Scarlet Letter

Jimmy Mac sent me a link to this RNS piece on a student being barred from Christian school graduation ceremonies “because she was immoral.” The young woman in question is also pregnant. It’s a new twist on an old story: that women, who are the obvious offenders in extra-marital sex that results in conception, are subjected to public discipline. As in Hawthorne’s masterful story, she declines to name the father. But he’s not a fellow student escaping discipline by sneaking into the diploma line, she says.

So, what to make of this? Pro-life groups are supporting Ms Runkles. Public commentary from them runs along the lines of developing an atmosphere encouraging mothers not to have an abortion. As other Christian women have admitted from their perspective as elders or observers on this affair.

Ms Runkles’s dad suggests that a more just discipline:

Typically, when somebody breaks a rule, you punish them at the time they break the rule. That way, the punishment is behind them and they’re moving forward with a clean slate.

So, a disciplinary action four months after a straight-A, otherwise straight-arrow student commits a school code violation. Good point, sir. I suppose if some students were involved in drinking, sex, or setting up Ponzi schemes the might before graduation, then barring them from the public ceremony would make some amount of sense. Removing Ms Runkles from her position as student president: that seems to make sense to me. The graduation, less so.

What do you think? Is the pro-life effort shot in the foot? Is this all about a baby bump? Ms Runkles is heading to Bob Jones University in the fall–there’s that.




About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Scarlet Letter

  1. This is unbelievable! That in modern times a so-called Christian school would take it upon itself to judge the personal culpability of one young woman for having sex outside of marriage. How many students and teachers are engaging in sex outside of conventional marriage and no one knows of it? And the poor young lady so brainwashed she thought she had to ask “their” forgiveness.

    This story confirms my belief that a brute misogyny is on the rise again in our so-called Christian culture.

    Kind of hoping the child turns out to look exactly like one of the teachers who wouldn’t let her graduate.

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