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Author Topic: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public  (Read 2775 times)

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Offline SilverTopic starter

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Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« on: December 18, 2008, 05:38:47 PM »
I couldn't believe it when I first read it.. Crazy

Quote
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A divorced Jacksonville woman said her former church has threatened to "go public with her sins" and tell the congregation about her sexual relationship with her new boyfriend.

Rebecca Hancock said harassment from Grace Community Church in Mandarin over her sex life caused her to leave, but she said that didn't put an end to the problem. She said she received a letter from the church's elders telling her the church plans to make her personal life very public.

"I'm basically run out. I'm the church harlot," Hancock said.

The 49-year-old said she has been dating a man for a while and she said members of the congregation at Grace Community Church haven't been happy about the relationship.

"Because I have a boyfriend that I'm involved with to not be married to that person is a sin," Hancock said.

She said the issue caused her to leave the church. However, she said the church has not let go of her.

The letter Hancock received from the church states that because she has refused to end her sexual relationship with her boyfriend, "you leave us with no other choice but to carry out the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ" "In accordance with Matthew 18:17 we intend to 'tell it to the church.'"

"On January 4, my sins will be told to the church, publicly, with my children sitting in the church and my friends," Hancock said.

The pastor of Grace Community Church, Dr. T. Scott Christmas, told Channel 4 he had no comment.

Pastors with whom Channel 4 spoke on Monday said announcing a sin to a congregation is not abnormal. They said it's written in the Bible to punish sinners who continue to sin.

The difference in Hancock's case is that she has left the church, and the pastors said that's is usually where punishment ends.

Despite the church's letter stating its biblical backing, Hancock said she has backed out of the church and they should leave her alone because she is no longer a member.

"I am a Christian, and that will never change. My relationship with Jesus has to do with me and Jesus, and he knows my heart," Hancock said.

The book of Matthew does have three steps that the church talked about in taking action against a member who is in sin.

Hancock said she is now attending a different church, and said she is planning to send a letter to Grace Community Church to make sure it's understood that she no longer a member.



What is everyone's thoughts on a matter such as this one.

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2008, 05:45:50 PM »
Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself.

And something about motes in eyes.

Offline Kazae

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2008, 05:46:44 PM »
That goes WAY the hell over the line; the church has obligation to Client-privilege upholding on par with that of most medical practitioners, and to violate that goes above and beyond violating privacy rights.

I don't approve of such things normally, but...a slight reminder about tax exempt status should be enough to cure them of such wrongheaded thinking.

Offline Revolverman

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 05:49:06 PM »
I thought confession was between you, the paster and god.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 06:02:32 PM »
Its the Churches choice unless she told this in the confidence of just the Pastor, if everyone else knew and its likely the case then they can announce it according to their beliefs.

Its a legitimate sin it called FORNICATION and so they can follow the Biblical mandate. Why not just marry the man and then they would likely not have a problem any longer since as husband and wife they would no longer be sinning?

I personally have no problem with it but they have a point if she is a professing Christian with children in a CHurch she must abide by the faiths and Churches teachings or leave.

Offline SilverTopic starter

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 06:05:01 PM »
If those things were said in confession then I think it's wrong to bring it out. I mean in front of her friends and children...

Sorry I don't think that it's right.

Offline Mordred

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2008, 06:19:16 PM »
Also... of all the people to be pointing the finger... pastors, priests, reverends... with all the corruption we always hear about them and their very 'unholy' actions, it's really pathetic. And what happened to 'church' trying to be helpful. Not that she's done anything that is their business but instead of trying to make her look bad why not try to help her (again, not that it's their business).

Offline Maeven

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2008, 06:27:39 PM »
Eeeek!

Jacksonville is where I grew up and it is smack dab in the middle of the bible belt in terms of ideology if not geographically. 

That church is probably not Catholic though.  There are very few Catholic churches in Jax and, in fact, First Baptist Church used to practically run the town.  It's likely Baptist or Methodist or some other form of Protestantism-- therefore, what transpired was not in confession because, well, there's no such thing for Protestants.  More than likely, it's the rumor and gossip mill that runs rampant so she won't be able to rely on any sort of parishioner-priest confidentiality. 

No excuse for the letter from the church elders if that's indeed what happened and I don't doubt it...  Nor do I doubt this is the first time.  It just so happens this has been made public.

