This story has been out there for a few days now, but that doesn’t make it any less awful.
Heritage Academy, a Christian school in Hagerstown, Maryland, will not allow senior student Maddie Runkles to walk with her classmates at graduation on June 2. According to the administrator of the school, David Hobbs, Runkles “is being disciplined, not because she’s pregnant, but because she was immoral.”
Here is the official statement:
Several things strike me about this letter, but I will mention four here:
- Hobbs says that he does not want the “Heritage family” to see the members of the Board as “harsh, cruel, hard-hearted men.” Interesting. I wonder if Maddie Runkles would be walking with her class at graduation on June 2 if there were some women on the Board. And yes, the action of the board IS “harsh, cruel, and hard-hearted.”
- Hobbs is concerned that “God is glorified in a dignified manner” on the night of graduation. OK. And God will not be glorified if Maddie Runkles walks? The Christian God is a God of forgiveness and grace.
- Notice the school logo: “Knowledge, Patriotism, Bible Truth.” This school clearly falls into the Christian nationalist camp. I wonder if Hobbs thinks Maddie Runkles’s behavior is both sinful and un-American.
- The reference to three “compromises” is fleshed out more fully in the CBS News video below. Apparently Hobbs had to fight-off parents and members of the Heritage community who wanted Runkles expelled for her transgressions.
Maddie Runkles needs Christian love and support right now. Like Hobbs, I am glad that she has decided to keep her baby. I commend her for making a decision for life. But I also worry about how long she will identify with a Christian community. Incidents like this tend to turn young people away from the faith pretty quickly.