Monday, May 23, 2011

Personal and Professional Ethics

When I was in seminary I took a required course called “Ministerial Ethics” and had to sign the Minister’s Code of Ethics at the end of the course. I was glad to do so and have lived by that code ever since.  Some years later I accepted a position as adjunct professor of World Religions at Jacksonville University and they required me to sign an educators code of ethics before  I began teaching. Again I was glad to do so and abide by it.

Over the years I have noticed many people who shoot their careers in the foot because they violated their professional code of ethics. These violations often involve money or sex, two very powerful forces in our world. Both as a pastor and a teacher I know that it is always wrong to have sexual relations with anyone under my authority. No pastor should ever have sex with a parishioner. No teacher should ever have sex with a student in a school where the teacher is employed. It is always a violation of the code of ethics.

Any time a professional violates his or her professional or personal code of ethics they destroy a part of themselves and they put their career in jeopardy. It is also damaging to the subordinate over whom they have authority. I am appalled when I see men doing it and totally blown away when I see women doing it. The recent spate of  female teachers in elementary and secondary schools having sex with male students is more than my mind can comprehend.  

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