She Was Kicked off Her School’s Football Team Because the Bible Said So

Maddy Blythe is a 12-year-old athlete from Locust Grove, Georgia and she was one of the stars of the football team at Strong Rock Christian School, where she was on the defensive line, tackling anyone who tried to get past her.

That is, until this week, when she was kicked off the team.

What did she do wrong? Was she not attending practice? Was she a bad player? Nope. It turns out God really doesn’t like female athletes and neither do the boys who might lust after her.

Her mother posted this on Facebook:

Her school called me in for a meeting to discuss her future. I was told by the CEO that he did not believe girls should play on boys teams. He was worried 1) the boys might have impure thoughts, 2) the locker room talk might be a bit much for her to handle, 3) boys and girls should not compete in any sport, 4) there are other sports she can play, 5) they are a private school and can make any decision they want, and 6) he prayed about it and this was the right thing to do. He also quoted the bible by saying that men and women are created equal but different and therefore should not be allowed to play the same sports.

Yep, Maddy shouldn’t be playing sports. I guess Jesus wants her to make food for the boys on the team or something… and how dare she taunt the other athletes with her ovaries?!

Strong Rock Christian School, whose slogan of “Inspiring the next generation for Christ!” now sounds like a joke, may be right that they can legally kick her off the team, but that doesn’t mean we can’t point out what an awful, embarrassing decision this is. The school’s CEO, Patrick W. Stuart, should have to defend his decision and keep digging the hole he’s in even deeper into the ground… but, so far, the school has just said “no comment.”

I’m sure Stuart would love to hear from Christians, especially, who think he’s out of his mind.

In the meantime, Maddy and her mother Cassy have started a Facebook page called “Let Her Play” to support equality for all female athletes. It won’t change the CEO’s mind, but it will raise awareness of the issue.

Gotta love how Christian schools teach you to be all that you can be with Christ! Unless you’re a woman, in which case you should just do whatever the men tell you to do.

So let’s get the obvious question out of the way: Why did Maddy’s family enroll her in a private Christian school where pushing antiquated gender roles isn’t exactly unusual? I asked Cassy and this is what she told me:

We knew from the begining that we wanted [Maddy] to attend a private school so we would have a say in her education. My mom was a teacher and thought Strong Rock would have good academics and teach the kids good values. There are not many larger private schools to choose from where we live. Atlanta is over an hour away. We are Christian, but that’s not the reason we chose the school.

There’s no plan to transfer her to a different school just yet (or homeschool her). The family is still waiting to hear school officials’ responses to all the media requests.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Sven2547

    Yet they act so shocked when so many denominations are accused of being anti-woman.

    • Acleron

      But they love women and gays … providing they behave themselves and don’t demand equality.

      • Miss_Beara

        They love women and gays. Some of their best friends are women and gays, but…

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

          they even share hot tubs with the women and gays

  • onamission5

    I hope that Maddy wins her fight to just do what she loves and be who she is, rather than who some administrator thinks she should be.
    Her family is being a far better example for her on the good values front than the school they chose for her to attend. I am glad she has the support of her family!

  • flyb
    • Kevin Sagui

      Patrick Stewart does not approve of Patrick Stuart’s decision.

  • eric

    We are Christian, but that’s not the reason we chose the school.

    This, here, is the real problem with vouchers and such. Families are forced to choose between some decent education + unwanted proselytization or less decent education + no proselytization.
    That’s an agonizing choice no one should have to make. The country is certainly prosperous enough to support a decent public education and allow the private market to serve those who are specifically looking for proselytization. Nobody should have to “put up with” unwanted proselytization just to get a decent education.

    • Hat Stealer

      Voucher schools are one of those things that’s a good idea in theory, but in practice seem to cause all sorts of problems.

      It’s even worse when conservatives point to failing public schools as a reason for why we should switch to voucher schools, disregarding the fact that it’s their unwillingness to support public education that’s causing the schools to fail in the first place.

