Cathy Samford used to be a science teacher at Heritage Christian Academy in Rockwall, Texas. But no longer. The Christian school fired Samford upon learning that she had become pregnant by her fiancé. That’s right. A Christian school in Texas fired a teacher for getting pregnant without being married first.
It’s an action that has ‘wrongful termination lawsuit’ written all over it. And Samford certainly intends to take the school to court and may even sue.
“I’m not just some teacher that went out to a bar and got pregnant and went back to school saying it’s okay,” Samford said. “I was in a committed relationship the whole time and probably would have been married if things had gone differently and this would be a non-situation. I didn’t think I would lose my job. I was in shock and devastated and that’s when I said, ‘If this is the problem, I’m willing, and so is my fiancé, to go ahead and get married.’ That wasn’t the issue. We were going to get married regardless. I’m very worried about money. I’m just hoping to make it through this month. I’ve had lots of medical bills. My insurance was dropped so everything I’ve had to pay is out of pocket. I’m using my tax return just to live on. It’s a big concern. I don’t know what next month holds for me.”
￼So Samford offered to get married as a way to satisfy the school, but that didn’t change their mind. They still fired her. Remember when conservative Christians like Rick Santorum claimed that pregnancy was a gift from God that should be cherished? This Christian school apparently doesn’t feel the same way. Instead of treating Samford as a Christian woman who committed to a loving relationship and chose to have a baby, they treated her like an outcast. The school’s headmaster, Dr. Ron Taylor, says that Samford was fired for practicing values that are un-Christian and that even if she got married, it wouldn’t change a thing.
“It doesn’t change that her behavior was out of wedlock. It’s not that she’s pregnant. The issue here is being an unmarried mother. Everything that we stand for says that we want our teachers, who we consider to be in the ministry, to model what a Christian man or woman should be.”
Here’s the video via ABC:
So in Taylor’s warped mind, a model Christian is one who openly discriminates against a woman for getting pregnant with the man she’s going to marry and choosing to keep the baby. And apparently, a model Christian is one who fires a pregnant woman and denies her insurance coverage that would take care of not only the mother, but the needs of the child she is carrying. But that’s not all. Samford also has two other children from a previous marriage to take care of. By firing Samford, the school is punishing her children as well.
Taylor insists that because the school is private, they can fire her and hide behind religion to skirt anti-discrimination laws designed to protect women and women who are pregnant from being terminated because of gender and condition. He, like many evangelical Christians, is wrong. Being a private institution doesn’t give the school the right to ignore federal law. Federal law applies to everyone. There are no special privileges for religious people. If that were the case, any Christian employer could break the law and hide behind their Bible. America doesn’t work that way. Everyone is equal under the law. Being a Christian doesn’t entitle you to immunity from federal law. But that’s what Dr. Ron Taylor, supposed “Christian,” thinks.
This is yet another shot being fired in the Republican war on women. As you may already know, Republicans are pushing laws that would allow ANY employer to question what women do in their private sex lives. Because conservative Christians feel they should be allowed to discriminate against and even FIRE women who engage in what they consider un-Christian values, Republicans are trying to give employers the power to regulate what women do with their reproductive health. That is exactly what this “Christian” school did in this case. They object to the timing of Samford’s pregnancy, so they fired her, effectively sending a message to female employees that if they make reproductive decisions not condoned by the mostly male senior level administrators, they will be fired. The top two administrators at the school are both men. Coincidence? You be judge. Here’s the school’s website, which just so happens to have contact info as well.