Having the right to do something does not necessarily make doing it the right thing to do.
Case in point: Jacyln Pfieffer was allegedly fired from her position as a teacher at Aloma Methodist Early Childhood Learning Center. Further, she was allegedly fired because it was learned that she was living in a lesbian relationship.
The discussions about this that I’ve seen, and been part of, on social media, tend to end up with people on either of two sides of this polarity
- The ECLC was within its rights as a religious organization to fire someone engaged in conduct they believe to be immoral; and
- Ms. Pfieffer was a victim of discrimination.
I am not taking sides on that polarity.
Knowing a little about Church-State matters, I expect the ECLC, related to its host Church, may well be perfectly within their rights to have fired her.
Even if they were within their rights as a religious organization, though, I think they blew it. They failed. They did not represent Jesus well.
This is stronger language than I usually use on this blog, but this is serious business.
Whatever your position on sexuality and orientation and same-sex marriage, if you are a Christian, I assume you would agree that we (Christians) represent Christ, and therefore God.
I think you would also have to agree with this: whether we approve of someone else’s behavior/orientation/lifestyle/fill-in-your-preferred-term-here,we are commanded to love them. All of them; friends, enemies, strangers, etc.
Christians do not get to choose whom to love and whom not to.
But we do, according to the law, receive some leeway according to our religion, in choosing whom to employ and whom not to.
I believe that choice is far better made before hiring than after.
So, even if you fully support Aloma Methodist ECLC’s decision, you must agree that they would have represented Christ better had they been open upfront and refused to hire Ms. Pfeiffer in the first place than to fire her.
I don’t know where the law places the burden of proof. Should Ms. Pfieffer have self-identified as lesbian in the hiring process?
How self-disclosing are you when you apply for a job?
No; from my perspective – and it would be very, very hard to sway me on this – it is on the church-affiliated organization to be very, very clear during the hiring process what their moral expectations of employees are.
If Aloma Methodist ECLC presents itself as representing the God we know in and through Jesus, they owe it to the world around them, the culture in which they serve, to love the other. If this means anything, it at least means treating them with respect.
Simply put: I’m pretty sure that if Jesus wouldn’t allow a lesbian to work for him, he wouldn’t have hired her in the first place.
Go, thou, and do likewise.