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

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

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  1. Gender inequality in a Christian organization? shock. To quote the muse from Dogma, “Read the Bible again sometime. Women are painted as bigger antagonists than the Egyptians and Romans combined. It stinks.”

  2. Why fire her and hire him? I could see if they had nothing to do with both of them but this just stinks of unfairness and they have to see that. Of course, I worked in a place where a guy got a girl pregnant and they made him fire her and promoted him. He was also old enough to be her super creepy uncle.

  3. I might be the minority here BUT she deserved to get fired. she agreed to uphold a moral code and she not keep her word. I also believe that her boyfriend should NOT have been HIRED due to the same moral code. God designed sex for the purpose of REPRODUCTION, NOT RECREATION. Reproduction within the bonds of MARRAIGE. Anything else is fornication/adultery. Sorry, take it up with God…..

    • Hate to disagree with you but once you said sex was ONLY for reproduction you lost me. Read the Song of Solomon sometime, “Come my lover, eat of my garden…” aint talking bout pickin no berries. Also, simple lesson in female and male anatomy means sex was meant to be enjoyed as well. Now I do believe in keeping in between a husband and wife, for a lot of reasons not just religious ones. But not recreation? If that’s wrong I dont want to be right.

    • Really? But recreational sex can be a lot of fun. Happily i’m an Atheist, and have no such moral hangups. I like to think that my mental well-being is much the better for it.

      As for the subject of the article, this treatment is grossly unfair. I don’t agree with the rules set down by this college, but if they had to implement those rules then the man should have lost his job too. This is institutional discrimination. She might even be within her rights to take them to court.

  4. I’m a Christian. I ran a nursing home ministry. To me, being a Christian is not about being judgmental, but about being supportive and serving, helping others to better their lives. I’ve done work in homeless shelters and food kitchens, and you run into a lot of thankless people who think the world owes them, but it’s not my place to judge them or try to figure out how they got where they are. My order from the Lord is to love them, no matter what. And that’s what being a Christian means to me: love, forgiveness, and giving of yourself, not because you’re seeking a reward, but just because it’s the right thing to do, even if you never get anything out of it.

  5. As someone who attended a Christian college with a “moral” code that all students and staff have to sign in order to attend or be employed by the school, I don’t find this the least bit surprising that a woman was fired for having sex out of wedlock but her boyfriend was then hired by the college. There has always been somewhat of a double-standard in religious institutions. It has a lot to do with the fact that for many generations within a religious community that men have traditionally been put in charge of things–only in recent times have women been given the same rights or been treated as equals where religion is concerned. Even still today though sadly things like this happen because of the traditional “boys club” of religious institutions. I am not saying that since this is the way that it is that it is then ok–it just means that because this college is religiously affiliated there is often the feeling among administrators that they can make up their own rules and arbitrarily choose to follow them or to not follow them since they usually are not under the same anti-discrimination clauses that secular institutions are.

    In spite of this being a religious college and thus has their own separate set of rules, I hope that this woman sues, especially since they did in fact hire her boyfriend in spite of the fact that he did the same thing that she did–she just happened to get pregnant.

  6. I would like to point something out: I, as a Christian, do not believe that premarital sex is a sin, pure and simple. If you make the decision not to have premarital sex, then that is acceptable and I commend you for sticking to your values. One can argue that these values are in line with Christian beliefs, but really I think it’s more about personal choice, wanting to “save yourself for your future husband/wife”. Very romantic and forthright. But for those of us that choose not to subscribe to the “no sex before marriage” ideology, spare us your criticisms and judgement. God is not condemning us to hell. There is no textual evidence in the Bible to support that God condemns premarital sex. Rather, the Bible mentions “sexual immorality”, derived in our English translations from the original Greek word “porneia” which translates to “illicit sexual intercourse”. As creatures of free will, we have the right to decide what we think that phrase means. I, for one, do not think that this is a blanket expression to cover all sex outside of marriage. What is immoral about a loving relationship between two people who are devoted and committed to one another but just happen to not be married? Furthermore, we are not placed on this Earth to judge. Even if your premarital sex wasn’t within the confines of a committed relationship, I don’t believe that you should be judged, shunned or ostracized and certainly not made to feel guilty. Ultimately, your body is your own and your decisions are your own. If you feel that something is immoral, that is your decision and you can proceed accordingly. Let others make those decisions for themselves rather than force your opinion onto them. God loves us unconditionally. That means without stipulations like, “I will only love those women who save themselves for marriage.” Finally, I would like to touch on the word “purity”. Purity is a quality of your heart, not your body; it comes from recognizing God, recognizing Jesus’s sacrifice and recognizing the beauty in the world and the beauty in other people, not from condemning others and feeling morally superior. A modicum of tolerance could do a world of good for Christians everywhere. I am not saying that we need to compromise our religious beliefs for the comfort of others, but read the Bible closely before telling others how to live and recall that Jesus, the only man to ever have the divine right to judge others, lived His life with compassion, generosity and love until the very end. Have we forgotten that He is the center of our religion? Let us put the Christ back into Christianity.

