‘Because she was immoral’: Christian school defends decision to deny pregnant teen …

Heritage Academy senior Maddi Runkles. Photo courtesy of Maddi Runkles

(RNS) Countering criticism even from conservative Christians, the principal of a Christian school in Maryland invoked its moral code in defense of a decision to forbid a pregnant student from crossing the graduation stage.

“Maddi is being disciplined, not because she’s pregnant, but because she was immoral,” wrote David R. Hobbs, administrator of Heritage Academy, about senior Maddi Runkles. He issued a statement to the school’s “family” on Tuesday (May 23).

The determination to not let Runkles “walk” when she completes her studies at the Hagerstown school prompted a sharp critique from Students for Life of America, which asked its supporters to urge the school to reverse its decision.

The letter from Principal Dave Hobbs at Heritage Academy

But Hobbs said the school is standing its ground about the June 2 ceremony for Runkles’ class of 15 students.

“Heritage is also pleased that she has chosen to not abort her son,” he wrote. “However, her immorality is the original choice she made that began this situation. Secondly, she will receive her diploma that she has earned.”

He noted that all students sign a pledge based on Philippians 4:8 (including language about “whatever is pure”) that “extends to my actions, such as protecting my body by abstaining from sexual immorality and from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs.”

The New York Times reported that Runkles, a student with a 4.0 average, was suspended and removed as president of the student council. Her father resigned as the school’s board president. Runkles declined to name the baby’s father but said he is not an academy student and they do not plan to marry.

“I told on myself,” she said to the Times, describing her choice to publicly speak to the student body instead of letting Hobbs share her news. “I asked for forgiveness. I asked for help.”

Students for Life President Kristan Hawkins said her organization remains concerned about the example the school is setting.

Heritage Academy in Hagerstown, Md. Photo from Google Maps

“By banning her and her alone, the administration and board collectively decided to make a public example of one student,” Hawkins wrote in a statement, “and has either intentionally or unintentionally communicated to the school community that pregnancy (not simply premarital sex) is a shame and should not be observed within our school community.”

Other anti-abortion activists are adding their support for Runkles. Susan Michelle-Hanson, writing in an open letter on Live Action’s website, called her “a courageous young lady” and thanked her for “choosing life.”

In an earlier blog post, Students for Life said the academy’s treatment of Runkles will be remembered by her classmates because it “wasn’t with love.”

Hobbs, the academy administrator, countered that assessment.

“A wise man told me that discipline is not the absence of love, but the application of love,” he said. “We love Maddi Runkles. The best way to love her right now is to hold her accountable for her immorality that began this situation.”

Runkles’ parents are planning a private ceremony to celebrate their daughter’s graduation.

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.


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  • The “god of morality” strikes again… leaving those that worship him blind to the ways of Jesus.

  • Dear God, somone please show this guy the movie Saved. It is exactly the same situation.

  • Don’t be fooled, amigos. That situation ain’t nearly as easy to figure out, as one may think.

    After all, we all want (and need) New Testament grace-&-mercy, but none of us want (or think we need) New Testament accountability. But it’s the same New Testament on both aspects. So how do you accept the NT on one aspect, but reject the NT on the other aspect? Speak up, please?

    As for me, I’m a big fan of the grace-&-mercy approach, simply because I need it so much. But how far is that supposed to go? What if I’m an official Methodist Bishop, and I announce next Sunday that God gives Love, Grace, Mercy, & Equality to all people, and therefore I’m marrying a same-sex-guy next week AND still keep my official position as a Methodist Bishop, even though I directly signed the official Discipline Book that says I **must** resign or get fired, if that situation happens. Hmmm?

    So now do you see how tough this situation is, on all sides? Something to think about.

  • What is the matter with these kids? Did their parents ever say “no” to them. If they didn’t take care of their toys, or obey the rules, did life just go on as normal anyway. Someone said “no” to someone who didn’t follow the rules and it makes the news?
    “By banning her and her alone, the administration and board collectively decided to make a public example of one student,” Hawkins wrote in a statement, “and has either intentionally or unintentionally communicated to the school community that pregnancy (not simply premarital sex) is a shame and should not be observed within our school community.”
    How does one premaritally get pregnant rather than premarital sex in an situation such as this? She elected not to follow the rules. And they want to overlook everything because she chose not to murder her child?
    This is the perfect example of the sinners who believe they can rebel against the Lord, and still think He is going to allow them into Heaven, even if His word says differently. This is why we have people trying to rewrite the Bible, using the excuse, you have to know the “culture”, when it has been understood one way since the culture.
    God is a just God. He has things He has set down. If He were not just, Jesus wasted his time being crucified.

  • She was immoral?

    Too, too funny.

    I’m wondering about how many of the males in charge of this school are heterosexual, and how often they look at women or girls, and how often they do so with lust in their hearts, which is another way of saying, at least for the married ones, how often they essentially committed adultery.

    Something about a woman caught in adultery comes to mind. But I’m sure it’s nothing important.

    The answer is of course none. Never. no, not ever. They are moral exemplars, at least as far as the world can see.

    The usual Christian hypocrisy, served up with a nice dose of self righteousness. All of us may be Sinners– a debatable proposition at best. Only some of us feel qualified to throw stones.

  • Keep this up and watch abortions rise. It’s exactly this type of shunning that sends kids to get an abortion rather than go through pregnancy and adoption. Once again, Christians proving it isn’t about saving babies, it’s all about punishing women for being sexual beings, and enjoying it.

    Anyone bother to notice that the abortion rates have dropped since the ACA included birth control? And it isn’t because of stronger anti-abortin laws.

    One clue is that more than 60% of the decline in the abortion rate took place in states that had not enacted new hurdles to getting the procedure.

  • So respond to the post on the table, yes? Respond to all sides of it.

    And since there are no atheists in this RNS story, don’t cop out on us with any of the usual “But I’m an atheist” cr*p.

    You jumped into a Christian pool; now start swimming or drown.

  • “… a debatable proposition at best.”

    Really, Ben? Okay then, I’ll bite.

    I’m a sinner. Said it before. A big sinner, that’s me. I couldn’t even fix my own sin problem. It was huge, and inescapable. I needed Jesus to save me.

    Now, go tell me why you’re NOT a sinner. And try to put some polish on it please. Tell me why you’re sinless.

    (**lazily takes another swig of Mountain Dew from the jug while waiting**)

  • Yep it was a very shallow pool. Christian love being demonstrated by acting in hostile malicious and hypocritical ways.

  • Remember having sex and bearing children is immoral but being a harmful malicious bastard isn’t. /sarcasm.

  • So let me guess. You’re the manager of a big secular business, and every employee who works for you has a copy of the employee handbook, which they all signed personally, and which has a few restrictions that carry a first-offence termination upon discovery.

    So what happens if an employee confesses to a first-time firing offence? You going to fire ’em? Or will you just fail to equally uphold company policy for all employees?

  • Hmm, am I going to take a context free draconian course of action simply to assert my authority in an arbitrary fashion or am I going to consider the situation, the actor, the act, and resultant effects in a fair and just manner?

    Given how I frame the issue which one do you think? 🙂

  • I am sinless!

    Do I make mistakes? Yes. Do I sometimes do things I’m sorry for? Yes. Even ashamed of? Yes. Do I break the law? Seldom, but I have. I claim to be sinless because a “sin” is an artificial construct of a religion. There are many religions and they often differ greatly from one another in what constitutes a sin – even within a single religion and over time.

  • Imagine a Home where there are no rules. Chaos.
    Cultural Marxists want to do just that — Chaos. No rules; no boundaries; no national boundaries…..anything and everything goes.
    “If it feels good, do it”

  • Sounds like the President: “I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and not lose any support!”

  • That you can’t fix your own sin problem is all your problem, not mine. I don’t have a sin problem. I don’t believe in sin, any more than I believe in a god that has a sin problem. I just try to be the best person I can, not harm anyone, and make amends if I do. You’d be surprised how little harm one can do if one puts one’s mind to it.

    Besides, we both know that when a christian of your sort talks all about your sin problem, what you really mean is that you now have an excuse to talk abut other people’s alleged sins. Your many sins against gay and trans people are not a matter of concern to you. In fact, you consider them a virtue.

    All except Sandimonious. She has declared herself without sin. So she is not your sort of Christian at all. Well, yes she is.

  • Sounds like the President! “I can grab their genitalia. Who knows? they might like it!

  • More straw men than the entre state of Kansas.

    Of course there are rules. Just not your rules.

  • I wonder if I invited you over to my house…..would you criticize me for having rules I would like my children to follow?

  • Not at all.

    If I invited you over to mine, would you insist that I follow yours?

  • No Ben, I would not insist you follow my rules at your house.
    The story is about a Private Christian School having standards/rules. Nothing wrong with that. I’m surprised there is one negative comment.

  • Was Paul wrong for rebuking the sexually immoral Corinthian? He also rebuked the fellowship for tolerating such a person.
    Was Paul unChrist like?
    Was Jesus wrong for calling some of the Judeans “brood of vipers”? He even went so far as to suggest ‘they’ were of their father the devil.

  • She was suspended for two days back in January, and stripped of her leadership roles at the school. She stood in front of the student body and confessed that she had broken the schools morality rule. She accepted her circumstances, and chose to carry her baby to term. It is way past the time for grace to kick in now. She deserves love and support, not exclusion and shame.

  • This is is one reason why we need public schools, to protect students from the arbitrary application of religious rules.

  • That’s what they do best. Absolve themselves of all common sense and logic and commence with nonstop self-righteousness and judgement, all while contorting “God’s word” to justify their hypocrisy.

  • Ben, if it were a police cadet, and he broke the law, would you have them graduate him also?

  • I think it’s pretty arbitrary when just over 40% of babies in the United States are born to unmarried women. I think it’s arbitrary when even Right to Life groups are protesting about the school’s decision. The Principal has made a decision and probably feels he can’t back down, but branding a student as “immoral” in this situation is pretty shocking.

  • If those 40% unmarried mothers attended the school, and broke their pledge, then it would be arbitrary.
    The young lady signed a contract that she broke. Why do you think this is arbitrary? As I asked Ben above, if it were a police cadet, and he broke the law, should he be allowed to graduate with his class, or would that be considered arbitrary?
    This young lady broke one of God’s laws that she signed a form stating that she would not break so she could attend the school – ended up pregnant due to the error. You think the school should celebrate this?

  • Yup. Pauline texts concerning sexual morality have caused tons of mayhem and inspired a ton Un-Christlike posing as deeply held beliefs.

    “Was Jesus wrong for calling some of the Judeans “brood of vipers”? He even went so far as to suggest ‘they’ were of their father the devil.”

    Still pushing that Christian Identity dogma. How amusing.

  • Depends. Are the rules set up to humiliate and attack your guests? There is such a thing as being a bad host.

  • I hope the young lady gets an opportunity to read Hawthorne’s classic, A Scarlet Letter.

  • You’re attempting to conflate breaking the law with pregnancy? I’ve got news for you…there’s no law against being pregnant.

  • Okay, so Ben doesn’t have a sin problem. Ben has achieved sinlessness, because (wait for it, wait for it…) Ben’s an atheist, doesn’t believe in “god”, so he has magically earned a “Get-Out-Of-Sin-Free” card. Most impressive.
    (And — Bonus Points!! — Ben gets to duck Ps. 14:1 and Rom. 1:20 thereby.)

