An athlete who points skyward after an athletic victory in acknowledgement of his faith is not engaging in “excessive celebration,” as prohibited by University Interscholastic League rules. If that is a common interpretation of the rule, it should have been challenged and excised long ago. The equivalent of a quick personal prayer is neither obtrusive, obnoxious nor mocking, and any observers who find it thus are so virulently anti-religion and intolerant that they warrant no respect or attention whatsoever. And still…
Yes, Columbus (Texas) High’s re 4×100-meter relay squad had won its event, spurred by the stellar efforts of junior Derrick Hayes. Upon learning of the team’s victory, he pointed a finger to the skies. This common gesture, which can be seen dozens of times every day on videotapes of baseball games, was ruled by officials at the meet to have violated the University Interscholastic League (UIL) regulation barring “excessive celebration.” As a result, the entire 4×100-meter squad was disqualified and barred from moving on to the state championships.
If that harmless and inoffensive gesture was going to be interpreted as a celebration, which it is not, and if it is, excessive, which it also is not, the UIL had an obligation to warn coaches and athletes that it intended to enforce the rule idiotically and in a manner hostile to personal faith. It does not appear that such a warning was given. The penalty was unjust and cruel, and its effect is hostile to religion, as well as common sense and rationality. Columbus High should rally to the support of Hayes and his team mates, and the other teams ought to protest this result as well. This is “no-tolerance” in all the worst senses of the word.
Pointer: Alexander Cheezem
Source: Yahoo Sports
Efforts by religious and anti-religious interest groups to push their beliefs and agendas are unavoidable, if often annoying. When their machinations threaten real harm, they ought to be condemned, opposed, and told to behave. In its response to two recent incidents, our government is batting .500.
The Memorial Power Play
The Obama administration announced its objection to a Republican-backed proposal to add President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer to the World War II Memorial in Washington. This would block the intent of Congressman Bill Johnson’s bill, the “World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2011.” Continue reading
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Yes, India, worshipping this silly thing means you are all mad as hatters. Now come to a rational church, and chow down with us on some body and blood of Christ. Hey...what's so funny?
In State v. Daley, the Ohio Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s mental incompetence verdict and order of treatment for the defendant because it appeared to be based solely on the defendant’s passionate religious beliefs.
Daley was charged in March 2010 with retaliation, intimidation, aggravated menacing, menacing, and telecommunications harassment. The trial court referred Daley to the court’s psychiatric clinic for a competency evaluation, and the evaluating psychiatrist opined that Daley was not competent to stand trial because he was not able to assist in his defense.
At the competency hearing, Daley testified that, to the contrary, he was able to continue assisting his attorney in his defense. He also testified that his opinions about the legal system, such as his description of divorce court as the “high court of Satan,” were based on his religious belief that divorce is against the word of God. Nevertheless, the trial court found Daley incompetent to stand trial and ordered him hospitalized for restoration to competency. It based its opinion on the diagnosis of the psychiatrist, who testified that Daley, a “radical Christian,” “expresses such extreme intensity of religious belief in very unorthodox religious beliefs to the point to constitute psychosis.” The psychiatrist further testified that treating Daley would “change his psychotic symptoms of which are a religious theme[,]” so that his “intensity and [ ] preoccupation with his religious beliefs will be greatly decreased.” Continue reading
In August 2008, nine months after starting her job as a middle school math teacher in Berkeley, Ill., Safoorah Khan asked her school to give her three weeks off in December for a pilgrimage to Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. Though a Muslim is supposed to make the pilgrimage, called a hajj, once in a lifetime and Khan was under 30, she insisted that this was the time for her to go, and believed that the school’s refusal—it argued that having to replace her for that length of time in the middle of the school year was unfair to the students and a burden on the school’s budget—was discriminatory. She quit, made her pilgrimage, and thus infused with the wisdom of Allah is suing the pants off of her former employers. Her lawsuit alleges that by refusing to make a “reasonable accommodation” to her request, it was discriminating against her on the basis of her religion.
Meanwhile, Eric Holder’s Justice Department is joining the case on her side. Continue reading
An Ethics Alarms heartfelt thank you and “I owe you one!” to Ethics Sage, for cutting to the other core ethical point about what was wrong with Julea Ward’s refusal to counsel a gay student, and why she should have been dismissed from the university course as a consequence. It wasn’t just failure of responsibility, which my post was fixated on, but also failure of caring, compassion, and our shared duty as human beings to help each other even if our religion encourages us to regard those human beings as immoral.
Ethics Sage shows his handle ain’t just horn-blowin’ with this Comment of the Day, on the post “Yes Julea,You Have A Right To Your Beliefs; You Just Don’t Have A Right…”
“Julea Ward’s refusal to counsel a gay student is despicable on many levels. What if the student’s life had been threatened and he went to counseling to get some advice? How can anyone not act to help a person in that kind of situation or others we can think of that may or may not have anything to do with being gay? By refusing to counsel the gay student, Ward failed miserably not only to meet the requirements of the course but to act as a human being with compassion for another.”
There are some issues where conservatives are just ethically, logically and legally misguided, and the issue of exercising “religious conscience” in the course of performing specific duties and services is one of them.
Julea Ward was dismissed for failing to meet the requirements of her course when she refused to counsel a gay student while studying counseling at Eastern Michigan University. Ward later sued, saying that she told her supervisor at EMU she believes homosexuality is immoral and being gay is a choice, and that she could not in good conscience counsel a gay client. A federal court dismissed the case in July, but Ward’s lawyers have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District to step in. She claims that her right to worship as she pleases is being infringed. Continue reading
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