Couple Engages in Premarital Sex: Christian College Fires Her, Offers Him a Job

I’m not about to burn my bra anytime soon, in fact I love my bras, but I read an article recently that rubbed me the wrong way. You may have seen it, too. Teri James was fired from San Diego Christian College after the school learned she was pregnant. Teri wasn’t married at the time and the college has a moral code prohibiting its community members from things like premarital sex, adultery and even homosexuality.

Now, I understand all religions have their own values and guidelines and maintain the right to hold their members to those standards. However, the college offered Teri’s boyfriend, the baby daddy, a job at the college, despite knowing he was the father.

All religion and moral codes aside, that’s gender discrimination. Plain and simple. If religion weren’t involved, I don’t think this would get as much press coverage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad people are talking about women’s rights. But must religion and feminism be opposing forces? Why, because this involves a religious organization are some people willing to let Teri’s termination slide?

I could understand her termination if she was having sex in her office or if their relationship broke a law in some way. But Teri was fired for getting pregnant, for physically bearing the signs of breaking the code. Who knows how long she and her boyfriend have been having sex? Who knows how many others break this rule? Outside of pregnancy, the school has no real way to prove otherwise. So isn’t the entire rule prejudiced against women? Because last time I checked, men still aren’t having babies.

According to Teri, the school asked her if she was pregnant and fired her when she honestly answered yes. According to her lawyers, nowhere on the moral code does it say breaking the rules would end in termination. To add to that, San Diego Christian College is a for-profit organization registered as a business in the state of California. Teri’s termination was not only unkind, but it is also unlawful.

Sure, you might argue it was immoral for Teri to sign something she wasn’t intending to uphold. I kind of agree. I don’t understand belonging to an organization that isn’t in line with your lifestyle. But I also don’t agree with an organization meddling in employees’ love lives. What I do agree with is gender equality. Something I think people are forgetting because religion is involved.

Call me naïve, but I thought we were working towards progress. It shouldn’t matter what your religious beliefs are when it comes to women’s rights. Beliefs aside, Teri was fired for getting pregnant and her now husband was offered a job despite it. At the end of the day, this shouldn’t be about religion. It’s about men and women and equality.

While I want the media to shine a light on Teri’s story and others like it, I wish religion didn’t have to play such a large part. I might not be religious, but I am a feminist and I truly believe the two can coexist. After all, if God created us equal, doesn’t that make Him the biggest feminist around?

Rosie the Riveter stamp

Featured image via Shutterstock

  • Marion Coleen Quitasol

    I agree! I admit that I am religious but when we talk about the rights of women, it’s a different issue already. It is her right as a woman, pregnant or not, married or not, to work if she desires to.

  • Natalia Pardalis

    This isn’t Christianity; this is a cruel, insensitive, egotistic person who takes pleasure in pointing out the “sins” of other. Let him without sin cast the first stone, Christ told us. A proper Christian boss would help her as much as possible with the child.

  • Laura Allen

    This is sickening…. apparently this “christian” college needs to read the Bible and actually learn something from Christ instead of passing judgment and having ridiculous double standards.

  • Deanna Dever

    Not excusing it, but they probably thought that hiring the boyfriend was “helping” to provide for the baby.

    • Caroline Marin

      Another way to provide for the baby is to not fire the mother.

      • Deanna Dever

        but she committed the “sin”.

  • Julia Sirb

    Love that last line, God is the biggest feminist. It’s so sad how Christian organizations have their systems screwed up these days. The Bible says that anyone who looks upon someone with lust is guilty of adultery. Kind of like, your intent is as bad as actually acting something out. So why are women shamed about this in “Christian” places only once they are pregnant or have admitted to sex outside of marriage? Because the organization only cares about how they look to the world and other organizations within the same belief system, as opposed to having a positive influence on people and sharing God’s love. Jesus and the Bible stand for the exact opposite, a transformed MIND and heart, not outward appearances.