    But even more impressive, Ben gets to preach about the sin of “Christian hypocrisy” whenever it suits him, (IOW, directly talking about “other people’s alleged sins” as Ben phrased it), without even occasionally acknowledging that Ben has got “alleged sins” on Ben’s own spiritual resume.

    Most convenient state of affairs. But how does it help Christian administrator Hobbs and all the people trusting him to do his assigned job? How does it help student Maddi Runkles, and all the other Christian students?

  • Okay, we got another sinless winner here, sports fans!

    *Ain’t No God*, ergo *Ain’t No Sin*, ergo *Ain’t No Problem!*

    You just can’t lose, when you play THESE dominoes!!

  • And therefore, (since you quietly acknowledge that signing off on a specific company policy places responsibility on the individual signer), where is your *evidence* that administrator Hobbs didn’t “consider the situation, the actor, the act, and resultant effects in a fair and just manner”?

  • I am going to guess that she is not considered old enough to sign any other type of contract that is legally binding.

  • There are exceptions to every rule, floydlee. Tell me, where you ever a pregnant teenager? I wasn’t, but three friends were. Two died to back alley abortions because of their shame. (I’m closing in on 60 when abortion was still illegal.) The wealthy girl went on a European vacation, and now is a grandmother.

    Do you have 13 nieces? Do you spend 5 hours a week volunteering with high school girls from bad homes? Do you have any number of teenage girls in your life?

    I was a teenage girl. I know slut shaming from the inside, how it feels and how powerful it is. If you really cared you’d be making it much easier to be forgiven for their errors, not punished again by shaming.

    You all even shame when someone does what you want them to, you think it will make girls who aren’t your kind of Christian more likely to opt for adoption? Not what the girls I deal with now tell me.

    Shaming and shunning are ineffective tools to get people to change their behavior unless they are already deeply entrenched in the system that shames them. Even then, you end up with dead young women instead of mothers and babies you claim to want.

    Knowledge, education, available, and affordable birth control is what reduces abortions.

  • Not the same. Unless, which is unknown, that the young lady continues on with her immoral behaviour (although Luke 17:3-4 might suggest there is no qualifier there). I rather think in this instance, she has not only been forgiven by God, but that she deserves the same forgiveness in action shown by her school community.

  • “Hey, Mr. Principal.”
    “Good morning, graduating senior female student.”
    “Ummm…I’m pregnant.”
    “Are you married?”
    “Nope, just pregnant. Can I still ‘walk’?”
    “Nope. You’re a pregnant unmarried student. Sorry you cannot walk.”
    “So, if I weren’t pregnant, I could ‘walk’? Right?”
    “Yup. If you weren’t pregnant you could ‘walk’.”

    (“Let me see…if only I weren’t pg…I can see myself now…wearing a graduation gown [ugh…I hope it doesn’t make me look fat!]…walking across the stage…shaking hands with the superintendent, principal, boe members, teachers…hearing the cheers of my family…wearing my new shoes..listening to the valedictorian and the salutatorian speak…and the special speaker who will motivate us to shoot for the stars…oh, and the music…the sights…the sounds…the smells…that can be all mine if only I weren’t pg; or I can miss all of the pomp, the circumstance, the hoopla and stay pg….hmmmm, decisions decisions…oh what should I do? I’ve made up my mind…sorry baby you gotta go. I can’t miss the biggest day of my life! See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.”)

    “Mr. Principal, do you have the phone number of the nearest termination of pregnancy aboratorium (aka as Planned Parenthood).”
    “Certainly. Here it is.”
    “Thanks. See ya later – at graduation.”

    “Hi Mr. Principal.”
    “Hello, graduating senior female student.”
    “See, no baby bump. I can ‘walk’ now, right?”
    “Yes, you can ‘walk’. And I am certainly glad to see you have gotten your priorities straight, young lady.”
    “Me too. You know, not ‘walking’ at graduation would have been the biggest mistake of my life. And it probably would have scarred my baby’s life forever, too. IT probably would have grown up in poverty and would have dropped out of high school; it no doubt would have been a drug using little thug when it grew up doomed to live an unproductive life living on welfare. But not now.”
    “Well done and well said graduating senior female student.”
    “Look out world! Here I come!”

  • Where does forgiveness begin? You without sin cast the first stone! Bless you for keeping the child and like Jesus, ‘neither do I condemn’!

  • 2nd Corinthians 2: “I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.”

  • You didn’t read my post did you? There is right and wrong, there is evil and good. That’s what YOU call sin as defined by YOUR religion. You have special right to determine right from wrong for any of us.

  • She should have been praised for continuing her pregnancy. This shaming is part of why folks turn from their faith. it is not a Christian thing to do.

  • That statement is true insofar as it goes — but there IS God’s law of chastity, which states that sexual relations are to occur only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully married to each other, and there is the student’s obligation that she took, and violated.
    For violating her obligation, she rightfully deserves to have her entire scholastic record revoked and destroyed.
    If there were a way to discover any other students who had violated their obligations, they should be sent packing as well.
    (Now let’s see how many bleeding-heart knee-jerk liberals jeer at the truth …)

  • Of course she broke the school’s rule, but vows of chastity are easier to make than to keep. However, there’s another commandment that says, “Thou shalt not kill.”

    That’s a rule she did not break, even though a quiet termination would discreetly dealt with the social problem she faced.

    And that’s why some conservative Christians are also against the school’s decision, because they don’t want teenagers to be pressured to consider the easier alternative of abortion.

  • I think the issue is that this punishment isn’t being applied to all the others who break this contract. Does every child who has tried tobacco, a sip of alcohol, etc. not graduate with their class as well? Is graduating with classmates removed every time any student break any point of this contract?

    It doesn’t appear so.

  • Your reading comprehension must be down today. I don’t believe in imaginary crimes against an imaginary god. I didn’t say I was perfect.

    Nor would I. Because I’m not Sandimonious.

    However, you did manage to change the subject on several fronts. So congratulations.

  • More important is my observation below. I think I read a statistic once where heterosexual men have a sexual thought about once every minute, or something like that. If they were not thinking of their wives, then according to the Big Guy Himself, they are committing adultery in their hearts. They are immoral.

    But somehow, I suspect nothing is being smeared over them, nor are they calling themelves immoral, or denying themselves a paycheck.

  • When it comes to immorality, it does often seem to be an inconsistently applied lens. Has anyone been punished in leadership or as students for greed? What about a lack of compassion for the least of these?

    Seems as soon as sex gets involved it a massive issue, but greed (love of money is the root of all evil) and so many more get passed over.

  • Her entire scholastic record revoked and destroyed….

    There is no vengeance like Christian vengeance. Let’s harm that girl to the max, because she is immoral.

    But the hetero male school administrators? Nope, they can have all of the fornicating andadulterous thoughts they wish.

  • And you can’t help but lose when you play with yours, except in your idea that believing that Jesus absolves you for your sins.

    So Jesus forgives you Of all of your sins, but Jesus is still on the warpath about this girl. Why can’t she just do what every Christian of your sort does, and declare herself forgiven?

    And by the way, what happened to the boy in this matter? He seems to be quite lost. Perhaps because HE IS MALE?

  • God sees us as perfect, without sin. He sees us through the veil of the blood of Jesus Christ. What would Jesus do? He would stand beside Maddi on that stage and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant; well done!”

    I hope all the students walk out at graduation and show support for their friend. Maddi, hold your head up high. You are a Child of the King.

  • Separation of Church and State, secularists.Stay out of the Christian school’s business.

  • It almost makes you wonder whether money is the real god of the hyperconservative, moralizing busybodies?

    I think the Names of the Trinity are Power, Money, and Dominion.

  • There are arbitrary rules concerning sexual conduct stemming from a society where people married in their early teens and usually died before age 40. You call them god’s law because you lack any kind of rational, moral or ethical basis to support them. So you rely on unquestioned arbitrary authority. “Because I say so” written large.

    The school had no business getting involved in the personal lives of the students to begin with.

    Typically such religious honor codes are enforced in a way to punish an “out group”. Women usually or racial minorities as is the case with BYU. Typically sexual conduct honor codes promote sexual assault and thwart proper responses by school administrators.

    You are a petty and malicious person who only sees values and custom (it isn’t morality in the slightest) as a tool to attack others. There is no Christ in your Christianity. A lot of Paul, but little else.

  • You are right Sandi. She should have gotten an abortion and lied to everyone at the school. That would have been the most moral option to you. 🙂

  • But does the contract state “breach of this contract will result in not graduating with your class” or is that punishment only for pregnant teens? It appears that portion of the contact includes smoking and drinking. Is every kid who has had a sip of wine and accidentally admitted it to a teacher also not graduating with the class?

    The issue with the contract as a whole aside, if they are going to enforce it, at least be consistent.

  • You will make no progress with Ben. He is a self-appointed intellectual elite typical of the postmodern school of thought that denies all absolutes and anything greater than himself. He is an expert on all things and accountable to no one. He will fight against any external authority be it Christian or anything else that would cast doubt on his own self-deity.

  • She did break a law. She broke God’s law – the reason she chose that school and signed the agreement.

  • To me, based on a lifetime of dealing with “Christian” hypocrisy, the double standard here is no surprise. Real Christians do not judge people that way or try to limit them unrighteously, but the hypocrites can’t help themselves in turning people into boogeymen to persecute.

  • But she would not have been punished for it. Obviously the school values lying and concealing info over being honest and loving to a new child.

  • Thanks for all the words by which to justify the inexcusable persecution of a girl for following her conscious. All you do is reveal just how twisted the usual hallelujah hypocrite is when moralizing against other people.

  • I have no need to lie. It is much easier to remember the truth, but thanks for the blessings.

  • This is exactly why tax dollars should never be spend on hallelujah madrasas. Teaching kids to hate is not one of the “3Rs”.

  • The behavior contract itself is what is ant-Christian, not the girl herself. Furthermore, if she signed it as a minor, I would want to challenge it’s legal applicability and enforceability.

  • That’s all part of the “Other Golden Rule.” You know, those that have the gold make the rules.

  • And exactly what happened to the “good” Christian boy who knocked her up? Is he getting to graduate when she is not?

  • So, if someone does something they say they will do, to you, that’s lying? I see.

  • Thank you for showing you misogyny in plain view. Thank you for trivializing what young women think about. Thank you for showing the world that we still deal with men who think we think of nothing but clothes, shoes and accolades from men. Not that she was thinking “Can I raise this baby?” “Can I get adoption help?” “If I carry it to term will I be emotionally able to give it up for adoption?” “Will my boyfriend help?” “Will I have any support if I carry to term, or will my church, family and friends dump me?” Those are some of the questions young women ask. Not will they be able to walk at graduation or what clothes to wear.

    She is doing exactly what you christians claim you want, but you still punish her. She has already admitted to a repented of her “sin.” If you celebrated her choice, and allowed her to participate, you be encouraging fewer young women to chose to abort. Ever consider that letting her walk would show Christian charity and forgiveness? That it might convince more pregnant teenagers that the community will support them and help them find adoption services, or help with money and services to raise the child?

    Any body here taking about the morals of the young man who impregnated her? No, I didn’t see any of that.