    • I agree with you! I could not have said it better myself.

    • I totally agree with what you have said. I think it is very strange that some Christians will shun other people just because they don’t believe the same things that they do. I thought that Jesus taught us to love everyone no matter what.

  7. “if God created us equal, doesn’t that make Him the biggest feminist around?” Can someone turn this into a Meme? This is such a great phrase! Gender Equality is Important.

  8. A moral code is not a binding contract. The school is seeking to hire people of a certain character, but sometimes people are fallible. Up to the point when it happened, I am sure she had every intention of upholding the code. The school should not have fired her. If they were worried about the image it would present then they should have put her on administrative leave or something. Legally, it is against the law, so she has some recourse. Hiring her boyfriend is in violation of their own code because he also had pre-martial sex and simply represents a double standard. I agree with you.

  9. I’m someone who agrees with the college. It is not about religion. It is about as part of your hiring packet READING what it says and ONLY signing it if you are willing to live by those rules. I live in an HOA, I sign an agreement to abide by their rules, no matter how stupid they seem to me. I MADE that choice to sign it.
    Nowhere in the bible does it say that grace and forgiveness means that you don’t have any consequences for your actions.
    As far as her boyfriend being offered the job, and that the college knew he was the father even when offering him a job.. That is the allegation of Ms Allred to totally muddy the situation. Was he employed at the school at the time she was fired, or did he go AFTER she got fired to see if they would hire him? Since it was AFTER, he hadn’t signed the employee agreement and it didn’t apply to him retroactively. He had the choice to sign it and say I will abide by these rules if I accept employment here. It is NOT the scenario that is being presented.

  10. Sorry. Have to play devils advocate here as much as I hate to. Kind of ironic choice of words. But. She signed a document working for a church based institution. So she knew what she was getting into. She was fine when she was making money. Did not object to the BS that was this contract when she wanted the job. She broke the rules that she agreed to. Got caught. Now wants money. I would have supported her had she not agreed to this kind of 18th century bs. But she made her bed, laid in it. More than once apparently and now wants to back out of aforementioned contract. Sorry. No. Get another job. Move on. Don’t do something so stupid again. The fact that she hired Gloria Allred just lost credibility with me. Its a CHURCH. I am NO saint. I am quite the contrary. As a matter of fact I know if I were to step inside a church my feet would catch fire LOL. Thats why I do not associate with those who do. But if you want to work for a church, you have to follow their rules. You broke them. Do I think its dumb and moronic. YES. Do I disagree with the church? YES. Do I think you should be able to have a private life separate from work? HELL YES. But you broke their rules. Pay the price and take it like a big girl. Move on. Just so we are clear. This girl should not have been fired. It is wrong and based on a dated set of stupid rules. But they ARE the churches rules and you agreed to follow them. You were fine with them when you were taking their money. Now accept you broke their rules and you are now fired. If this girl were as upset as she claims…She would have stood up when she was getting paid and in their good graces and exclaimed THIS IS WRONG! and then sought legal help. Then I would be on her side 100 percent. But this just reeks of sour grapes and she mixed that turd Allred into the mix of it. Sorry, you’re on your own with this one LOL

  11. Oh this is an oldie but a goody.

    I went to a Christian jr. high and high school. One of the things they did was that if a girl got pregnant she pretty much just disappeared off campus. She wasn’t allowed to attend school, and they didn’t want her ‘exposed’ to the other students. Like it was a contagious condition or something. I wasn’t the only one outraged at this happening at a Christian school. As I was a Christian, I was taught that forgiveness and love was the way to go. To be there for each other in time of need. So shouldn’t we be different from the public schools in the ‘ban the unmarried pregnant girl from school’ code?

    Eventually, to shut those of us up who were protesting, they said that they not only expelled the girl, but they would exspell the boy too. For me that just made it worse. Now it’s not just the girl and the babies life being disrupted and hard, they did it to the guy too. Three people we as Christians should have been helping, and loving, and forgiving (although i really don’t see how it’s our place to pass judgement to begin with.)

    Women get pregnant. It just happens. What about Mary? She wasn’t married to Joseph when she got pregnant and the community completely judged and condemned them. Then it turned out she was giving birth to the savor of humanity.

    Is it any wonder I’m not a Christian anymore?

  12. Is it possible they offered her husband a job as a way for making UP for firing her? You know as a way to support her and their soon to be born child by offering the head of their family a means of earning an income? This article seems to act as though it is her versus him but in reality once you are married you are a unit, a family, and what benefits one also benefits the other.