  • Jessica May Bryant

    I am religious, and a feminist. I love and completely agree with that last sentence.
    As a christian I understand a bit of where the school is coming from (in terms of not supporting pre-marital sex), but think their actions were completely wrong, and un-biblical.
    “But must religion and feminism be opposing forces?” – They shouldn’t be, and if they are, something is wrong. The two things should support eachother! Jesus was the biggest feminist around in his day. But, this is not a theological post, so I won’t turn it into one (unless someone out there wants to have one, I’m totally up for that!).
    I’ll just say that both the feminist and the christian parts of me are frustrated by the school’s actions and angered by the injustice of it.

  • Isra Alkassi

    Although I’m now not very religious myself I come from a strict muslim background, my parents always treated me and my brothers equal in every sense, and they always empowered me and helped me to be the best that I could. So yes feminism and religion can co-exist. It wasn’t until I was in the outside world that I realised how much weight was put into what can be seen. I agree with you so much on the signs of sex and how women in general are punished for it. You can have as much sex as you want, as long as no one knows about and a pregnancy is the number one giveaway.

  • Christina Konze

    “Who knows how long she and her boyfriend have been having sex? Who knows how many others break this rule? Outside of pregnancy, the school has no real way to prove otherwise. So isn’t the entire rule prejudiced against women? Because last time I checked, men still aren’t having babies.”

    Exactly! This is complete and utter discrimination. Offer her boyfriend a job, knowing he was the father? That’s messed up, and I am angry.
    I am another Christian feminist, and I know the two can coexist. This is exactly as another commenter said, an egotistical MALE calling the shots that aren’t even in line with a religion he professes. I’m tired of jerk Christians like this giving the rest of us a bad rap.

  • Eliana Kemp

    The thing you must understand about Christians and Christian Organisations is that they have absolutely no boundaries. They believe that they have the right to make judgments in their members personal lives. I only know this as I grew up in churches. Now, I rarely attend an actual church. I do believe in God and but religious is the very LAST word I would use to describe myself.
    I’m appalled that she was removed from her job, but not surprised. It would have been from the point of view that you could actually see that she had not upheld what is perceived to be the most basic Christian value – no sex before marriage. They would have thought that other young people at this college would have see her and been all like “Oh!! It’s ok to have sex before marriage!!” not actually taking into account that everyone is an individual and has their own brain!!
    Also, the fact he was given a job in her place is a TOTAL slap in the face. “Let’s hide her away because she is sinful, but we’ll give him a job because we feel guilty.”

    • Lily Fryer

      As someone how admittedly is not involved in a church, you might want to avoid making sweeping generalizations about an entire group of people. As a Christian and a feminist, I do have boundaries.

      In fact, I find the behavior described in this story degrading and repulsive. However, just as I hope you wouldn’t label all Muslims as terrorists – not all Christians are bigoted, legalistic fools. Let’s not let a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch, shall we?

    • Katy Littlejohn

      One of the best things in the Bible is about how it’s NOT our place to judge others (ie: let he who is without sin cast the first stone). This is obviously a concept lost on a lot of people, Christians included. If you’re a professed Christian AND Judgy McJudgerson, You’re doing it wrong.

  • Amanda Bonnevie

    At my church, when we find out someone’s pregnant, married or not, we congratulate them and offer the couple a resource for a helping hand. We don’t shun the woman and tell the man to come back any time – all should be welcomed and loved because that’s what Christianity is about.

    • Marlana Hobden

      I wish there was a “like” button for your comment. Or atleast a cute little heart icon. So here you go. <3

    • Joanna Beck


  • Lauren Chadwell

    Typo! The second to last paragraph you called him her husband. Might want to fix that.

    “Beliefs aside, Teri was fired for getting pregnant and her now husband was offered a job despite it.”

    • Jaime Hammer

      Her “now husband”. So they got married. :)

    • Michael Buchko Jr.

      I took that as they weren’t married when this incident happened but they’re now married as of the writing of this article, which is why her now husband has a job which could also be her then boyfriend.

  • Nicole Fleurette

    ” well, premarital homosexuality IS the only way to avoid that situation.” -friend sitting beside me.

  • Valerie Wagner

    Free-wheeling johnson’s but the “scarlett letter” for woman. How typical.