    She has already taken responsibility, chosen to be a teenage mother, although the outcomes of teenage motherhood are not good for children, her or the baby as we know, but she’s doing it, and still that’s not enough for you judgmental people who were told not to judge others sins.

    You keep shaming girls for getting pregnant, and they will keep having abortions. Period.

    You and her principal have judged her and found her wanting, even when she is doing what you think she should by continuing her pregnancy. No guarantee of a heathy baby, risks to her of lifelong diabetes, and other health issues, but she’s made that choice, done what you want, and you still can’t punish her enough.

  • Thank you for the blessing.
    Matthew 5:11 – 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

  • Perhaps a re-reading by Admin staff of “The Prodigal Son” is in order? Point being, it is better to celebrate life and the goodness it brings than the “rules”.

  • That’s a great scripture, but it’s usually you who is working against the believers in Christ and persecuting the innocent. Calling you out for your bigotry is not persecution, just social justice.

  • That’s hilarious that you won’t give her credit for keeping the baby. Your hypocrisy is complete.

  • But I bet he would still be walking, if he had. Those hallelujah madrasas have a way of only targeting the girl, never the boy. After all, “boys will be boys,” right?

  • Nope. Not playing the Bible-bash game with you. And you don’t get to set the rules, anyway.

  • Separation of church and state. None of your business. Stay out of it.
    Nobody gets an abortion so they can walk across the stage at graduation…if they do they have bigger problems than getting pregnant out of wedlock.
    And the baby’s father doesn’t go to that school and she’s not telling who it is and he’s not stepping forward to claim his own flesh and blood. Big man there.
    Schools operate on policy. If the school’s policy is that you don’t walk if you get pregnant out of wedlock then she knew the consequences. Public schools have policies similar to that too.
    Get over it. Move along. Nothing here to see.

  • Can’t have those elites running Around, always knowing stuff.. and stuff.

    You’ve made a whole bunch of personal comments about me, based upon what you think I said about something or other, and not based upon me. I’d call it reviling and slandering, but I’m sure you wouldn’t recognize your own sins in the process.

    For the record: I don’t deny all absolutes. That’s your bogeyman. I just don’t endorse YOUR absolutes, because I don’t see any evidence for them, or it, or HIM.

    Anything greater than myself? Do you mean your God? 2/3 of the doesn’t believe in your god, and you condemn half of what’s left for not doing it YOUR way. It seems to me that you are projecting: your god is subject to YOUR limitations.

    The rest of this is just the same nonsense that you ascribe to atheists in general. Also for the record: I’M NOT THE ONE CONDEMNING THIS GIRL. That’s all you good Christians. You know the Jesus followers. The very same Jesus who said something about not casting the first stone

    You don’t even believe your own crap, and yet you attack me for not belieiving in it. Unbelievable hypocrisy. No. Actually, I do believe it.

    Try again.

  • The Prodigal son squandered his inheritance. He did get to come home, but he didn’t get another inheritance. There were consequences to his behavior.
    Runkles didn’t get to walk, but she did graduate.
    It would have been unfair if they had not allowed her to graduate.

  • PS of course you will “get nowhere” with me. Prove your god exists, and I’ll be happy to go anywhere you like. Insist that your god is real, but demonstrate you don’t really believe what he tells you, as so many of your type of Christian do, and I will continue to give you all of the consideration you deserve.


  • If she had followed the rules she agreed to, that would not have been a problem. Does she exacerbate her problem further by murdering the child? Yes.

  • Speculation, yes, but speculation on a lifetime of dealing with hallelujah hypocrisy. Nothing much has changed among social conservatives since the days of Salem Colony and the “Scarlet Letter.” Social conservatives would not be who they are without turning traumatized victims into boogeymen to persecute.

  • Nope. We are not feeding your addiction today. I’m not your personal Bible-bash drug dealer.

  • I never said the school couldn’t do it, I am saying it is stupid to do it. You are the one who wants to limit abortions, sir. I am simply explaining that his type of behavior won’t accomplish that, in fact it does exactly the opposite.

  • That’s the Christian spirit…destroy her life because she had premarital sex. You people are absolutely vile.

  • Ok, smokers lose their degrees, those how have tried alcohol lose theirs, those who told lies lose theirs, those who plagiarized on a paper lose theirs, those who talked back to their teachers lose theirs.

    You really want to keep abortion rates high, don’t you?

  • The policy, its stipulations and consequences was not to limit abortions – it was to hold students accountable for their behavior. She still graduated.

  • Yet another good Christian below says she should have had her entire education revoked,

    Which of you is following Jesus?

  • You only want separation of church and state when it means that you get to impose your church on people who don’t share those beliefs. I don’t defend her getting pregnant, though I’m sure that she also thought birth control and sexual responsibility were covered by being a Christian. Too bad it wasn’t.

    What’s sauce for the goose is certainly sauce for the propaganda.

  • Strange…I didn’t see in the article where there were any fornicating and adulterous thinking school administrators there. You’re the only one bringing up “fornicating and adulterous thoughts…”

  • Who knew that blessing was spelled GFY? Sandimonious lives in her own particular world.

  • Of course you didn’t. But I think I know just a little bit about men in general, and heterosexual men in general.

  • Runkles didn’t get to walk, but she did graduate.
    It would have been unfair if they had not allowed her to graduate.

    What didn’t you understand about this text?

  • I am still not, and never was talking about the school’s policy. I am talking about the optics of this type of shaming and it’s consequences, none of which you have refuted.

    You want to change the discussion now as you can’t win the one you were making.

    All you have shown here is that you think rules are more important than lives and moral health. Having publicly apologized for breaking the rules and losing her student body positions, not to mention the physical, financial and emotional impact of pregnancy should have been punishment enough. Not letting her walk all that is shown is that no amount of repentance is enough. That regardless of the supposed christian ideal that christ is your judge, you make yourself christ and condemn her even further.

  • BOOM. Love it.

    “There is no Christ in your Christianity. A lot of Paul, but little else.”

    I might steal this.

  • Hey man, don’t lump us Jesus-followers in with those ‘biblians’ (what I’m calling the Pharisee-bible-is-gods-word crowd).

  • And she repented. Publicly. To her student body, and likely god as well. But her treatment here won’t encourage others to follow her example and carry to term, it will send them to back alleys if they can’t find abortion providers. I lost two friends in high school to back alley abortions before they were legal, but the rich girl who got pregnant got a European vacation and is now a grandmother.

    The days of coat hangers were horrible. Ask anyone who worked in an emergency room then. How many young women need to die because they can’t live up to your expectations?

  • I stole it from SF author Jeff Scalzi. So you are simply paying it forward. 🙂

    His article “What Would My Jesus Do” (google scalzi Jesus it comes up).

  • Ben is good about that. He isn’t lumping you all, he is calling out the same hypocrisy you have 😉

  • We understand it, we are pointing out it’s ineffectualness if getting more young women to carry to term is the real objective of the Christian right to life movement.

  • I think this school forgot the “forgiveness” part of Christianity. Who hasn’t sinned? At least Maddi Runkles is doing the right thing, the Christian thing, by giving her child a chance to live. She will make a great mother and she will also have a beautiful future. For the school … Shame on you.

  • It’s unlikely she has that many grounds to sue. It’s a private religious institution acting in accordance with their handbook, even though many of us think that action is ridiculous. Also, the harm is limited to not being allowed to walk and possible embarrassment, emotional distress, etc.

  • Pregnancy is what’s being shamed here, not simply premarital sex, because if she had only had sex, even if the school found out somehow (on social media for example), it does not seem likely they’d forbid her from walking. And religious school or not, we can be pretty confident that many of the students are in fact having sex.

  • Agreed, but the suit itself might cause enough blowback to hurt them financially.

  • Believe me, I don’t. Though the distinction I make is more between people who are Christian and people who use their bibles as weapons, whether against gay people, other religions, or other Christians.

  • She has a right to graduate. She does not have a right to walk across the stage. Appearances is all you’re interested in.
    You and your ilk would complain if you were being hanged with a new rope.

  • Legally no one is getting into the school’s business or their right to set policy, just expressing their opinions on what they believe are bad ideas.

  • By one very specific sexual act (there are other ways but not germane to this discussion). But are they punishing all those students that engage in that act? And what about those that engage in sexual conduct short of that very specific act? You yourself said here that lying is just as bad as murder, or something along those lines. Doesn’t that make any kind of hooking up just as bad as sexual intercourse? Yet it seems like they’re only punishing the _girl_ that got pregnant, because otherwise very few graduates would be walking.

  • “Heritage is also pleased that she has chosen to not abort her son,” he wrote. “However, her immorality is the original choice she made that began this situation. Secondly, she will receive her diploma that she has earned.”

    The first Scarlet Letter episode in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel didn’t allow these highly legalistic and condemning folks of that day to model Christ’s admonition to forgive others and extend His mercy and Grace to all–regardless of their young age and the nature of their indisgretions.

    This newest unstallment of The Scarlet Letter isn’t likely to end any better! Those who run this academy don’t have a clue about the very HEART of Christ’s Gospel, which is that believers are expected to extend Christ’s Grace and forgiveness to all who have “missed the mark!”

    Never mind that Maddy has been able to keep up her studies with a 4.0 grade average through it all, and she plans to keep her baby! I suppose the officials of this academy would be OK with her decisions had she chosen to have a secret abortion in secret, and then barely scraped by with a C-average–so long as nobody found out!

  • Actually, since all have sinned, even though they have repented, and all includes every student, faculty, administrative personnel, and support peronnel, if anyone one gets to “walk” then they are applying the rule prejudicially to allow even one to “walk” because by the witness of scripture they have all broken their pledge before and after signing it. As the Psalmist says “If you mark sin, O Lord, who would be left standing?”

  • How about, “it was God in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to himself, NOT COUNTING their SINS AGAINST them.”

  • It is about the other students, because it’s unfair to treat her disparately for doing the exact same thing they’re assuredly doing — “sexual immorality.” The only difference is that she now bears a scarlet letter.

  • Good scripture Jim.
    2 Corinthians 5: 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

    There is your scripture Jim. What does that have to do with her not keeping her word?

  • Are you suggesting that if I repent of driving too fast that I don’t need to pay the ticket, Daulphin, and it’s going to cause other car drivers who don’t even know me to drive faster? (edited)

  • Is sexual conduct outside marriage immoral in this school’s view? It would appear so. Normal teenage interactions pretty much ensure that some sexual conduct is going on, even in this school.

  • The response was to the charge as to whether the contract and action of the school was “anti-Christian” or not (per Riding). Whose Word is the school supposed to keep? Furthermore, she was punished prior to the graduation and showed proper remorse. Plus, does the contract state that all those punishments will be supplied upon violation? The point is though she broke her promise, she confessed and did penitence, mercy should follow, if the school was to follow the Word of Christ.

    Now they have every right not to follow the Word of Christ (by not forgiving), but that doesn’t make them blameless. In fact, if they truly believed the scripture they know that all have sinned, like the Psalmist says, “If you mark sin, Lord, who could stand?” By the purity of the Word then, allowing anyone to walk is an abrogation of their so called standards.

  • Sorry to disagree with you Ben, but if you recall, when Christ was speaking to the group around the prostitute, He didn’t condemn he forgave. what sort of a Christian are you speaking of. Not a saved and born again one that engages in regular study of his or her bible and behaves as our servant Christ I’d wager.