      • Gus Snarp

        They’re not even a good idea in theory, unless your goal is the elimination of public schools altogether.

        Gosh, public schools have problems, but they’re the only school mandated to serve everyone, regardless of income, race, belief, test scores, or behavioral problems.

        So if a school that serves troubled or poor kids is having problems, lets take money away from that public school district and give it to private schools that can selectively accept kids from that school district. Now the kids who have the fewest problems get pulled out of the public school and put into private schools. Meanwhile we’ve concentrated the problems of poverty, hunger, lack of parental involvement, insecurity, and behavioral problems in the public school while stripping it of the funding so desperately needed to supply counseling, better student teacher ratios, ESL teachers, specialists, and other services those troubled students need to succeed.

        I don’t see how there’s any way you can see this as a good idea from a public policy perspective. From the perspective of one of the lucky few to get a voucher and be accepted to a quality school? Sure. From the viewpoint of a politician who thinks the parents of those lucky few are more likely to vote than the parents of those left behind? Sure. From the viewpoint of a libertarian opponent of all things “public”? Sure. But from a policy point of view? It’s a bad idea from the outset, unless you just take a very shallow view.

    • edgar ayala

      This country spends so much on wars and on helping corporations, no politicians seem to care about quality education or accessible medicine for the common person.

      • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

        Those causes don’t have deep pocketed lobbyists.

  • LesterBallard

    It’s wrong, but it’s a fucking Christian school. I wouldn’t expect logic and reason and fairness and equality.

  • Acleron

    He prayed about it and guess what, his god agreed with him. I wonder how often old god says stop, you are wrong.

    • Octoberfurst

      That’s the ironic thing isn’t it? I have yet to hear a Christian say that he prayed about something and did not get the answer he wanted. “God told me I should quit my job”, “God told me to vote Republican”, blahh, blahh, blahh. Just once I’d like to hear some Christian say, “I prayed about the whole gay marriage thing and, to my shock, God said it was ok so I am cool with it now.”

      • 3lemenope

        This, soooooo much.

      • Billy Bob

        I wish I could upvote this 1000000 times.

      • WallofSleep

        For some reason, that reminded me of this image.

        http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/did-i-fucking-stutter.jpg

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.

        –Susan B. Anthony

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        I wish I had taken a screenshot the one time I saw a Christian write that he personally thought gay marriage was okay and should be legal, but he wasn’t allowed to support it because God said no and knew better than him.

    • edgar ayala

      In reality when people say this sort of thing they are saying, I prayed about it, and as it turns out I agree with myself.

    • Matt D

      Indeed. In fact, that little wrinkle turned me away from praying (which I did fairly often when I was…agnostic, I think) when I realized I was reinforcing my bad decisions by pretending they were beyond my control.

  • Keyra

    This is a disgrace to the faith

    • Hat Stealer

      This is simply the outcome of faith. When you base your worldview on things that actually have nothing to do with this world, then you’re bound to come up with some skewed ideas.

      • Anna

        It’s also the natural outcome of a faith that refuses to treat men and women equally when it comes to their roles in family life and religious life.

    • Renshia

      I think you mean, this is the faith and it is a disgrace.

  • The Captain

    You know I actually found reasons #3 and #4 to be the biggest loads of bullshit.

  • Tak

    I disagree they should kick her off the team but aren’t boys and girls teams separate in public schools too? Seems weird they’d let her on the team in the first place. My guess is that she was too good and they didn’t want their boy athletes to be beaten by a girl.

    • Wren

      I don’t think many schools have a girl’s football team for her to be on.

    • allein

      My cousin’s cousin (on the other side of his family) was a kicker for her (public) high school football team, and I think in college, too. The only girls’ football game when I was in school was the annual “Powderpuff” game (seniors against juniors at my high school).

      I think, in public schools at least, if there isn’t an equivalent team for girls, then any interested girls have to be able to try out for the boys’ team. (I could be wrong about that but I vaguely recall a case where that was the judge’s ruling. Don’t know how far-reaching the precedent would be.)

