Dispatches from the Creation Wars

And Hector Avalos is in the middle of it again. The football coach at Iowa State wants to hire a chaplain for the team, paid for out of private funds, but a group of 100 faculty opposes the idea:

Coach Gene Chizik, hired last November, wants to hire a chaplain who would be paid by private donations. Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard supports the plan because he contends student-athletes are under a lot of pressure and need access to spiritual guidance.

Faculty members behind the petition said hiring a chaplain is improper at a public university given the separation between church and state. And they said the move would favor Christianity over other religions.

“Are you going to have counseling for Jewish students? Muslim students? There’s no such thing as one religion or one version of Christianity,” said Hector Avalos, a professor of religious studies at Iowa State.

Sorry folks, you’re right on the ID issue but you’re wrong on this one. If the chaplain is paid for out of private funds, then Iowa State isn’t hiring him. There is nothing they can do to stop it, nor should there be.

Comments

  1. #1 Leni
    May 27, 2007

    Two questions:
    1) Even though it is paid for by private funds, doesn’t the University still have to approve it?

    2)If so, then aren’t they ultimately responsible for the presense of a Chaplain?

  2. #2 Elf Eye
    May 27, 2007

    If the university provides preferential access to a chaplain of one sect, wouldn’t that be a problem? The chaplain wouldn’t be paid with university funds, but the coach _is_ a university employee, and in his actions as coach he is a representative of the university. If he is opening up his locker room to a representative of a particular cult, why wuldn’t that raise constitutional issues?

  3. #3 cserpent
    May 27, 2007

    I initially had the same reaction as you – that private funding of the chaplain position frees it from the restriction against state-endorsement of a religion.

    But, what if the chaplain was to do more than just provide “access to spiritual guidance”? For example, what if he were to represent the school and the team to the public? Would that be crossing the line into endorsement regardless of where the money came from?

    Also, it seems like a foot-in-the-door move on the part of the coach. Even if allowed, as on the face of it would be appropriate, this would have to be carefully monitored to ensure that the chaplaincy position doesn’t evolve into one funded by the University and that the chaplain doesn’t use the position to drive non-Christian and homosexual players off of the team.

  4. #4 Skysinger
    May 27, 2007

    Not sure you’re right on this one. Is this chaplain going to have an office on campus or any other accoutrements of faculty members? Access to the locker rooms? If not how is he different from any other pastor, rabbi, etc in the local community? If so isn’t Iowa State granting a special privilege to a representative of one religion but not others? I’m not saying this is definitely crossing the line but I would be a lot more comfortable with a chaplain who was paid by the college and whose job description explicitly stated he was to coordinate or provide for the religious needs of all student/athletes of any religion (i.e. arranging access to an imam for muslims, a priestess for the wiccans, etc) – ala prison or military chaplains. But if this guy is going to go into the locker room and have a prayer circle before the game I don’t care who is paying him – it’s totally out of line.

  5. #5 Art
    May 27, 2007

    It seems to me as if Chizik has given his competition (or will, if he gets his way) a pretty nice recruiting advantage. Don’t the folks at ISU care at all about winning football games?

    No, you say? What kind of place is Iowa, anyways?

  6. #6 qetzal
    May 27, 2007

    Sorry folks, you’re right on the ID issue but you’re wrong on this one.

    Based on the information here and in the link, at least, I disagree. Just because it’s legal and constitutional (assuming that’s the case) doesn’t mean it’s a good idea or that it’s wrong to oppose it.

    I think the concerns raised by the faculty are very reasonable. If their petition merely expresses their disapproval, urges the coach and AD to reconsider, and/or asks the president to discourage the move, how is that wrong?

    If the petitions claims the move would be unconstitutional, that maybe the faculty are wrong. But that’s not what it shoulds like from the available info. As described, the faculty members are only calling the move ‘improper’ and rightly pointing out that hiring a Christian chaplain raises potential issues for non-Christian team members.

    As an aside, has the coach considered that having a Christian chaplain might add to the pressures being felt by his non-Christian team members? Probably not.

  7. #7 Gerard Harbison
    May 27, 2007

    I don’t think it’s constitutional, if the chaplain has any sort of status conferred by the university. For example, Christmas displays on public land are unconstitutional, even if they’re privately funded.

