Earlier this week, I mentioned the story of the evangelical Christian wrestler (Joel Northrup) who refused to fight a girl (Cassy Herkelman) in the state tournament, thus forfeiting his own shot at a state title and taking away her chance at showing everybody what she could do against him in a match.
Rick Reilly at ESPN made a comment about it that you tend to only hear on atheist blogs:
The Herkelmans — and most of the state of Iowa — praised Northrup for being a boy of faith. “It’s his religion and he’s strong in his religion,” says Megan Black, the only other girl who made state. (These were the first two in the state’s history. Black lost both her matches.) “You have to respect him for that.”
Does any wrong-headed decision suddenly become right when defended with religious conviction? In this age, don’t we know better? If my God told me to poke the elderly with sharp sticks, would that make it morally acceptable to others?
And where does it say in the Bible not to wrestle against girls? Or compete against them? What religion forbids the two-point reversal?
Religion isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card that you can use anytime you commit bad/intolerant behavior.
Your faith doesn’t excuse you from treating gay people like shit or taking away their rights (or not speaking up when you see them being taken away).
Your faith shouldn’t excuse you when you get in the way of women and their doctors.
Your faith isn’t an excuse to get out of learning proper science.
If someone asks you why you think a certain way, and your answer is “Because of my faith,” you’re not giving a reason at all. You’re giving an excuse. You’re too lazy to think for yourself and come up with a rational explanation. You’re trying to cover up for behavior you probably know is inexcusable, but you think you can get away with it if you use religion as a scapegoat.
I still think the sides involved are being too polite about all this — and maybe that’s fine since they’re the ones affected by this — but Northrup didn’t do Cassy any favors by not fighting her.
Again, Reilly gets it right:
“We believe in the elevation and respect of woman,” [Northrup's] 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.”
That’s where the Northrups are so wrong. Body slams and takedowns and gouges in the eye and elbows in the ribs are exactly how to respect Cassy Herkelman. This is what she lives for. She can elevate herself, thanks.