At Christian School, Non-Virgins Need Not Apply


This article was originally published by The Huffington Post. It is reprinted here with permission by the author.

I couldn’t believe the news story was true.

The Southland Christian School in St. Cloud, Florida, fired an elementary school teacher, Jarretta Hamilton, for having had premarital sex. A school administrator said, “Jarretta was asked not to return because of a moral issue that was disregarded, namely fornication, sex outside of marriage.”

Ms. Hamilton is not an irresponsible teenager or young adult. She is 39 years old and married to the man she had sex with, who is the father of her child. Her mistake was telling the school she had conceived the child prior to their wedding night. It’s hard to imagine her husband would be fired for the same.

Although many churches continue to mandate “celibacy until marriage,” most clergy today know that most of the couples they marry have already had shared sexual behaviors. According to the Guttmacher Institute, for at least the last 40 years, 95 percent of Americans had sexual intercourse before marriage. A Roman Catholic friend recently told me about a priest in premarital counseling who had asked couples to abstain for one month prior to the wedding ceremony, apparently acknowledging that most were already sexually involved.

I don’t believe that Ms. Hamilton acted immorally or unethically in having sex with her fiancé. In fact, I believe that sexual compatibility is so important in a marriage that I won’t perform a wedding for a couple that has only engaged in the least intimate sexual behaviors. In my time as ordained clergy, I have never performed a wedding for a couple who isn’t already cohabitating. I believe that an ethical sexual relationship is defined not by the marital status of the partners (nor by their sexual orientations or genders), but by whether their relationship is characterized by love, justice, mutuality, commitment, consent and pleasure.

From this distance, I can’t know the ethics of Ms. Hamilton’s relationship, or her skills and talents to teach elementary school. What I do know is that premarital chastity should not be among the criteria of employment, and that if the news reports are true, she should be re-instated. That’s the moral response that should not be disregarded.

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  • charlieq

    In western states early in the last century, country schools recruited couples to teach. The wife did early grades, husband took older kids. This had little to do with chastity or non-sinful cohabitation, however. It was intended to cut down the attrition that came with importing young women to communities where they’d marry a farmer in a year or two and quit teaching.

  • grayduck

    “I believe that an ethical sexual relationship is defined…by whether their relationship is characterized by love, justice, mutuality, commitment, consent and pleasure.”

     

    Do you believe that our states are doing enough to ensure that sexual relationships have those characteristics?

     

    If not, how do you reconcile that conclusion with the Minnesota Department of Health report showing that the economic impact of sexual assault in Minnesota was about $8 billion in 2005? The report also estimated that 77,000 sexual assaults occurred that year.

     

    http://www.health.state.mn.us/news/pressrel/cost071707.html

     

    If you do agree, how do you propose that we change those statistics? In my opinion, either enforcing the adultery and fornication laws or creating other legal arrangements that have the same effect are absolutely necessary to reducing the sourge rape in our country. Such laws are necessary because just two and six percent of rapes lead to the conviction and incarceration of the perpetrator.

     

    http://www.rainn.org/statistics

     

    http://www2.ucsc.edu/rape-prevention/statistics.html

     

    One of the primary causes of the low conviction rates is the difficulty of proving that the victim withheld consent to the sexual act. Because consent can be delivered orally and without impartial witnesses, prosecutors are limited in their ability to prove in court that the victim was unwilling to engage in sexual conduct with the perpetrator. The only evidence that may be available to the court is the testimony of the victim. That testimony, of course, may not agree with the testimony of the rapist- who may be the only other witness.

