Deep breath I tell myself. Think don’t react. I cannot. This has gone too far to feel anything but outrage.
Let me be upfront. I do NOT believe in organized religion. I choose to believe in something bigger than myself and I also choose to be a good person because it is the right thing to do, not because I am afraid of what lies ahead of me. I don’t need guilt or shame or fear to know that being a compassionate person is my goal in this lifetime.
That out of the way, let’s talk about the utter, yet, infuriating nonsense taking place in my community.
Our girls basketball team won regionals on Thursday. The tournament was held at a Catholic high school. In the moments of excitement and glory, they made a split decision to hold up a Barbie doll, their mascot of girl power, to the cross that was hanging in the gym and take a picture.
From the reaction of the Catholic community, you would believe they murdered someone.
Let me first say something else that is bothering me… why are public school athletes subject to seeing a cross on the court? What happened to the separation of church and state?
Back to the situation. If the local scrutiny wasn’t bad enough, the newspapers took hold of it and last night it made the evening news.
Sadly, our district seemed to have no problem throwing the girls and their coach under the bus.
Why? Why is a public school allowing the beliefs of a few to erase all of the good in the players and the coach?
The girls on our basketball team are honor role students. They participate in community outreach, they don’t get in trouble at school and they do not have criminal records. They are upstanding citizens.
If the school and the community can’t see that because of a split decision they made in a moment of excitement, I am appalled.
I strongly believe in freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of personal choice. I am free to hold a Barbie on a cross, and others are free to bitch about it. And while many Americans don’t like it, anyone is free to burn the American flag. That is the beauty of our country. We are FREE.
What the girls did could be seen as disrespectful to SOME, not all. But, the adults of this community have turned it into persecution. Those that expect forgiveness on Sundays can’t seem to offer it any other day of the week.
The community is bullying these girls. They are making them feel shame for who they are. To SOME, they made mistake. A single mistake. Let’s not lose sight of who they are as individuals. In a world full of gangs and drugs and shootings, why is it that something as basic as exercising freedom of speech has become an opportunity to destroy all the good these girls have accomplished?
The girls and the coach have nothing to be ashamed of. It is the righteous adults of the community that need to look deep within themselves and question if they are as perfect as they are expecting the girls to be.
I can answer that: no.