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Reddit, College Basketball and Religion

It sounds bizarre to be commenting on a idea so far outside my monkey sphere that I am genuinely lost and puzzled.

I like “Sports Clubs”. I used to like playing (Sadly, Chikungunya has given me arthritis so I move like Mick Jagger.) and even semi-competitive league stuff was fun (Rugby). I knew I was never going to play for a club or make money out of it but it was fun.

But American College Sports genuinely puzzle me because not only are they “big business” but colleges actively give players money to come play and do “courses” with them. It’s kind of bizarre to see Universities forking out millions of dollars for a handful of students to benefit. While I was in the UK our university sports consisted of millions of dollars too but it was shared between all the students. We had pitches to play on, swimming pools, gyms. Anyone could go play and learn. Many societies provided subsidised lessons and gym costs were “super low” for us to keep healthy. Outside the high workload subjects we even had “shortened classes” on one day so that we could avail ourselves of the facilities.

So it is puzzling to see such specialised treatment for the few people who happened to be good at sports. In fact such economic assistance in the UK is normally maintained for people with financial difficulty and people who are talented at an educational field.

I don’t think it’s healthy to do things the American Way. I feel that sports teams should maintain their own youth teams and work talent through that rather than utilising educational institutes to do that.

So let’s set the scene. Yes. That is Liberty University.

Now in response to this, Reddit had an article about how this was a miraculous victory (apparently, prayer works if you need to dunk) and that it was remarkable. But here is where things went wrong. You see a bunch of Atheists came out to smack Liberty University fans with a reality check. And I disagree with them.

I only found out about it because I was reading another article that referenced this one (NSFW – Penis Picture at the Top) on r/circlebroke. And I disagreed with the people writing in here too.

The atheists were running with the notion that teaching creationism was “wrong” and they shouldn’t be recognised. A lot of the college basketball fans were trying to defend their sport. Circle Jerk readers were making fun of the atheists for actively deriding the achievements of underdogs.

I don’t think Liberty University should be allowed to play Basketball for entirely different reasons  to the atheists on reddit and to the people mocking them.

For those who are unaware? Liberty University is an (allegedly) educational institution based on fundamentalist Christian theology. It’s Chancellor is Jerry Falwell and it is infamous for the teaching of creationism.

Without even going into the idiocy of trying to teach a curriculum based on the ideas of a bunch of 1800 year old teachings which should rule it out from the term “University” based on the notion that it tarnishes the very concept of education. If Jehovah did exist he should turn that place to glass based on the flagrant lie involved in calling it an “educational institute”.

But it is accredited.

Liberty was founded in 1971 and received Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation in 1980,[51] which was most recently reaffirmed in 2006.[52] In addition, it was accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) in September 1984, but resigned its TRACS accreditation on November 6, 2008.[53][54] Liberty has 60 accredited degree granting programs.[55] The law school, which opened in August 2004, gained provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association in 2006 and was granted full accreditation in 2010.[56] On December 9, 2009, Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. announced that “Liberty University has received Level VI accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). This is the highest classification from SACS and is reserved for colleges and universities that offer four or more doctoral degrees.[57] Liberty is also accredited by: American Bar Association (ABA) [58] Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)[58] National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)[58] Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)[58] Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) [59] National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) [60] Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) [58] Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP),[58] Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).[61]

This is why I am of the belief that accreditation should be done by a single body rather than a series of bodies. Your grasp of nursing means precisely dick if you teach magic in biology. Do their nurses grasp why doctors prescribe anti-biotics in groups? It is utterly shocking that Liberty University is recognised when they have so many fundamental flaws in the teaching of science rather than superstition.

But that’s an issue of accreditation. It’s tragic but the USA is obsessed with how much Jesus you can insert into children. The fact that they accredited such a University cheapens the accreditation. But it has nothing to do with a sport.

Without even going into the idiocy of trying to teach a curriculum based on the ideas of a bunch of 1800 year old religious writings which should rule it out from the term “University” based on the notion that it tarnishes the very concept of education… (Listen… there is “research” and there is “superstition” and LU flogs superstition) let’s see some reasons as to why we shouldn’t allow Liberty University to play.

I don’t think Liberty should be allowed to participate in College Basketball for the following reasons.

  1. Liberty University is not a secular institution and while it accepts people of other religious faiths it doesn’t respect them. There are other “Christian” colleges such as Notre Dame but Notre Dame’s Catholicism doesn’t extend to it’s discriminatory stance to students. By contrast, LU is a sectarian institute propagating the notion that religion A is better than religion B because religion A has a university and has dominated the world based on the fact that Religion A was backed up by a lot of guns and people who didn’t mind shooting dark skinned people until they accepted Religion A. In polite society we consider these people as religious fundamentalists and bigots
  2. Liberty University has a set stance against political freedom. (You cannot identify as a democrat openly and I am pretty sure none of the other more “hippy” parties either)
  3. Liberty University curtails the rights of women to access proper healthcare and holds to a view point that actively regards women as secondary to men.
  4. Liberty University actively discriminates against the GLBT and also hosts and supports various individuals who actively campaign against equality for the GLBT.

