Phyllis Schlafly Cites Hoax Case To Claim Christian Students Face Persecution

Conservative activists regularly claim that they are the real victims of bigotry and compare themselves to persecuted people throughout history, frequently citing bogus cases to show proof of their pain. As Kyle noted earlier today, “One thing that you can count on from the Religious Right is that once a talking point has been established, it will be repeated endlessly even after it has been proven to be demonstrably false.”

Take today’s Phyllis Schlafly column for example, where she warns that the First Amendment is under attack in public schools:

Some public-school busybody bureaucrats are trying to suppress any and all religious mention on school property. Their orders are far more extreme than anything courts have ever held to be violations of the First Amendment.

Sports are a favorite target of the anti-religious crowd. A high-school football coach, Marcus Borden, was forbidden even to bow his head or “take a knee” during voluntary student-led prayers before the games.

In Texas, a boy’s track relay team ran its fastest race of the year and defeated its closest rival by seven yards, which should have enabled it to advance toward the state championship. The team’s anchor runner pointed to the sky to give glory to God as he crossed the finish line, but someone didn’t like the gesture, so the authorities disqualified this winning team because of it.

The first case she mentioned is authentic, as indeed the coach was told to stop praying before games because the school and the courts found that his actions amounted to religious pressure and was unconstitutional. We wonder how Schlafly would react if a Wiccan public school coach tried to lead their team in prayer….

The second case she mentions of the Texas track athlete, however, is a well-known hoax that was debunked many months ago.

The athlete who said he was penalized for saluting God admitted that he fabricated the story and that he was actually disqualified for taunting: “My actions upon winning the 4x100 relay were strictly the thrill of victory. With this being said, I do not feel my religious rights or freedoms were violated.”

However, Republican politicians, Religious Right activists and conservative journalists continue to spread the myth, even well after it has been thoroughly discredited.

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