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Struggles of non-Christian students at Faith Lutheran

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No matter what religion students worship outside of school, it's a requirement to take Faith classes each year of high school.

No matter what religion students worship outside of school, it's a requirement to take Faith classes each year of high school.

Shae Turner

Shae Turner

No matter what religion students worship outside of school, it's a requirement to take Faith classes each year of high school.

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Since 1979, Faith Lutheran has been teaching students enriching academics and faith that will impact their lives. However, not all students inwardly practice the same faith, but have developed respect for the Christian environment on the Faith Lutheran campus.

Faith Lutheran has from that point on expanded, and is the largest Lutheran school in the United States and the largest non-public school in the state of Nevada. Faith Lutheran is not only a campus that is strict on academics to  help prepare students for the journey ahead, but also equips them  with a strong knowledge of the Christian faith. With approximately 1,700 students within Faith’s middle school and high school, what about the minor population of non-Christian believers that attend faith?

“There’s quite a few kids that aren’t Christian at our school, so I think there’s enough of them where they probably don’t feel too secluded,” said Mr. Fogo, High School Principal.

A huge majority of the students attending Faith are both attending for academics and for the love of Christianity. The right to worship freely at school is a right that some students may take for granted, not realizing children at other schools may not have this privilege.

“I wish I went to a school with theology classes because people believe in different religions,” said Emily Brown a freshman at Arbor View High School.

Christianity comes in many different forms. As of 2012, the number of Christian denominations worldwide ranges around 34,000, and in the United States alone there’s 35 denominations. Faith Lutheran is not only a Christian school, but more specifically a Lutheran school.

A former Faith Lutheran sophomore student, Garrison Garth, explained the struggle he had with other students due to his religion conversion from Christianity to become Rastafarian, which is an Abrahamic belief that developed in Jamaica.

“Well technically I’m Christian since my religion does believe in Jesus, but my religion is not recognized by other Christians. That was one challenge people kept telling me my religion [was] fake,” said Garth.

Faith Lutheran is a big pond, and at times can be intimidating for little fish, especially if that fish is a voice in the minority of students that don’t actively condone the Christian faith.

“I feel very persecuted by my peers and teachers a lot of the time… but don’t get me wrong a lot of the teachers love my enthusiasm towards the issues and topics we talk about in faith class,” said Spencer Hosking, sophomore student, who is an atheist. Hosking did agree that going to a Christian school does make him rethink his decision on being an atheist.

“Yes, actually, I’ve questioned my beliefs, and need to have an open mind, everyone needs to have an open mind,” said Hosking.

Students that have other religious beliefs sometimes feel tension between their peers, but how do the peers feel?

        “Maybe [students] shouldn’t come to a school called Faith Lutheran if you just complain about going to chapel, going to faith class, and being rude to the teachers based on faith classes and chapel. Some [students] are pretty disrespectful in that manner, but I’m not against people that aren’t Christian coming to Faith,” said Jason Cornish, freshman, voicing his concerns on the support of all students, Christian or non-Christian, but not supporting disrespectful attitudes on Christian beliefs.  

However, disrespect can go both ways, and Mr. Neil Grepke, Theology Department Chairmen, spoke on the issues of being unkind to one another, and  “when we interact with non-believers on campus without gentleness and respect, we need to be called to repentance and we need to do better,” said Grepke.

In my classroom, for example, it’s a high priority for me to treat non-believers with love and respect, but I still have people occasionally claim that I fail at doing so,” said Grepke. “In my six years, I’ve seen things swing both ways, where it’s trendy to proclaim non-belief, and I know there are times when believers in Jesus on our campus have been downright rude to non-believers.  And I know a lot of this back and forth goes on through social media.”  

No matter what students choose to believe in high school, they will leave Faith Lutheran with the mission statement “Everyone Prepared… Everyone Saved,” and the statement means something different to each student.

“In reality, we can’t give up on our beliefs. Sometimes what the Bible says and what people want the Bible to say come into conflict with each other, and can cause disagreement,” said Fogo.

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Struggles of non-Christian students at Faith Lutheran