They have the "right" but......
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Couple of things come to mind here. First, hopefully the father isn't a fellow teacher, and secondly, though they have the right to fire this teacher, are they setting any better example to the kids than she is ? Shunning someone for bad behavior isn't what those of faith claim that faith to be about.
It seems to me they're confusing making a mistake and not being a good role model. If she were to stay at the school, say "yeah, it was a mistake. But God has given me this child" and while she's at it "make sure you don't make the same mistake I did", then surely she's being a good role model by teaching children the consequences of their actions. If she refused to admit there was anything wrong having sex outside marriage then I suppose that's another matter.
A friend of mine got pregnant a few months before me. She recognises that she sinned by entering that relationship (it's since ended), but she lives with the consequences - and her beautiful son. She could have "saved face" and had an abortion and nobody would have known, but she did the right thing. That's a lot braver. I can barely cope with motherhood and I'm married, I really don't know how she does it all on her own.
faceinbook, as hard as it may sound, the teacher made an error in judgement, and she does have to 'pay' for it, just as we all have to 'pay' for errors we make.
She had a contract, and apparently broke it by getting pregnant outside of marriage.
No one is shunning her, she's been fired for breaking her contract.
If she were a regular church member, and became pregnant outside of marriage, it would be wrong to shun her, but on the other hand, the wrong behavior should not be excused or glossed over. If she were in our church, she would still be welcome in the church. And her child would be welcome, too. The right thing would be to marry the father.
But that's just my opinion.
I probably will not be the last person to say this, but marrying the father is NOT always the right thing to do. Sometimes it is, but there are times when it is exactly the WRONG thing to do.
Fuzzi, marrying the father may be the exact opposite of right. Two foolish decisions will not cancel each other out.
faceinbook, Reading through the article. I think it depends on the wording on the coach's contract but I am not sure they are covered by the Supreme Court's recent decision. As I understood that case, the court said the church could fire the teacher because she was commissioned and expected to teach church doctrine, she had a ministerial role. It was about being a religious leader, not a moral example.
Of course, if there as a morals clause in her contract, that all may be moot. Someone with more legal experience than I can better explain that.
Personally, I think it's unfair, but then the school wants to protect it's reputation, and somehow admitting their employees are human and make mistakes does not do that. Ah well.
Agree that this is a tough decision when it comes to the school but not only did they let her go, they dropped her insurance and did not give her any severance. When does a moral decision become a punishment based on a belief system ?
It would also seem to me that TWO individuals "sinned" if that is what you want to call it and one is paying for that "slip" in judgement. Hard to say cause we don't know exactly how her pregnancy happened. We do know that if she would have had an abortion and not told anyone, she would still have her job. If birth control were an accepted practice in her chosen faith, she may not be in this prediciment either. Such a twisted logic comes in to play when something like this happens and most often the woman is on the hot seat.
Individuals have sex outside of marriage, they have since the beginning of the institution we call marriage, to strive to remain monogamous is admirable, to advise kids that waiting is best according to the mores of one's faith is O.K. as well but to "pretend" that sex outside of marriage does not happen, is quite frankly, a bit insane. Would venture to guess that some of those who were involved in the decision to fire this person are guilty themselves. Harshest judgement tends to come from those who are guilty of the very thing they are condeming someone else for.
Thought Christ was about "forgiveness" not "punishment" So, this woman is being judged by her fellow man and it really has nothing to do with god or the son of god, her god will forgive her, it is her employer who can not or will not.
Attempts to protect one's "reputation" in this way usually backfire and end up hurting that reputation. We've had our fair share of this in the Catholic Church, where the leadership would take decisions on the basis of whether something would "scandalise the faithful". What they are only learning recently, after much pain, is that these decisions aimed at protecting the institution end up scandalising the faithful far more than the original incident. They also scandalise the non-faithful. When an institution which preaches the primacy of love and forgiveness acts in precisely the opposite fashion, it certainly doesn't do its reputation much good.
John, agreed. For some Chritstians, forgiveness is for your own sins. Others deserve only judgment and condencension.
Actually that may just be part of the human condition. Our screw-ups are isolated mistakes. Their mistakes are evidence of systematic moral failings.
(8) I agree, Madcow, but that's not the case for all Christians, nor is it taught in the Bible.
And I don't think it's the case here.
I really do feel for this woman, but if she knowingly broke her contract, then she will probably have to 'pay' for doing so.
Any action or act on our part does have repercussions. If I run a red light, then I might cause an accident or get a ticket, and my insurance costs will go up. I have to pay for doing 'wrong'.