The last two stances are the most important.

Jerry Falwell Jr. may not have his father’s “repetoire” of dickery but Jerry Falwell Sr.’s guiding hand can be seen throughout.

Remember this was a man who

  • was supportive of the South African Apartheid Regime and called Desmond Tutu a “phoney”
  • has stood against Public Education
  • was responsible for the Anti-Gay movement which has cost the lives of many of the GLBT community by encouraging and normalising hate.
  • has a distaste for the “gay” teletubby (really? Does that make Grimace a homosexual hamburger advocate?)
  • stated “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen.”. He said this in response to the tragedy of 9/11. He also said that the attacks were “probably deserved”. Only recanting after heavy criticism where he blamed “The Terrorists” and apologised “If I left that impression with gays or lesbians or anyone else, I apologise.”. Because apparently Falwell Sr. doesn’t speak the same sort of English that we do.
  • has said a bunch of rather racist things (on top of that whole apartheid malarky) about Muslims

It is his will that drives Liberty University. And it is not a view point that is rare or weird. These are common enough views in the USA.

It’s the official policy of the university to be anti-choice/pro-life. It actively seeks to regulate women’s access to basic and essential healthcare which includes control over their own bodies and the choice of when to have a child. It also teaches a world view where women are subservient to men. It is shocking that many Indian women have BETTER access to such healthcare than women in the USA. When women in third world nations have (at least on paper – the issue here is availability rather than legality) more rights with regards to healthcare decisions than the Land of the Free (but remember! At least you get to own guns!).

It’s the official policy to oppose any improvements to the rights and freedom available to homosexuals and to actively curtail and reverse any progress afforded to them while preaching a creed of hate masquerading as “concern” for them. It does the same with regards to the right of women to control their own bodies. It also is big on “GLBT reparative therapy” which has been proven to be harmful.

The LU has opposed legislation that protects the GLBT including hate crime/speech legislation and anti-bullying legislation which was drafted to help protect at risk children and teens who are often gay from bullying which has resulted in the deaths of children from suicide after intolerable harassment.

So no… They are not a nice group of people. They shouldn’t be treated as such. I think the right to play a sport is not as important than the right to live your life free of bigotry. I know many redditors told me that the kids in LU may not agree with the stance of the college or that this may be the only chance for them to ever play a sport to which my response is as above. The right to not be persecuted for what or who you are outweighs the right to play a game.

Any money they earn through playing a sport is ploughed into an institution that dedicates itself to the above causes.

I think the right to not be discriminated against by a hate group that has repeatedly and often successfully lobbied against GLBT rights and indeed the rights of women is more important than a game. If they discriminated against ethnic minorities we would not be having this conversation. The fact of the matter is that sport doesn’t treat the GLBT well. In fact as far as I am aware of, the most GLBT friendly major sport I know about is Rugby where major steps forward were made due to Gareth Thomas and even he claims that it’s very tough being openly gay and in the sport. There needs to be a shift in the way racism and terrace violence occurred in the UK. Until then there will be few GLBT in sport.

Into this environment desperate for a change for the better (and it has gotten better. I remember the violence of the football terraces in my youth and the fear of racism and attacks on a young brown lad from not just opposition fans but my own. After all? It’s all shove…) you cannot introduce a team whose parent body actively discriminates against the GLBT or Women. We would not be having this conversation if they discriminated on the basis of race so why are we discussing it when they discriminating on the basis of gender and sexuality?

They are bigots irrespective of the bullshit they flog as science. They don’t deserve to play. It’s just that simple.

Comments

  1. otranreg says

    So it is puzzling to see such specialised treatment for the few people who happened to be good at sports. In fact such economic assistance in the UK is normally maintained for people with financial difficulty and people who are talented at an educational field.

    I don’t think this is the only example in America, where the well-being of the many is trampled to make the select few stinking rich.

  2. says

    It’s not that… It’s the fact that education falters while sports does not. And I was “good” at my sport. If I wanted to play professionally then I should go to a club rather than have a college sponsor my education just because I can throw a egg shaped ball particularly well.

  3. Tracey says

    A small college in Maryland is cutting its soccer and baseball programs to save a million dollars next year. That’s a million dollars that can go into, you know, educating students, instead of training up a dozen-or-so pampered athletes for professional careers on the taxpayer and students’ dimes. So far the hysteria and arrogance on the part of the “student” athletes is mind-blowing. Clearly they feel it’s their god-given right to elite treatment simply because they play with balls.

  4. otranreg says

    Avicenna: exactly. The fact that an athlete will have it easy for nothing means that a few (poor) people with real merits will have a harder time paying or will be effectively prohibited from getting higher education.

    It makes as much sense as trying to find an accountancy position for a tennis player:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esG6tzgSVpA

    (Mitchell and Webb bit inside)

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