    Tom Osborne was a ‘praying coach’ while at University of Nebraska. He was in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, held prayer sessions for the football team, etc. It may have actually caused some harm; Osborne was so convinced of the redemptive power of his congregation/squad at Nebraska, he failed to deal adeqately with the not-insignificant number of real thugs we had recruited.

    (Though a more cynical part of me says he knew darn well they were thugs, but he needed them to win, and all the holy Joe stuff was a smokescreen.)

  8. #8 raj
    May 27, 2007

    Sorry, Ed, but the fact is that, regardless of the source of the funds that are going to pay for the salary, if the University hires the chaplain, then he is a university employee or contractor, and he would likely be chaplaining on University property. If some (or all) members of the coach’s team want to go to be chaplained to elsewhere, they are free to do so. The “elsewhere” chaplain, of course, would be paid by non-University funds.

    The coach’s proposal is substantially the same as having a chaplain give an invocation at a high school or college graduation ceremony. In point of fact, I can’t see any difference.

    I have a number of objections to a coach who might insist on his players being chaplained to–he may give those who agree to be special attention–but that is another issue.

  9. #9 Sanguinity
    May 27, 2007

    I’m with qzetal here: it is improper, and the faculty are completely within their rights to say so.

    I don’t see where you’re coming from, Ed: they’re signing a petition, not bringing a lawsuit.

  10. #10 Wes
    May 27, 2007

    I have a few thoughts on this:

    1. It’s Iowa, for Christ’s sake. Like any state in the Great Plains, there’s a church on every corner. Alleging that these kids aren’t getting enough spiritual guidance sounds like a complete sham to me.

    2. Being paid for by private funds doesn’t automatically make it constitutional. The classroom copies of ‘Of Pandas and People’ in the Dover case were paid for by private funds, if I remember correctly. However, they were still removed from the classrooms and put in the library based on the establishment clause. Privately funded religion that’s still actively endorsed by a public institution could still fall prey to the establishment clause.

    3. My big question: Will the chaplain just be available for the players, or will he be leading the whole team in prayers and doing other official functions? In the former case, that sounds okay to me. In the latter, that sounds like a violation of separation of church and state, even if it is privately funded.

    4. Despite all this, and despite being a student at a rival school (Oklahoma State), I wish Iowa State’s football team the best. I liked their former coach Dan McCarney, and I was sad to see his last year with them turn out so poorly. Hopefully Chizik can change that, and get the team back on track.

  11. #11 Dan
    May 27, 2007

    My (not yet) very well thought-out, top-of-the-head reaction to this:

    If payment is the controlling issue (either the fact of payment, or the source of payment), doesn’t Lee turn out differently?

  12. #12 Gerard Harbison
    May 27, 2007

    1. It’s Iowa, for Christ’s sake. Like any state in the Great Plains, there’s a church on every corner.

    Heh heh. There might be a slight demographic disconnect, though. The local lllywhite Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod might not have the required appeal.

    Who was it that remarked that Americans are more segregated on Sunday than any other day of the week?

  13. #13 twincats
    May 27, 2007

    I was a Missouri Synod Lutheran for 35 years and never heard of an evangelical sect. I’ve been out of Christianity for 12 years now so I may have missed something but “evangelical” was a dirty word back in the day!

    But if Gerard’s point is that you won’t find many churches with folks speaking in tongues and dancing in the aisles, he’s right. Catholic churches aren’t hard to find in my experience, though. (That would be the western half of the state.)

  14. #14 kehrsam
    May 27, 2007

    I don’t think it’s constitutional, if the chaplain has any sort of status conferred by the university. For example, Christmas displays on public land are unconstitutional, even if they’re privately funded.

    This is just wrong. Has Dr. Harbeson been listening to STACLU propaganda?

    Otherwise: Yes, it is just a petition, but it is still incorrect because it asks the wrong question. The coach claims the kids need spiritual counseling; if they do, then providing it is appropriate, so long as it is done with neither public funds nor the imprimatur of the University. The assumption that only one, conservative Protestant will be involved could also be incorrect. Pastors from a variety of faith traditions could easily be included in the scheme if this is the true objection.

    Second, we are talking a University, so we are dealing with adults able to make free choices, including to participate in religion. Comparisons to high school church/state law are inapt.