Good for her for having the courage to do so. 
« Last Edit: December 18, 2008, 06:29:00 PM by Maeven »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2008, 06:42:29 PM »
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=47&chapter=18&version=31

According the the passages in here they are following the word of Jesus as they understand it, if one is sinning and talking to them one on one and then two on one doesn't work they can tell the Church and cast them aside if they still don't repent. If I'm reading this correctly?

I think its up to the Church if she is sinning and isn't marrying the man and will not repent they are doing what they are supposed to do.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2008, 06:54:22 PM »
 If she is no longer a member of the church, can't she nail them for harassment? They are definately going over the line if they do what they threaten to do. It's almost defamation of character.

 If the church does this, they are risking some very bad publicity.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2008, 06:56:02 PM »
Maeven is right.  The foundation of Protestant faith is that you cannot buy your way into Heaven.  Therefore confession is not something practiced by most of those Churches.  The priveleges of confession are only a standard in the Catholic Church so far as Christian religions go.  So, she's out of luck there.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2008, 07:04:14 PM »
It depends they could argue the Church covers all Christians so they have a right to do this I suppose.

Also if any family member or friends are still in the church she attended they can argue the right to tell them about her sins so they can talk to her and try to get her to repent.

But for defamation I did study enough law that the only defense for defamamation was if the information wasn't true, if she was fornicating away she can't argue its not true and so they aren't defaming her. Harrassment may be more legitimate but again if they only tell the congreation in the sactuary or to the membership its likely not going to be a case either. The First Amendment offers a fair amount of protection from interference in religious matters internal to a Church.

Note if she was getting pastoral care in private and it was of a counseling nature there is case to be made for a violation of professional duties if others save for the pastor did not know about the sexual sin. It is the same as getting therapy by a psychologist assuming he was offering counseling under the laws of the state of Florida there is an expectation of privacy in most cases.

Offline Avi

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2008, 07:08:09 PM »
I thought confession was between you, the paster and god.

It is, at least in Catholicism.  From what I understand, the priests are able to train themselves to not remember anything that people tell them during confession, being able to go into something of a trance thanks to intense prayer.  I agree with most people here in that revealing the PRIVATE confessions of someone is highly immoral, and I'm sure that God would not approve.

Offline ShrowdedPoet

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2008, 08:54:39 PM »
Well, in their opinions they're not wrong.  In my opinion. . .they should be beaten.  But. . .the bible says that it is ok.  And that's not even in the old testament, it's in the new.  So. . .*shrugs*  Her only hope is to either talk since into them or to go to the police, though the cops likely won't do anything.

Offline SilverTopic starter

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2008, 09:09:15 PM »
It is, at least in Catholicism.  From what I understand, the priests are able to train themselves to not remember anything that people tell them during confession, being able to go into something of a trance thanks to intense prayer.  I agree with most people here in that revealing the PRIVATE confessions of someone is highly immoral, and I'm sure that God would not approve.

The same is true in Orthodoxy, actually...

*is Orthodox or at least was raised as one*

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2008, 09:23:50 PM »
Regardless of the Bible, her conversation is about as protected as talking to any other member of her Church.  There is no confidentiality and no protection legally.

Offline Apple of Eris

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2008, 09:39:50 PM »
....
But for defamation I did study enough law that the only defense for defamamation was if the information wasn't true, if she was fornicating away she can't argue its not true and so they aren't defaming her. Harrassment may be more legitimate but again if they only tell the congreation in the sactuary or to the membership its likely not going to be a case either. The First Amendment offers a fair amount of protection from interference in religious matters internal to a Church.
...

Uhm... your statements on defamantion defense is well, patently wrong.

Here are the valid defenses:
Truth - the statement is and can be proven to be true.
Privledge - It was made in court by a witness, lawyer, or judge. Or made on the floor of the legislature by a legislator.
Opinion - If you simply state an opinion, it is not defamation. This one relies mainly on context in how this 'opinion' was phrased and disseminated.
Fair Comment on a Public Matter - Basically if something holds the public interest you can pretty much say whatever you want. So you could say, 'Yeah, that lady is a morally bankrupt whore.' and since the matter is a public one now, you're not likely to be found against.
Innocent Dissemination- if you passed a letter saying something terible, you ca't be held accountable if you didn't know the contents of the letter. So you can't sue the post office for delivering say, magazines that have libelous articles in them.


