Caloundra [Un]-Christian College Sacks Pregnant Teacher

What was it that Jesus said? Oh yes, it was, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

And of course there was this:

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

“… judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment,” says James 2:12-13

And to those who think themselves such paragons of virtue that they can put themselves in place of God by setting themselves up as judge, jury and executioner, Paul says in Romans 2:1:

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.”

Not since arch-bigot Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby supported the expulsion of ‘openly gay’ children from religious schools have I been so disgusted by the blatant hypocrisy of Christians who purport to follow a religion of love, mercy and forgiveness but, instead, practice one of narrow-minded, judgmental, bloody-minded persecution.

At Caloundra [un]Christian College, a kindergarten teacher,  Jess Davidson, has been sacked because she is pregnant and not married to the father of her unborn child. Ummm, excuse me, but isn’t Christianity built upon the story of a woman who became pregnant to someone other than her husband?

Apparently Ms Davidson is subject to the school’s “Lifestyle Agreement”  which allows the school to salaciously inquire into the private lives of its employees and dismiss them if they do not meet the ‘Christian values’ expected by the school.

Now, of course, no secular employer would be able to sack a woman for being pregnant and unmarried. There would be widespread public outrage. Such discrimination is rightly considered illegal in our community and prohibited by anti-discrimination laws. But religious institutions and schools are exempt.  Why? You tell me!

Why, if our community judges something to be so outrageously wrong that there is legislation to prohibit it, do we allow a section of our society to continue the persecution simply because they are ‘religious’?

As one of the parents who is supporting Ms Davidson said, her personal life “should not be an issue as long as she is performing her duties and being a good employee”.

The fact is that, legally, the school is within its rights. But this is an anomaly in our legal system that every Australian should be protesting against.

Consider also that this school is almost certainly receiving taxpayer funds. Should schools that don’t follow the same employment regulations as every other Australian company receive government funding?  Are YOU happy to be funding this kind of blatant discrimination?

Then, of course, there is the issue of the hypocrisy of the school in relation to the supposed tenets of its faith.

As one wit observed in a comment on the local paper’s website:

“I trust the school is urgently reviewing their school uniforms. As Cotton/polyester blends are in breach of the bible teachings (Leviticus), they must be burned, and the Uniform Committee sacked if they approved such outrageous behaviour. 

I also trust all sport on Saturdays will now be ceased (Exodus), and any children caught playing it expelled.

All staff are of course banned from shaving under the bible, which includes women as well as men, so it should be easy to spot their staff members in a crowd (Leviticus).

I am glad the school lets all female staff have a week or so off every month, as they would not condone women with periods mixing with anyone else (Leviticus).

And I hope the tuckshop convenor is also sacked if any of the sausage rolls that are sold had pork in them (Leviticus).”

Of course, as we know, the school will only reply that under the ‘New Covenant’, they are not subject to all the laws of the Old Testament – although that doesn’t seem to stop them referring to Leviticus when homosexuals are in their sights!

Another commenter shrewdly observed that male teachers at the CCC may well be breathing a sigh of relief that their sexual indiscretions are not so visible. I wonder how many of them will be offering to resign for having committed the same sin?

Judging by the comments on the Sunshine Coast Daily article, public opinion is firmly against the school. In a way, this kind of thing helps the cause of secularism by highlighting just how unjust, inequitable and out of touch religion is with the values of the majority of Australians. As Paul Keating may have phrased it, those who run organisations like the Australian Christian Lobby and the Caloundra Christian College are ‘unrepresentative swill’. They are an affront to Australian values and they are an affront to the central tenets of their own religion.

If religion is dying in the West, we have people like the administrators of the Caloundra Christian College to thank for it. These bigots and hypocrites do far more to kill their own religion than we atheists ever can.

If there was ever a cause which should have liberal Christians protesting against the actions of their extremist cousins, this is it. But, I doubt we’ll hear a peep from them.

But while we might revel in religion exposing, once again, its dark underbelly, we cannot forget the human cost of these religious zealots’ angry extremism.

A Facebook page has been set up to support Jess Davidson.  I’d like to ask my readers to ‘Like’ the page and spread this story amongst your own networks. Let us show Jess Davidson that her school may have rejected her, but the majority of right-thinking Australians have not.