     

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6317423.stm

     

    http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=45009

     

    Because proving consent to sex is so difficult, rape law enforcement strategies need to focus on easing the process of proving, after the act, that an act of sex lacked the consent of one of the individuals involved. The burden of that process can be reduced by limiting sexual conduct between men and women to verifiably consensual relationships. Under our current laws, the one such statutory relationship is marriage. Marriage affords both partners the option of refusing to enter into the relationship. Marriage also affords courts the ability to easily determine whether two people were married at a particular time. Ideally, if all sexual conduct between men and women occurred in marriage, stranger rape, acquaintance rape, and incestuous rape could never occur. In practice, prosecution under the adultery and fornication statutes in cases of alleged rape would inhibit rapists from using the defense that an act of sex was consensual. Adultery and fornication prosecutions would accomplish that reduction because such a defense to the rape charge would be tantamount to admitting guilt on the adultery or fornication charge and result in criminal conviction. In other words, the legal defense of claiming that an act of sex was adultery or fornication would become less favorable for a criminal sexual conduct defendant because the defense itself would constitute an admission that the act in question was a sex crime.

     

    Empirical evidence exists that rape conviction rates are at least correlated with marriage rates. The rape conviction rate in England and Wales fell from thirty-three percent in 1977 to five percent in 2005.  Meanwhile, the proportion of men and women getting married in the United Kingdom has fallen to the lowest level in recorded history. Marriage rates were over three times as high in 1972 as they are now.

     

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/31_01_07_rapereport.pdf

     

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6313479.stm

     

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23465208-details/Marriage+rates+hit+lowest+rate+since+records+began+almost+150+years+ago/article.do

     

    The resistance to adultery and fornication laws can be countered by noting the very limited extent to which such a policy would infringe on personal liberties. For example, it can be noted that a marriage license only costs $110. (The cost is $40 if pre-marital counseling is first obtained.) Such a license also only requires a five-day wait. Neither of these requirements seems relatively onerous considering the potential of adultery and fornication convictions to reduce the number of sexual assaults.

     

    Adultery and fornication laws, if they are enforced, can also protect women from rape by increasing the likelihood that a man will be near her when a rapist tries to attack.

     

    Adultery and rape laws may also benefit society in a number of other ways, such as by helping to ensure that children are raised in more stable families, protecting women from the disruption caused by their husbands abandoning them for another woman, suppressing the spread of sexually-transmitted infections, reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, and improving the health of the population.

     

    While I agree that one person should not be held responsible for our society’s indifference toward the breakdown of its sexual morals, I also think we need to recognize that the breakdown is causing harm to our society. Adultery and fornication laws are not necessarily the answer, but they are one possible answer.

     

  • prochoiceferret

    In my opinion, either enforcing the adultery and fornication laws or creating other legal arrangements that have the same effect are absolutely necessary to reducing the sourge rape in our country.

    Yep. That’s your opinion, all right.

    Such laws are necessary because just two and six percent of rapes lead to the conviction and incarceration of the perpetrator.

    Well, you know what they say… when all you’ve got is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    The burden of that process can be reduced by limiting sexual conduct between men and women to verifiably consensual relationships. Under our current laws, the one such statutory relationship is marriage.

    Of course. After all, marital rape is an oxymoron, isn’t it?

    Ideally, if all sexual conduct between men and women occurred in marriage, stranger rape, acquaintance rape, and incestuous rape could never occur.

    Sure. Also, if people never committed rape, then stranger rape, acquaintance rape, and incestuous rape could never occur! What a coinkidink!

    In other words, the legal defense of claiming that an act of sex was adultery or fornication would become less favorable for a criminal sexual conduct defendant because the defense itself would constitute an admission that the act in question was a sex crime.

    And by the same token, the legal charge of claiming that an act of sex was nonconsensual would become less favorable for a married sexual assault victim because the relationship itself would constitute an admission that the act in question was consensual. Funny how that works, ah?

    Empirical evidence exists that rape conviction rates are at least correlated with marriage rates. The rape conviction rate in England and Wales fell from thirty-three percent in 1977 to five percent in 2005.  Meanwhile, the proportion of men and women getting married in the United Kingdom has fallen to the lowest level in recorded history. Marriage rates were over three times as high in 1972 as they are now.

    Did you know that the increase of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere is correlated with a decrease in the number of seagoing pirates? What climate policy implications does this have?