  • Mark W.

    Dear Patrick W. Stuart,

    Fuck you for being a misogynistic asshole, fuck you for being a bible thumping idiot, and a double fuck you for making me unconsciously associating a mentally deficient idjit like you Capt. Jean Luc Pickard, even if it was only for a millisecond.

    • Michael W Busch

      You have no grounds to say that Stuart is “mentally deficient”, and should never use “you have a mental disorder” as an insult – that is ableism.

      Stuart is a bible-thumping misogynist, and unfortunately similarly named to Sir Patrick Stewart (aka Jean-Luc Picard, Charles Xavier, and many other things).

    • Carmelita Spats

      Don’t feel bad for the church lady scolding. I’ve stopped using the word “idiot” through behavior modification strategies. A few days ago I busted my neighbor’s chops for saying that he, “was as happy as a busload of retards at a Chuck E. Cheese parking lot.” I hit him over the head with a sock full of wooden screws and learned him good that this was ableist language and should never, ever, be used. It isn’t funny. Instead of referring to my cuss-of-a-neighbor with the descriptor “idiot”, I now tell him that he couldn’t make a plug for a dog’ s asshole with a shit for a pattern. I don’t know if this is ableist language but I will check.

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        This implies that you had a sock full of wooden screws at the ready. My suicidally curious primate brain wants to know more, even as it asserts that knowing more cannot possibly help.

  • Gerry

    Yes, she should not give the boys impure thoughts UNLESS SHE’S A CHEERLEADER!

    • pagansister

      Now cheer leading is a “girls” job (but how does that explain the boys that do it in college) so she should perhaps “settle” for that! NOT.

  • URDUM

    I’m not convinced that Christianity has anything to do with it. In the “old-boy” south especially, men have historically resisted letting anyone else in the boys club. I remember public schools going through similar controversies.

    • Michael W Busch

      I’m not convinced that Christianity has anything to do with it.

      Didn’t you read the quotes above?

      In this case, Christianity is being used to hold artificial gender-role codification and patriarchal social patterns above challenge (e.g. “I prayed about it, so you can’t question me”).

      Society as a whole still has huge problems with sexism, but religion isn’t helping to fix them and often makes them worse.

    • Pickle

      There was a similar case at the (public) high school I went to here in Texas too many years ago to admit. The girl’s family moved her to another school in the area but I don’t know if she got to play football there or not. I can’t say if it was sexism or a religious thing, though. In the area I lived in at the time, it could have been either.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Christianity could potentially just be the rationalization for the sexism, but even the offender claims it to be the primary factor, which means it is a strong factor even if he’s lying to himself.

  • C Peterson

    Excellent. Another “none” in the making. Some of these Christian institutions should just be labelled “None factories”.

  • A3Kr0n

    The parents sent their daughter to a private Christian school so she could learn in a Christian environment, and they get mad when the school actually does it.
    That makes sense…

  • Croquet_Player

    Poor kid. Sounds like a dreadful school.

  • David

    Why does a school have a CEO?

    • Jesse Sinclair

      Private schools are registered corporations. They’re run by a Board of Directors, who have a CEO, and they manage the business aspects, and then appoint a Principal who manages the academic aspects.

      Same as how private hospitals have a Board and a CEO and then appoint a Dean of Medicince (or whatever that particular body calls, Chief of etc) to handle the actual medical organization.

      In both cases in theory the Board is supposed to handle anything that isn’t directly related to the primary function (education/medicine) so the (dean of medicine/principal) can just focus on their primary role. In practice the Boards tend to CONSTANTLY MEDDLE.

  • Mary

    Since they are using the Bible for reasoning, have they managed to forget certain verses?

    Leviticus 11:7-8

    Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

    7 And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. 8 Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

    This in itself should ban football for everyone, touching a pig skin, how dirty. But hey, let’s only pick the parts of the Bible we want to, that’ll make everything better.

