Nebraska football coach was denied Stanford job over religious beliefs
After his team lost in the Rose Bowl, Nebraska Assistant Football Coach Ron Brown applied for the head coaching job at Stanford University. He was denied the job after the first interview, reports The Daily Nebraskan, because of his religious beliefs, especially his belief that homosexual behavior is a sin.
"(His religion) was definitely something that had to be considered," Alan Glenn, Stanford's assistant athletic director of human resources, told the student newspaper. "We're a very diverse community with a diverse alumni. Anything that would stand out that much is something that has to be looked at."
Brown also wrote about the discrimination in the March 2002 issue of Sharing the Victory, the magazine of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (the article is not yet available online). In it, he says he was directly told that he wasn't getting the job because an athletic director "did not believe that my Christian convictions would mesh well with that university. … I wasn't upset with (the) decision to choose another candidate over me. But I was shocked at the reason and that the university was that up-front in telling me the reason."
He voiced similar shock to the Nebraskan. "If I'd been discriminated against for being black, they would've never told me that," he said. "They had no problem telling me it was because of my Christian beliefs. That's amazing to me."
The paper agreed. "While we don't agree with his comments that homosexuality is a sin, we also don't think Stanford should have turned down a good coach because of a belief system he holds. That seems a bit too much like reverse discrimination to us," said a staff editorial. "In an effort to protect all viewpoints and diversities at the liberal Palo Alto, Calif., campus, it seems Stanford's athletic department failed to protect Brown's Christian point of view. That's not right."
Stanford officials were quick to deny the story. "Religion played no role in our decision-making process, and to assert that Ron's religious views were a consideration is inaccurate," Stanford athletic director Ted Leland said in a letter to the Nebraskan. Glenn wrote a similar article saying his comments were taken out of context, and that religion wasn't a factor.
Others criticize the paper for defending Brown's "bigotry." "I trust that your editorial staff today would applaud any university that chose not to hire qualified candidates who were outspoken racists, even if the individuals turned to the Bible to support their views on race," wrote an assistant music professor.
The Nebraskan, however, stands by its story. "Frankly, we're disappointed in Stanford, which appears to be trying to cover itself for telling Brown he didn't get a job because he has strong Christian beliefs," the paper said in a follow-up editorial.
They have good reason to cover themselves. ACLU lawyer Margaret Crosby tells the San Francisco Chronicle that "a coach who felt discriminated against likely could cite Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects against discrimination of employment based on religion, among other things."
Brown isn't talking about the story now (a fact also lamented by the Nebraskan), but in the original piece he said the Stanford denial won't silence his Christian beliefs. "The truth is the truth," he said. "I don't believe you compromise any truth for whatever job."
No end in sight to Church of the Nativity standoff
Three Palestinians were allowed to leave the Church of the Nativity compound yesterday, but an end to the standoff seems far away. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said a surrender deal had been reached with the 200 or so Palestinian gunmen inside, but the Palestinians backed out. The Palestinians, on the other hand, say Sharon is lying and no such deal was ever made.
Yesterday, President Bush called Sharon and told him that ending the clash at the reported site of Jesus' birth was very important to the U.S.
Two Palestinians—one shot in the stomach, and another suffering from epilepsy—were evacuated by Israel Defense Forces yesterday, placed under arrest, and sent to the prison ward of an Israeli hospital. Peter Kumri, director of Beit Jala hospital, told Reuters that more than a dozen others inside the church also need medical attention.
A third Palestinian from inside the compound, a 14-year-old boy, was captured by Israeli soldiers as he climbed over the church's walls in a search of vegetables. "It is better to die outside after eating a meal than to die inside hungry," he told Kumri. Food inside the church is reportedly almost gone, except for a few potatoes and some other staples.
Church & State:
- Religious groups already get taxes | Since the 1960s, government money has flowed to religious groups that run Head Start programs and other social services (The Cincinnati Post)
- Satan ban exposes mayor to wrath | Controversy continues in Inglis, Florida (Associated Press)
- Judge orders Commandments covered | Plaque has been affixed to the Chester County (Penn.) court's front entrance since 1920. (Associated Press)
- Seminary fights to survive fiscal woes | Union Theological Seminary, a liberal flagship for mainline Protestantism, is appealing to alumni to reverse an annual $2.75 million deficit (The Washington Times)
- Critics question academic value of Bible course | Academics say it eschews Bible scholarship and varying interpretations of biblical passages for a literal approach (The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.)