  15. #15 Gerard Harbison
    May 27, 2007

    I don’t think it’s constitutional, if the chaplain has any sort of status conferred by the university. For example, Christmas displays on public land are unconstitutional, even if they’re privately funded.
    This is just wrong. Has Dr. Harbeson been listening to STACLU propaganda

    I’m not going to rehash the whole jurisprudence on mangers, menorahs, etc., but this is the decision I was referring to.

    http://atheism.about.com/library/decisions/holydays/bldec_AlleghenyACLU.htm

    The coach claims the kids need spiritual counseling; if they do, then providing it is appropriate, so long as it is done with neither public funds nor the imprimatur of the University.

    …which is what I wrote above. So why the cheap shot? And by the way, it’s ‘Harbison’

  16. #16 Gerard Harbison
    May 27, 2007

    Sorry, twincats, I was being sardonic. I’ve always been fascinated by the minutiae that distinguish between the hundreds of different Protestant sects. As a former Catholic, there is only One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church I don’t believe in, and scads of different heretical sects that I don’t believe in, either. :-)

  17. #17 Leni
    May 27, 2007

    Wes wrote:

    3. My big question: Will the chaplain just be available for the players, or will he be leading the whole team in prayers and doing other official functions? In the former case, that sounds okay to me. In the latter, that sounds like a violation of separation of church and state, even if it is privately funded.

    I was also thinking this.

    Further, if the chaplain is only available to the players, then what purpose does it serve giving him a paid spot at the university? Can’t he “be available” to the players in his old office at whatever church he’s employed at? Show up at games to support the team like everyone else? I don’t really see the point of giving him a position at the university, expecially since (as Wes also pointed out) spiritual guidance is not difficult to come by.

    Compare this to chaplains in the military. Soldiers live apart from the community, so in order to prevent denying them access to religious services, the government provides access to religious services in the form of chaplains. So long as every religious group is treated equally I think this is fair, right, and constitutional.

    However athletes don’t have that problem, difficult as I’m sure they think they have it. They are not legally compelled to stay on campus or leave the country. They can’t be court-martialed for leaving campus on Sunday without the coach’s permission. They are free to seek out religious groups on or off campus whenever they like.

    Moreover, athletes are not a special class of student. I’m sorry, but I don’t see why the should be treated any differently and I do not see why their spiritual needs should be considered to be more important than other students. At the very least, if there chaplains, they would have to be available to the entire student body.

  18. #18 Ed Brayton
    May 27, 2007

    What you guys are missing is the distinction between high school and college. The courts have (rightly) set the bar much higher for establishment clause cases involving public universities than they have for public elementary or secondary schools. It’s not at all unconstitutional for someone in the official employ of a public university to publicly advocate a religious position; professors at public universities do so every day. Linda Zagzebski of the University of Oklahoma is the current president of the Society of Christian Philosophers and there is no constitutional problem there. Robert Koons at Texas has spent much of his career defending Christianity. If it was unconstitutional for a professor at a public university to advocate a religion or teach that a religion was true then it would also be unconstitutional for a professor at a public university to publicly criticize a religion or teach that a religion is false or to publicly advocate atheism. But it’s no more a problem for Zagzebski or Koons to defend the truth of Christianity, even in their classrooms and as official government employees, than it is for Quentin Smith (Western Michigan University) or Gerald LaRue (USC) to teach that Christianity is false, even in their classrooms and as official government employees. The fact that their students are adult, that attending college is not mandatory, and that a university is bound to have untold numbers of professors teaching conflicting things means that there is neither a coercion nor an endorsement problem.

    Now, some specific things. Gerard Harbison writes:

    I don’t think it’s constitutional, if the chaplain has any sort of status conferred by the university. For example, Christmas displays on public land are unconstitutional, even if they’re privately funded.

    That simply isn’t true. As long as there is at least a designated public forum allowing all groups equal access, privately funded Christmas displays on public land are perfectly constitutional.

    Dan wrote:

    If payment is the controlling issue (either the fact of payment, or the source of payment), doesn’t Lee turn out differently?

    Not likely, for the reason stated above: this is college, not high school. To make the analogy more explicit, would a court say it was unconstitutional for a university to invite a religious figure – say, the Dalai Lama or Bishop Tutu or even the Pope – to speak at a commencement? Extremely unlikely. But at a high school commencement ceremony, quite likely so.

    I will concede the point that the faculty at ISU has every right to protest it even if it’s not unconstitutional. But if they’re going to argue that it’s unconstitutional, I think they’re wrong.

  19. #19 Gork
    May 27, 2007

    If I were on the team, and the chaplain cast a spell on me, wouldn’t I be within my rights to sue for religious persecution?

