A far too frequent failure

The other day I did a piece about a Catholic high school that wouldn’t let its softball team play for the state championship if it meant they’d have to play against a woman at second base.  I came down on them for the frequent crime of organized religion: sexism.

The post seemed inadequate to me.  Admittedly, I wrote it to vent before rushing off to do other stuff.  After giving it some thought, I realized why it felt so feeble: I let one guilty party almost completely off the hook.

I ragged a little on Mesa Prep’s headmaster who said of the Catholics…

“It takes tremendous moral courage to stand by what it is you believe, and they are doing what they think is right,” Mesa Prep Headmaster Robert Wagner told KTVK.

What a contemptible sentence.

What if the Catholics had refused to play the game because Mesa Prep’s second baseman was black?  What if Robert had said of their racism that it takes tremendous moral courage to stand by what they believe?  There would have been an immediate backlash against him, and rightfully so.

But the church’s long-standing sexism?  Meh, it’s their tradition, even though it’s no more moral than racism.

This obligatory respect for religious institutions, the need to remind them that they are respected even as they prop up the most odious moral ideas, is sickening.  Let your tremendous moral courage be put toward denouncing immorality.  To pay respect to the wicked out of social convention is moral cowardice, and it makes you an accomplice.

They insulted one of his students for her womanhood, insisting they were above her because of her gender, and Robert’s first reaction was to praise their moral courage?  If a sentence condemning their moral confusion doesn’t immediately follow, then Robert has failed his student, his school, and his species.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.