As we have pointed out many times before, once a mythical incident of supposed Christian victimization gets embraced by the Religious Right, it takes on a life of its own as no amount of evidence pointing out that the incident never happened will stop if from being spread.
And that principle was demonstrated today on Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom” radio broadcast where hosts Matt Barber and Shawn Akers juxtaposed the news of Jason Collins’ coming out against the story of Derrick Hayes, a high school runner who was supposedly disqualified from an event for thanking God after finishing a race.
While someone like Collins is hailed as a hero, Akers said, someone like Hayes is “almost criminalized”:
Of course, as we pointed out earlier this week, the entire saga of Hayes’ supposed victimization was false, as even Hayes himself admits:
Based on the UIL’s investigation, the student athlete raised his hand and gestured forward at the conclusion of the 4×100-meter relay. The meet official approached the student-athlete in an effort to warn him of a possible disqualification should that behavior continue. In the opinion of the official, the student reacted disrespectfully. Based on his reaction, the student-athlete was subsequently disqualified. Any decision to disqualify a student-athlete at any track meet must be upheld by the head meet referee. The meet official and the meet referee conferred, and the disqualification was upheld on-site. At no point during the discussions surrounding the disqualification at the meet was the issue of religious expression raised by any parties.
The UIL’s investigation also revealed that all coaches involved were notified prior to the regional meet that any gestures in violation of the National Federation of State High School Associations track and field rule against unsporting behavior would be grounds for disqualification. Coaches were instructed to discuss this with their student-athletes prior to all races.
To assist the UIL in its investigation, the student-athlete’s parents submitted a letter stating that their son’s religious freedoms were not violated. “In looking back at the conclusion of the 4×100 race, we realize that Derrick could have handled the win in a different manner,” KC and Stacey Hayes said in the letter. “It was not our intention to force the issue that our son’s religious freedom was violated. Nor do we feel that way now. After discussing this with our son, we have come to the conclusion that his religious rights were not violated.”
The student-athlete who was disqualified also submitted a letter during the investigation stating: “Although I am very thankful for all God has given me and blessed me with, on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Regional Track Meet in Kingsville, TX, my actions upon winning the 4×100 relay were strictly the thrill of victory. With this being said, I do not feel my religious rights or freedoms were violated.”
Even though Hayes admits that he was not disqualified for thanking God, Liberty Counsel continues to spread the myth, thus demonstrating yet again they aren’t going to stop promoting a good tale of victimhood just because it happens to be demonstrably false.