    • Miss_Beara

      Then they complain that atheists take the bible literally, as they are going through the bible to find passages about gays, women and girls playing sports.

    • tresameht

      Footballs aren’t made out of real pig skin anymore.

  • Miss_Beara

    “I prayed to God and he told me it was the right thing to kick her off of the team”

    aka

    “I take no responsibility for my actions because of God and the bible so don’t question me.”

    • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

      Hey, it’s been working for religious authorities for thousands of years, why change now?

  • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

    A shameful act of sexism.

  • Renshia

    Well, you know, that’s pretty much what a person would expect of christians.

    Can’t have a person enjoying her life and doing what she wants, that’s sacrilege.

  • Greg G.

    CEO on the team’s defensive lineman: Make it sew.

  • Colin

    I like how the school has completed dispensed with the pretense of being an academic institution – he’s a CEO, not a principal. Pretty clear that their priorities are on the business side, not, you know, actual education.

    • Jesse Sinclair

      Not to defend the school because this is clearly a shit-tacular decision, but the CEO is not replacing the principal, they are above them and lead the Board of Directors, just like any corporation. Just like any secular institution would.

      The name of the schools principal is Tucker Perkerson and I’d REALLY like to know what HE thinks considering this is normally something that the CEO would pass down to the principal, but the CEO seems to be having to do it themselves.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    “Strong Rock Christian School … may be right that they can legally kick her off the team”

    Title IX says otherwise.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Interesting thought- so I went looking to back it up.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_IX#Similar_U.S._state_laws

      says

      Because Title IX only addresses public and private schools that receive federal funding, several states have enacted similar laws to prohibit discrimination based on sex regardless of whether the school receives federal funding. As of 2008,[dated info] about a third of the states have done so, including Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

      Unfortunately the footnote http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/Content/Articles/Issues/Title-IX/S/State-Title-IX-Laws.aspx is a 404.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        I can’t find it either. I’m guessing the site has been heavily revised in the time between the cite and us checking it.

  • Stev84

    “was told by the CEO”

    :facepalm: Everything that is wrong with the American education system right there

  • I_Make_Movie_References

    They won’t let Icebox play?

  • SeekerLancer

    I can’t wait until the sports glass ceiling shatters. I love how uncomfortable it makes sexists.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    He also quoted the bible by saying that men and women are created equal but different

    Hmm, so a bigoted Christian that likes the idea of separate, but equal… how unusual.

  • pagansister

    If all the junk he was saying was what the school/he thought, how was she “allowed” on the team to begin with???? Did they let her on then kicked her off because god gave him (CEO) some bad advice at first then god changed his mind? Really? That man needs to get a life—-

  • Gus Snarp

    Somehow I must have missed the Bible verse that said: “Thou shalt not permit a woman to play football.” Apparently we can selectively interpret something somewhere to mean that a girl can’t play sports with boys that didn’t even exist when the Bible was written, but we can also just pretend that a clear “do not” doesn’t actually apply to shellfish because their so damned tasty or to blended fabrics because they’re just so convenient. This school has just proved that the Bible is selectively interpreted and can never be cited as any kind of authority, that he priests and private school CEOs are simply claiming absolute power as long as they can cherry pick and selectively interpret Bible verses to pretend it agrees with them.

  • Carl Jones

    I am a Christian and the only problem I can see is that of a shared locker room but I have no doubt this could be easily overcome.
    I also think this story is intended to portray all Christians as retards. I am very sorry that the author has to resort to such in order to express his viewpoint. There is nothing friendly about this atheist.

  • JKPS

    I know this is a couple days old, but Maddy and her mom were on the Bert Show today (morning radio station based out of GA) and there was a female kicker on the high school team! They said she’s not there anymore, and I don’t know if she graduated or something, but clearly this is nothing new, and if the freaking high school boys were able to keep their lustful hearts in check, why can’t the middle school boys that Maddy has been playing football with for YEARS (even before the team started)?


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