A Hermon school board member is under fire for his anti-Christian views and advocacy of radical gender ideology.
Chris McLaughlin, a social worker and executive director of National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Maine, is accused of expressing anti-Christian sentiments in his capacity as a school board member.
Last November, Pines Church was negotiating a deal with Hermon High School to rent space for its Sunday services when McLaughlin emailed Superintendent Micah Grant with questions about the church’s religious beliefs.
“I wanted to get a better sense of how the Pines Church approaches issues of diversity, equity and inclusion,” he wrote. “Is the Pines Church receptive of same-sex marriage?”
McLaughlin, who lives in Hermon with his husband, also inquired about the church’s stance on “safe and affordable abortion,” “gender affirming medical care,” “conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ individuals” and “inclusive sexual education and access to birth control for youth.”
Although its website doesn’t address these specific issues, Pines Church’s core beliefs align with traditional Christian orthodoxy, including belief in the authority of Scripture.
Although McLaughlin didn’t express his personal beliefs, the implications of his questions were clear.
“Unless the Christians of Pines Church agreed with McLaughlin about taxpayer funded abortions, sex-change surgeries, and birth control for kids, then McLaughlin wouldn’t support their rental agreement,” wrote Steve Robinson, editor-in-chief of The Maine Wire.
It appears negotiations fell through since the church currently meets at a local movie theater, according to the church’s website.
The Christian Civic League in Maine thought McLaughlin’s questions could become grounds for a lawsuit.
“Chris McLaughlin’s communication is a blatant example of hostility toward any religion not aligned with his personal values,” said Michael McClellan, policy direct for the League. “Any past or future decisions by this or any other school board based upon this obvious animus creates clear legal vulnerabilities to litigation regarding religious discrimination.”
Matt Gioia, lead pastor of Pines Church, also weighed in.
“I’ve heard people say religion has become too political, but I think politics has become too religious,” he told local media.
McLaughlin has been previously criticized for supporting Maine Chapter 117 which “will erode parental rights and allow school counselors and social workers to easily separate children from their parents,” according to the nonprofit Courage is a Habit.
In an interview, the school board member also claimed health professionals needed to become more comfortable discussing LGBT issues, especially surrounding gender identity, and even said he wouldn’t “out that kid to their parent, even if there are safety issues present.”
McLaughlin’s term as school board member will end in 2025, according to the Hermon School Department.