Do liberal journalists who cover sports have nothing better to do than bully religiously conservative Christian athletes? Last year it was ESPN's Rick Reilly mocking evangelical teenage wrestler Joel Northrup. The latest to line up to smack around Christian athletes who act on conscience is Esquire's Charles Pierce, formerly of the Boston Globe, Pierce also contributes to ESPN's Grantland.com blog.
In his May 15 Grantland post, "And a Girl Shall Terrify Them," Pierce used news that a religious school from Phoenix, Arizona had forfeited a championship baseball game rather than play against a team which was fielding a female player. Pierce, who also appears frequently on taxpayer-backed National Public Radio, decided to weigh in with his condemnation. "The Gospels are not your alibi," Pierce huffed, directing his wrath at the Society of Pope Pius X, which runs the Our Lady of Sorrows Academy in Phoenix:
Here is Our Lady of Sorrows's official excuse for not playing in the championship game.
"Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty," the statement read. "Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls."
Predictably, Pierce scoffed at the objection, making such snide remarks as that the Society "apparently thinks infield practice qualifies as foreplay" and that they "dragged Jesus in as an accessory before the fact."
But what Pierce conveniently left out of his blog was an item also included in the Our Lady of Sorrows Academy press release, namely that their "decision [to forfeit] is pursuant to school policy which rules out participation in co-ed sports" [emphasis mine]. So the Academy, as a matter of policy, doesn't form co-ed sports teams, nor compete in co-ed contests.
Since high school softball is traditionally the girls' alternative to baseball, it stands to reason Our Lady of Sorrows assumed games played under the aegis of the Arizona Charter Athletic Association (AZCAA) would be boys-only and not permissibly co-ed.
But why actually explore that question when you're too busy bashing folks who are trying to stay true to their interpretation of the Christian faith (emphasis mine):
Completely by accident, Paige and her teammates had found themselves caught in a dark, dank corner of reactionary Christianity, which admits no light, no warmth, only the cold, dead past, and which stinks of prejudice, decaying dogma, and the worst social offal of the 20th century. There's not a lick of Catholic doctrine that would forbid men and women from playing baseball against each other. There is nothing in the Gospels that would remotely touch upon the situation, and not even St. Paul, that censorious old blatherskite, said anything that can be stretched plausibly to forbid it, and people have been known to use Paul's Epistles like taffy to marshal their arguments.
Oh, and one more thing: You may notice that Pierce ignorantly insisted that the Academy was a "Catholic charter school from Phoenix," when in fact the Society of Pope Pius X remains an "illegitimate" movement that lacks "canonical status" within the Roman Catholic Church.
In other words, Pierce wasted all that time blasting as out-of-touch and uber-reactionary a Catholic movement that is, well, not truly and authentically Catholic. That means the entire column -- penned by the author of "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free"-- was an exercise of ignorance, if not outright intellectual dishonesty.