I don't like playing Devil's Advocate in this situation, but I felt that this wasn't just a cut-and-dried case of discrimination and unfair judgement.
"A friend of mine got pregnant a few months before me. She recognises that she sinned by entering that relationship (it's since ended), but she lives with the consequences - and her beautiful son. She could have "saved face" and had an abortion and nobody would have known, but she did the right thing. That's a lot braver. I can barely cope with motherhood and I'm married, I really don't know how she does it all on her own."
It is interesting how you can make all those judgments "from the outside." Your friend's relationship was "sinful" and thus it is impliedly better off that it has ended. You apparently don't know much about "how she can" be a single mother, but it is praiseworthy - presumably for herself and for the life her child is living and will be living - that she made that choice. It must be nice to have such "standards" that one can "know" without really knowing......
Depending on the situation, it is sometimes easier for a single mother to raise her child/children, and visa versa. Not all individuals are cut out to be parents. In ideal situations children should have role models of each sex, however some role models are less than desirable.
Seriously.....as a Christian is it one's job to judge others as to how they should act and then punish accordingly or should the goal be to live one's personal life as close to the example put forth by Jesus Christ, as possible ?
Guess if you consider Christianity to be the first then "contracts determining standards of proper behavior as defined by other Christians" are proper and good. If the second option holds true than one should be content to know that "God is the ultimate judge (and punisher of sins)" and as a Christian one's job is to accept, forgive and focus on one's own behavior not someone elses.
To keep a sense of order within society, we have devised a standard of behavior governed by laws and appropriate punishments when those laws are broken. These hold true for all no matter what one's spiritual belief may be, as they should .
Do not believe that as spiritual beings we were meant to "judge and punish" based on individual spirtuality. The hardest thing for that school to do would be to "forgive" and "accept" a sinner. After all, she is in need of the church far more than those who are sitting in judgement.
If she broke her contract, she probably should lose her job. As Christians it would seem that giving her and her child (who has no choice in this) a small severance and health insurance until that child is born would be the "Christ like" thing to do.
I think the issue that we really need to get at is whether it was in keeping with the ideals of Christianity to include a morals clause in the contract with such drastic consequences. Indeed, the legalese of "simply enforcing the contract" reminds me of some words Jesus had for the Pharisees:
And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. ... Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering." (Luke 11:46 & 52)
Whether or not a religion is involved, it seems pretty clear:
she signed a contract, and she broke it.
BTW, I don't like lawyers, either, but they are sometimes a necessary "evil".
>15 fuzzi:: "Whether or not a religion is involved, it seems pretty clear: she signed a contract, and she broke it."
But religion IS involved, in a very big way: the clause in the contract she "broke" was explicitly designed to uphold a Christian moral code. So I'm asking: is it congruent with the Christian faith, with the words of the Gospel, to write the contract in that way?
(Not only did Jesus not like lawyers, he was quite plain to his disciples that it's better to avoid the court system entirely. Matthew 5:25-36: "Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison; truly, I say to you, you will never get out till you have paid the last penny.")
Whether or not the contract was proper for a 'Christian institution' to enforce, no one held a gun to her head to sign it.
She signed it, she should have been faithful to her promise.
Since she broke her promise, she can be held liable for her actions, in this case, losing her job.
Don't believe that the definition of Christianity should include such contracts unless like I said above, Christianity is about judgement and punishment. It seems that this a practice of some Christians.
Having said that, this woman took a job and signed a contract, if she violated that contract her employer has a right to fire her. Given the fact that those who are enforcing the contract and judging her actions to be immoral are Christian, it would seem to me that they would at least have some compassion for the situation the child will be coming into.
this is so typical....no birth control, no abortion but absolutely no compassion for the child of the "sinner" AND no mention of the man. When this stuff happens....it is generally because a woman "sinned"
Someone mentioned that she should "marry the father" and all would be forgiven....maybe the father told her to take a hike ? Maybe this woman is a homosexual who wanted a child.....she may not even have has any sexual relationship what so ever ! A situation which would be just as bad if not worse I suppose.
It is not up to us to judge the situation only to forgive the sinner. At least that was always my interpretation. I left the church because too often it was about judgement. Understood that God would be my judge but had little patience with fellow Christians who insisted that they were somehow "in the know" and this gave license to judging the actions of others. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" Don't think that there would be many stones flying about if people were to adhere to this particular teaching.
