Getting kicked out of kindergarten isn’t easy. A child would have to do something truly awful, right?

Not necessarily. A 5-year-old girl last week didn’t have to do a thing. Her mother did it for her.

Or rather, her mother’s job did it. Christina Silvas, a 24-year-old single mom, works as an adult dancer in Sacramento, Calif. She does it for the money.

She takes a chunk of that money and pays the $400-a-month tuition for her daughter, Abigail, to attend the Capital Christian School.

Recently, a parent reportedly went to the strip club’s Web site and downloaded pictures of Silvas to prove that she worked there.

Now the school wants daughter and mother gone.

“God’s word instructs me what my responsibility is,” said Rick Cole, the head pastor of Capital Christian. “We can’t let (Silvas) adversely affect the morale of the school or the church.”

And so 5-year-old Abigail was told to pack up — even though kindergarten had nearly a month left.

Hmm. Wasn’t it Jesus who said, “Suffer the little children . . .”?

The written word

Silvas, the mother, had previously worked as a Sunday school teacher. Although Cole has said he will let her little girl stay if she quit dancing, she refuses. For one thing, she says, it’s not illegal. Plus she needs the money. And, she adds, “I thought the church was supposed to accept everybody.”

Cole does not agree. I spoke with him last week. He said Christina’s chosen profession violated Christian values. He also said she knew better because she signed an agreement with the school when she enrolled her daughter.

“Did the agreement say she couldn’t dance?” I asked him.

“It didn’t get that specific,” he said.

“Did it speak about occupations?”

“It talks about a philosophy.”

“Then why should Silvas’ daughter have to leave?”

“Because for her mother to be involved in this environment is against what the Bible states for us. . . . The Bible speaks about modesty in apparel, and sexuality and lust, and she’s clearly in violation of that.”

Then again, so is Britney Spears, who claims to be a devout Christian and a virgin to boot.

Now, don’t misunderstand. The school is likely within its rights here — at least its legal rights. But its moral ones seem a little twisted.

If you don’t approve of a mother’s work, fine. Counsel her, speak to her, try to convince her every time you see her that she could do better.

But don’t kick out her innocent daughter. Maybe the little girl will be the one to pass on an inspiring message. At the very least, acknowledge the mother for wanting a more ethical environment for her child.

Didn’t Jesus himself spend time with thieves and prostitutes?

Living the commandments

This case may be less conceptual than congregational. Perhaps some of the other mothers don’t like the way Silvas dresses. Perhaps other fathers are bothered by her presence.

If so, a healthy dose of turning the other cheek, accepting with open arms and welcoming even the sinners seems to be in order. Besides, if we’re going to start judging occupations, why stop at adult dancing?

What about Enron executives? They lied. They may have stolen. Those, too, are sins — ones that affected a lot more people than one woman dancing on a pole. Should the children of Enron be booted from religious kindergarten?

What about parents who disrespect their mothers and fathers? Or who privately covet their neighbor’s new car? Aren’t those violations of the Ten Commandments?

When I asked Cole whether a child would be expelled for any of the above reasons, he said, “We don’t get into everyone’s personal life.”

You could have fooled me. The Bible says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” But in this story, the one without sin is the little girl.

And she’s the one getting tossed.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Catch “Albom in the Afternoon” 3-6 weekdays on WJR-AM (760).

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