Chris Fabry and guest co-host Julie Roys of the popular Chris Fabry Live radio show recently interviewed eighteen-year-old Maddi Runkles.
Maddi is getting national attention because she has become pregnant out of wedlock and now her Christian school is forbidding her from walking on graduation day. There’s more to the story, which you can read about on Julie Roys’ blog, The New York Times, or you can watch a video by Fox News.
In Chris Fabry’s interview with Maddi, he applauded here decision to keep the child, but he questioned her and her family’s decision to challenge the ruling of the Christian school. You can listen to the full show in context by clicking here.
Things got interesting, however, once Chris asked Maddi about her thoughts on an alternative course of action her and her father could have taken. I really respect how Maddi is handling everything, so I wanted to share her words. Below are parts of the transcript (this is not a complete transcript of the entire interview) that captures what took place:
Maddi Runkles: “I’m not proud that I had sex before I was married. I knew what I was doing was wrong and I didn’t think it would be ever made known. And my relationship with God . . . this has really helped. This whole situation has taught me that I made a mistake. I sinned against him. He has forgiven me. I’m already forgiven for it and now my job as a Christian is to take this situation and give God the glory for it, turning this situation into something that’s going to give him all the glory.”
Chris Fabry: “So now I ask a really hard question, and it is . . . see I have five daughters, and you’re right, and I feel this way too. I try as best as I can to follow what God tells me to do and I don’t always do it.Nobody does. That’s why we have the gospel. We can’t follow all the rules. So the question is, what happens?
“But here’s the thing that really nagged at me when I heard your situation. And at how public it has gotten . . . and you can’t get a whole lot more public than The New York Times. As a dad of five daughters, here’s what I would have done and I want you to walk me through what you would say if your dad had said this:
“Maddi, we’re followers of Jesus. And when you signed the [school’s code of conduct] pledge, you agreed to try [to follow these rules] and obviously that did not work out. And I still love you and nothing is going to change how much I love you and nothing is going to change. And that child was not a mistake . . .” and I would do all that. And at that point I would say, “The [school] board has decided, the principal . . . the administrators have decided that you can get your diploma now, we’ve gotten to that point. But they don’t want you to participate in the ceremony.
“I don’t agree with them and I know how much that hurts and it feels like they are just trying to make you suffer for this. And I don’t think that’s right. And I don’t think they are fair in this. But a part of being a Christian is recognizing authority and being subject to that even when we don’t agree with them. And I’ve been kicking and screaming with God and I don’t understand this, but if we raise a raucous, I think it’s going to hurt the school. And it’s probably going to hurt you because you’re going to have to deal with all this and you’re already dealing with so much in your life right now. I hate to see you go through something like that in your life right now . . .
“So let’s celebrate the fact that you’re deeply loved and that this baby is deeply loved. And this baby is going to make a difference in this world. And we’re going to raise this child, we’re going to help you. And you made a really good choice. And I’m proud of you.
“But let’s just have a ceremony ourselves. Let’s just . . . let’s just let this lye and go on with our lives.”
“What would you say to that [Maddi]?
Maddi Runkles: “I would honestly say “No.” There is a much bigger issue here. I mean, it’s a national issue. I mean, you know how Christians can feel about teen pregnancy. It’s not everybody, but it’s a good bit of them. And the prolife community, how they can sometimes just tend to turn their heads towards [pregnant teens] because of their situation. Yes they chose life. Good for them. But, you know, [these pregnant teens’] situation doesn’t really meet theirstandards so they don’t want much to do with it.
“And that’s where I personally believe that just sends the wrong message across [the board] because you are making [pregnant teens] feel like maybe I should have just kept it a secret and maybe I wouldn’t have had to be embarrassed like this and go through all of this.
“So I think that I have a big platform now. And if my dad were to have said that to me, “You know . . . let’s just forget about it and move on and just celebrate what’s going on,” I would have said “no” because I’m not going to sit back and be quiet because I see this go on so much. And why hasn’t anyone stood up to this? Why hasn’t anyone fought for this and fought for themselves before? And if I can be that person who stands up for the next girl, even if it only saves one child from being aborted then I’m going to do that.”
Chris Fabry: “Julie, I hear you smiling. Go ahead . . .”
Julie Roys: “I am smiling because, Chris, I think your response completely neglects the injustice of this situation. She is being treated unlike her peers because she happens to have a belly that is protruding that they [the Christian school] just want to sweep under the rug . . . .
“It’s okay if she comes back to the school after she’s had the baby. So is this because she’s pregnant? Or is this because she’s done something immoral [which the school claims is the reason for the discipline, not the pregnancy]? It seems like they want to bury the fact and the embarrassment that a student got pregnant.
“What Maddi just said . . . you know what Maddi, I am like, ready to applaud you for your guts to say that because there is injustice. And just because we’re in a Christian community and just because these are our brothers and sisters doesn’t mean we don’t speak out about injustice. Because the way women are treated sometimes, especially young girls who get into this situation . . . we need to deal with this in the church. This is not just outside the church. This is in the church. And if we sweep this sort of thing under the rug where someone is singled out and treated completely different than some of her peers . . . I mean there is an injustice. That’s just wrong . . .”
Chris Fabry: “I get that Julie. I get that. Here’s the thing. Maddi, throughout your life, and I know you are 18, you’re going to have people, you know, who aren’t going to treat you the way you want to be treated. And there are going to be times when you have to stand up. And I . . . there’s part of me that says, “You know, you go girl.” And if you are able to help the young Christian teenager who makes a mistake and then [she] has to make that decision, whether or not to have a baby or have an abortion, then I am all over that. I think that’s a wonderful thing.
“But at the same time I struggle with the message that I have to be treated in a certain way in every circumstance. I think of Joseph’s situation [in the Bible.] And what they mean for evil, God meant for good. And the only reason I use that father analogy is that I don’t want you to miss the bigger thing, the deeper truth that is going on in your own heart and your own soul so that you’re living your life for everybody out there . . . but that’s a judgmental thing for me to say.”
It seems Maddi Runkles and Julie Roys both disagreed with what Chris Fabry was saying. What are your thoughts?
(Note: The use of this small portion of the Moody Radio interview which this excerpt was taken from is being used under the Fair Use Law. In no way is ApplyGodsWord.com seeking to make money off this excerpt. This excerpt is intended for reporting, criticism, educating readers, commenting, and other such uses. Please click here to listen to the complete Moody Radio interview.)