Rebecca Hancock, 49, of Jacksonville, Florida may be done with the Grace Community Church and Rev. T. Scott Christmas, but they are not done with her. Hancock left the church after it demanded that she leave her boyfriend Frank Young because of their “sexually immoral relationship.” Her children, however, remained in the church. Now, the church was told her that if she does not leave the church, her sins will be exposed to the entire community.
Christmas has given her until December 8th to meet with the church and end her immoral lifestyle. Christmas told local media that he is doing “nothing more than following the practices of what biblical churches have done through history.”
Hancock got into trouble when she revealed the relationship to a church mentor. She says that she was told that she was “biblically wrong” and need to dump Young.
She was then confronted by other women in the church who knew of her private relationship. One lady allegedly told her “I was at your house when you didn’t come home all night.’”
After leaving the church and refusing to take repeatedly calls, she received a letter informing her of the public outing planned in December: “Your refusal to repent and be restored in your relationship with God and His Church leaves us with no alternative than to carry out the third step of the discipline process. . . .In accordance with Matthew 18:17, we intend to ‘tell it to the church.’”
This would occur in front of her 20-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter.
This could make for a really interesting tort case. Normally you lose the protection of the privacy torts when you disclose private facts. Such voluntary disclosures make it difficult to bring an Intrusion Upon Seclusion tort or the Public Disclosure of Private Facts. However, the question is whether her disclosure to the mentor was thought to be private under the rules and traditions of the church. Courts tend to be reluctant to allow lawsuits in areas protected by the first amendment.
For the full story and a copy of the letter, click here.