Guess that is beside the point. What message is the Church giving the youngsters who know and like this teacher ? Apparently she was a good teacher, an outstanding coach and was well liked by most everyone.
Perhaps the school could do a study of "The Scarlet Letter" as it seems there are a lot of parallels between the book and their actions.
I'm not arguing that it's not legal (maybe) for them to fire her for violating the contract. After all, that's how contracts work.
But, would Christ's words in Luke 11 apply to whoever drafted that part of the contract? After all, I can easily envision a situation (since it has happened all too frequently) where that part of the contract was written by a man. Male teachers in the school might then fool around but won't actually be fired because there's no evidence that they fooled around. This female teacher, on the other hand, can't really hide the evidence--after all, somebody at some point is going to notice she's pregnant; so the burden of this "morality" clause falls far more heavily on women who sin than on men who sin.
Don't assume that all Christians have the same set of 'rules' as the Roman Catholic Church: the RCC is the church that said that birth control was a sin.
If she had sex outside of marriage, then she is reaping for what wrong she did. I do have compassion for her and her child, but I cannot say that what she did was "okay", based upon her contract and what guidelines she should have been following.
FWIW, the act of forgiveness doesn't mean that someone is not held accountable for actions: one still has to pay in one form or another for actions done in violation of God's commandments.
>20 fuzzi:: But fuzzi, you're evading the question: was it morally right for the school to write the contract the way it did in the first place?
I'm not arguing that she didn't do something wrong. I'm asking if the school was just in setting up the contract the way it did in the first place. What if it turns out that there's a male teacher at the school who's been having extra-marital affairs for years but hasn't been caught? He's still got a job, health insurance, stability. But the mom-to-be: she's chucked out on the street.
"Since she broke her promise, she can be held liable for her actions, in this case, losing her job."
Maybe HER interpretation of immoral behavior doesn't include being a single parent ? It very well may be that this woman is "right" with God. She may be very comfortable where she is at and the prospect of raising a child.
The school is defining this pregnancy as immoral.....I don't believe that the contract mentions sex or pregnancy so they have pretty much leeway as to what constitutes "immoral" behavior and who is or isn't a good role model.
Do you feel that this religious school, which has drawn up this contract to "protect" the children from immoral role models, is showing a good example of being Christian by cutting off her health insurance and not giving her a severence of any type ?
Is this the teaching of Christ who is the foundation of the Christian church ? If it is, than this religion is about man's interpretation of a written text and his "right" to enforce those moral judgements on others without showing any compassion what so ever. If it is not...than what the heck are they doing calling themselves Christians ?
You are correct, she signed the contract. Made a mistake and is now being punished by the very entity that is supposed to support one when they make mistakes. There is a huge double message here, especially to the kids in the school.
>12 lawecon: "It is interesting how you can make all those judgments "from the outside." Your friend's relationship was "sinful" and thus it is impliedly better off that it has ended. You apparently don't know much about "how she can" be a single mother, but it is praiseworthy - presumably for herself and for the life her child is living and will be living - that she made that choice. It must be nice to have such "standards" that one can "know" without really knowing......"
I gave a brief summary of a similar situation in one of my friend's lives which I believe sheds light on the issue. All you can do is assume I don't know what I'm talking about? You know nothing about our friendship.
There are two discussions here.
First, should a Christian organization have a morals clause? That is not necessarily an easy answer. If the coach had gotten pregnant by a student, who would be standing up for her right to remain at the institution. If it was a male coach, who got a woman pregnant, and then abandoned her, or forced her to get an abortion, would be standing up for his right to remain?
The second question is, since the person did sign the contract, right or wrong, should she still be fired? I think the answer to the second is easier than the answer to the first. But I say that not having seen the contract and not having studied law.
I would have thought that Texas would be an "at-will employment" state.
"I gave a brief summary of a similar situation in one of my friend's lives which I believe sheds light on the issue. All you can do is assume I don't know what I'm talking about? You know nothing about our friendship."
I didn't say a thing about your "not knowing what you are talking about" or about the depth of your friendship. I did say something about prejudging that not ending a pregnancy is ALWAYS the right thing to do, and I said something about the quality of life of a single mother and her child - a child who will presumably grow up without a father and with a much lower material standard of living.
Such considerations may be "obvious" to you as negligible considerations (albeit your comment about "not knowing how she does it" is to the contrary), such considerations are not obviously negligible to me.
The child may have to grow up without a father, and with a "much lower standard of living" than a child born to married parents, but at least he or she will have a chance to grow up. A life of relative poverty is better than no life at all.