  • Well, all I can say is read the comments on this and many other threads at RNS. You’ll have to talk to the others that regularly condemn, tell others what’s wrong with their lives, trash other Christians who don’t share their particular and peculiar beliefs about god, and presume to know the relationship of their god with anyone else on the planet.

    Don’t tell me. I’m an atheist, and my issue is not that one. If your religion makes your life better, and you a better person, I’m all for it. The problem is, for those who use their faith and bibles as weapons, it doesn’t make them or anyone else better.

    Jesus forgave the woman, but told the others to mind their own business. That is pretty much my point.

  • Maybe the problem is secular humanistic “education” What Eve got in the garden from serpent. Out today see Believe her problem was menarche. Jesus was telling her to use that power or medical problem/disorder wisely. Believe there is bias in “education” system against early marriage and family. First Commandment was “Be fruitful & multiply”.

  • Depending on your level of repentance, and your record, the officer may choose to give a warning instead of a ticket, Sandy.

    Which is what this school would have done, if trying to teach what repentance and forgiveness are about. Instead they went full on authoritarian, their call, but it won’t help get other young women to carry to term when they are damned and judged no matter what they do.

  • And if your christ is who you say he is, she’s already forgiven as she repented to the entire student body as well as Jesus himself.

    So yes, not christ’s expectations, yours.

  • I’m certain I don’t know what yours is as I don’t know you. I do see you up voting the same hypocrisy Ben is, though…

  • No….my comment suggested there is a ticket already. Try again.
    Secondly you know nothing about having a relationship with Jesus. We don’t need to spite the world and murder our babies because someone holds us accountable for what we agreed to.
    With the way you are talking, no one should be held accountable for their actions on a “what if”.

  • You should check who you made the comment to then, my friend.

    For your second paragraph….maybe they showed mercy for not expelling her?

  • Very, very, very bang on– exactly what I was saying, except form the Christian perspective.
    Had she used birth control, no one would EVER have known about it, except for herself and the boy. But she had been taught (I’m pretty sure) that birth control was evil, or an admission that you were going to do wrong, or something equally stupid. So instead of birth control, she had a baby.
    My mother used to say “that a sin which is not found out is not a sin at all.” She and I obviously disagreed about that,

  • So tell me…
    Have you ever looked at woman not your wife with a bit of lust in your heart?
    did you repent of it immediately?
    did you do it again anyway?

  • Were you a teenager? I was. Things happen. Are you telling me that the entire student body is in a state of total chastity?

  • How can you prove, other than that female, they haven’t been? There are people who do follow the Lord joyfully, Arb.

  • You people deny the Old Testament completely when it suits you. And you’re really beating up Matthew 7:1, just for a start. Now, run along and go teach your kids some more self-righteousness coupled with major league doses of self aggrandizement, delusion and hypocrisy. You’re beyond boring.

  • Yes you are. You are trying to parade her in front of a graduation class while she is carrying a baby. You are trying to shame her parents because their child chose not to follow God’s rules. There is more mercy in her not being put on display for the crowd to see and a defiant attitude coming into the school for the rules they agree to honour. Some people do have honour and wish to live up to their word, and not be put on display because they didn’t, Ben. You want her paraded for the error she made.

  • hahahahaha….you’re going to hide behind me on what you couldn’t even correctly repeat what I had said? You’re going to hide behind a woman, Ben……….hahahahahaha

  • All of those excuses do not change the fact that she did not live up to her word. Is that all your word is worth, Daulphin?

  • You would rather her classmates, parents and friends were shamed because she had to go on stage? You prefer that she is not remembered for her graduation, but because she was pregnant and had so little value for her commitments that she ended up as such? It would be worse to parade her across the floor. She could carry a sign saying, “I chose not to abort.” when Christians consider that murder?

  • would it not be more s1utshaming to walk her across the stage preg? Think here Spud!

  • Interesting you bringing up suing, sweet…, if she had said she would make a wedding cake for someone and then changed her mind…..she would be held accountable. But, because it was a Christian school, she shouldn’t be?

  • 1 Corinthians 5:5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

    3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

  • Nope. She is proud of bearing her child. Did you want her to have an abortion? That would be too funny

  • You want to shame her. You want to parade her preg in front of an audience, so all can see that rules mean nothing to her and she has no respect for her God, family, and friends?. She is more important than all of them…
    Do you want her parents shamed, her family shamed, her friends who love her shamed? People who may joyfully, happily follow Christ.
    Is your word that volatile also, that you need to defend her for discounting her own?

  • The school should be endorsing the student for having her baby,
    regardless of what used to be described as “human respect.” She made the
    humane and Christian choice in dealing with her “immorality.” While this student is punished for choosing life for her child, students in the graduating class who engaged in the same behavior and didn’t become pregnant or had an abortion will be allowed to proudly take part in the school’s graduation,

    How ironic that the principal’s censure encourages students to make the
    anti-life choice of abortion so that they can take part in a ceremony
    that will be meaningless to them years later.

    The message the principal is conveying is that appearances are more important than substance.

    This bunny–who is the mother of six little rabbits–thanks you, DirtyHarry#1, for using satire to point this out so well

  • No double standard here. No hypocrisy. She broke a rule and is experiencing the consequences. Plain and simple.

  • The comment was per your request for scripture concerning whether the contract and action were “anti-Christian” and not to the young lady’s behavior .
    Maybe they showed mercy, or maybe they didn’t. But their “mercy,” considering all the punishment they heaped on her, was short of compassion, IMHO. But that’s just how I see it.

    As Paul adjured us, “Forgive one another as Christ as forgiven you.” Her remorse, confession, and acceptance of penance in the loss of leadership position, all of which seem appropriate, seem to me to be sufficient. However, if the administration unrepentantly persists in their obverse sense of “forgiveness” that’s on them. Thankfully there is more than enough grace to go around for all parties concerned.

  • Your comment didn’t address the comment though, Jim. That was what I showed you.
    As far as her “punishment”….I truthfully don’t understand why she would not be ashamed to be walking in front of her classmates in that condition. They did her a favour.

  • Based on what? She wasn’t denied her h.s. diploma , and she doesn’t have a right to walk. The school did not deprive her of anything.

  • “Civil discussion” consists of labeling someone whose satire you don’t understand as a “misogynist” and then putting words into his mouth that he never said.

    I, a woman, think it’s civil to call such feminist outpourings a “rant.”

  • If you sign a pledge and you break it you will experience the consequences. Not walking across the stage at graduation was one of the consequences.

  • Nah…the point of my satire was this: nobody aborts a baby so they can walk across the stage at graduation. That’s Daulphin being silly.

    And accusing the other graduating students of engaging in sexual immorality says more about you (those making the accusations) than the those students.

  • Preaching is nice, but not if you’re busy ducking questions.

    I asked about Maddi Runkles and HER situation. You don’t get to automatically lump her in with other teenagers for the sake of preaching one’s favorite pro-choice sermon. That’s not to ignore other teenagers’ situations — just don’t be trying to exploit Runkles. She kept her baby.

    HER specific choices — firstly to sign her own personal agreement with a school policy that Dauphin doesn’t agree with, and secondly to keep her baby in a situation that was tough on all sides — runs counter to Dauphin’s line of argument. Yeah, very much counter.

  • Not at all. Those rules mean nothing to anyone with an ounce of sanity. She clearly respects her family and God in that she wants to be a responsible and caring mother to her child. Something you find shameful.

    S1utshaming has been a tool for abusing women for ages. Women have been forced into captivity while they give birth beyond prying eyes. Forced to give up their children by pressure. Babies have been sold by priests and nuns for a tidy profit. Nothing good comes from it. That kind of shame is just toxic garbage.

    So to assuage her supposed shame, she should have gotten an abortion. That would have solved everything, right. Evangelical Christian would rather have supported abortion than a woman who wanted to keep her pregnancy. How ironic. How typically hypocritical.

  • Try re-reading the article. Where exactly is ***the girl*** being condemned?

    NOT her specific actions (since she openly signed her agreement that it was okay to condemn certain actions), but ***the girl herself***.
    Where in the article was SHE condemned?

    I’ll be looking for your answer.
    By the way, you would be right about “Baby Daddy”, except she is openly SHIELDING him from any responsibility, she’s refusing to identify him.

  • But suppose you and I and a whole school full of teenagers ALL sign a document that says we all agree on a specific list of actions and if we violate those agreed-upon actions, we all agree the violation is a sin and can incur disciplinary actions by the school.

    THEN what, Jim?

  • And that’s the best Wullaj can do. Which doesn’t help ANY of the people in this story.

  • Okay, Ben in Oakland is the first bleeding-heart knee-jerk liberal to jeer, so the count is one.
    Who will be the second?

  • (((Daulphin))) is the second bleeding-heart knee-jerk liberal to jeer. The count is two. Who will make it three?

  • sweet freedom weighs in as the third bleeding-heart knee-jerk liberal to jeer. The count is three — who will make it four?

  • … and Spuddie makes it four! (I knew Spuddie would spew its rant — I am surprised at the delay!). Four now — do I hear five?

  • I’d love to agree with you, Jim. With your “mercy & compassion” argument, I could (in theory) cheat on my wife with 500 other women — or worse yet, 500 other men — and still hold on to my good-paying job as a Methodist senior pastor or a Methodist bishop.

    Gotta love it!!

  • What is your fascination with the thought life of others? Trying to live vicariously through others?

  • Excuses? Any more contortions you want twist yourself into in an attempt to justify your hypocrisy? I didn’t think so…

  • Get a grip on it. She couldn’t walk across a graduation stage. Big deal. Lots of kids in public school don’t walk across the stage for things as stupid as not wearing the right kind of footwear. You and your ilk’s obsession with this is remarkable.

  • No, Ben. Jesus did NOT tell the others to “mind their own business.”

    He gave them explicit permission to go ahead with the (perfectly legal) stoning — on one condition.

  • Don’t sell yourself short…your I/Q is at least twice that. Now, don’t you have a Trump rally to attend? He’s a hero to all you evangelical types…more proof that you have no moral high ground and even less principle. Off you go now, pops.

  • So, what’s next…a scarlet letter and march through town in stocks, so hypocrites like you can throw rocks at her?

  • Hyperventilating, sf. Breathe into a paper bag. I don’t think the policy recommended that consequence.

  • But you’re asking for a lot more than “forgiveness”, aren’t you? Oh yes.

    You’re asking that the Christian school no longer hold Christian students accountable to their Phillipians 4:8 pledge of conduct (and it’s not just an abstract pledge, but an official school policy of accountability and character-formation that they all agreed to and signed off on, just like the Methodist Book of Discipline.)

    We love biblical Grace & Mercy, and we hate biblical Accountability. And then we wonder why entire church denominations are publicly dying by the hour.

  • sweet freedom:
    No, my IQ is in the top one-tenth of one percent, not the top one-twentieth of one percent. See My score was the minimum-required score for admission.

    I do not have a Trump rally to attend, nor do I know of any reason that any would be held since the man is already elected, inaugurated, and serving.

    What evidence do you have as to any religious beliefs I may hold — particularly, what evidence do you have that I am numbered among the evangelicals?

  • Re “You want to parade her preg in front of an audience…”:

    Maddi Runkles is the one who wants to participate in the graduation “walk”. (Oh.)
    Making up and telling stories of what Spuddie (e.g.) wants is lying. That’s a sin.
    Proceeding to rebuke that person for what you made up is abuse. That’s immoral.

