that there were some folks who didn't understand my heart, and while that's sad, it is what it is.Oh, I understand your heart, Mr. Conkling. I think we all do.
Craig Williams, principal at Prairie Hills Middle School, said the school does not have a Facebook policy for teachers.I don't know what, if anything, could happen to Conkling employment-wise. I can tell you what I think should happen, but I'm not an expert on what is and is not constitutional. Honestly, this diary isn't intended to spark a debate over the First Amendment. I think we can all agree, no matter what, that what Conkling said is abhorrent, especially in the presence of his own students.
"We're looking into it," Williams said, but said he could not talk about a personnel matter.
Kansas Equality Coalition Executive Director Thomas Witt poses the question:
What would Mr. Conkling say to a student who is getting bullied for being gay or lesbian?Indeed. I think we know what he would say.