Chrys Stevenson

Please ‘like’: I support Miss Jess

Update – Thursday, 3 May 2012:  The “I support Miss Jess” page has been removed from Facebook. I suspect this may have been a request from Ms Davidson’s legal representatives in anticipation of a law suit against the school. I am seeking more information and will post here if I receive any.

In the meantime, if you still wish to voice your displeasure at this decision you can contact Mark Hodges the Principal of Caloundra Christian College at markh@calcc.qld.edu.au .  Please be polite in your correspondence.

If you’re local to the Sunshine Coast region, non-religious (and not into ‘new age’ woo, homophobia, racism or sexism) and you’re outraged by this story, you might like to consider joining the Sunshine Coast Atheists.  Email:  sunshinecoastatheists@gmail.com

11 thoughts on “Caloundra [Un]-Christian College Sacks Pregnant Teacher

  1. Ken Dally

    Excellent commentary, as usual, Chrys. not much to add except that I linking it to my FB and G+ pages.

    Reply
  2. debinmelbourne

    If many of the parents are indeed upset by this, they should pull their children out of the school post-haste. I suspect, however, many of the parents actually support this type of discriminatory nonsense. Schools and other places of this ilk should not get one penny of support from either state or federal government, and there should be no religious exception to discrimination legislation if they do receive such funding.

    Reply
  3. palmboy

    A great response to people using religion to justify hate, is to use this article. Just Google “Dr Laura Letter” or post this link http://evolvefish.com/blog/Dr%20Laura%20Letter.htm

    the text of the article is below:

    A Letter to Dr. Laura Concerning God’s Law

    Dear Dr. Laura:

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Law and how to follow them.

    1. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    4. Lev.25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. The passage clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev.11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

    7. Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

    9. I know from Lev.11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

    Reply
  4. Sam Sweeney (@SamSweeney)

    The fact that privately run schools receive funds from the government makes little sense to me.
    We already have public schools that have always desperately needed money for things as simple as new desks and chairs.

    If the government gives money to an entity than it should act with the same integrity.
    Less money on privately run school and we could get rid of chaplains and pay for professionals who are actually qualified to help children. Religion shouldn’t be a factor.

    While I’m very sympathetic to Jess and feel sorry for her, it has to make you think; how often does this kind of discrimination happen and how often does it go unnoticed?

    Reply
    1. dandare2050

      This story highlights the harm of the exemptionsection of the anti-discrimination act. Here is section 25 in full. Note there is a section that is genuinely about employment for religious duties. Then the section that follows gives blanket right to discriminate on religious grounds by any employer who states their religious beliefs to the employee prior to employing them.

      Anti-Discrimination Act 1991
      Chapter 2 Discrimination prohibited by this Act (complaint)
      Part 4 Areas of activity in which discrimination is prohibited
      Page 28 Reprint 9C effective 23 February 2012

      Section 25 Genuine occupational requirements
      (1) A person may impose genuine occupational requirements for
      a position.
      Examples of genuine requirements for a position—
      Example 1—
      selecting an actor for a dramatic performance on the basis of age, race or
      sex for reasons of authenticity
      Example 2—
      using membership of a particular political party as a criterion for a
      position as an adviser to a political party or a worker in the office of a
      member of Parliament
      Example 3—
      considering only women applicants for a position involving body
      searches of women
      Example 4—
      employing persons of a particular religion to teach in a school
      established for students of the particular religion
      (2) Subsection (3) applies in relation to—
      (a) work for an educational institution (an employer) under
      the direction or control of a body established for
      religious purposes; or
      (b) any other work for a body established for religious
      purposes (also an employer) if the work genuinely and
      necessarily involves adhering to and communicating the
      body’s religious beliefs.

      (3) It is not unlawful for an employer to discriminate with respect
      to a matter that is otherwise prohibited under section 14 or 15,
      in a way that is not unreasonable, against a person if—
      (a) the person openly acts in a way that the person knows or
      ought reasonably to know is contrary to the employer’s
      religious beliefs—
      (i) during a selection process; or
      (ii) in the course of the person’s work; or
      (iii) in doing something connected with the person’s
      work; and
      Example for paragraph (a)—
      A staff member openly acts in a way contrary to a requirement
      imposed by the staff member’s employer in his or her contract of
      employment, that the staff member abstain from acting in a way
      openly contrary to the employer’s religious beliefs in the course
      of, or in connection with the staff member’s employment.
      (b) it is a genuine occupational requirement of the employer
      that the person, in the course of, or in connection with,
      the person’s work, act in a way consistent with the
      employer’s religious beliefs.