    When it comes to others’ wants, intents, etc., asking trumps telling every time.

  • Another lib hyperventilating. She doesn’t have a legal right to walk across the stage.

  • How is it that moral judgment always seems to apply to others’ private lives rather than one’s own nose?

  • Public Service announcement to libs: if you don’t like this school then don’t send your kid to this school.

  • I remember a passage in the Bible concerning a woman about to be stoned for adultery in which Christ was asked to pass judgement. His response was I believe, something along the likes of “…let him that has no sin cast the first stone”. That’s pretty much what this school is doing. They may not be using physical stones but the act of judging, ostracizing and excluding her is a form of public stoning.

  • As in “Good For You”??
    As for Sandi’s world, I note your tactful use of “particular”. I’d have said “peculiar”.

  • Yes. That’s it exactly. Good for you. ?

    I often use the two words together, as in “particular, peculiar version of God”, or “particular, peculiar beliefs.”

  • Not at all. Believe me, from what I’ve seen of your mind…

    No. It was a simple set of questions in pursuit of a given point which I had already posited. All I was looking for were simple answers, not a complete change of subject.

    But I suspect we both know the answers, and they don’t do True homage to Christian forgiveness for sins.

  • I would like to congratulate you on either missing my point in the most spectacular way possible, or projecting in CinemaScope.

    Bleeding heart knee jerk liberal? AS opposed to condemnatory, god fearing and goddamming? Someone who just got quoted about his idea of vengeance?

    Well, yes, I suppose I am. I consider it a compliment– I always look for the compassion.

    What do you look for?

  • Troll, troll, troll the goat
    Gently way down stream
    Merrilly, merely, hypocritically,
    Godliness, what a dream!

  • LOL..sure it is, pops. Now run along and have the nice lady in white, wipe the oatmeal off of your chin and get you to bed. A guy with a massive intellect such as yours must have many important decisions to make tomorrow. Checkers or chess?

  • I don’t think you are talking about accountability, you are talking retribution. As noted, she did experience consequences – loss of leadership, in addition to public confession and asking for forgiveness let alone shame and humiliation she must have experienced.

  • Nope. Just a moral one. The hypocrites blocking her are the immoral and amoral ones.

  • And yet you can bet three or four “good” girls used the morning after pill or went to an abortion clinic on the down low. I went to high school before Roe v. Wade. One high school in my area had a whole continuation school filled with expectant teen moms. My high school was more liberal, and at least 5 girls graduated in an obviously family way. O don’t see kids being less sexually active now than back then, 45 years ago. Do you?

  • Sad how some can get so caught up in the superfluous concept of sin to the point of being stupid, shameless, hypocrites, and become so despicable to many.

  • Bravo! You are absolutely right. The unloving response of the Heritage Academy in fact encourages abortion. If she had an abortion, nobody would know and she would participate in the graduation.
    The legitimate pro-lifers are appalled at the unloving and unChristian response by Mr. Hobbs, who seems to think that if HE does not punish her, she will not be held accountable. She held herself accountable, and having the baby and deciding whether to keep it or put it up for adoption is more than enough accountability. Real pro-lifers want to support and assist her.

  • Thank you for admitting you were merely trolling. Posting nonsense to see what reaction you would get.

  • Are you still here? Don’t you have some 16 year old to shame? Run along now…Jesus is calling you to be an insufferably, hypocritical clown to someone.

  • You have the right verses, but the wrong order — yours are about the unrepentant sinner within the Christian community, mine are for the same sinner after he’s repented.. And the girl in this case is clearly a repentant sinner. Remove her from her official positions? Sure, just as with the standards Paul sets for Church leaders. But refuse to let her participate at all even after she has publicly repented? No, that’s too much.

  • Sure it’s important to keep your word, but it’s the judgmental reaction of the school that has raised such controversy. In Biblical times the punishment for pregnancy outside marriage was death. See Genesis 38, However, in even that story, the punishment was not carried out.

    Jesus, In John 8, did not allow an adulterous woman to be stoned to death. Perhaps, you, as a Christian would be advised to follow this example rather than the letter of the law.

  • That’s exactly the point, they could only prove that she had sex because she got pregnant. Everyone else, they’re content to look the other way. I hope every student who walks at graduation feels guilty for all the “sexual immorality” they’ve committed. Even a single instance of masturbation would constitute sexual immorality, correct?

  • Like any of us are actually helping. Typing on a computer on a BB. We are just arguing ideologies; nothing good is coming of it.

  • I upvote if something someone says rings true. I don’t try to stay true to any one side. I have agreed with things both you and Ben have said. Just not that FloydLee arsehat. He can suck a brick.

  • The proof is in her choice to let the baby live. Odds are very high that some smug hypocrites had abortions against your alleged values just to make sure they could walk with their class. The girl in question has shown herself to be better than her school or you, for that matter.

  • RTL: You live in your own little world. I’ve never known any hypocrite smug or otherwise who had an abortion against my values. LOL

    Be honest with us: you are really a rodeo clown that has been stepped on a few too many times.

  • Nope. Not “mean spirited” to speculate on well-founded past experience. What is mean is the hypocrisy built into that school’s policies. That is why no public money should ever go to support that sort of religious bigotry as “education.” Religious brainwashing is not education and never will be.

  • Absolutely Doug. How much has she really repented if she is making this much of a fuss against the school?

  • Maddi – if she were truly repentant, she wouldn’t be running to newspapers.
    Spud – I do know
    for the rest of your comment – lol

  • Someone accused me of trying to read your mind today. I would say the same to you about me.
    If you had any respect for the young woman, you would realize that it does her no good to traipse across the stage pregnant. My reasons are written somewhere else on the article and I won’t repeat them.
    How much repent has she shown to go to a newspaper and complain?

  • ” I hope every student who walks at graduation feels guilty for all the “sexual immorality” they’ve committed.” Hateful thoughts, and, they won’t help her.

  • is every other graduating student who has breached this contract in any way also not walking? It would seem to me from the reporting that that is not the case. No reporting of others being excluded.

  • lol…….lol…….oh Spud, I would never say that. Although we are often on opposite sides of the discussion, no, I would never say that. God bless you.

  • This is the type of comment and mentality that leads to secret abortions.

    After making what she and the school see as a mistake she has done everything right, but still she should feel ashamed? Ashamed to carry her child. Ashamed that she didn’t’ abort her child? Ashamed, even with all that Jesus teaches and offers around the forgiveness for sin?

    That’s why everyone is bothered here. Judgement and punitive punishment seem more important to many commenters than Jesus grace and love.

  • No $’s do. What is your evidence for religious brainwashing? C’mon rtl, you are trafficking in nothing but gross speculation. Next thing you know you’ll tell us that this decision was influenced by Putin.

  • Nothing has noted anything about this being a consistent or predetermined punishment. None of the letters or reporting note “in the handbook breech of contract for this section is…” All they would have to say is “in keeping with our policy, no one will walk after breech of contract”

    It appears to be over the top, arbitrary, and inconsistent with teachings on grace, forgiveness and sin.

  • Schools operate on policies. I’d bet the policy of this school as set out in the student code of conduct states that pregnant unwed mothers will not be allowed to walk at graduation. She had a right to graduate – which she did; she did not have a right to walk across the stage.

  • I’d bet it doesn’t and I suppose that’s the issue. All of the reporting and comments from both sides neglect to mention that policy and this punishment.

    If this was the consistent punishment for breech of the code of conduct or even that section (which talks about drinking and smoking) it would be less of a story. Wouldn’t make it any less awful a choice, but the school would look less monstrous here.

    If this is how they handle “immorality” fine, but nothing has been reported to show this as anything other than an oddity. No “this isn’t the first time, last year 3 students who were drinking didn’t walk” or “a student in 2015 was caught lieing and did not walk with their class” etc.

  • Oh, is it hateful to confront someone with their “sins”?? Isn’t that what you do here on a daily basis and then claim it’s out of love?

  • You and your bigotry are prime evidence of the social brainwashing done by the Jesus Jihadists.

  • “I’d love to agree with you, Jim. With your “mercy & compassion” argument,”
    (Jas_2:13) For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
    Jas 3:17-18 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

    As for the rest of your argument: (In theory) your scenario has no bearing on the matter at hand. And i bet you can name the logical fallacy you just exhibited. You seem that knowledgeable.

  • Your default setting: “You and your bigotry…yada, yada, yada…brainwashing…yada yada yada…Jesus …” You show your ignorance by trafficking in pure speculation and innuendo – which seems to be you libs roll here.

  • Actually it isn’t Philip. One can find almost any excuse to justify something. Abortion is not the issue.
    If she were truly repentant, she would not be whining to a newspaper about what they had done to her.
    Repentance is not comprised of, “Well I apologize now give me what I want” She has appealed to the public on church matters. It doesn’t work that way.

  • I didn’t mention her punishment or if it’s fit.

    I noted how a mentality that promotes child should be ashamed for keeping her baby is part of the problem.

    I also think its unwise for any of us to assume we can know someones intent, state of their heart, state of their repentance, that we are not in a relationship with. So while “Repentance is not comprised of, “Well I apologize now give me what I want”” neither is Jesus forgiveness for sin comprised of “yes your forgiven but continue to be ashamed”

  • The policy specified “immorality”. Drinking, lying (depending on the size of the lie) yup, those will prevent public school students from walking too.

  • it’s not if the policy outlined these activities as problematic, but is the punishment universally applied (or ever before). If this was the common practice, it would be noted and reported.

    And no, a public school student who has had a drink wouldn’t be restricted from walking on their graduation. I doubt even at this school a student who has had a sip of wine with their parents would be restricted from walking either.

  • Nah – here’s some free advice: before you open your mouth and insert your foot, think.

  • That depends on when he/she was caught. Most public schools assign a 10 out of school suspension for drinking and or possession of alcohol on school property or under the supervision of school personnel. If that suspension runs through school graduation then he/she won’t walk. And clearly you don’t know school policy either. I do. However, a student at home could get stoned drunk every day but as long as he/she didn’t come on school property the school wouldn’t suspend him/her. There are some exceptions though.

  • We’re saying similar things here, I just needed to be more clear.

    On school property yes, suspended, but I would doubt a student found drinking on school property in February would not be allowed to walk in June.

    I’m trying to draw attention to what appears to me to be inconsistent application of this policy. As I understand this one and similar ones to work, isn’t about drinking on school property but drinking period. So if that is under the same morality clause, would a student who had a drink one time, perhaps even with their parents, early in a school year not be allowed to walk with their class? I doubt that a lot. I think they would be punished in the moment and move on. That’s the inconsistency I, and I think others, are seeing here. She was punished but this appears to be some sort of persistent, on going, punitive punishment. That as a standard is what I’m saying appears to be inconsistent with the school or it would be reported that hte often engaged in persistent punitive punishment beyond the initial punishment.