    • I think the point though was that it wasn’t her husband, it was her boyfriend. They weren’t married, which is why it was looked down upon that she was pregnant.

  13. I am a conservative Christian, and My now husband got me pregnant 4 months before we were to be married. With the way you are laying it out, it does not seem like you are all too familiar with what goes on when this happens with a conservative Christian (I’m assuming they are conservative since they went to a school where they signed that agreement, something which my husband did for his college) when something like this happens. We were upfront about it right away, which helped. Not everyone was happy, but as far as our Christian community goes, they were told in the light that we had talked to the Elders in our church, acknowledged and repented of our sin and struggles, nd were embraced in our community as being brave and respectable, not running away from our problems, and “doing the right thing.” It was a wonderful response, and not one I could have dreamed of. With that said, some quick to judge prud probably fired her off the bat by just reacting, and assumed that she was living in sin instead of struggling with it (which some family members ended up doing for us, even though didn’t realize how much we truly struggled, and tried very hard not to give in). This is the situation where your Elders in the church are so important; they are your guardians and your protectors against moral judgments passed against you, and if things would have gone according to process, they would have spoken to the school, and told them that they were repentant, and probably none of this would have happened. But, it was presented differently, so different things happened. Eventually the school was probably contacted by the church or the elders and explained to, and the school felt stupid. You don’t know whether they offered her her job back, and the baby’s dad took in instead, you do not know what went on there. Honestly, if I had had a traumatic experience like that with my boss, I wouldn’t want to go back and work with that person because of the bad memories. Things were probably cleared up and apologies were made, but being pregnant (which sucks) and dealing with all the hormones and annoyances of pregnancy, I would have much preferred if my husband was offered a job instead. I’d say that Christianity is about half and half working moms and stay at home moms. Neither is discouraged or really judged upon (unless of course you’re in an extreme community). However, because of religious philosophy, I know many women who want to stay home and take care of their children as opposed to working and leaving them with strangers who do not have similar values and morals. I am definitely not a hardcore feminist, but I do believe women should have all the right that men should have. But what I also believe is that women should not be pressured from their society to make decisions that are not their own. Some women want to do the mom thing, and want their husbands to work instead of them, because they believe in God’s providence, aligning things just so to lead you towards the life He wants you to live at that moment. Different factors are involved such as money, the desire of the mom and what satisfies her, and overall ability to stay at home with your child. They gave the baby’s dad a job, and if that was my situation, I would have been grateful, and not assume that they were being sexist, but allowing me to possibly do what I had always wanted to do. But I think here you are simplifying what happened. There are jerk Christians who make other Christians look bad, and then there are people who don’t understand conservative Christianity reading between the lines and throwing out terms like “sexist”, when really, everything is so much more complicated than that. Thanks for reading this long winded comment!

    • “There are jerk Christians who make other Christians look bad” – Thank you for putting this out there. There are so many ways to manipulate the foundations of Christianity to suit personal goals, and I hate when non-Christians define the entire faith based on the unfortunate choices of “jerk Christians.”

      • I also hate when mean-Christians treat all atheists like they are immoral, terrible beings. Really, atheists should be applauded because they have the ability to treat others kindly and fairly without having the fear of god set on them. They act good because they are good.

        Unfortunately, she signed a contract. It is discrimination and it’s something that no one should ever have agreed to, but she did.

  14. I’ve been a Christian for 15 years and spent most of that time in full time ministry. I’ve seen a lot of hypocrisy and hatred that, in my opinion, is not at all in line with who I know Jesus to be. I like to say “I’m not a Christian, I’m a follower of Christ.” Sadly, the word Christian has such negative connotations that I do try to set myself apart from it. The story above is such a perfect example of why.

    People get so wrapped up in following the “institution” that they completely lose sight of the man whose life inspired it. Shouldn’t we be living like him? Loving people like he did?

    That being said, whatever you are going to stand for, use both legs. No double standards.

  15. If you are looking for a religion that celebrates women AND men, does not tell people who they can sleep with, and actually believes in the behavior of Jesus, not just the dogma about him, look into Spiritualism. We don’t ask you to believe everything on faith, we believe PROOF IS NECESSARY. May you find the beliefs that will help you grow.
    God blesses you.

  16. Thank you for this honest analysis, Tori. I agree with you 100% on this situation. Religion and feminism can and should get along but most people don’t take the time to do so. And you know what? If we did take the time to analyze how the two can work together, things would improve. I bet more people would actually stop hating one side or the other so much.

  17. Never knew there were so many Christian Feminists out there…

  18. The Scarlett Letter clearly has taught us nothing.

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

  20. 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.