  20. #20 Gerard Harbison
    May 27, 2007

    Christmas displays on public land are unconstitutional if they give the appearance of a government endorsement of religion. That’s the point. The fact the chaplain’s salary is privately paid is insufficient to maintain constitutionality if ISU is giving the chaplain some sort of official status as a religious figure. That would be an endorsement of the Christian religion. The fact that there are faculty who are active Christians in Christian organizations is not relevant. The University can hire them as faculty; it cannot not hire them as chaplains.

  21. #21 Russell Miller
    May 27, 2007

    Here’s an angle no one’s covered yet: Considering these kids are getting compensated in some way (scholarships, etc) for their participation, couldn’t having a chaplain leading the team in prayers, etc., be considered workplace harassment?

    I’m not sure I agree with Ed here either, but I’m not sure at the moment how I’d argue the other position.

  22. #22 kehrsam
    May 27, 2007

    Dr. Harbison: Sorry about the misspelling, I missed it when I previewed.

    Nor did I intend a cheap shot: Your view of the law — as stated — was simply wrong. Allegheny does not apply in this case. Rather we need to look to the law as regards the hiring of chaplains by public bodies, which occurs all the time without the Republic tumbling down.

    Congress has chaplains, as does the military, many public hospitals, and most prisons. These are often supported by public funds. The issue, therefore, is to define under what conditions such things may occur.

    For the record, I happen to agree with Madison that NO public money should ever be spent on religion. (The VA, by the way, defines it paid Chaplains as psychological counselors, and they are expected to write treatment notes. I can live with that). But there is no reason that privately-funded chaplains cannot coexist in the public sphere of activity.

    Allegheny also marked the high-water point for non-accommodationist thought on the Supreme Court, and they’ve been backtracking ever since. It clearly does not command a majority on the current Court.

  23. #23 Joe
    May 27, 2007

    Quoth G. Harbison “Heh heh. There might be a slight demographic disconnect, though. The local lllywhite Evangelical Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod might not have the required appeal.”

    I agree, and hiring a chaplain won’t change that. Constitution aside, my opinion is that this is wrong, and foolish, on many levels.

  24. #24 Joe
    May 27, 2007

    Quoth kehrsam “Congress has chaplains, as does the military, many public hospitals, and most prisons.”

    Yes, and it says “In God We Trust” on our money, and so on. None of this should be tolerated.

  25. #25 Caliban
    May 27, 2007

    I don’t see this as an issue of academic religous freedom. The religon of university employees is irrelevent here.

    What if the Math department decided that they wanted a buddhist monk to minister to the math sutudents spiritual needs? This would be no differant than hiring a Christian chaplain to do the same for the football team. It’s inappropriate. It’s not like students don’t have access to religous instruction outside the university and gives the appearance of the University endorsing one religon over others.

  26. #26 Ed Brayton
    May 27, 2007

    Gerard Harbison wrote:

    Christmas displays on public land are unconstitutional if they give the appearance of a government endorsement of religion. That’s the point.

    That just isn’t the case. There has never been a court majority for the endorsement test. O’Connor advocated it and often broke ties, but the only test that has received majority support is the Lemon test. But even there, as kehrsam points out, there are specific cases on the hiring of chaplains that are much more on-point. The courts have never overruled even a chaplain paid out of taxpayer funds in any number of government settings – legislatures, the military, VA hospitals, etc – and it is extremely unlikely that they would do so in a case like this, especially if it’ being paid for privately.

  27. #27 flatlander100
    May 27, 2007

    Ed:

    You wrote: “As long as there is at least a designated public forum allowing all groups equal access, privately funded Christmas displays on public land are perfectly constitutional.”

    This might have some bearing on the team chaplain matter if said chaplain [privately funded] does not receive any special access to the players on the team, and does not receive any special public title like “Team Chaplain” recognized by the University via, say, its sports information office. Do you believe that religious counselors of any other faiths will have the same access as the one the coach wants to hire and designate “team chaplain”? I don’t believe that for a moment. You’ve certainly waxed eloquent [and at some length] about the fact that what these holy rollers, and holy roller coaches are no exception, want is their particular faith to be presented, not others. And absent equal access and status for other religious counselors, this does not, and I think should not, pass constitutional muster.

