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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Commentary: SSPX HS refuses to allow female ref boy basketball

    Emailed to me by a reader:

    Kansas activities officials are investigating a religious school's refusal to let a female referee call a boys' high school basketball game.

    The Kansas State High School Activities Association said referees reported that Michelle Campbell was preparing to officiate at St. Mary's Academy near Topeka on Feb. 2 when a school official insisted that Campbell could not call the game.

    The reason given, according to the referees: Campbell, as a woman, could not be put in a position of authority over boys because of the academy's beliefs.

    Campbell then walked off the court along with Darin Putthoff, the referee who was to work the game with her. - Associated Press
    A more detailed report by local Topeka Capital-Journal. CNA also has posted coverage.

    The St. Mary's Website, unsurprisingly for an SSPX oufit, features a banner with an image of the excommunicated Marcel Lefebvre instead of, say, Pope Benedict. Quite simply, the SSPX are not in communion with Rome, so the feminists can hold it on the Catholic-bashing. They've been quick to pull up quotes from the SSPX FAQ which they consider misogynistic.

    There is, however, like there typically is in these cases, another side to this story.

    Consider, for instance, the testimony of this person who has direct contact with the situation:

    To all of those who think this is a load of backward Kansas garbage, it least the way it is represented. But I happen to know many of the parents and their children at this academy, and I can tell you, they are extremely upset.

    Apparently, it was reported that she couldn't ref the game because she would have authority over them. THAT IS NOT WHY. It is because the school has a policy of not playing sports with women (a ref on the basketball court is almost as involved as the players) They believe that because women are naturally weaker than men, they should be protected and treated better than men. They believe that sports diminishes the respect (due to women by virtue of their femenine nature) in the eyes of the boys. It is not about control or subjection or anything like that. In fact they have many females at the school - teachers, secretaries, nuns, administration, monitors,etc...and support women whole-heartedly.

    Just to clarify, the ref was completely cool with it. When the AD explained quite simply that they prefer males to ref/coach the boys and females to ref/coach the girls she understood the situation completely. It was her fellow ref that made the big stink and misquoted or misrepresented the whole situation. - "ilduce42"

    The same individual links to this article (which I'm guessing she wrote), which explains why St. Mary's chose to forfeit a football game rather than have its boys play against a girl on the opposing team.
    Granted, the issue of women playing contact sports with men is not what is in question here. And extending a prohibition against male-female contact sports to prohibiting female refs is both silly and offensive.
    I don't think, however, you can read misogyny into the school's actions. More likely it is represents a misguided attempt to respect the diginity of women. And that intention is a good one. It would be nice if the SSPX folks would post a note somewhere explaining their decision.
    Or it will come out anyway when they get sued.
    update: the SSPX has released the following short press release:

    ST. MARY'S ACADEMY (in St. Mary’s, KS) policy is to have only men in their sports program for boys.

    Sports for boys are seen as training for the battlefield of life where the boys will need to fight at times through great difficulties. As such, it is more appropriate that it be men who train and direct the boys in these sports programs for only men can teach the boys to be men, just as only women can truly teach girls to be women.

    It is not a question of women having no authority over boys as the quote in the paper (if it was accurate) seem to indicate. It is a question in athletics of men training boys to be men.

    This press release supports the "other side" of this story that I presented in my original post above. Nor do I think this statements represents an after-the-fact retelling of history. Instead, the more likely conclusion is that the initial reports of this situation issued by the MSM were innacurate. As to who exactly is to blame for this misrepresentation, I wouldn't know where to start. Slow news day?

    And before folks decide to get excited in the combox again - no, I don't support what St. Mary's did. My simple point is that the reporting of this topic is warping the facts. And there's no reason to get up in arms about something that did not actually happen. The actual discussion, if it is to be fruitful, should focus on what seems like the more plausible explanation of their motivations. There's plenty to discuss right there.

    That's just a suggestion. The combox is free, as long as people stay within the bounds of charity.

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