Wheaton College ‘divorces’ tenured professor

Posted: May 6, 2008 in IJS, Networking, On Your Wall, Spin Doctor
Tags: , , , , ,

Wheaton College, can you spell “L-E-G-A-L-I-S-M“?

Wheaton's ball and chainSure you can. You spelled it out clearly during your behind closed doors meeting with 20-year English professor, Kent Gramm, as you fired him.

Why? Embezzlement? Cold. Rocking the Mary Kay LeTourneau? Colder. No, Gramm was married to his bride for 20 years and had the unmitigated gall to do what more than 50 percent of the Body of Christ is currently doing.

Gramm got a divorce… and a pink slip. As noted here by ABC News.

Yeah, that’s fair. And good on the biblically-based institution (which should be well-versed in Jesus’ tenets of forgiveness, mercy, grace and healing) for just adding fuel to his personal fire.

Emma Van Hoozer, a 20-year-old junior theology major, said people’s personal lives need to be made public to keep them accountable.

“In our culture divorce doesn’t seem serious because we’re so used to seeing it, but when you read scripture, you realize we should be much more shocked. We should stop and realize its seriousness,” she said. “To be a Christian community, everything needs be public so we can be accountable to each other. The rule seems to be pretty fair because [Gramm] had the chance explain himself.”

Well, a couple of notes to you, O’ drinker of the juice, and whose closet of skeletons is certainly wide open for persecution and scrutiny:

  1. He shouldn’t have to ‘explain’ himself to anyone. This is terrible for anyone to go through, and for him to get slapped in the face with it is ridiculous.
  2. In Wheaton’s defense, they are ALLOWED to discriminate based on religion (take that, ACLU). However, this is a moral situation NOT a spiritual one.
  3. With all the national press and the tons of hate mail the school is getting, Wheaton may be checking the books for a loophole to offer Gramm his position back. You know, kinda like ask forgiveness. Ah, what a sacrosanct thing to do. Go figure!
  1. Bob Codjec says:

    Actually, though the news media did a great job of portraying it this way, Dr. Gramm was not actually fired for his divorce. Technically, he was fired for refusing to discuss the divorce with a “board of peers” and the college administration. Other Wheaton professors are divorced, and have even divorced while employed by the college. However, they differ with Dr. Gramm in that they agreed to tell their employer the details of their divorces. Dr. Gramm refused to do this on ethical grounds and was subsequently dismissed. Strictly speaking, the issue at hand is less of divorce but more of the role of administrative oversight within the college. They required that they be informed of their employees personal lives when their actions might be suspect, and Dr. Gramm disagreed.
    I personally find the paternalistic role the administration plays to be incredibly overbearing. If it the issue were simply a matter of disciplinary action in response to divorce, then it could easily be said that the firing was an example of Christian discipline rather than legalism. Yet this was not the case. The college’s policy effectively requires you to add insult to injury in order to keep your job: not only must you face a horrifyingly painful process, but you must present the most intimate details in public before not just your superiors but also your peers. This can hardly be described as either just or loving.

    As it stands, this is an INCREDIBLE act of legalism on the part of the college administration, demonstrating just how Pharisaic Christian leaders can be.

  2. hiscrivener says:

    Dan, thanks for the post. Really. But to answer your questions:

    1. The 50 percent statistics I have seen personally in the 2000 census, BLS and either Barna or Gallup did a poll last year. So, I guess the government was serving up the Kool-Aid. Love that Rock-a-dile Red. Yummy!

    2. Although morality delves into spirituality, it’s much deeper. As a pastor, I’m surprised you don’t agree. Morays are cerebral initially and become linked in your heart once you take a stand. Spiritual aspects begin in the spirit man, and stay there. It’s directly connected to God. Morals are determined by the world. Spirit is determined by the Lord. “ESPECIALLY for Christian Leaders.”

    3. I wish I knew what Wheaton covered, because the details certainly didn’t make it in the story.

    4. You would be surprised the positions of Christian Leadership of which I have been involved. That’s the lovely thing about blogging – you never know to whom you are talking. To your point, mercy and love SHOULD BE extended to each parties in a “biblical divorce” however it’s not always that way – and I believe you know that. People have ideas, other folk have issues. Both of those combined with a divorce equals gossip. I’m not too holy to see that, and think about it… you don’t think that board did that, just a wee bit?

  3. Dan Coggins says:

    1st- 50% of the Body of Christ is NOT getting divorced. (Who’s been drinking the world’s cool-aid?)

    2nd- Moral issues ARE spiritual issues; esp. for Christian leaders.

    3rd- I assume Wheaton covers this possibility in their contracts which Gramm evidently signed willingly.

    4th- MERCY and LOVE are to be extended to even the “guilty party” in a biblical divorce, as well as to those pursued outside Scriptural bounds, but YOU seem to be the one setting yourself up as a judge of Wheaton. Have you considered that? If you have never been in a position of Christian leadership and confronted with the agonizing issues involved here you should do more research, speak to some of the brothers/sisters on the board and get their viewpoint first.

  4. […] doing. Gramm got a divorce?? and a pink slip. As noted here by ABC News. Yeah, that??s fair. https://hiscrivener.wordpress.com/2008/05/06/wheaton-college-divorces-tenured-professor/mary kay letourneauMary kay letourneau – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaHyperlinked profile of mary […]

  5. George says:

    Actually, every Christian is to be ins subjection to every other Christian. We are not our own. So if he is part of that community, then scripture would say that he does have some explaining to do. Privacy is not really something God guarantees to us. Nor is it a right, no matter what are culture teaches.

    As I have always understood it, a moral issue is a spiritual issue…

    And in Matthew 5 Jesus is pretty clear that unless there is accusation of adultery, then the dismissal of a wife is an adulterous action. So if he is unwilling to discuss because it would be an accusation of his wife then he is quite confused. Scripturally, from Jesus’ statements, getting a divorce is an accusation of adultery. Or an act of adultery. One or the other.

    Best to just deal with the matter directly, I suppose. But that’s easier said than done, of course.

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