Thursday, February 14, 2008

In Which We Are Almost Speechless

Of course, we are never too speechless to say What. The. Flying. Fuck. (via Pharyngula)
Kansas activities officials are investigating a 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.

St. Mary's is run by the retro-Catholic Society of St. Pius X, a lovely little schismatic group that believes in rather arcane bits of theology from the totally old-skool Church as well as believing that major purchases should not be made on Sundays, that women shouldn't wear men's clothing and that standards of modest attire should be enforced more rigorously for women than for men, that surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy is never okay until the embryo has died on its own, and, oh yeah, that slavery isn't necessarily always a bad thing. On the plus side, they teach that it's not a sin to serve soft drinks as long as they aren't drunk purely for pleasure or in excess, that you don't necessarily have to cut off all communication with your daughter who is living in sin, and that it is permissible to perform old-time country folk music on TV. But not Gospel music, ever.

Aaaaaannnnnnd where does the SSPX stand on feminism (or "the feministic movement," as they so charmingly refer to it on their website)? Do you really need to ask? Actually, the discussion opens with this howler:

The Church has always been, historically, a great defender of woman.

And kind of goes downhill from there.

The natural order differentiates the two sexes by subordinating the one to the other. In the order of creation the woman comes after man. She is subject to man though not his final end.

There is a subordination which many choose to ignore, a subordination given us by Divine revelation: "The head of every man is Christ; the head of the woman is man; and the head of Christ is God." Feminism refuses the true nature of woman, confuses the natural and supernatural relations between the sexes and embarks upon a deviant path at the end of which the suicide of thought and the death of womanhood is inevitable.

The suicide of thought? Come on now--there's no need for suicide when the Church kills your independent thought processes for you!

Getting back to the point, though, while I find the thought of living under such a stifling philosophy repugnant and am very sad for the women in the SSPX families, it ultimately matters to me not because of my personal emotional reaction to the crap trotted out on their website and likely in their weekly homilies, but because it's a prime example of religious extremism reaching out to gobsmack other people who do not subscribe to their beliefs.

How much cash did the referee miss out on by not working that game? If the Arizona interscholastic association pay scales are any comparison, it was probably in the neighborhood of forty bucks. Not huge in the grand scheme of things. But, as with so many other fights of principle, it's the precedent here that matters more than the specific economic opportunity being denied. In a publicly funded athletic association, denying employment to a certified professional on the basis of gender can't fly. The Kansas association is reviewing the incident and St. Mary's written policies before deciding whether to boot the school.

Beyond the seemingly cut-and-dried issue of whether a religious institution may discriminate while operating under the umbrella of a public association, I find myself shuddering at the kinds of assholes this school is churning out into the greater society when it teaches that an adult woman has no authority over minor boys. God, I hope the first female cop who pulls one of these guys (or their coaches or teachers or priests) over for speeding has a microphone on her dashboard camera. That's going to be just charming.

Women may hold no authority over men. Isn't that one of the facets of religious extremism we cite as a reason to invade other countries, at least as long as they (1) don't have nukes or (2) have leaders who like to go on long walks on the beach with our leader?

Slight update and props to the male referees at the gym who refused to play along with the bullshit and walked off the court with Campbell:

Fred Shockey, who was getting ready to leave the gym after officiating two junior high games, said he was told there had been an emergency and was asked to stay and officiate two more games.

"When I found out what the emergency was, I said there was no way I was going to work those games," said Shockey, who spent 12 years in the Army and became a ref about three years ago. "I have been led by some of the finest women this nation has to offer, and there was no way I was going to go along with that."

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