Besides: look at family statistics these days. Such children are hardly rare. Single parent families are almost as common as two-parent families.
>12 lawecon: "It must be nice to have such "standards" that one can "know" without really knowing......"
>26 lawecon: "I didn't say a thing about your "not knowing what you are talking about""
"I did say something about prejudging that not ending a pregnancy is ALWAYS the right thing to do, and I said something about the quality of life of a single mother and her child - a child who will presumably grow up without a father and with a much lower material standard of living. "
You get all that from what I said?
"The child may have to grow up without a father, and with a "much lower standard of living" than a child born to married parents, but at least he or she will have a chance to grow up. A life of relative poverty is better than no life at all."
Exactly the point I was getting at. I simply don't believe that as a generalization. A life that is miserable, twisted and impoverished is not necessarily better than no life at all. Yes, there is a chance that it won't turn out that way, but there is a better chance that it will. So if we routinely make decisions on the basis of what is most probable, I don't see this decision as necessarily prudent or praiseworthy.
"Besides: look at family statistics these days. Such children are hardly rare. Single parent families are almost as common as two-parent families."
So, a real bad situation is better because it is common in a particular society? Better tell that to the Somalis.
And as will note from the follow up, I am not the only one who thinks that it is one implication of what you said......
(21) nathanielcampbell wrote "But fuzzi, you're evading the question: was it morally right for the school to write the contract the way it did in the first place?
I'm not arguing that she didn't do something wrong. I'm asking if the school was just in setting up the contract the way it did in the first place. What if it turns out that there's a male teacher at the school who's been having extra-marital affairs for years but hasn't been caught? He's still got a job, health insurance, stability. But the mom-to-be: she's chucked out on the street."
I am not evading the question.
Is it morally right for a church or school to have standards of behavior and then enforce them?
If your answer is no, why do think so?
Is it morally right for a teacher to be held accountable for his or her actions? Is it morally right for anyone to be held accountable for actions, especially if they signed a contract indicating that they would not indulge in certain activities?
If someone else at the school is involved, then of course the contract clause should be upheld there as well.
When I was hired at my current job (not a Christian school), I had to sign a contract...should I be able to break my contract yet not be held accountable for it?
"especially if they signed a contract indicating that they would not indulge in certain activities?"
I believe that the clause in the contract said "moral example" Not sure that sex was specifically listed as an activity she should not indulge in.
You are evading part of the question. The part about the legality regarding contracts is easy, but what about the moral implications of interpreting what is "morally acceptable" and holding others to that interpretation ? Is that the "Christian" thing to do ?
She has been fired....obviously the school had the right....should the contract exist and if it does, who gets to be the Grand Puba of interpretation ?
The young woman did say that her interpretation was different than those who fired her. She may very well have felt that carrying the child was the correct moral decision.
>29 lawecon: I agree that a life of misery and anguish may be worse than death. But to assume that every child born into a single parent family will have a miserable life is absurd, especially when (as I pointed out later) that is the experience of almost half of all children today. I'm not saying that's the way it should be- I think it's better for a child to have both parents. But that's the reality.
Regarding the original topic: I don't think the school should have fired her. While the teacher set a poor example for her students, the school set a worse example in dismissing her. It would have been better for them to show compassion and forgiveness, rather than harsh, legalistic judgement. That would be setting a true Christian example.
">29 lawecon: I agree that a life of misery and anguish may be worse than death. But to assume that every child born into a single parent family will have a miserable life is absurd, especially when (as I pointed out later) that is the experience of almost half of all children today. I'm not saying that's the way it should be- I think it's better for a child to have both parents. But that's the reality."
Quoting from Post #29, which you apparently didn't read before commenting on it: "Yes, there is a chance that it won't turn out that way, but there is a better chance that it will. So if we routinely make decisions on the basis of what is most probable, I don't see this decision as necessarily prudent or praiseworthy."
One way to help guarantee “a life of misery and anguish” is to remove the new born parent’s sole source of income and insurance. The struggles of the mother and child to survive can be used as object lessons by the pure.
We're playing word games here. We say she "got pregnent" and she "made a mistake".
I assume that this woman is a college graduate and was intelligent enough to read the the contract she signed. When this woman was pulling her clothes off she knew that the result could be that she would become pregnant and that she was breaking the contract that she signed. She willfully went ahead and did it anyway.
The responsibility for the result of that few minutes of lust is her's and not the school's.
