Politics

Author Nicholas Sparks Tried to Ban LGBT Club and Student Protests at His Christian School, Emails Reveal

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In 2006, Nicholas Sparks, the prolific romance writer best known for The Notebook and A Walk to Remember, helped co-found a prep school in New Bern, North Carolina, called the Epiphany School of Global Studies. The idea was to start a small, faith-based academy focused on world issues with an emphasis on language-learning, regular visits to other nations, and a shared understanding that “learning about the world” was an integral part of 21st-century life. In its mission statement, the school of roughly 500 students describes itself as “anchored in the Judeo-Christian commandment to Love God and Your Neighbor as Yourself.”

But since 2014, members of the Epiphany School’s Board of Trustees, including Sparks, have been locked in a legal battle with the academy’s former headmaster and CEO, Saul Benjamin, over what the latter describes as a pattern of harassment, racism, and homophobia. “Sparks and members of the Board unapologetically marginalized, bullied, and harassed members of the School community,” Benjamin’s attorneys wrote in the complaint, “whose religious views and/or identities did not conform to their religiously driven, bigoted preconceptions.“

Sparks rejected the claims in a 29-page declaration to the court. But emails obtained by The Daily Beast show the romance writer repeatedly taking issue with Benjamin’s attempts to make the school inclusive to all faiths, races, and sexualities. (Sparks would not provide The Daily Beast with additional comment for this story.)

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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