  • Again it depends on when and where the policy was broken. No, a kid at home drinking some wine with his parents would not be disciplined at a public school. But sometimes school policy can even be enforced retroactively. Say the school administrators find out a week or maybe more after the fact that students got drunk (for eg.) on a school trip. Punishment can be assigned. I’ve seen it happen. Kids will do stupid things but the discipline should always be fair, firm, objective, and corrective. That is, the point of disciplinary consequences is to modify student behavior.
    No, I don’t think it is inconsistent. Like I said, students don’t have a right to walk – they do have a right to graduate if they have fulfilled the requirements. She is graduating.
    The absolute worst thing a school administrator can do is be inconsistent in the disciplining of students. What little we know about this case indicates this school administrator was applying the student code of conduct fairly and consistently – in my opinion.

  • I think we’re bound to disagree on the application in this case while agreeing on the function of policy. While we can both agree “discipline should always be fair, firm, objective, and corrective.”

    Perhaps the issue is the reporting. Maybe the school is being consistent and it often takes away the ability to walk with ones class. Would expect the reporters and the school to have noted that by this point if it were true, but that is an assumption I’m making.

    When all is said and done, it just seems malicious and over the top in light of what has appeared to happen, in my opinion. I don’t see Jesus reflected in the decision considering what has been reported to date.

  • I wouldn’t call insisting on being recognized as a member of the community in which she’s spent however many years “making this much fuss.” Or do you think she should wear a Scarlet Letter for the rest of her life?

  • I think she needs to recognize that what she has done has hurt not only herself, but the One who has forgiven her the most. We don’t ask ex-homosexuals to parade around with a sign, “I’m no longer immoral”. Nor, do we embarrass the family of Christian by advertising that someone has committed a sin.
    That is loving the girl.

  • Please, where did I states she should be ashamed for keeping her baby? What does the baby have to do with this to begin with actually? Her sin was immorality.
    You are absolutely correct in your second statement. But, if she were truly repenting of her sin, she would not make an issue of someone chastising her because of it and she would not be looking onto the world to shame those who have chastised her. The world has no conception of the church – hence, they have no input.

  • I dunno you brought it up

    “I truthfully don’t understand why she would not be ashamed to be walking in front of her classmates in that condition.”

    That condition being pregnant with her child.

    If I am absolutely correct in my second statement I find it odd that you continue to note the state of her repentance outside of actually knowing this child. It makes it appear you feel comfortable judging ones heart, intention, repentance outside of knowing that person or begin invited into that type of a relationship with them. So I am admittedly lost here.

  • “I noted how a mentality that promotes child should be ashamed for keeping her baby is part of the problem.” That suggests abortion.

    Again, where did I say she should be ashamed for carrying her baby? She should be ashamed for putting herself into that condition, but that does not come close to implying abortion was an option, as you did.
    We do not go to the world when we have problems in the church – like it or not.

    1 Corinthians 6:1 – English Standard Version
    When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?”
    That scripture is what judges her heart.

  • I suggested a mentality that thinks she should be ashamed for being pregnant now is the type of mentality that leads to young women having abortions.

    She has publicly repented, asked for forgiveness, its done now. To think she should continue to be ashamed is to say that her sin is not forgiven but still held against her. I think a mentality that would encourage a child to remain in shame for a forgiven sin is the type of ideology that pushes children to hide their sin. In this case, that push would be to abortion.

    So yes I see a clear line between encouraging a forgiven child to be so ashamed of her pregnancy that she shouldn’t be seen in front of the school as deeply campaign and drives scared children towards choices like abortion.

    Your interpretation of the scripture is what is judging her heart.So I do find it confusing when you say you agree that we shouldn’t judge those we don’t know, then go on to make judgements on her heart.

  • I am sorry but this is ridiculous. Yes she sinned and went against the code that she signed. But I am sorry as a Christian it is not our jobs to judge the sin. She understands what she did was wrong in the eyes of God. I am sure if we look at many of the students let alone this principal we would find that they have broke one of these codes. She was going to be shamed publicly by this principal so she did the adult thing and stepped up and admitted she was wrong. This holier than thou attitude has to stop. She was stripped of all leadership roles which I think was the right thing. But she has more than earned to walk the stage. Have we all forgotten this. “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

  • Thanks for the laugh. I include Sandi in there with Floyd. Woman who needs to follow every jot and tittle with no love or compassion to be seen anywhere.

  • we’re not going to see eye to eye on this.

    I think your statement that she should feel ashamed in light of what’s been reported is deeply troubling.

  • Having committed a sin against the Lord is nothing to be proud of. It is supposed to be something we learn from.

  • Philip, there are some sins in my life, though forgiven, I am definitely not proud of. – and yes, I am ashamed of them. They hurt Christ, who has been loving enough to forgive me, but to then run out and loudly scream them to the world in pride, is a bit of a contradiction of repentance. And as Christ has forgiven them and they are as far as the east is from the west, there is no reason for me to display and possibly promote them in an effort to thumb my nose at people in authority. Contradiction round and round.
    The young lady went to the world, over Christians to look for someone to fight her cause. Makes one wonder what she did learn.

  • There, you did it again.

    You keep saying that her, simply being pregnant and not in hiding is bad. She is displaying and promoting her sin. That’s the danger in this line of thinking. By virtue of being pregnant you keeps saying she is displaying her sin.

    You keep judging her motives and her heart. That she ran out in pride to scream her sin.

    I’m not saying she must be proud of her choices, but she should absolutely not walk around in shame or worse go into hiding because she is pregnant from a choice she appears to deeply regret and has publicly repented of. To walk around in shame and to be in hiding is not to accept that ones sin is forgiven as far as he east form the west.

  • you are seeing what you seem to want to see.
    There is a difference between every day living and parading in front of an audience.
    No. I showed you that scripture judged her.
    I don’t remember saying she should go into hiding. You’re been making excuses for a while now. End of conversation

  • Umfortnately we don’t have their student code of conduct nor are we privy to all of the details of this incident. Further speculation is pointless. Hey thanks. This was a good conversation. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

  • I agree we often see what we want to. Happens in comments sections, happens in reading the Bible, happens everywhere.

    We won’t see eye to eye on this.

  • If it were not for the overweening and overwhelming ubiquity of modern mass media this story would have remained a relatively tightly limited story. Life has consequences and life is not just. The sanction used was solely at the discretion of school authorities and the young lady, disciplined and determined enough to maintain a 4.0 GPA, will survive this. We are all subject to shame, and it is not a concept incomprehensible to Christian practice. I have every confidence in the young lady’s further success with the aid and love of both her family and the church community.

  • If I remember correctly, she did recognize the harm she had caused, standing up before the student body to confess her sin and beg their forgiveness. I don’t know what more we could ask of her.

  • This was exactly her point in the Times interview. She noted students who had been suspended for drinking and for lying about it but felt she had been treated more harshly.

  • I took a step back and read the Times article that is linked. Pretty sure the kids who were suspended for drinking and then lying about it will still be getting to walk the stage – also part of the code. And an Athletic Director who spoke openly about having had 2 abortions to the students before marrying the same father. Talked about mixed messaging.

    And somewhere you wrote about having affairs as part of your argument – made me wonder – so stats about that are all over the map but apparently enough that it made your argument moot.

  • I believe her to be a very brave lady. The school seems to be lacking in a central virtue my Christian chaplain have exhibited, that of compassion.

  • Good. Now look at John 8: 10-11:

    10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

    11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (King James Version)

    First he said that he did not condemn the woman. THEN he told her to go and not sin any more.

    Do you think you could follow the example of Jesus, and stop condemning the girl?

    In any case, the controversy is not primarily about the girl but about the reaction of the school to her pregnancy. Was the action of the school,

    * right?
    * justifiable?
    * an overreaction?
    * a misjudgment?
    * insensitive?
    * cruel?
    * wrong?

    I reckon the school misjudged the situation and the whole thing blew up in their face, giving them a lot of negative publicity. I have some sympathy for the school, but times have changed, and an action that would have been unremarkable in previous generations has now become anathema to many people.

    Note that the school’s action is controversial among many Christians because a harsh reaction to teenage pregnancy will drive more pregnant girls into terminating their pregnancies. I am not suggesting that Christians should give up their belief that extramarital sex and pregnancy is wrong. However, I think that Christians would be wise to follow the example of Jesus and show the sensitivity that he displayed in this story..

  • You’re more generous than I, Ben. For example, I don’t find anything at all “particular” about Sandi’s herein expressed perspectives, reasoning, and attitudes toward her posting peers and the beliefs and values they hold most dear.

  • If denying a student the right to get her certificate with the others caused an outcry, then revoking and destroying her entire academic record would result in a tsunami of trouble for the school, and rightly so.

    This is the 21st, not the 19th Century. You can bet that the parents would take immediate legal action against the school, and they would almost certainly win.

  • Perhaps the adverb instead of the adjective? as in “particularly clueless”, “particularly noxious” and so on?

  • Nonononono. Sin is what OTHER people do and when I confess to it, it allows me to dump on them while proclaiming I am really no better than they are. It’s not what I do, nor do I actually believe in it.

  • No…..the controversy is about the girl having immoral sex. Then, she exacerbated the problem by going to the public to vote on a Christian matter. Christians don’t bring the public into their matters with other Christians.
    1 Corinthians 6:6 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?

    The school was probably protecting her. You’re either not a Christian, or, you’re way off on this. Christians do not ask the world to fight other Christians for them.

  • To not go to the world to fight her battles with a Christian brother or sister.
    1 Corinthians 6:6 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?

  • A lot of Christians on these very pages will tell you that it is of course your job as a Christian to judge sin, and to judge righteously.

    I never know which side to believe: These True Christians (TM) or the other True Christians (TM).

  • Neither you, nor I, can answer for her specific choices, floydee, I for one won’t begin to try. I was able to stand up to a great deal of peer pressure and shunning to come out at 17. Not every one has the courage of their convictions and the willingness to stand up for themselves and take the flack.

    I was never speaking about why she made her choices, I was pointing out that what the school did doesn’t encourage other young women to carry to term, it convinces them to have the abortion you claim you don’t want.

    Look at the abortion statistics and you will see that states with abstinence only sex education also have the highest rates of abortion. With good reason, as this article shows, and that was my argument.

    I knew young women in high school who died form back alley abortions, because of their fear of this type of life long shaming. This schools’ behavior doesn’t encourage what you think it does.

  • “I love you, Maddi. And to prove it, I’m going to publicly shame you so that you never forget and all your peers will be talking about your shame at every reunion. It’s what Jesus wanted.”

    Kudos to the author, Adelle Banks, for sticking to the facts and presenting them well. Old school journalism rules!

    I went to a parochial school that taught sex was wrong, birth control was wrong, and abortion was wrong. When I look back at the classmates and the results, I see that a lot of us gave in to the pressures of sex, but we found it easy to stick to the rule about birth control. Not a very smart combination, but whenever were teens reputed to be the wise ones?

    Leaders need to remember that God gave us both hormones and curiosity for very good reasons. We’re going to explore, especially when the mood lighting comes from the dashboard lights and the windows are all fogged up by our passion.

  • So she ran to the world with her complaint rather than following scripture and going through the church.

  • In other words…..He acknowledged that she had sinned. That is the same thing this school is doing and they are protecting her.

  • No they’re not. They’re punishing her for being an embarrassment to their image as an institution devoid of fornication. They want to pretend that all their kids are clean living christians who are not sexually active. Teenagers make mistakes all the time. You don’t change them by casting them away. Think about other girls who find themselves pregnant in the future. They’ll look to this moment and may choose abortion instead of being treated as a social pariah. True christians don’t turn their backs on others no matter how far they’ve fallen.