The Christian thing for the school to do would have been to silently put her on paid leave until the baby was born and then gathered around her and let her know that they would not judge her, but would give her and her wonderful new baby all the help and love that they could.
>36 omboy:. Quick question - how do you know that the circumstances in which she fell pregnant were consensual?
How do you know she didn't have invetro fertilization ? She may be "saving" a frozen embreyo ? Which would be a "moral" thing to do if looked at from a certain point of view.
Maybe she was using birth control....it isn't fool proof....stuff happens.
Do you know the wording of the contract she signed ? Was sexual activity clearly spelled out or did they merely say a "moral example" ? Some people do not view sexual activity immoral behavior......even out side of wedlock. There are individuals who think that sex is a biological fact....part of our make up. Some chose not to marry but that doesn't negate the fact that biologically they are still sexual beings.
"The Christian thing for the school to do would have been to silently put her on paid leave until the baby was born and then gathered around her and let her know that they would not judge her, but would give her and her wonderful new baby all the help and love that they could"
As is sadly too often the case, a Christian institution could not find it in their hearts to do so. So she found she was pregnant, we don't know the details as to why this came to be but she decided to have a child on her own. As defined by the church this is the correct decision....however, once you make that decision and they find out, you are cast out. THAT is not a word game.......that is a moral head game !
I assume that this woman is a college graduate and was intelligent enough to read the the contract she signed. When this woman was pulling her clothes off she knew that the result could be that she would become pregnant and that she was breaking the contract that she signed. She willfully went ahead and did it anyway.
"Shanna, they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash."
Teacher says Catholic school fired her over IVF
INDIANAPOLIS — A former Indiana parochial school teacher who says she was fired for trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization is suing her former employer and the Roman Catholic diocese to which it belongs.
Not, I think, similar. Parallel would be if the church was forced to pay for her IVF.
Which action WAS the Christian action.
1. Assuming that in a moment of "lust" she "pulled her clothes off" and came up pregnant so they can should get rid of her. OR
2. The Christian thing for the school to do would have been to silently put her on paid leave until the baby was born and then gathered around her and let her know that they would not judge her, but would give her and her wonderful new baby all the help and love that they could
Because I am very very confused......the two actions are totally opposite one from the other. As always Christianity confounds me in that it is used as a tool to "judge" others which justifies actions that run counter to it's own teachings.
Are you equating IVF with birth control medication ? Birth control medication often has a lot to do with health care that has doesn't have anything to do with pregnancy prevention. If insurance covers ED medictaion related to high blood pressure, than should it not cover BC pills used to control endometriosis ?
If people did the right thing in the first place their wouldn't be "laws" to make sure that we treat each other with a bit of decency.
>41 AsYouKnow_Bob: and 42: I think you're confusing situations.
The Indiana teacher getting fired for using IVF is indeed parallel to the case discussed in this thread, i.e. getting fired for doing something "sinful", with the possible divergence of morality clauses in contracts.
Tim, I think what you're doing is pulling in the health insurance coverage angle, which is a separate issue.
For what it's worth (and because my wife and I had a long discussion about this last night after the news and dinner / while procrastinating about grading papers), I think that the Indiana teacher's legal case is pretty good, unless (like the Texas teacher we've been discussing in this thread) there was a morality clause in her contract. That is, the Indiana case seems pretty clear cut that the teacher DOES NOT fall under the ministerial exemption, such that what she did with her own money (since I'm presuming the IVF wasn't covered by the health insurance) was not valid grounds for firing her.
I wouldn't place too much faith in the current Supreme Court on this one.
Yes, you're quite right. It's similar to the coach.
Whatever the legality, I think it's a remarkable step for a Catholic institution to do. I have serious questions about the theology itself—as did the majority of papally appointed commission before Paul VI overrode them! But there's also the question of severity. Catholics sin. If sinning were a prerequisite for holding a job, no honest Catholic from the Pope on down could hold one. Presuming that the teacher wasn't flaunting her action all over school(2), is trying to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization(1) a sin so grave as to be a firing offense? Does the school fire anyone who has sex outside of marriage? Wore a condom? Masturbated?
All that leaves aside the legitimate freedom of conscience issue. Parochial schools hire lots of non-Catholics.
1. It might depend on whether "extra" eggs were made and thrown out later.
2. How did they find out anyway?
"All that leaves aside the legitimate freedom of conscience issue. Parochial schools hire lots of non-Catholics."
