Cristy Deweese is the Dallas ISD Spanish teacher who lost her job this week. Deweese taught Spanish at a magnet school until students found her photo shoot from Playboy and their parents complained. I was trying not to write on this…but this morning as I read the “opinion poll” posted by a local morning news show I changed my mind. For every two people that believe she deserved to be fired from her job, 8 people believe she did not. How would you have voted?
As you can imagine, opinions vary and there are a lot of questions to be answered. Cristy was young when she made the decision to pose for Playboy. Should she be held accountable for a mistake she made 2 years ago? Is it fair for her to lose her job because, after all, we live in a country that allows freedom of speech? Should she have mentioned those photos at her interview so the school district could have made an informed decision? Why didn’t the school district “Google” her name and find those photos first? Those questions will remain unanswered for a time. Cristy has signed a contract prohibiting her from doing interviews until November 8th. Apparently she is being scheduled for several talk shows after that time.
I wanted to give this issue some thought before I wrote this blog post. The poll asked the question, “Should Cristy Deweese have been fired?” The “Christian Mom” in me votes “yes” but the “American citizen” in me votes “no”. If the question had read, “Should Cristy Deweese have been hired” I would have been able to vote “no” with a clear conscience – or would I?
Numbers 32:23 reads, “…you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.” That verse has never been as true, as in today’s age of technology. I imagine a policy is being written right now in most school districts, requiring a complete and thorough “Google” search of every applicant. That seems like a great idea – but what about the person who has come to Christ after a difficult past? Past sins are forever with the Internet even though they have been forgiven and forgotten by God. Christians are going to need to be very careful in the days to come. Will we hold someone accountable for past sins or will we preach the biblical message?
This is another caution. A lot of parents were upset about the fact their children had seen the Playboy photos of their Spanish teacher. I did not hear even one parent say they were upset with their child for looking at Playboy photos. Were the children disciplined and held accountable in the same way as their teacher? The Golden Rule teaches, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). Parents cannot be upset with Cristy Deweese for posing for photos, and ignore the fact that their kids were looking at those photos.
This is a new day. Our mistakes and weaknesses can be posted on the Internet the minute we make them. Christians are going to need to move forward with caution. This age of accountability might actually work in God’s favor. Christians should remember that every time we are out in public, there is a cell phone with a camera that could be recording our behavior. God gave his children a high standard of behavior – the Internet may be a strong encouragement to all of us to live up to that standard!
I don’t know if Cristy Deweese has a relationship with God. I don’t know what her future will hold. I don’t know if she was a teacher who should have been forgiven of her past or held accountable for it. But I do know this: the Bible teaches all of us, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1).
This morning I thought about those who had called for Cristy Deweese to lose her job. I wondered how those same people would feel if Cristy Deweese was their daughter. We serve the God of second chances – not to mention the third, twentieth and one thousandth chances. Our world needs the Lord. People are lost and we should expect their behavior to reflect that fact. My last caution is this…God doesn’t expect the lost to act godly, but he does expect that behavior from those of us who have been saved.
As you go about your day today consider this: If someone is using their cell phone to video your actions, and if that video is placed on the Internet, would you bring God honor or would you need to ask his forgiveness? “Be very careful then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).
What does Cristy Deweese deserve? She deserves the chance to be forgiven and redeemed from her past mistakes. She deserves the chance to know Jesus and live eternally with him in heaven. I hope a Christian somewhere, sometime, will give Cristy what she deserves.