Good Morning America on Yahoo has a story titled “Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau, Vili Fualaau Detail Their Path From Teacher-Student Sex Scandal to Raising Teenagers.” Its a story about a female teacher who got involved in a sexual relationship with her underage students and their interview 18 years after making national headlines. With the rising tide of female teachers having inappropriate relationships with their students this is relevant and it is worth the time to look at the story and reflect upon it from a Christian perspective.
The article begins as such:
When Mary Kay Letourneau Fualaau was forced to go public in 1997 with an affair she was having with her former sixth grade student, Vili Fualaau, after she became pregnant with his child, it was the teacher-student sex scandal heard around the world.
At the time, Mary was a 34-year-old, married teacher in Seattle, who already had four children of her own. Vili was just 13 years old. Mary was arrested and served seven and a half years in prison.
Today, Mary is 53 and Vili is 31. The couple is still together and are about to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. The two daughters they have together are now teenagers — older than Vili was when the affair started.
Mary and Vili sat down for an exclusive interview with Barbara Walters to talk about how they managed to stay together all these years, despite their very public and forbidden relationship.
“If it wasn’t strong enough in the beginning, it wouldn’t have carried through those years,” Mary told Walters.
First off I’m going to say it straight up. Mary was married when she began the relationship. She broke her marriage, wronged her husband. This is adultery and a sin before the Lord.
Secondly I suppose one’s immediate reaction would be “Wow, this relationship lasted so long!” If we use the same train of thought as those who want to legitimize homosexual “marriages” and relationship because some homosexual couples have been together a long time no doubt the conclusion of such line of reasoning applied here is that there is nothing wrong with an adult pursuing romantic and sexual interests with minors. Frightening.
Thirdly, from what we can gather from this Yahoo article, Mary is unrepentant. This is collaborated by the account of her continuing the relationship despite court order, her willingness to divorce her husband and the persona that she is happy that she’s have him. Note what she says when asked about her guilt:
When asked if she felt guilty or disgusted with herself for having the affair, Mary said, “I loved him very much, and I kind of thought, ‘why can’t it ever just be a kiss?'”
There is the danger of an ethic that believes that when something feels good it must be right.
Fourthly, I think reading the ending of the article is very illuminating. Mary and Vili can be sexual libertines all they want and try to be self-righteous about it but having children changes things. It reveals deep down they don’t really believe that their own lifestyle is right. Pay attention to these words:
Audrey graduates from high school this coming June, and will attend community college in the fall. Georgia is a sophomore and a cheerleader. Both sing in their high school choir. Their parents are very protective, and Vili said he has warned his daughters against having boyfriends.
“The reason for me telling them that was just from, out of experience,” he said. “A relationship could lead to something that you think you wanted back then. You don’t really want it, maybe, years later.”
If either of their girls did what they did, if they came home one day and said they were sleeping with their teacher, both Mary and Vili said they would be shocked and upset.
“I don’t support younger kids being married or having a relationship with someone older,” Vili said. “I don’t support it.”
The whole thing is insightful. Just so you don’t miss it I thought this part was the bombshell: “If either of their girls did what they did, if they came home one day and said they were sleeping with their teacher, both Mary and Vili said they would be shocked and upset.”
Fifthly, you would think that the double standard and inconsistency of Mary and Vili is something important enough to be emphasized in the Yahoo article. The title has no indication that it is on the editor’s radar. Typically in journalism the important information is presented earlier in the article rather than later. There are no hints throughout the article of Mary’s and Vili’s inconsistency that led to the ironic ending. I think this is very telling of the lens that Good Morning America sees this story. And how they see the news. There is no neutrality–even in journalism.
I hope and pray the two would come to see their sins for what it is and repent unto the Lord Jesus Christ.