The young woman who was pregnant did mention that there are many interpretations as to what constitutes "moral or immoral" behavior. Which led me to believe that sex was not specifically spelled out in the contract. Granted, as it is the Catholic church who is setting the guide lines, one can assume that sex is a no no. But, then is protected sex a no no ? only if unmarried ? Who gets a pass ? and who is going to have to toe the line ? Trouble is, a pregnancy is really hard to hide, although many women have tried to do so since the beginning of time.
Guess one only loses one's job if they get "caught", a consequence which promotes dishonesty. Catholics do sin indeed. Think it pretty safe to say that most everyone involved in either of these two situations, including those doing the firing, has their own list of sins, some of which, if were made known, may very well render that person unfit as a "moral example".
Gives meaning to the verse "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone"
Again, not sure how you teach young people this concept when you are judging the actions of others and stacking up your stones.
1. It might depend on whether "extra" eggs were made and thrown out later.
2. How did they find out anyway?
Do you think God really cares ? If you are a good person, a loving sister, mother, daughter, wife or lover, does God really give a rip about condoms, masturbation, licenced or unlicensed sex ? I think not. We are sexual beings. There are those who would use sex to control/hurt others or are less than picky about who they have sex with but that comes from many issues.....issues that have other symptoms as well.
If you are not hurting yourself or others....where is the sin ? Guess I don't get it.
Always thought that God had more important things to worry about. The parents who abuse their children, the serial killer or the rapist who use sex as a way to degrade someone, the pedifile who stalks children ..... this is using sex to commit sin.
>48 faceinbook:: "If you are not hurting yourself"
What you're not seeing is that (to take an example) masturbation does hurt you. It takes sexual energy that should be other-directed in the act of love and perverts it (literally, turning it around) in on itself, into a self-centered action.
And this isn't just a theological notion. Studies have shown that masturbating to pornography can lead to future dysfunction in a relationship because it distorts your perception of sexual desire and sexual fulfillment.
Like anything I would imagine that there is a line between what is normal and what is abusive. Self abuse in any form distorts perception, whether it be sex, drugs, gambling, eating or even shopping.
None of the above are harmful when one egages with moderation. Would agree that all of them are self-centered but we are a self-centered species...it takes time and practice to think outside one's self. However if we were not hard wired to be somewhat self-centered, we would not survive.
Sexual energy is driven by hormones.......sexual activity is not always an act of "love", it may mean more when love is involved but, it is not , nor has it ever been, an activity engaged in only as an act of "love".
Since we are the only animals who seem to "enjoy" sex for pleasure as well as for procreation.....not sure "love" needs to be in the equation. I would substitute the phrase "respect" for love. But then, I believe we should respect each other in all shared activities.
The Bible does not require that sex occur only in a loving relationship. Abraham and Hagar, for an early example. And there is no Biblical basis for opposition to masterbation. Onan's sin was in taking advantage of Tamar but refusing to fulfill his duty to his dead brother by ensuring an heir. Besides, it's the pornography in your example that leads to distorted perceptions of sexual desire by establishing expectations that are not based on mutual desire between you and your partner.
However, like most things (as faceinbook says in 50) too much of anything, whether it's "masturbating to pornograpy" or eating (to pornography?), has negative repercussions.
>51 Osbaldistone:: I had always thought that God's reproof of Abraham for sleeping with Hagar and the dismissal of her and her son qualified as sanction against it. Unless, of course, you're reading the Qur'an...
There are a lot of areas of ethics and morality for which the Bible does not present a systematic answer. That's why there's this whole thing called systematic theology--we take the Bible's scattershot advice, together with the whole Old Testament/New Testament system of hermeneutics, and interpret and classify and organize and develop until we arrive at a comprehensive system of teachings.
Whatever interpretation we are going to take of the Onan story--and I agree that it's far more complex than simply masturbating--a developed sexual ethics that takes as its starting point the mutuality and compatibility of man and woman (the two shall become one flesh and the mutual service of "love one another as I have loved you") will eventually determine that masturbation is wrong, not because there's a Bible verse somewhere that says "masturbation is wrong" but because the self-centered act of masturbation is inconsistent with the other-centeredness of sexual intimacy.
"the dismissal of her and her son qualified as sanction against it. "
There it is again ! Dismissal of her and her son ! Geez, guess there really is no chance that God is a woman.
You are comparing apples to oranges. The self-centered act of masturbation is not the same as the "other-centeredness of sexual intimacy".
You are interpreting and then judging based on the interpretation you hold to be true that a certain act is wrong. My interpretation is different than yours.
