Busted Halo
feature: moral dilemmas
October 5th, 2010

Moral Dilemma #2: The Best Friend and the Bridesmaid

 
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Few of us are ever faced with making the sort of life-or-death decisions we routinely hear about in the news. Fortunately, most of us are spared from navigating the complex ethical terrain that headline-making cases sometime raise. And yet there are decisions we face everyday that — whether we realize it or not — have very real moral implications.

In Busted Halo’s Moral Dilemmas feature, we hope not only to raise some of these issues for our readers, but also to engage you in helping to resolve them. After going through the story of Jason Pascal that follows, please tell us through a one-question quiz, linked to at the bottom of the page, what you think is the “right thing to do.”

Already taken the quiz for part 1? Move on to the next step: “The Wrinkle” to our Moral Dilemma.

Already read parts one and two? Read our expert’s analysis of the dilemma and your responses.

The Dilemma

Michelle and Beth have been friends since they met in middle school. For Beth, who has two younger brothers, Michelle was like the sister she’d always wished for. They hung out together constantly, until Beth became like a member of the family.

Beth admired how Michelle blossomed while they were in high school. Michelle always seemed so confident and outgoing and received a lot of attention from boys while Beth was more introverted. Though she sometimes felt invisible compared to Michelle, they shared everything with each other, and Michelle depended on Beth to be honest with her no matter what.

When Beth’s parents split up while she was in college, Michelle spent countless hours on the phone consoling her and often took the four-hour bus ride from her college in Michigan to visit Beth at her school in Chicago.

Beth and Thomas’ relationship became very serious and they began to talk about their long-term plans. Michelle, however, began to be troubled by some of the things Beth would tell her.

Social studies

After graduation they both took jobs in the Chicago area and lived just a few blocks from each other in the Lincoln Park section of town. They continued spending a good deal of time together socially and even attended the same church. Michelle dated a lot of different guys but, by her late 20s, was starting to become frustrated that she hadn’t yet found someone special. Beth, on the other hand, dated very little until she met Thomas through an online dating site just after her 30th birthday. Michelle heard all about Thomas when she and Beth would talk on the phone or via email and she was happy to hear Beth so excited. It was clearly a big deal for Beth when she introduced Thomas to Michelle and she was thrilled that they seemed to get along so well. Beth even told Michelle that she thought they were falling in love.

Over the course of the next six months Beth and Thomas’ relationship became very serious and they began to talk about their long-term goals and plans. Michelle, however, began to be troubled by some of the things Beth would tell her. In the course of their conversations Beth mentioned that Thomas thought she could “stand to lose a few pounds” and would make comments about what she was eating and criticize her in front of others (Beth was 5’5″ and weighed 138 lbs). During an argument late one night at her apartment he opened the refrigerator and began throwing out some of the food he considered “part of the problem.” During another argument at a movie theater Thomas pushed Beth so hard against a wall that she hurt her shoulder.

Make your choice here.
What’s The Right Thing To Do?

Click here to take the quiz.

  • Keep your opinion of the marriage to yourself and agree to be Beth’s maid of honor.
  • Risk losing your friendship by telling her that you can’t in good conscience stand up in front of an entire church and support a friend who is marrying an abusive man.
  • Agree to attend the wedding but tell her you can’t be in the wedding party.
  • Try to talk her out of it.
  • Tell her you will not attend.

None of these sound right to you? Want to qualify one of the above answers? What do you think Michelle should do?

Time for you to decide. What’s the right thing for Michelle to do?

Read the results so far.

Isolated incidents

Michelle grew very concerned and told Beth that Thomas’ behavior was abusive and completely unacceptable and that she deserved better. Beth understood Michelle’s feelings but she couldn’t help herself; she really loved Thomas and thought of these as isolated incidents that they could work through.

Gradually, Beth began contacting Michelle less and less frequently and when they did talk the conversation was usually about superficial work issues. A few months later Beth called one morning bursting with excitement to tell Michelle that Thomas had proposed to her the night before and that they were now engaged. Michelle didn’t quite know how to react to the news but tried to respond positively.

“Wow, that’s amazing. Congratulations” Michelle said with as much sincerity as she could summon.

Without missing a beat, Beth continued to tell her that they were planning a big wedding at the nearby cathedral with approximately 250 guests. She then paused awkwardly and, adopting a serious tone, said “Listen Michelle, I realize you’ve got some issues with Thomas but it would mean a lot to me if you’d be my maid of honor.”

On the other end of the phone Michelle sat in stunned silence.

Time for you to decide. What’s the right thing for Michelle to do?

Already taken the quiz for part 1? Move on to the next step: “The Wrinkle” to our Moral Dilemma.

You can take an updated look at the survey responses here.

Pages: 1 2 3

 
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The Author : Bill McGarvey
Bill McGarvey is co-author of Busted Halo’s Freshman Survival Guide. Bill was editor-in-chief of Busted Halo for six year. In addition to having written extensively on the topics of culture and faith for NPR, Commonweal, America, The Tablet (in London), Factual (Spain), Time Out New York, and Book magazine, McGarvey is a singer/songwriter whose music has been critically acclaimed by the New York Times, Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Billboard and Performing Songwriter. You can follow him at his website billmcgarvey.com or on Facebook.com/billmcgarvey
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