  • Kayla Heffner

    As a Christian feminist I find this unacceptable. Like someone said before, I do understand where the school was coming from when they fired her. I think that they would not be under scrutiny if they had not hired the boyfriend. I don’t think they could argue that they felt guilty about wanting to provide an income to the family, because an income is an income, man or woman, and they both committed the same sin. Also, whatever happened to loving people and forgiveness. We all sin. This is one of the problems that I have with some Christian organizations. I think that while this was indeed a sin, and they should both be punished, is it really the place of a person, a person who also sins. I personally believe that if we love God enough, we shouldn’t want to sin, and it is not the place of a church or church organization, to act as a god by punishing those sins. This situation should never have happened and I am praying for this young family and for this school.

    • Chris Martin

      Actually, the Bible specifically states that the church is supposed to hold its members accountable. Though the church is not supposed to judge people who do not claim Christ, they are supposed to protect the integrity of the body of Christ. Therefore, by claiming to be a follower of Christ, and by signing whatever forms at the beginning of her employment, Teri placed herself under their authority. Termination may have been extreme, but we also don’t know whether or not this was the first discussion that the school had with her. It would seem that the couple tried to make it right by getting married, but that does not erase the fact that they broke the rules in the first place. Forgiveness does not mean that there will be no consequences.

      Ideally, the church should always seek what is best for those involved. However, if one member falls into habitual sin and refuses to give that up, the Bible commands that they be taken out of fellowship with the church until there is a change. Maybe, by the time the couple got married, Teri had already found another job. Offering the position to her husband may have been their attempt to offer reconciliation.

      We really have very little information here… but everyone seems to believe they have enough to pass judgement on those involved. It may be exactly as described in the article above, but it may be a whole lot different. How about we seek the truth instead of jumping to conclusions?

      • Linda D. Bennett

        One thing you might want to take into consideration, Chris: school =/= church.

      • Tom Martin

        Fact is they fired a woman for being pregnant. Which is illegal in California. Plus it isn’t exactly a pro-life thing to do. What if the boyfriend subsequently walked out? She’d be jobless and pregnant, and possibly consider terminating the pregnancy since she has no way to take care of the child. They don’t have to approve of her actions, but taking away the livelihood of a pregnant woman because she is pregnant is one of the most un-Christian things I can think of.

  • Marlana Hobden

    This is absolutely disgusting! And one of many reason why I have a hard time trusting religion half the time. Religion today, is not Christ centered. Firing the woman is the exact opposite of what my Savior would have done. Punish the woman for having premarital sex.? In giving her boyfriend her job, they are basically rewarding him. If this school was going to stand by their sanctimonious belief system…atleast be consistent. I hope this school, is exposed for the backward, unloving, unkind, un-Godlike institution that it really is.

  • Jonida Sanço

    I don’t want to be discriminatory against religion; if people want to follow ancient rules of conduct it’s their business, but most religions, especially those that have these outdated morals against homosexuality, premarital sex, etc., are also patriarcal religions, maschilist, mysoginist religions. I’m not saying all religions are like that, but those who have outdated concepts like the above, also have outdated concept regarding female emancipation.

    I’m sick and tired of organizations using religion to oppress marginalised groups in the society, that have suffered enough.

    I read somewhere, something funny, but sad. An African American Christian, is and African American with amnesia.

    You want, feel like believing in God and Jesus, ok, do so, but if you subscribe to churches and religious organizations that have historically and to this day discriminated heavily against minorities, you should ask yourself, are you really being a Christian? Because last time I checked Jesus was inclusive and forgiving. Decide whether you want to be a Christian, or you want to a persecutor of human freedom.

  • Caroline Jeffery

    are you kidding me, san diego christian college? aside from the horrendous sexism you’ve displayed, way to fail at basic logic.

  • Elena Kovalyov Dukhin

    As a Christian, I am angry about this too. The sin isn’t in getting pregnant, the sin is premarital sex! This shows that this college isn’t as Christ and Bible centered as it is named to be. They should both be fired, or better yet, if a leader/ teacher knows they messed up they should step down immediately on their own.

  • Tom Martin

    These people would fire the Virgin Mary. After all, she got pregnant outside of marriage…

  • Julie Domezio

    The Scarlett Letter clearly has taught us nothing.

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