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on training up a child

Cleaning our my RSS feed, I came across an oldish story that sparked my interest. It never affected me and the article I had saved on my “to-read” list is coming on a month old, making me question the wisdom of diving into it. But it’s such a missed opportunity, and such a case study in the kind of opportunity so many Christians race by these days, it seems worth taking a look at.

Proverbs-22-6-webBack in early December, an unnamed teacher at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy was placed on academic suspension (some sources say she resigned) after nude photos of her appeared on a revenge porn site. One article describes the site it was posted to as a site “where hackers, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends often post inappropriate photos, along with personal information about the person.” Apparently the picture was taken from her phone and was posted shortly before she reported her iPhone stolen. This isn’t a site she posted the photo to herself.

So why was is this woman’s job in jeopardy?

A parent of a student at the private Christian university-preparatory school said she and other parents are upset after learning about the nude photo. The school serves children from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.

“The woman is already a victim,” the parent, who asked to remain anonymous, told WCPO. “But this being a Christian school, parents are upset that a teacher is even taking naked pictures and sending them to people — and…her students are old enough to get online and Google their teacher’s name and the photos come up.”

Let’s get a few things straight here.

First, not all nude photographs are necessarily sexual. I have a friend who struggles with body image issues and had me take a nude photo of her just sitting in a chair and smiling, and she looks at from time to time to remind herself that she really is that beautiful. That’s a genuine story, by the way, not an instance of “Oh, doctor, I have this friend…” I know it sounds weird, but her intent wasn’t sexual in the least, and neither was the actual photography, at least for me. I’ve known other people who have sent photos to their girlfriends (as in female platonic friends; think Sex in the City) as a kind of gag. Not every nude photo is sexual.

Suppose, though, the picture was meant as sexual. Which brings me to my second point: not every sexual photograph is sinful. I don’t know this teacher’s circumstances – was she married, involved in a long-term relationship, etc.? Was it on her phone because she used that as her camera (many people do) or because she was sending it out? Let’s say she’s married and has a husband serving in Afghanistan – could she then take some sexual nude photographs and sending it to her husband to help him weather their separation? What if she was married and living with the man, but he just found it exciting that she’d do that for him? Nude photographs aren’t sinful in every context, even in most contexts. And the woman’s phone was stolen after all. Whatever her reasons in taking them, I highly doubt she meant to have them spread around to titillate strangers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
aearwen2
Jan. 5th, 2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
The questions you forgot were:

1. How did these parents find out about the picture being on the revenge-porn site? What were THEY doing looking at such stuff if they're going to vilify anybody whose picture ends up there?

2. If it wasn't them, then what were their KIDS doing visiting that site? Where is the parental responsibility towards the way in which their children use the Internet, or towards the sites which those children are allowed to view?

3. If it wasn't the kids, what were the SCHOOL OFFICIALS doing visiting that site? Do they have nothing else to do with their day but to troll offensive sites like that looking for people to diss because their picture ends up there?

4. Most importantly, whatever happened to "Judge not, lest ye also be judged"?

For the record, this kind of attitude and behavior is an epidemic among the world's fundamentalist religious congregations: making someone else wrong (whether they actually are or not) in order to feel more righteous/pure/enlightened/whatever. And by "fundamentalist religious congregations, I mean I'm speaking not only about Christians here. I've seen it happen from Chassidic Jews and Fundamentalist Muslims as well. Heck, I've even seen some Pagans, Atheists, Humanists and Buddhists being complete @$$holes about things sometimes...)

It is, in fact, an excellent argument against organized religion as a whole in that the believers (the ones who just talk the talk but who avoid walking the walk with great effort) demonstrate that the teachings of their particular faith aren't for THEM. They're for using as a club to beat up the other guy.

And, as a non-Christian, I hate to say that the vast majority of non-thinking Christians behave in exactly this way.

Please note the qualifications I put on the two above statements. And my apologies if this offends. As a non-Christian, my perspective is by definition skewed towards being at least somewhat prejudicial against the majority faith here in the US, if for no other reason than that I and mine have ended up being victims of those same, non-thinking, talk-the-talk-but-don't-walk-the-walk Christians.

And please know that I do not number you among those... those... blighters in the least. I've (virtually) watched you examine your beliefs continually and seek guidance from scriptures, prayer and intelligent exchange. You walk the walk as much as you talk the talk - which makes you a joy to converse with.

I cannot honestly say the same about those others.

Namasté, my friend.

Edited at 2014-01-05 08:14 pm (UTC)
elliska
Jan. 5th, 2014 08:46 pm (UTC)
What aearwen2 said, 100%.

And this really hits home, since I teach in a similar school that is actually only a few miles from this one. This type of thing, stemming from written work or my paintings, not photos, is something I live in constant fear of. As the parents said, the students can google and find something the parents don't like, so you deserve to be fired. Too bad for your own right to participate in creative endeavors. You can't imagine how often I google my name to stay on top of whatever might come up. I even have a different user name I use to review 'certain' stories just in case. It is...annoying, frustrating, dismaying...

But this poor lady. Wow! This is worse than I'd ever imagine. I'd have never guessed they'd fire you for something you didn't even do. That's sobering, given that you can photoshop someone's head onto anything.
marta_bee
Jan. 5th, 2014 08:55 pm (UTC)
elliska and aearwen2, I woke up this morning sick as a dog, so I'm in no shape to reply at the moment. I agree with both of you, basically, though I did want to follow up on a few things with Aearwen. When I'm able to form a coherent thought. Sorry.

Thanks for your comments in any case. This is beyond ridiculous.

Edited at 2014-01-05 08:55 pm (UTC)
elliska
Jan. 5th, 2014 09:00 pm (UTC)
Feel better soon!!
aearwen2
Jan. 6th, 2014 05:50 am (UTC)
Feel better soon, Marta. This is a horrid time of year to be ill - especially considering the storms that seem to be hitting your side of the country lately. Stay warm, get lots of rest, and I'll be here when your mind is clear again.
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