>54 faceinbook:: Of course your interpretation is different from mine. You privilege self-centeredness in sexuality; I privilege other-centeredness in sexuality. Serving your own pleasure is more important to you; serving the pleasure of another is more important to me. You are the most important person in your world; another is the most important person in mine.
False dichotomy. Not to mention a load of arrogant self-righteousness.
But you don't know me ! How could you come up with such a statement ? My point is that a person's sexuality is personal and unless one is hurting someone , I don't think God gives a rip about what we do in regards to our sex life.
You just made the case for why "religious interpretation" gets such a nasty rap. Went ahead, made all kinds of assumptions and character judgements based on your Faith based interpretation of what sex should or should not be.
Unless there was distinct a statement concerning IVF, anyone signing the contract could have an issue in whether a reasonable person would know that IVF was included since most of use think of it as wonderful scientific advance.
>57 faceinbook:: I'm not all sure that my assumptions were false, even if they may have been rhetorically flourishing.
As I understand it, your approach is to say that whatever anyone wants to do with their sexuality is fine by you as long as they don't hurt anybody else. In other words, sexuality is entirely a self-centered thing: you see it as a personal, individual decision, not an inherently communal relationship (i.e. between the comm-union of woman and man).
By removing the relational aspect of sexuality, you move it from the realm of other-centered to self-centered. And no, Jesse, it's not a false dichotomy. Sexuality is fundamentally relational and thus requires a reciprocating partner. Remove the reciprocating partner and you fundamentally undermine the fullness of sexual intimacy.
It doesn't take a person of faith to see the ravages of selfishness in this country--and the heroism that should be celebrated when we move our gaze away from our own petty and selfish desires and focus on helping others. (I'd recommend Michelle Goodwin's thoughts this week at the Chronicle of Higher Education on the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots for an excellent meditation on precisely this point.)
Putting our own sexual desires ahead of those of a partner is a surefire way to create inequality and injustice at the very heart of human relationships. It destroys relationships rather than building them up.
So yes, I think my assumptions were accurate. If you remove that fundamental social responsibility from sexuality, you turn it into something selfish and perverse. But this pattern goes even further. It's the abdication of social responsibilities that are at the heart of so many of our problems today.
Wall Street bankers abdicate their responsibilities and we have meltdowns, foreclosures, and bailouts. Law makers abdicate their responsibilities and we have governmental dysfunction and gridlock. Parents abdicate their responsibilities and we have high school dropouts joining gangs and going to prison or dying in drug wars.
All of these social ills have at least some of their roots in our crazed exaltation of the individual in this country. We have individual freedoms rather than social responsibilities. It's my money--all you poor people be damned! (Jesus told us what happens to Dives when he leaves poor Lazarus in the streets for the dogs to lick his sores.) It's my property--you black kids better put down your hoodie or I'll shoot you! It's my happiness--I don't care if everybody else is miserable!
The new commandment is "Love one another," not "Love yourself."
"As I understand it, your approach is to say that whatever anyone wants to do with their sexuality is fine by you as long as they don't hurt anybody else. In other words, sexuality is entirely a self-centered thing"
Not sure how you came to that conclusion. Pretty narrow and twisted. The only people who know the true give and take or lack thereof in a sexual encounter are those who are engaging in that activity. Not sure how you are judging selfishness in situations that are intensely personal.
Who says that anyone is putting their own sexual desires ahead of their partners ? Nobody has said that except you.
Some individuals do not have partners and possibly never will, by choice or perhaps just by fate.....does this change the fact that they are sexual beings ? Our sexuality is biological as well as emotional. That is a fact.
In 57, faceinbook said, "My point is that a person's sexuality is personal and unless one is hurting someone , I don't think God gives a rip about what we do in regards to our sex life. "
In 59, I interpreted that as, "As I understand it, your approach is to say that whatever anyone wants to do with their sexuality is fine by you as long as they don't hurt anybody else."
You're going to have to explain where the difference is, because I don't see it.
As for selfishness vs. other-centeredness, this discussion started over the question of masturbation, which is by definition focused one's own personal pleasure. You are your own partner in masturbation. It is entirely self-centered. I don't see how that isn't axiomatic.
>61 nathanielcampbell: Yes and yes.....still has nothing to do with being selfish. If you choose to have multiple partners and are a giving partner in all relationships....how does this make you selfish ?
Not at all sure what you are getting at.
