A headline caught my eye this morning and pulled me back to my life a few years ago. A Texas volleyball coach was fired from her job earlier due to an out of wedlock pregnancy. It appears that her track record as an extremely successful coach couldn’t outweigh the potential moral implications of keeping her on staff at the school.
And before you start calling in your lawyers (though she is suing the school), here’s the real tragedy: it’s legal. I can tell you from experience because several years ago I signed the very same contract and several years ago I saw one of my coworkers, an absolutely outstanding teacher and woman, fired for the exact same thing.
Private religious schools, like the one this coach worked for, are allowed to make rules about morality and apply them to teachers. Unfair though it may seem, the coach signed the contract and agreed to those rules, just as I did, just as my fellow teacher did several years ago. Our contract had an added bonus that you were not allowed to engage in any homosexual activities, or you would likewise be terminated. Though legal, to me it seems pretty un-Christian to fire someone while pregnant, leaving them with no insurance or income, but regardless, it’s legal.
What I can’t help but wonder is, what if the roles were reversed? What if the coach in question was the male football coach and he got his girlfriend pregnant out of wedlock? Unlike the female volleyball coach, he could conceivably hide or deny his involvement and his job would remain safe. As much as I don’t want to play the inequality game, this one just seems like an obvious injustice.
I personally struggle with the idea that you cannot be a good Christian role model if you become pregnant out of wedlock, because even as a Christian, she is still human and is still apt to make mistakes. To me, the moral character of a person is in how they deal with those mistakes, how they learn and move on from them that seems more important.
I can only hope that this coach is able to find a job next season at a school that has a slightly more open-minded view of what a role model should be and that she’s able to find the same success she had a her previous coaching job.