      (4) Subsection (3) does not authorise the seeking of information
      contrary to section 124.
      (5) For subsection (3), whether the discrimination is not
      unreasonable depends on all the circumstances of the case,
      including, for example, the following—
      (a) whether the action taken or proposed to be taken by the
      employer is harsh or unjust or disproportionate to the
      person’s actions;
      (b) the consequences for both the person and the employer
      should the discrimination happen or not happen.
      (6) Subsection (3) does not apply to discrimination on the basis of
      age, race or impairment.
      (7) To remove any doubt, it is declared that subsection (3) does
      not affect a provision of an agreement with respect to work to
      which subsection (3) applies, under which the employer
      agrees not to discriminate in a particular way.
      (8) In this section—
      religion includes religious affiliation, beliefs and activities.
      selection process means a process the purpose of which is to
      consider whether to offer a person work.

      Reply
  5. Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear: Assorted Rants on Religion, Science, Politics and Philosophy from a bear of very little brain Post author

    I’ve added this update today: Update – Thursday, 3 May 2012: The “I support Miss Jess” page has been removed from Facebook. I suspect this may have been a request from Ms Davidson’s legal representatives in anticipation of a law suit against the school. I am seeking more information and will post here if I receive any.

    In the meantime, if you still wish to voice your displeasure at this decision you can contact Mark Hodges the Principal of Caloundra Christian College at markh@calcc.qld.edu.au . Please be polite in your correspondence.

    Reply
    1. palmboy

      Mark Hodges
      The Principal
      Caloundra Christian College

      Dear Mr Hodges

      I congratulate you on upholding fine Christian principles.
      All too often people ignore the teachings of scriptures and you are to be congratulated for taking a stand.

      I am concerned that you are possibly not following other parts of the scriptures, and I wish to clarify the below with you please:
      I trust the school is urgently reviewing their school uniforms. As Cotton/polyester blends are in breach of the bible teachings (Leviticus), they must be burned, and the Uniform Committee sacked if they approved such outrageous behaviour.
      I also trust all sport on Saturdays will now be ceased (Exodus), and any children caught playing it expelled.
      All staff are of course banned from shaving under the bible, which includes women as well as men, so it should be easy to spot their staff members in a crowd (Leviticus).
      I am glad the school lets all female staff have a week or so off every month, as they would not condone women with periods mixing with anyone else (Leviticus).
      And I hope the tuckshop convenor is also sacked if any of the sausage rolls that are sold had pork in them (Leviticus)
      By the school’s standards, Jesus’ own mother would be sacked.
      Lev.25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to NSW slaves, but not Northern Territorians. Does your school obtain slaves from NSW or N.T.?
      I trust that no staff ever work on the Sabbath, not even for the school fete. Exodus 35:2. clearly states people who work on the Sabbath should be put to death. Which method of execution does the school use?
      Lev.11:10 says eating shellfish is an abomination – I trust that you ensure no staff or students eat prawns at any time, and sack or expel those who do.
      Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I trust that you ensure no staff or students wear spectacles, and any staff with a visual defect be sacked.
      I trust that you and all other male staff never get your hair cut, including the hair around their temples, as this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. If you get your hair cut then you must sack yourself.
      I trust that all male staff who have ever had sex while unmarried, or had an affair are also sacked.

      If you believe the bible – then you can not select which parts you will uphold and which parts you will ignore.

      Your school needs to get with the times. Sacking a teacher because she falls pregnant out of marriage is disgraceful.
      Sacking a teacher and taking away her livelihood with an upcoming child to raise is so terribly cruel and UnChristian.

      How on earth will your school treat a vulnerable young student who falls pregnant?????
      The reality is people do have sex outside of marriage.

      You need to get with the times and reverse this out of touch policy

      Sincerely
      Phil Browne

      Reply
  6. Pingback: Lets Twist Again – Religious Discrimination « Round the Edges

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s