- Religious gifts add up to a lawsuit | Daniel Walz, 9, claims discrimination. Egg Harbor Twp. schools say no. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Federal court hears lawsuit over kindergarten Christian | Teacher hushed Kayla Broadus for saying, "God is good. God is great. Thank you, God, for my food." (The Washington Times)
- Christian club threatens to sue high school | Faculty advisor of the Pioneer High School's Gay-Straight Alliance wants Pioneers for Christ to adopt the non-discrimination policy like the rest of the school's clubs. (The Ann Arbor [Mich.] News)
- Florida lawmakers dispute religion code | A special legislative session called by Gov. Jeb Bush to pass a sweeping education measure ended in chaos Friday over a provision allowing students to pray and speak about religion in schools. (Associated Press)
- Also: Governor offers plan on religion in schools | Proposal an effort to prod lawmakers (The Florida Times-Union)
- Making schools better may not have a prayer | Why do we keep fighting the same religion-in-schools battles over and over? (Mike Thomas, The Orlando Sentinel)
- Permission to pray | Students who want to pray will do so no matter what bills are passed. There's no need for legislators to grant them permission. (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)
- And then came the books | Don't think religion and politics mix? They do in a flood of volumes published since Sept. 11 (The Dallas Morning News)
- Minister urges blacks to shun Michigan town | The Rev. Horace Sheffield III says Warren is guilty of racial profiling (The Washington Times)
- How September 11 altered the perceived place and role of religion in the United States | Why the Catholic Church scandal is surfacing now (Marci Hamilton, Findlaw.com)
- Religion and the law | Dioceses have on the whole acted little differently from commercial institutions confronted by explosive litigation risks (The New York Times)
- Pope summons America's cardinals | Meeting at the Vatican to discuss child sex-abuse scandal (The Washington Post)
- Also: Pope summons American cardinals to discuss abuse (The New York Times)
- Earlier: Vatican-church relations questioned | Cardinal Bernard Law's decision to continue as leader of the Boston archdiocese has spawned broader questions about the Vatican's response to the sexual abuse scandal engulfing the church. (Associated Press)
- Abuse by clergy is not just a Catholic problem | To some extent, clerical sexual abuse exists in every religious group, experts say. But quantifying the problem is almost impossible. (The New York Times)
- Three women say preacher touched them | Gennaro J. Piscopo of Evangel Christian Church in Roseville, Michigan, accused of criminal sexual conduct during deliverance ministry (Detroit Free Press)
- L.A. cardinal cleared of sex-abuse claims (Reuters)
- Bishops' committee members accused | Two of the five Roman Catholic bishops on the committee developing the church's national response to the sex abuse crisis are accused in lawsuits of helping protect priests who molested children. (Associated Press)
- Sacred cruelties | At precisely the moment when religion should have a calming influence, it has a dispiriting influence. (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times)
- Ex- pastor pleads no contest to more than 100 fraud charges | W. Michael Altman faced possibly 554 counts (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Claims in MLK plot get mixed response | After a frenzied week of news media and FBI interest in the Rev. Ronald Denton Wilson's claim that his late father killed Martin Luther King Jr., the doubters and believers of his story are starting to line up. (The Gainesville [Fla.] Sun)
- Preachers ready chilly welcome for Mormons | Ill. village is told temple will bring missionary cyclists (The Boston Globe)
- Baptists arrested on Mormons' Main Street Plaza | First trespassing arrests since Salt Lake City sold the block to the church three years ago. (Salt Lake Tribune)
- Evangelical Christians arrested on Mormon plaza (Associated Press)
- Hindus attack church | No one injured (PTI)
- Russian Catholic leader alleges organized campaign against Church, urges defense of religious freedom | Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz said that numerous aggressively anti-Catholic rallies had been held outside Catholic churches and that Russian law enforcement officials had failed to respond (Associated Press)
- Roman Catholic priest banished (The Moscow Times)
Ransoming the Burnhams:
- Abu Sayyaf's ransom | How can we expect other nations to help us stop the flow of money to terrorists when we ourselves are sending it? (Editorial, The Washington Times)
- U.S. monitoring ransom negotiations | Governments and experts still say ransoming hostages is a bad idea (Associated Press)
Missions & ministry:
- 'A cross between Jesuits, Marines' | Crisis-response team wants members to stay fit in every way (The Dallas Morning News)
- Man of God, man of law | Police chief ministers to his flock (The Dallas Morning News)
- Chaplain stretched beyond sermons | Prison's diversity of faiths also requires coordinating ministries, weighing inmate requests (The Washington Post)
- In a former hospital, a 'supermarket of ministries'? | Philadelphia Dream Center hopes to convert the seven upper floors into a residential detox program, a vocational program for ex-convicts, a charter school, housing for urban missionaries, and other programs. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Unconventional ministries use down-and-out to solicit donations | But does it help the homeless? (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
- Missionary promised help |A U.S. woman who has lived in Taiwan since 1960 helping polio victims and was recently fined for overstaying might be offered permanent residency (Taipei Times)
- Minister's plan to increase adoption: Make them free (CNN)
- Released missionary to go home | Peter Hammond was reportedly arrested in southern Sudan by the Sudanese Peoples' Liberation Army (SAPA)
Other stories of interest:
- Falwell goes global | The Reverend is launching a Mideast non-peace campaign and a cable station (Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange.com)
- God's own country | What may emerge from the priestly scandals and the taped revelations of Graham and Nixon is a recognition that deference to church leaders is just as dangerous as deference to any other kind of leader, and that people who claim their political acts are somehow inspired by and endorsed by an Almighty may turn out to be both liars and hypocrites (Duncan Campbell, The Guardian)
- Biblical reserve echoes Noah's 'two by two' | The Biblical Wildlife Reserve of Hai-Bar Yotvata displays and protects Israel's wildlife, its wildflowers and natural landscape (The Japan Times)
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