Jarretta Hamilton, a fourth grade teacher at Florida Christian School, was fired for becoming pregnant three weeks before marrying her fiance. Hamilton, who was by all accounts an excellent teacher, was terminated for “fornicating,” since she is not supposed to have sex outside of marriage. While Hamilton initially decided to start mediations hearings through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (which the school approved of, probably because they thought they could get any easy settlement), she has now decided to sue, not only for missed pay, but also because of emotional suffering and damage related to being publicly exposed.
Although the school is not exempt from federal discrimination laws as they are not a church, this has not stopped administrators from attempting to shame Hamilton and urge her to drop the suit and “consider the testimony of the Lord.”
While this case is disgusting and I could go on and on about how I think fundamentalists are disgusting and that they should not receive any tax benefits or special treatment, I will instead focus on the clear invasion of privacy that this firing represents. Although I believe where there are many cases where employers or organizations should have the right to punish members for behavior that is damaging to the group’s mission or reputation (i.e. doing drugs or embarrassing the organization for personal reasons), there should be no intrusion into a person’s personal life if it is not causing a problem in the workplace. Some may argue that by not following Christian values Hamilton is hurting the school, however, the students did not know about this until they were told by administrators nor did the public ever have to find out (of course, intolerant people loving nothing more than to hypocritically shame others while often behaving improperly themselves). Hamilton also was not some loose woman, she conceived with her fiance only weeks before they were married, thus her “sin” was in my mind rather minimal, if we are to use the school’s standards (although the Christian commentator Ms. “V” claimed that Hamilton was basically a baby mama). This school almost certainly has better things to do than discipline a hard-working teacher just to make a point and could probably make far a better one if it did not persecute people and instead followed the idea of “love thy neighbor.”