Did a Teacher Caught Up in a Student Sex Scandal Get a Lighter Sentence Because She Brought Up God?

A little more than two years ago, a teacher in a district very close to mine was charged with “aggravated criminal sexual abuse” when she was caught with a 16-year-old male student inside a car at night behind a department store.

Take the fact that she’s attractive, throw in society’s double standards, and you can guess the kind of attention this scandal received.

I bring this up now because the teacher just got sentenced — “two years of probation and 30 days in jail.” There’s a separate discussion to be had about the (lack of) weight of that sentence, but articles mentioned a letter she wrote to everyone involved in her fiasco — I’m not sure if it was voluntary or not — in which she apologized for everything she did.

Part of the letter, written in January before her sentencing, included an update on her life and how she’s changed for the better:

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Christian Pastor: Some Women Are Like Chinese Water Torture

Last night, I watched a sermon given by a fundamentalist Christian pastor talking about complementarianism, where only men can be the leaders in the church and home. I know some of you are sick of hearing about that because I’ve just giving them exposure, but in this case, we’re not talking about Pastor Steven Anderson and his church of a few dozen.

We’re talking about Pastor Mark Driscoll and his church of several thousands.

Coincidentally, he was talking about the same ideas Anderson presented the other day — the idea that wives should submit to their husbands. I’ll give Driscoll credit — he cloaks his misogyny in Bible verses much more discreetly than Anderson does, but the effect is the same. Just check out excerpts from the sermon starting at the 4:22 mark (transcribed here):

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Exclusive Excerpt from Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions

Fundamentalist faiths are bad for everyone, but women undoubtedly suffer more than the men do. Whether they’re evangelical Christian, Mormon, or Muslim, the message is clear: If you’re female, God has a special, shitty role for you.

But every now and then, the women break free. They escape the faith — or at least the more extreme version of it — and serve as inspirations for others.

Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions (Seal Press, 2013), edited by Cami Ostman and Susan Tive, compiles several stories by these women. They write about the “pain that comes from the rigid expectations and diminishment of women so often built into religious orthodoxy.”

It’s as frightening and powerful a book as you might imagine.

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How Effective Will the ‘Abort Theocracy’ Campaign Be?

The group Secular Woman is launching a new project today that… well… just rubs me the wrong way:

Abort Theocracy is focused on the intersection of religious power over a women’s bodily autonomy, dedicated to terminating that connection by opposing religious influence in government.

The idea behind it isn’t bad at all. The larger the spotlight we can shine on legislation that’s bad for women, that serves to control their bodies, that spurs women (and men) to contact their legislators to vote against the bills, the better off we are.

But the metaphor of treating that legislation as something to be “aborted,” or to be “terminated,” just doesn’t make sense to me.

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Rick and Kay Warren Take Positive Steps Toward Mental Health Education After Loss of Son

A couple of weeks ago, the 27-year-old son of Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay committed suicide. It was especially sad to learn that Matthew Warren had suffered for so long with mental illness. I commended the Warrens for taking him to professionals — something that may have helped prolong his life for an additional ten years.

One of the problems in the Christian church is that mental illness is often seen as a sign of weakness, an indication that Satan has latched onto you. Prayer is the cure and professionals are not.

To their credit, the Warrens didn’t (and still aren’t) taking that approach.

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