    The resistance to adultery and fornication laws can be countered by noting the very limited extent to which such a policy would infringe on personal liberties. For example, it can be noted that a marriage license only costs $110. (The cost is $40 if pre-marital counseling is first obtained.) Such a license also only requires a five-day wait. Neither of these requirements seems relatively onerous considering the potential of adultery and fornication convictions to reduce the number of sexual assaults.

    Sure, it’s not like getting married is a big deal or anything.

    Adultery and fornication laws, if they are enforced, can also protect women from rape by increasing the likelihood that a man will be near her when a rapist tries to attack.

    Ah yes, the time-tested technique of Reducing Rape By Having A Big, Strong, Masculine Man Protect The Delicate Little Lady.

    Adultery and rape laws may also benefit society in a number of other ways, such as by helping to ensure that children are raised in more stable families, protecting women from the disruption caused by their husbands abandoning them for another woman, suppressing the spread of sexually-transmitted infections, reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, and improving the health of the population.

    Will it also increase the number of white picket fences and homemade apple pies?

    While I agree that one person should not be held responsible for our society’s indifference toward the breakdown of its sexual morals, I also think we need to recognize that the breakdown is causing harm to our society. Adultery and fornication laws are not necessarily the answer, but they are one possible answer.

    Well, at least we agree on something.

  • arium

    In my opinion, either enforcing the adultery and fornication laws or creating other legal arrangements that have the same effect are absolutely necessary to reducing the sourge rape in our country. Such laws are necessary because just two and six percent of rapes lead to the conviction and incarceration of the perpetrator.

     

    I’m having trouble imagining how this would work. If I’m a rape victim, I could report the rape to police, and police could change the perpetrator with fornication in case the prosecutor is unconfident about proving a rape occurred.

     

    The problem is, if the police or prosecutor is not convinced that a rape occurred, then I could also be charged with fornication. This is going to discourage me from pressing charges. If victims don’t press charges, how exactly would these draconian laws deter rape?

  • colleen
  • crowepps

    If victims don’t press charges, how exactly would these draconian laws deter rape?
    Well, obviously, the STATISTICS would improve tremendously, since the only rapes that would be reported would be those where the unconscious victim is transported to the hospital and there’s tons of evidence available and conviction would be more likely.

     

    One thing a lot of people don’t realize is that sometimes the report of ‘rape’ applies only to PART of what happened. If a woman agrees to have regular old ordinary type sex with a guy but declines to allow him to do some hinky weird thing that he wants to do, and he forces her to do it anyway, then THAT PART ALONE is rape.

     

    She has not ‘changed her mind in the middle’, because she is entitled to say yes to one thing and refuse the other. Many, many acquaintance rapes fall into this category, because ‘sure I’ll kiss you’ or even ‘sure I’ll have regular sex with you’ does NOT entitle the guy to do anything he wants and even in the middle she can say, ‘no, I’m not going to do that’. Women are not animate sex toys.

  • grayduck

    Arium on June 19, 2010 – 8:16am: “I’m having trouble imagining how this would work. If I’m a rape victim, I could report the rape to police, and police could change the perpetrator with fornication in case the prosecutor is unconfident about proving a rape occurred.”

     

    My proposal is that in all cases of rape, the prosecutor should charge the rapist with both rape and adultery or fornication.

     

    The problem is, if the police or prosecutor is not convinced that a rape occurred, then I could also be charged with fornication. This is going to discourage me from pressing charges. If victims don’t press charges, how exactly would these draconian laws deter rape?

     

    Adultery and fornication laws should have an exception for victims of rape. In your hypothetical case, the prosecutors would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you consented. How would they do that? For that matter, why would they press charges in that case?

     

  • grayduck

    colleen on June 19, 2010 – 12:27pm: “I just came from reading an example of how this would work and share it with you.”

     

    A more reputable news outlet with better sources and more detailed information reported that the rape charges were unsubstantiated. Even the supposed victim testified in court that her rape allegations were false. The false allegations were related to her being the victim of assault by her brother, who was apparently antagonistic toward her for the consensual sex.