Anyway, to me this church is out of line. She isn't a member. She joined a new church, has made it clear she is not a member. I view this as harassment plain and simple. This woman is NOT a public figure and therefore to me, throwing out this kind of stuff into public is unfair and unwarranted. Were I a judge and this case brought before me, based on what I've read on the matter, I'd find against the church and make them pay damages. *shrug* Not that my opinion has any legal weight, I don't want to be a judge, those robes aren't that comfortable really.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2008, 10:40:16 AM »
It may be part of a practice called 'shunning'.  (My experience with it is from a friend who used to be Mennonite, and later presided over my wedding after being ordained by another church.)  If a church that practices this finds you 'morally bankrupt' by their standards, they essentially kick you out and announce to the assembly why they're kicking you out.  Technically, you are supposed to be present for the shunning, but my friend simply didn't show up.

As far as the legal privilege of the confessional, which basically prevents a priest from being subpoenaed to testify about the contents of a confession, the way I understand it is that this is applied for similar reasons to the other legal privileges, such as attorney/client and marital privilege.  If you know that the person you are confiding in can be forced to 'tell on you', then you aren't likely to confide in them, which makes the relationship (marital or otherwise) impossible to sustain.

Mind you, if I knew that my priest was able and willing to broadcast the contents of a confession to the congregation, court order or not, I wouldn't be confiding in them either.

But then again, I haven't spoken to a priest in confidence in over a decade.

Offline Mathim

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2008, 05:46:26 PM »
See, this is why the bible is a f-ed up mess. There's so many contradictions no one is right about anything because everything can be disproven or contradicted by something else which can then be contradicted and disproven and so forth. "Whatsoever you do unto the least of my brothers, that you do unto me". So the church, if planning to stroke their engorged ego by making someone's so-called sins public, they are doing that to the lord himself. I know he's supposedly supposed to be real big on forgiving, but...after 2000 years of humanity's disgusting indulgence and arrogance, I think we've gone way over the limit of forgiveness the guy they hung up on the cross bought us.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2008, 07:21:50 PM »
"Whatsoever you do unto the least of my brothers, that you do unto me". So the church, if planning to stroke their engorged ego by making someone's so-called sins public, they are doing that to the lord himself.

Word.  Not to mention, from what I understood growing up, you only got forgiven if you were sorry!  Throw in the knows all, sees all bit, and doing something and banking on forgiveness to get you out of being in trouble for it doesn't work!

Offline Mathim

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2008, 04:36:22 PM »
I don't see how forgiveness entered the picture.

And anyway, those pastors and whatnot are being hypocrites. Everybody on the planet sins every day. Are they sorry? Maybe. But they don't stop sinning. In small ways, even, everybody sins. Even having bad thoughts is a sin, isn't that ridiculous? "Thou shalt not covet". How the f*** can you NOT covet something? It's human f***ing nature to want what others have, it's called competition, it's been with us since caveman times (sorry to all you creationists, but I think we all need to get with the program, it's called Darwin's FACT of evolution despite what protestors say) whether it's for mates or pelts or a bigger club. So why don't those pastors confess their own sins to the public before they start doing that to someone else? Better yet, have them up on the pulpit hooked up to a lie detector and let Ms. Hancock do some hardcore questioning about their questionable integrity. "Are you doing this to me because you really do think that I deserve to be punished by god almight or are you doing this because it's going to make you feel better about yourself, perhaps take god's attention away from the things YOU are guilty of?" I'd love to hear the answer to that question and see which color light blinks.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #21 on: December 23, 2008, 04:26:14 AM »
The thread is about the article, not a general religion bash.

Thanks.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #22 on: December 23, 2008, 10:13:45 AM »
 Basically the church is being an ass if they do this and it's questionablely actionable. Especially since the woman isn't a member anymore.

Offline Mathim

Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2008, 01:31:43 PM »
Wouldn't this information already be well-known if there's a news article on it? I don't see why she'd be dreading the church saying it if it's available all over the internet where everyone in the world could find it, her friends and children included.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public
« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2008, 02:03:16 PM »
I think it has to do with the ritual of shunning, and religious function.

Considering your non-traditional encounters with religion, Mathim, it's possible that you wouldn't have encountered such a thing before.