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?
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