     

    Even if the original rape allegations were true, this story is actually a favorable example of my proposal. That is true because the rapist/fornicator was sentenced to a year in jail. From what I have read, a year in jail would be a rather severe sentence for a rapist here in the United States- in the two to six percent chance that he received any sentence at all.

     

    Even men who had not engaged in sex with the woman were sentenced to jail time.

     

    http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100518/NATIONAL/705179850&SearchID=73394282937640

     

    http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100524/NATIONAL/100520937&SearchID=73394282937640

     

    http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100525/NATIONAL/705249822&SearchID=73394282937640

     

    http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100608/NATIONAL/100601887&SearchID=73394282937640

     

    http://www.thenational.ae/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100614/NATIONAL/100619880&SearchID=73394282937640

  • colleen

    A more reputable news outlet

    go away and stop insulting our intelligence.

  • crowepps

    Adultery and fornication laws should have an exception for victims of rape.

    I have a better idea – since the purported reason for this law is to ‘protect the wimminfolks from men’s lust’ why not just make fornication illegal for MEN.  Let’s just assume that ANY time a woman has sex, she is the ‘victim’ and shouldn’t ever be prosecuted.

    In your hypothetical case, the prosecutors would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you consented. How would they do that?

    Well, I suppose they would do it the same way that rape victims are smeared — start with the assumption that any time a woman has sex, she must have done SOMETHING to cause it to happen, since men are incapable of controlling their lust and all.

    For that matter, why would they press charges in that case?

    To punish women for being uppity, to make it clear that women are only safe if they stay safely at home where men can ‘protect’ them, to get the message out for that obstinent women who want education and jobs and actual real lives that the only part of a woman that has any REAL value to society is her sex organs and reproductive ability, to get through to the overemotional, silly little things that they need to be strictly supervised and controlled ‘for their own good’ and a better use of their time would be cooing over the state of their vaginal mucus as they ‘celebrate their fertility’.

     

    Every time you post one of these diatribes here you remind women why the feminist movement arose in the first place. Your view of ‘women’s role’ is so incredibly limiting and restricting, your obsession with enabling married men to keep their ‘harems of one’ exclusive is so irrational, your contempt for women as moral agents is so blatant, that it makes a lot of us grab the checkbook and send fat donations to NOW and Planned Parenthood.

  • walt

    GrayDuck your proposals and the stories you cite to back them up (from a UAE newspaper no less) are actually worse than stupid. The young woman who was raped by 6 men from the stories you cited got more jail time than any of the rapists except one, and her brother got no jail time at all! So the VICTIM in this case is doing MORE jail time than the rapists! The reason that more rape cases in this kind of environment end in conviction for the rapist is logically due to the underreportng of rapes because the victim would likely go to jail – did you ever think of that? I would bet that the rate of rapes in the UAE is actually greater than it is here, but women are terrified to report them because they would either go to jail and/or their male relatives would beat or kill them. In Norway – where sex before marriage is even more common than it is here, but the rate of rapes is extremely low – until that is after allowing workers from Muslim countries to immigrate there – the number of rape cases skyrocketed! Apparently those Muslim men think that all Scandinavian women are whores anyway, so even if the women says “no” they go ahead and force themselves on them anyway – probably doing what they already did “back home” thinking that they would be safe because the women would not report them. I don’t know if you have kids or not, but if you do would you turn them in to police for “fornicating” if you caught them at it if you had your wish about fornication laws?

  • walt

    The woman in the stories you cited recanted her charges because she knew she could not prove rape (not without those four witnesses under Sharia law) and she could have faced a sentence of being whipped & then sentenced to life in prison for “fornicating” – of course she recanted! Really, do you ever think about these things before spouting off? So this poor young woman probably gets talked into having sex with the first guy – who would never marry her after the deed because she’s not a virgin – then the guy calls his buddies over to have sex with her because, after all she’s now just a whore and of course she won’t report it because if she did she could face life in prison, be beaten to death by her family and have no prospects for an honorable marriage. It sounds to me like this isn’t the first time the guys in the story did something like that – one of them was even a cop!