"As for selfishness vs. other-centeredness, this discussion started over the question of masturbation, which is by definition focused one's own personal pleasure. You are your own partner in masturbation"
What if you have no partner ? Never had a partner, never going to have a partner. Who the heck cares ? Why would anyone care ? Can't believe in a God who would monitor something like this. You are leaving out the fact that sex is biological as well as emotional.
This discussion started over the firing of a single teacher because she was pregnant. Someone judged her to be immoral because she was pregnant and not married. We don't know the exact circumstances as to how she came to be pregnant but the Church saw fit to fire her without a severence and no available health insurance for her or her child.
Your judgement regarding sexual behavior is a good example as to why an institution should not "judge" others in the matter of sexual behavior. Unless of course one is engaging in is illegal activities.
Tell me, if you were in charge of this school and found that this teacher was in the habit of masturbating, would you fire her because she is not being a good "moral example" to the students ?
Geez.....religion and sex. What IS it ?? and why ?
> 59. an inherently communal relationship (i.e. between the comm-union of woman and man).
Did you mean e.g instead of i.e.? Or can "comm-union" not take place between "man and man" and "woman and woman"? These are also "relational" and "other centered" as well, are they not?
In other words, sexuality is entirely a self-centered thing: you see it as a personal, individual decision, not an inherently communal relationship (i.e. between the comm-union of woman and man).
Ummm, no, she said no such thing.
She's not making blanket statements at all.
While I agree with Nathaniel in principle about the importance of being other-centred (in general, not just sexually), I also agree with Jesse (>64 Jesse_wiedinmyer:). I did not interpret faceinbook's comment as a blanket statement in favour of self-centredness. Enjoying yourself is not necessarily self-centred, particularly in an act which usually involves two people's enjoyment.
>64 Jesse_wiedinmyer: and 65:
After reading the whole series of posts through again (after a night's sleep and thus with the haze induced by grading final exams temporarily lifted), I see that I did probably overstate faceinbook's position. I apologize for the misunderstanding.
Alas, the fog of ridiculous answers to questions like "How did Julian of Norwich refer to Jesus?" is returning. Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more, or close the wall up with our English dead!
"Enjoying yourself is not necessarily self-centred"
If the good Lord did not want us to enjoy ourselves he would have created us more like the rest of the animal kingdom and not endowed us with the pleasure we sometimes give, sometimes take and/or both at the same time when engaging in sexual activity.
"the importance of being other-centred (in general, not just sexually),"
YES.... This is easier for some than for others (in general, not just sexually) , something we choose to work on spiritually or not, however, this is personal and since we all struggle it would seem to me that judgement of others is rather hypocritical.
Yesterday Cardinal Brady refused to resign. He said that he did learn about the rapes by one of the priest under control. He said that he passed the word up channels.
Asked if he fired the priest, he said "No". Asked if he went to the police, he said, "No". Asked if he talked with the children, he said, " No". Asked if he visited the parents, he said, "No".
Yet they have time to apply swift "justice" to their non-priestly employes for much lesser "crimes".
What is going on here? Are these people truly acting as God's reprentatives on Earth?
There is nothing that has not been done in the name of, or against religion. What should their priorities have been?
>52 nathanielcampbell: I had always thought that God's reproof of Abraham for sleeping with Hagar and the dismissal of her and her son qualified as sanction against it. Unless, of course, you're reading the Qur'an...
I've always seen God's dismissal of Hagar and Ishmael as a necessary protection of them from Sarah's jelousy. God is frequently having to allow for the shallow, selfish acts of his children. But, I can't find in my Bible where God reprooves Abram for sleeping with Hagar. Sarah does, apparently because Hagar acts above her station as a result of conceiving Abrahams child. Immediately afterwards, God sends an angel to consol Hagar. Then, after the birth of Ishmael, God appears to Abram and says "walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you...". Not much of a reproof. Besides that, God, more than once in Genesis, repeats his covenent with Hagar to make of Ishmael a great nation.
But, as far as "God's reproof of Abraham", am I missing some text that you're using to draw this conclusion?
As far as the larger issue of sex being tied to love, yes, the Abram/Hagar story was only one example, but the Bible contains many examples of women taken to bed for reasons unrelated to love. The law says that a man must take his sister-in-law to bed if his dead brother has had no offspring, as another example. Love comes very late to the concept of marriage in the Bible.
Having said that, the New Testament goes a long way towards the idea of love (of God, of neighbor) as the best reason for the actions we take; the acts we commit. This is a long way from saying these are the only acts which are not sinful, harmful, or subject to God's punishment.
(edited to add "harmful, or subject to..." at the end)
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