  • If one tries hard enough, one can justify anything. They don’t need what has happened to this young lady, with her permission, to justify abortion. That’s a cop out.

  • They’re teenagers. They get judged enough by their peers and we all know how much of an impact peer pressure can affect the choices they make. Being pregnant at that age is punishment enough. The social exile is unnecessary.

  • If you had read the linked article, you might find out the school did not send other students packing – and they are apparently welcome to walk the graduation walk.

  • Ah, yes. Adverbs are especially useful in effectively responding to particularly peculiar phenomena.

  • Hi Sandi, Thank you for your interesting response. We are looking at the situation from different perspectives. You are concentrating on the girl’s morality and you want to defend the school; I am concentrating on the reaction of the school to the girl and the reaction of the wider society to the school. This includes the reaction of many Christians who are concerned about abortion.

    Because we have different perspectives, our comments are largely at cross purpose. You concentrate on the morality of the girl and largely ignore any other concerns about the school’s policy.

    More significantly, you did not engage with the fact that Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” to the woman taken in adultery.

    You condemn the girl for going public, citing 1 Corinthians 6:6. This text clearly applies to taking a fellow Christian to court of law; it is a bit of a stretch to apply it to an appeal to the public.

    You state, “The school was probably protecting her.” That’s certainly not the way that she and her family saw the situation, and it’s certainly not the way that much of the public reacted to their actions.

    You said, “Christians do not ask the world to fight other Christians for them.” But this does not apply to those Christians who argued that the girl’s punishment was too harsh, or that the school policy was wrong because it would drive girls into terminating their pregnancies.

    As I see it, this is not a question of the Christians versus the rest, but it could be about whether the school’s policy is in alignment with public opinion, including the opinions of Christians opposed to abortion. One could also ask if the school’s policy is in accordance with the teaching of Jesus.

  • Boy, do you misunderstand Christianity.
    Let’s preface this with: Romans 3:23 English Standard Version (ESV)
    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
    No Christian thinks any other person, let alone Christian is sinless – we aren’t sinless, we are forgiven. Big difference.
    “institute devoid of fornication” – That would say sinless – and I’ve clarified that already.
    I doubt anyone will look at this moment, as I told you, if you want to murder your child, you’d justify it any way you could. To look at a Christian who carried their child would be a stupid excuse.
    No Christian has turned their back on her. I’m sure many are praying for her to return to wanting to follow Christ. Going to the public over a “church” matter is just another indication that she has chosen not to follow Christian teaching
    1 Corinthians 6 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! ”
    and I suspect whomever made the decision about her not graduating with the others recognized it, with her going to the world to force the “church” to do something they are against, as another example of how she is not ready to follow Jesus yet.
    I’m sure this is why she isn’t graduating with the other children.

  • “I am concentrating on the reaction of the school to the girl and the reaction of the wider society to the school.” Christians don’t live to please the world, they live to please Jesus.
    What does 1 Corinthians 6:6 have to do with the matter. They have already told her to sin no more and she chose to further sin against the school.
    Terminating the pregnancies is the world’s excuse. Christians do not murder their children.
    The school’s policy should not be in line with public opinion. They serve Jesus.

  • It isn’t social exile. She hasn’t been excommunicated from her church. She has been told “no” and went to the world to try to change the school’s mind.

  • It’s a high school graduation. There were probably kids who stole, lied, cheated on tests or looked at someone lustfully. Where’s their punishment? She wasn’t taking communion or giving sermon or singing in the church choir. Christians don’t single people out for public shaming. Are we gonna start cutting off hands for stealing? Should we erect a holiness police to enforce the Ten Commandments as well because that sounds a lot like sharia law.

  • Her sin and immorality is visible. What about all the other student’s immoral acts and sins that are NOT visible? Double standard?

  • The POS who runs that school should have some middle of the night visitors at his house.

  • She is not claiming some miraculous conception,she admitted her mistake time to pay some of the consequences of that mistake.

  • Both of you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Babies come from storks. The whole ‘sex’ thing was invented by the CIA to keep people distracted from the fact that Paul McCartney faked his death.

    DerpTurtle is right about the flat Earth, but she’s wrong about this.

  • So Hobbs has never been “immoral” in his life? Never looked at a woman other than his wife, never looked at a dirty mag, never had a dirty thought, never masturbated?
    Nor have any of the other staff at Heritage academy?

    I’d like to know how they screen their other students for immorality. Do they inspect all the girls pregraduation to ensure they are virgins? Does Hobbs do that job himself? Do they subject them all to lie detectors? If not how do they know Maddi is the only one who was “immoral”? I suggest they’d best get their act together, quick, before anyone slips through the net.

  • It’s a private school with a morality code. She broke it. Not only did she break it, but when told she couldn’t attend the graduation ceremony, she tried to embarrass the school.

    I went to a similar high school and if a girl got pregnant, she would have been expelled. That’s what this school could have done. It probably seems silly to people with a more evolved concept of morality, who think there should be no consequences for people who break the rules. To me, they made the right choice.

  • Without double standards, there would be few standards at all in this matter.

    Immoral in this matter means she got caught, repentance wasn’t enough.

  • Well it is when you’re shunned by your own school and left out on what is supposed to be a very happy day with friends and family. The school’s being petty.

  • Feminist?? This was not Feminism – this was a simple opinion on human logic and rights.
    The girl was discriminated against based on an idiot’s religious opinion.

  • If they aren’t breaking the law…stay out of their business.Telling a girl she can’t walk across the stage isn’t breaking the law.

  • Sandi,
    * If you live to please Jesus, why don’t you follow his example of not condemning sinners?
    * The wider society who reacted negatively to the school’s actions included Christians. Why do you so airily dismiss the concern of fellow Christians?
    * If 1 Corinthians 6:6 has nothing to do with the matter, why did you use it as a proof text against the girl?
    * Terminating pregnancies was a concern raised by other Christians. Why don’t you listen when Christians raise this concern?
    * If the school should serve Jesus, why didn’t they follow his example?
    * It seems you are determined to ignore what other people say because they are “of the world”. I have pointed out more than once that Christians have also protested about the school’s policy. Who is being more Christian, you, or those who seek to protect vulnerable mothers and their unborn children?

  • Did her family go to the media, or did the media hear about it, come to her and she simply told her story? I don’t know. Either way, Paul’s statement you quoted dealt with Christians suing each other in pagan courts rather than dealing with their issues between themselves. As Paul says earlier in the same letter, we are “not to go beyond what is written.” For that matter that was one of Jesus’ big problems with the Pharisees, the hedge around the Law they had created.

    And even if her family did go to the media, what are they doing but taking their case to the larger Christian community?

  • Well..As Christians, I think Jesus example to the woman caught in adultery should be the goal. When faced with public shame, He restored her dignity. We don’t condone sin by recognizing the dignity that Christ granted all sinners through his forgiveness and love.

  • Doesn’t matter. She is still asking the world to make a judgment on a Christian – so the scripture would suffice. She is doing wrong.

  • I don’t condemn sinners.
    I dismiss because she has asked the world to condemn Christians
    Because if you want to murder your baby, any excuse will do.
    I would say they have followed His example
    They are protecting her.

  • She hasn’t been shunned. She still attends. She is just not being allowed to hurt herself worse parading around pregnant.

  • I know you’ve become fixated on yourself Ben. You don’t need to update us with that.

  • Listen to yourself. Hurt herself worse parading around pregnant? Since when are pregnant women giving parades? And how is she hurting herself by walking in public? Is she gonna trip and fall because pregnant women are such clumsy walkers. Everybody knows she’s pregnant so hiding her like some deep dark family secret isn’t practical. She still has to go to class, do grocery shopping, go to the hospital and attend church. These things all involve the public.

  • “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

    As Christians we are always on public display, and need to act accordingly. If you believe the school’s behavior isn’t fit to be known by the world, then you also believe that the school shouldn’t have done what it did. If you believe that it is fit to be known by the world, then you should have no problem with its treatment of her being made public.

  • “Let your good deeds shine out….” That is not calling for judgement against the house of God.

  • I was referring to the actions of the school. And Jesus certainly had no problem calling out those authorities that weren’t acting appropriately. What the school did isn’t that bad, but don’t forget Jesus’ instructions when a Brother offends — first try to resolve it privately, and only if that fails go public.

  • Doug, we are not going to agree. And, she chose to go to the world against her Christian family. There is no meeting half way on this. They young lady went against scripture.

    2 Corinthians 6:14

    Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?

    2 Corinthians 6:15

    What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

  • You know, you never did answer whether she had sought out the media or had the media seek her out. Either way, the school did NOT act in a way worthy of the City on a Hill. Otherwise, you would have no problem with the world seeing the light they are shining.

  • Doug, the world is not going to agree with Christians anyway. Are you a Christian? If so, you would know that.

    2 Corinthians 6:14-18King James Version (KJV)

    14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

    15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

    16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

    18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
    You are asking the darkness to agree with God. lol God bless you.

  • Hi Sandi,
    * Here is a dictionary definition of “condemn”: to criticize something or someone strongly, usually for moral reasons. That’s what you have done. Repeatedly. There’s no getting round it.
    * You have accused the girl of asking the world to condemn Christians. Where is your evidence? I couldn’t find any evidence that she had done such a thing. On the contrary, she has the support of her family and her local church and is planning to to go to a Christian university. This evidence is here:
    * If people are determined to terminate their pregnancies, they will, but many Christians are concerned that pregnant girls are being pressured into abortion against their will. I suggest you listen to those Christians.
    * I appeal to you to check your facts before you attack and listen to others, especially other Christians. You do not have a monopoly on wisdom.

  • I don’t condemn. I repeat what the Lord has taught for our good. 2 Timothy 3:16-17English Standard Version (ESV)

    16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
    The young lady:
    The article is in the public. She has asked the world’s help, my friend.
    1 Corinthians 6English Standard Version (ESV)

    Lawsuits Against Believers
    6 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!l
    I would prefer to listen to Christ, thanks. If you are planning to murder a child, you will find any excuse.
    Christians do not celebrate immorality. God bless you.

  • Sandi, Thank you for your blessing.

    * However, you did condemn the girl. You did it repeatedly. You can deny, deny, deny, but the evidence is undeniable.

    * 1 Corinthians 6 is about lawsuits. It’s a stretch to apply this text to a non-legal context.

    * You really don’t get it that women can be pressured into terminating a pregnancy.

    * You really don’t get it that the girl is receiving support from her family, her church and the Christian university that she proposes to attend.

    * This is not a matter of celebrating immorality but making it possible for a girl to avoid an unwanted abortion. That is why Christians have expressed their concern about the policy of the school.

    * You say you prefer to listen to Christ. Good. Then ponder this text:

    3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:3-11, English Standard Version.

  • 1 Cor. 6 is also about taking Christians to the world for judgment.
    Oh I get it, I just don’t condone someone parading around because the world influenced an already set Christian decision and she turned to the world to overcome what was probably a decision made with a lot of prayer. The world is always working against believers M.
    Wonderful, support her. Just don’t let her parade around because the world influenced the decision. What did the Lord say about an immoral brother?

