Last fall, Teri James was fired for premarital sex. She was let go from her job at a Christian college in California when she got pregnant and it became obvious that she was disobeying some codes of the campus. Shocking as it may be, this isn’t the first time someone has been fired for not abiding by the “moral code” of a Christian institution. I have no problem with private Christian institutions having certain codes – I just wish they would apply to men and women alike and be of this century. James has enlisted the help of high-profile attorney Gloria Allred to sue the school.
Teri James was pulled into her supervisor’s office in October 2012, where she was asked if she was pregnant and then let go:
“I had to leave right after the meeting. I had to go into the office with all of my co-workers and say I’m leaving,” James said. “I never came back so I don’t know what my co-workers thought, but for me, it was humiliating. I felt like I was in trouble.”
Premarital sex is a violation of school rules. All employees of San Diego Christian College are asked to sign a handbook that states the community and moral codes of the institution – the Handbook and Community Covenant. Employees are expected to abide by these codes. James admitted to signing the handbook because she was in need of a job: ”We all had to sign it,” James said. “I needed a job in this economy and so I never thought that anything would happen — I just needed a job.” Allred claims that the handbook does not state anywhere that employees will be fired if they do not comply.
As if it wasn’t bad enough that she was terminated for having sex out of wedlock in the year 2012 – in a bizarre, hypocritical and infuriating twist – the college went on to offer her job to her fiance. What? Pretty sure he’s engaging in premarital sex, too.
The “Community Covenant” asks all in the community – teachers and students alike – to abstain from things like drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Also on its list of no-no’s are “abusive anger, malice, jealousy, lust, sexually immoral behavior including premarital sex, adultery, pornography and homosexuality, evil desires and prejudice based on race, sex or socioeconomic status.”
What kind of homophobic, backwards crap is this? Can we agree that it is impossible to abstain from all of these things? Christ himself couldn’t even abide by these codes. I support her lawsuit because I think what happened to her was sexist and humiliating. But at the end of the day, the fight should be against these “moral codes” existing as contracts on these campuses. Don’t sign something that asks you to do the impossible. Then maybe you won’t be in a position to be fired for something like premarital sex.