December 22, 2008
Florida Church Threatens To Broadcast Woman’s Private Sex Life To Congregation As Punishment For Ignoring It’s Demands
Jacksonville, Florida (The Weekly Vice) -- A Florida church is threatening to disclose a woman's private sex life to it's congregation unless a woman breaks up with her boyfriend and complies with it's instruction to no longer fornicate.
When Rebecca Hancock confessed to a church elder privately that she had engaged in a sexual relationship outside of marriage, she never expected the church to begin making demands of her, with threats of public humiliation.
Grace Community Church, a non-denominational church in Jacksonville, Florida responded to the admission by demanding that the woman leave her boyfriend. When she refused to comply with the church's demands and instead ceased to attend the church, things turned ugly.
Although Hancock ended her membership at the church, Grace Community Church elders kicked things up a notch by threatening to dispense her 'sinful' sex life before the church. The same church her two children continue to attend.
In a letter dated December 8, the church officially announced it's intention to broadcast details of Hancock's "immoral" sex life to the church congregation unless she "repent" of her sin and agree to meet with church elders.
The letter then closed by setting a date by which Hancock was ordered to comply. If she didn't repent as ordered, the elders announced that it intended to "Tell it to the church" on January 4.
The Weekly Vice Opinion:
Although this story is about 5 days old, I've had a few requests to run it - so here it is. I had originally opted to not run it because my opinions on it are strong and I didn't want to put off readers. I suppose I'm going to ignore my own self advice and blather on it anyway.
Well we'll get right to it. This church is out of bounds and using scripture to harass a woman who obviously isn't interested in attending the church any longer.
Let's break this down into a theological argument however, since the church has seen fit to use scripture as justification for it's threats.
The early church, directed by Peter and Paul, did lay down a process for turning a member away from his/her sin. That process however pertains to current members, not individuals who no longer attend the church. In fact, the ultimate punishment a church carries out from a theological standpoint is ex-communicating a member who refuses to repent. Rebecca has already jumped to the final step on her own. Game over. Finito. End of story.
For the church to continue with it's threat is clear harassment. It's no different than Mormons coming to your door and then refusing to leave when you ask them to. You cannot beat a person with free will into complying with your religious views, no matter who you are. Pastor or pew sweeper.
Rebecca has already solved the problem herself in this case. It's all over the Internet now, so the church elders have no reason to "tell it to the church". To continue chastising the woman only becomes abusive at this point.
Grace Community Church has however done all of it's members a great disservice. What member will ever come to a church elder again with a serious problem knowing that discretion takes a back seat to airing one's dirty laundry to the whole world?
Besides, we live in a dangerous world now. Divulging sexual information about a woman to any large crowd of people creates a potential safety issue. There are just too many sickos out there who might be intrigued by the whole idea of her being "sinful". It's irresponsible, disrespectful and downright reckless.
The Weekly Vice
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