    1 Corinthians 5English Standard Version (ESV)
    Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church
    5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
    So, I’m not going to condone a young woman who cannot take no for an answer parading around.
    Your scripture: exactly. He told her to go and sin no more. He didn’t tell her to parade around defying the leaders in the church. Christ also knew this was a set up to test Him. Where was the man she was committing adultery with?

  • Good final question. Trouble is, we’ll never know the answer.

    Of course, you must realise that you have once again condemned the girl, the opposite of what Jesus did in John 8:11.

    This is where I think you should consider what others have said about this school’s decision:

    ‘ “It’s a bad decision,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life. “I was horrified when I learned that they wouldn’t let her walk at graduation. Usually when a woman is facing an unwanted pregnancy, especially a young woman, there is a sense of shame that comes into play and can have an impact on her decision and often does.”

    ‘Mancini said that while she respects the school’s code of conduct she worries about what the next pregnant student will do.

    ‘ “What she needs is support, and what the school is doing is really the opposite of that,” she said. “It’s the antithesis of what it means to be Christian.”

    That’s a pretty harsh condemnation of the school. However, the publicity is no bed of roses for the girl. Look at the report I linked to:

    ‘Runkles said her situation has drawn so much media attention in the past week, with her story being told by the New York Times, CBS and Fox, that some friends and classmates who once supported her now think she is just seeking publicity. The backlash has been severe, especially on social media, where she says strangers, acquaintances and parents of other students have attacked her.

    ‘ “It has really gotten out of control,” Runkles said. “Moms of students have tagged me and said nasty things about me. I’ve had students start group messages to start nasty rumors. People saying I’m just attention-seeking and spoiled.”

    ‘The blowback led Runkles’s parents to pull Maddi and her 9th-grade brother out of the school for the remainder of the year. Her father, Scott Runkles, has resigned from the school’s board and her brother will transfer to another Christian school in the fall.’

    That kind of pressure is not easy to deal with. Fortunately, she has the support of her family, her church and the Christian college she plans to attend.

    This is a difficult situation for all. However, it’s not a simple case. Jesus’ teaching, with his lack of a word of condemnation and, yes, his instruction to go and sin no more, is a unique challenge to Christians. However, just taking one of the statements and ignoring the other is not following Jesus’ teaching.

  • Now you have displayed exactly what I said, the world trying to subvert a decision probably made with a lot of prayer – exactly what I said – exactly what 1 Corinthians condemns.
    She’s condemned herself. That is what you don’t seem to understand. She made her choices and she chose to not follow the Lord.
    She is seeking publicity. If she were not, she would not have submitted to the article. Open your eyes honey!
    Christ condemned her actions in every scripture I submitted, so lol……..give it up. She cannot accept the answer to prayers by the elders of the school. Maybe no one said no to her before.
    The school doesn’t want to support immorality. Good for them for standing up. That is the bottom line. No Christian school should accept/endorse promiscuity.
    She agreed to the terms of Christianity, as long as they go along with what she wants. (edited)

  • Sandi, before I respond to anything else here I must express my concern at the language you have expressed about the situation. There is no evidence that the girl is a prostitute or even that she is promiscuous. Shame on you for suggesting this.

  • Sandi,

    Of course I can see that the girl sought publicity for her case! Of course I know that Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” I have no doubt that the school agonized about what to do with her case, and little doubt that they prayed about what to do. And, of course it’s obvious that she wanted the school to agree to her request to attend the graduation ceremony.

    However, I don’t agree that she chose not to follow her religion. This is clearly wrong. She made the decision to follow through with the pregnancy out of her Christian convictions. She attends church and plans to go to a Christian university. Furthermore, she has the support of her church and her family, who had to take her and her younger brother out of the school (and put in another Christian school) because the reaction of the school community was so harsh.

    Please read this passage:

    “Runkles, 18, is a 4.0 student who has attended the school since 2009. She found out she was pregnant in January and informed the school, where her father was then a board member, in February. Initially the school told Runkles that she would be suspended and removed from her role as student council president and would have to finish the rest of the school year at home.

    “After the family appealed, Heritage said it would allow Runkles to finish the school year with her 14 classmates but she would not be able to walk with the other seniors to receive her diploma at graduation. The family believes that the decision is unfair and that she is being punished more harshly than others who have broken the rules.”

    As you can see here, the girl’s family believes that she has been more harshly treated than others who have broken other school rules. The school backed down from excluding her from class, but refused to let her walk up on stage at graduation. It seems clear that the school was feeling its way in a difficult situation, made more uncomfortable because the girl and her family had played such a prominent role in the school.

    You accuse the girl of only going along with her religion on her own terms. Again, you have ignored her family support. You may disagree with the family’s stand, but it is clearly not just the action of the girl alone.

    You see it as a battle between the school and “the world.” This oversimplifies the situation. Sure, the school is facing criticism, but some of the harshest criticism has come from right to life groups. Also it is clear that the girl and her family are receiving support from their local church and the Christian college where she intends to go.

    Therefore it is clear that Christian opinion about this situation is divided. Sure the scriptures condemn immorality but when Jesus dealt with adultery he said he wouldn’t condemn the woman but that he told her to go and sin no more. You are strong on the “go and sin no more” but you completely disregard the “neither do I condemn thee.”

    Like other disagreements, the situation is complicated and there are good points and faults on each side.

    As for your insinuations about the girl’s character, please read my other comment.

  • The girl chose not to follow Christ, as I have stated in several manners.
    Whether her family supports her or not, that doesn’t change that she has chosen not to follow Christ, and to bring about a means that the would would try to sway the church of God.
    No….I see it as the normal battle of the world against the church.

  • Everyone makes wrong choices, including Christians. However, when you concentrate on just one person and disregard the failings of others, it distorts the picture and is unfair to all.

    When it comes to the battle between good and evil, none of us are just on one side. We’ve both commented at length on this situation. Let’s leave it.

  • Just as you chose to make shameful insinuations against the girl.

    All of us fall short of the mark. Let’s let the matter rest.

  • No….the young lady chose to fall into immorality and then advertise it.
    Most Christians are not proud of rebelling against Christ. He suffered and died because of our sin and we do not proudly advertise that we chose to sin against Him and look to the world to vindicate us.
    Yes, we all have sinned and will do so, again, and again, but we repent, we don’t run to the media to condemn those trying to help us and trying to protect our name, and Christ’s name on us. God bless you. (edited)

  • Hello Sandi, Thank you for your blessing.

    Where you see a girl who advertises the fact that she became pregnant, others see a girl who is protesting about the way the school treated her.

    These viewpoints are not mutually exclusive. There is some truth in both of them.

    You and I are like the blind men and the elephant. Please click on this link. I hope you enjoy the poem.

    Best wishes

  • Thank you M, but I don’t open links from those I don’t know. She may be protesting against their decision, but, a Christian does not go to the world with a complaint about the church.
    The world is not equipped to judge a saint.

  • Remember that the complaint of the girl and her family was not about the church or its teachings but about the policy of one school.

  • What do you mean? A church is a church. A school is a school. A denomination is a denomination. Obviously, you are using the word “church” and the phrase “Church of Christ” differently from their usual meanings.

  • The body of believers in Christ is called, “the church”. A church has since been identified as a building, but originally, it is the body of believers.

    Dictionaries – Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Church

    Church [N] [S]

    Derived probably from the Greek kuriakon (i.e., “the Lord’s house”), which was used by ancient authors for the place of worship.

    In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew kahal of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can only be known from the connection in which the word is found. There is no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times it early received this meaning. Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the “Church of England,” the “Church of Scotland,” etc.

    We find the word ecclesia used in the following senses in the New Testament:

    It is translated “assembly” in the ordinary classical sense ( Acts 19:32 Acts 19:39 Acts 19:41 ).

    It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic church ( Ephesians 5:23 Ephesians 5:25 Ephesians 5:27 Ephesians 5:29 ; Hebrews 12:23 ).

    A few Christians associated together in observing the ordinances of the gospel are an ecclesia ( Romans 16:5 ; Colossians 4:15 ).

    All the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled together in one place or in several places for religious worship, were an ecclesia. Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one church ( Acts 13:1 ); so also we read of the “church of God at Corinth” ( 1 Corinthians 1:2 ), “the church at Jerusalem” ( Acts 8:1 ), “the church of Ephesus” ( Revelation 2:1 ), etc.

    The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world ( 1 Corinthians 15:9 ; Galatians 1:13 ; Matthew 16:18 ) are the church of Christ.

  • In that case, neither the girl nor the family were challenging the beliefs of the body of believers, however defined.

    * First, believers are divided on how this dispute should be resolved.
    * Secondly, the girl herself has admitted that she was wrong in her actions, so she isn’t challenging Church teachings on chastity or anything else.
    * Thirdly, the girl and her family are members of a local Baptist Church, so they are not outside Christianity as usually defined.
    * She and her family are challenging the fairness of the disciplinary process of the school. The fairness of the disciplinary process is not a matter of doctrine.

  • Sandi, It seems you have changed tack. Before you wrote, “The girl chose not to follow Christ.” Now you say, “… the girl and her family were challenging the body of believers.”

    This is better, but it’s still not right, I think.

    * The girl and her family are not in dispute with any doctrine of the church.
    * The girl and her family are only in dispute with one private school.
    * I believe that the girl and her family have every right to object to a school punishment that they deem to be excessive.
    * The school backed down and allowed the girl back into class after her parents protested.
    * However, the school refused to back down on excluding her from the formal graduation ceremony.

    Even if you consider that the school had every right to set the rules, this does not mean that the family and the girl are challenging the doctrines and practices of the church in any of the usages you listed above.

  • I have not changed “tack”. I added another error they are making. That’s all.

  • Sandi, You haven’t addressed the points I made. You say the girl and her family are making an error. If that’s your opinion, so be it, but as far as I can see, the dispute is about whether the girl should be able to receive her certificate at the school’s graduation ceremony.

    This is not a question of doctrine and the school is not a church.

  • The dispute is that the girl cannot take no for an answer on an issue that was decided by prayer, and she went to heathen to try to overcome a decision made by prayer.

  • The fact that the school authorities prayed over their decision does not change the fact that it was a school disciplinary procedure, not a religious dictum.

    If the girl and her parents went to the media, that was their right, as citizens in a free society. This resulted in an outcry, with at least some of the concern coming from Christian groups opposed to abortion.

    Call the action of the girl and her family wrong-headed, or unwise, or whatever, but don’t treat it as an attack on the faith. That’s going too far

  • I see you do not understand Christianity. I’ve tried to help you. God bless you

  • Saudi, thanks for your blessing, but your view of Christianity seems to me to be rather blinkered. You see clearly the failings of the girl but Christianity teaches that all have fallen short of the mark. I have tried very hard to show you that the situation is far more complex than one of saints versus sinners, if only because none of us is perfect.

    All those involved in this conflict have struggled to work out what is the right thing to do. Just condemning one of the actors for what she did, and criticising her family for supporting her is not ideal, for others also fell short of the mark.

    I suggest that you look at the situation again. It’s more complex than you have admitted.

  • I think it’s worthwhile pointing out that the school did not expel this girl. After protests by her parents it allowed the girl to return to her classes. Where it did draw the line was having her receive her certificate with the other students.

  • From their student pledge which can be seen here:

    Expectations for students include guarding my mind against immorality, impurity, rebellion, selfishness, carnality and violence

    It seems rather obvious that ALL the students walking across that stage have broken this pledge.