  • robin-marty

    So, Grayduck, I’m not sure if you just pulled Minnesota as an example out of no where, or what. But in case you didn’t know, Minnesota actually HAS those laws that you want. Adultery is illegal in this state. In fact, officially, it’s illegal for single women to have ANY sex.

    Not the men, mind you. Just the women.

    http://www.care2.com/causes/womens-rights/blog/when-it-comes-to-morality-laws-women-often-get-the-shaft/

    So how’s that deterrence thing working out?

  • amyc

    1984 by George Orwell, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    That is all.

  • amyc

    1984 by George Orwell, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

    That is all.

  • amyc

    sorry, I didn’t mean to post twice. My computer messed up.

  • grayduck

    Walt on June 25, 2010 – 5:53am: “The young woman who was raped by 6 men from the stories you cited got more jail time than any of the rapists except one, and her brother got no jail time at all!”

     

    I am amazed by how many people think they can lie on a message board in the hopes that people will not examine their sources.

     

    The stories clearly indicate that no evidence exists whatsoever that any of the six men originally accused committed rape. Even the supposed victim testified otherwise. The evidence against her brother also did not meet the burden of proof.

     

    “The woman in the stories you cited recanted her charges because she knew she could not prove rape (not without those four witnesses under Sharia law) and she could have faced a sentence of being whipped & then sentenced to life in prison for “fornicating” – of course she recanted!”

     

    And the dishonesty continues.

     

    1. There is no evidence that the woman recanted because she thought she could not prove rape. She did not have that responsibility anyway- the prosecutors did. Here is a quote from one of the articles. “The woman, LH, offered no explanation in court as to why she changed her statements, other than being ‘unaware’ of her actions when she reported the crime.”

     

    2. There is no evidence that the court required four witnesses per sharia’a law. And, in fact, one of the articles specifically stated that sharia’a law was rarely imposed. In this case, it was implemented by imposing minor penalties on the men for “violations of public decency” and “being alone in the company of a woman.”

     

    3. Walt’s implication that a woman in the UAE can be convicted of fornication for being the victim of rape is baseless.

     

    4. She, indeed, was convicted of fornication. There is no evidence that retracting her rape allegations weakened the case against her.

     

    The rest of the rant by Walt is composed of nothing but baseless gibberish; not worth a reply.

     

  • grayduck

    “So, Grayduck, I’m not sure if you just pulled Minnesota as an example out of no where, or what.”

     

    I live in Minnesota. Hence, the username.

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck,_duck,_goose

     

    “…Minnesota actually HAS those laws that you want.”

     

    I am aware of the laws. That is why I said that I favor “enforcing the adultery and fornication laws.” The laws are not being enforced. The only effect of the laws since the early part of last century involved a case in 1990 in which an apartment owner refused to rent to an unmarred couple out of fear that they would use the apartment to fornicate.

     

    “…it’s illegal for single women to have ANY sex.”

     

    What is your source? The fornication law does not ban all sex by unmarried women- only sexual intercourse with a man. Here is the text of the law. “When any man and single woman have sexual intercourse with each other, each is guilty of fornication, which is a misdemeanor.”

     

    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=609.34&year=2009

     

    “Not the men, mind you. Just the women.”

     

    Not true; look at the text of the statute. The adultery law also applies equally to men. Here is the text. “When a married woman has sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband, whether married or not, both are guilty of adultery and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.”

     

    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=609.36&year=2009

     

    Your only source was the Pat Kessler story. I wrote to him to correct the story. He wrote back, but apparently WCCO never retracted the story.

    It is true that the laws make sexual intercourse between a married woman and an unmarried man adultery while sexual intercourse between an unmarried woman and a married man would be fornication. However, nobody has explained how that would constitute sex discrimination. If adultery is considered the more serious crime then, if anything, they discriminate against married women and unmarried men.

     

    “So how’s that deterrence thing working out?”

