In late December of 2012, the(seven men) upheld the ruling that dentist James Knight acted within his rights by firing Melissa Nelson, who had worked at his practice for ten years, because she is attractive. Her firing was the idea of Knight’s wife who also works there. There has been no extramarital affair. There had only been texts, mostly to do with updates on their families schedules (Nelson is also married), and a couple of rude comments from Knight that were ignored by Nelson. The firing came as a surprise to Nelson because she had no idea there were feelings of a sexual nature from her boss whom she viewed as a father figure.
The situation is complex. It may be legal in Iowa to fire someone because of your own vices, but what about as a Christian? The Knights went ahead with the firing at the suggestion of their senior pastor. Once again, in the eyes of the world, Christianity is represented by a few.
Taking drastic measures to protect their marriage is honorable. But in the end it wasn’t James Knight who paid the price. It just doesn’t sound like a biblical approach to make other people pay for our struggle with sin. That’s Jesus’ job. Yes, we aren’t to flirt with temptation (so to speak), but that doesn’t mean that we avoid the struggle of transformation while negatively affecting the lives of others.
All of the employees in the office are women. Does a sea of red flags pop up in your mind too? I can only imagine what they are thinking, “Oh, I’m safe because I’m not attractive,” or “I won’t bother buying that new outfit or getting my hair done. I might get fired because this Christian man can’t control himself.”
Here’s what I think it all comes down to: being a Christian is difficult, but we must work at it. This issue came about only because Knight’s wife found out about the texts and made him fire Nelson. If she hadn’t, Knight wouldn’t have dealt with. And he’s not really dealing with it now. Why couldn’t he stop texting Nelson or move their offices around or something? If her attire was a problem he could have given the job of monitoring that to another woman in the office.
Besides, Knight’s wife works there too! Can you begin to imagine that her presence and knowledge of the situation wouldn’t have been a deterrent to the hormonally challenged dentist?
This is a step in the wrong direction for their marriage and for Christianity’s image to the world.
However, this is a complex situation, and, as always, I’d love to hear your take on this.