This may end up being a post series, since there are so many examples that one could cite for the religious being intolerant of others. Whether it's Muslims flying planes into buildings (no link needed I trust) or rioting/killing over cartoons of Mohammed, Xians petitioning for their right to be bigots or killing abortion providers, or Jewish communities that try to impose their religious values on all those around them or theocratic Jews making pronouncements about the role of gentiles (to serve the Jews) - examples abound.
Instead, today I'd like to focus on something else - a sports story from the midwest.
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Fourteen-year-old wrestler Cassy Herkelman doesn't need anybody protecting her from anything. She's broken her collarbone, split her lip, deviated her septum, wrecked her elbow, all from wrestling. She's about as dainty as a forklift.
She's her district's pony-tailed, 112-pound champion wrestler, boy or girl, kangaroo or camel. She's not a tulip, isn't a Jane Austen character, and doesn't wilt in the heat.
So why did her first opponent in the Iowa state high school wrestling tournament default rather than wrestle her?
Because "wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," said 16-year-old home-schooled sophomore Joel Northrup, in a statement. "As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner."
Why am I not surprised that Joel is home-schooled? But, yes, it's a matter of his faith (religion) that he's not supposed to competitively wrestle a young woman and it shows another example of religious bigotry, this time aimed at women.
"We believe in the elevation and respect of woman," the father told the Des Moines Register, "and we don't think that wrestling a woman is the right thing to do. Body slamming and takedowns -- full contact sport is not how to do that."
Yes, of course, the old, "We respect women, so we have to ensure that we treat them like delicate flowers that need to always be protected and kept away from anything that might offend their delicate sensibilities." Nevermind the fact that she had earned her way to the state tournament by...(wait for it)...wrestling. But, if his religion teaches him this, then it's quite plainly teaching him sexism and intolerance.
I do, however, need to take issue with one thing the author states:
I don't feel as bad for Cassy as I do for Joel. He was the fifth-ranked wrestler in the state at 112 pounds. He was 35-4. He had a chance to win the whole thing. In Iowa, that means a lifetime of people buying you lunch. It's corn-state royalty. To give all that up to protect a girl who loathes being protected? What a waste of a dream.
In no way would I ever think that him throwing away his chance at winning a competition should make us feel sorrier for him than the sexism that she has endured in this. I do, however, feel some sympathy for him, and here's why. This stance of his is a learned behavior. He's been indoctrinated into a religion that teaches sexism and intolerance. Here's to hoping that one day we can all throw off the shackles of religious intolerance and make the world a better place.