     

    The laws are not being enforced. Otherwise, we might know.

     

  • crowepps

    “When a married woman has sexual intercourse with a man other than her husband, whether married or not, both are guilty of adultery and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.”

    And can you cite a companion statute which says when a married MAN has sexual intercourse with a woman other than his wife, whether married or not, both are guilty of adultery? Or is it just married WOMEN who are forbidden to cheat while married men get off the hook so long as their cheating is with a single woman?

     

    You might also want to contemplate the reasoning behind the allowable defense:

    It is a defense to violation of this section if the marital status of the woman was not known to the defendant at the time of the act of adultery.

    So the guy is off the hook if he says “I didn’t know she was married”, leaving her the only one liable for penalties? Do you still assert a law set up to penalize only women is gender-neutral?

  • amyc

    Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003),[1] was a landmark United States Supreme Court case. In the 6-3 ruling, the justices struck down the sodomy law in Texas. The court had previously addressed the same issue in 1986 in Bowers v. Hardwick, where it upheld a challenged Georgia statute, not finding a constitutional protection of sexual privacy.

    Lawrence explicitly overruled Bowers, holding that it had viewed the liberty interest too narrowly. The majority held that intimate consensual sexual conduct was part of the liberty protected by substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Lawrence has the effect of invalidating similar laws throughout the United States that purport to criminalize sodomy between consenting same-sex adults acting in private. It also invalidated the application of sodomy laws to heterosexual sex

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_v._Texas

    You see thanks to Lawrence v. Texas, we now know officially that it is unconstitutional to make it a crime for people to act out their personal sexual preferences with other consenting adults. If you think we should enforce fornication and adultery laws then why not enforce laws that say we can only use the missionary position? The legislators could go through the Kama Sutra (sp?) page by page and determine which positions are “appropriate” and which ones aren’t. Then they can decide which “class” of people have a right to have sex when they want, with who they want, and how they want. That way all of those nasty fornicators can finally be off of the street and in our already crowded prison system. Again I’ll offer you some reading recommendations: 1984 by George Orwell, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

  • colleen

    Or is it just married WOMEN who are forbidden to cheat while married men get off the hook so long as their cheating is with a single woman?

    We can’t charge married men having sex with unmarried woman with adultery because adultery is a property crime. And besides, what would happen to the multi-billion dollar a year sex industry?

  • grayduck

    amyc on June 28, 2010 – 3:53pm: “You see thanks to Lawrence v. Texas, we now know officially that it is unconstitutional to make it a crime for people to act out their personal sexual preferences with other consenting adults.”

     

    Lawrence v. Texas makes clear that the constitutional right to privacy only prevents states from enacting laws that “[further] no legitimate state interest which can justify…intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.” Adultery and fornication laws further the legitimate and compelling state interest of reducing the number of rapes occurring in the state. They also further other legitimate state interests such as suppressing family disruption, the spread of sexually-transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancies and promoting intact families, contact between children and their fathers, and the health of the members of the state. Another important difference between Minnesota’s adultery and fornication laws and the law struck down by Lawrence is that Minnesota’s statutes do not restrict behavior outright but merely regulate conduct by requiring licensure. The Lawrence decision only applies to laws that restrict “whether [people are] free as adults to engage in…private conduct.” A third difference between the law struck down by Lawrence and Minnesota’s statutes against adultery and fornication is that the Lawrence case involved the police discovering the illegal conduct by entering a private residence. Adultery and fornication law enforcement need not- and should not- be enforced using invasive tactics unless a sexual assault is discovered in process.

     

    “If you think we should enforce fornication and adultery laws then why not enforce laws that say we can only use the missionary position? The legislators could go through the Kama Sutra (sp?) page by page and determine which positions are ‘appropriate’ and which ones aren’t. Then they can decide which ‘class’ of people have a right to have sex when they want, with who they want, and how they want.”

     

    Those laws would not have a legitimate state interest, unless the “who” was children or other people not able to consent or close family members and the “how” was by using force.