  28. #28 Gerard Harbison
    May 27, 2007

    Chaplains in the military and at hospitals are an entirely different kettle of fish; there’s a long tradition of having chaplains there; they cater to the dying or those in imminent danger of death; and they minister to people who often can’t simply run down to the local church for a quick fix of God. In contrast, there is no tradition of chaplaincy at public universities. I see no particular reason why a sports team collectively needs ‘spiritual’ attention; they’re not in any life-threatening circumstance; and as others have pointed out, they can individually find a denominational spiritual leader of their choice without any assistance from ISU.

    Having a football chaplain serves no pressing need. It simply institutionalizes a religion.

  29. #29 Ed Brayton
    May 27, 2007

    I don’t think we can reasonably argue that tradition is no defense of constitutionality in one case and then turn around and use it to distinguish between what is constitutional and what is unconstitutional. The more I think about this, the more I recognize that there might be a constitutional argument here depending on how the situation is handled. If the university actually puts him on the staff, whether they pay his salary or not, and if they give him a university office and a title, then there might be a problem (though I still doubt the courts would see it that way). If the chaplain held services or meetings that the coaches pressured or required students to attend, then there would definitely be a case and the courts would no doubt agree. But if he has no official university title, the university does not pay his salary, and he’s presented to the team as someone they can go to if they want or need someone to talk to, then there is no constitutional problem at all.

  30. #30 Dan
    May 27, 2007

    Ed writes:

    The more I think about this, the more I recognize that there might be a constitutional argument here depending on how the situation is handled. If the university actually puts him on the staff, whether they pay his salary or not, and if they give him a university office and a title, then there might be a problem (though I still doubt the courts would see it that way). If the chaplain held services or meetings that the coaches pressured or required students to attend, then there would definitely be a case and the courts would no doubt agree. But if he has no official university title, the university does not pay his salary, and he’s presented to the team as someone they can go to if they want or need someone to talk to, then there is no constitutional problem at all. But if he has no official university title, the university does not pay his salary, and he’s presented to the team as someone they can go to if they want or need someone to talk to, then there is no constitutional problem at all.

    Completely agree. With the benefit of much more caffeine and hindsight, in all honesty, the college vs. high school setting is a bigger factor than payment. But I still do agree with your latest assessment.

  31. #31 Melanie
    May 27, 2007

    Most large state universities have chaplaincies provided off campus by the sect or denomination they represent: Hillel Houses for Jewish students and faculty, Newman Centers for Catholics. Routinely, Protestant ministers in the churches around campus are available for counseling to members of their denominations (or any one else who wishes it.) What the coach is doing redundant.

  32. #32 Leni
    May 27, 2007

    Ed wrote:

    The more I think about this, the more I recognize that there might be a constitutional argument here depending on how the situation is handled. If the university actually puts him on the staff, whether they pay his salary or not, and if they give him a university office and a title, then there might be a problem (though I still doubt the courts would see it that way).

    I would actually eb more comfortable if the university paid several chaplains representing a variety of faiths and made them available to the entire student body.

    I am far more suspicious of what looks like de facto endorsement. I think letting one chaplain from one denomination admister to one department is totally suspect.

    I also agree with Gerard that military and hospital chaplains are provided so that people may have access to religious services or counseling when they would otherwise be prevented from receiving them or greatly inconvenienced. This is not the case with athletes.

  33. #33 Leni
    May 27, 2007

    Ed wrote:

    The more I think about this, the more I recognize that there might be a constitutional argument here depending on how the situation is handled. If the university actually puts him on the staff, whether they pay his salary or not, and if they give him a university office and a title, then there might be a problem (though I still doubt the courts would see it that way).

    I would actually be more comfortable with it if the university paid several chaplains representing a variety of faiths and made them available to the entire student body.

    I am far more suspicious of this because it looks like de facto endorsement. Letting one chaplain from one denomination admister to one department is dubious.

    I also agree with Gerard that military and hospital chaplains are provided so that people may have access to religious services or counseling when they would otherwise be prevented from receiving them or greatly inconvenienced. This is not the case with athletes.

  34. #34 LogicGuru
    May 27, 2007

    Who the hell cares, who are they, and why do they care? If the coach wants to pay for pizza out of private funds, even if some team members and others don’t care for it, there’s no problem–they can eat it or avoid it as they please. It’s no offense to non-pizza eaters. If he wants to pay for religious rituals I don’t see any problem either: some believe, others will participate in these events as parts of the corporate culture without taking them seriously, others won’t participate. Big deal.

    Personally, I LOVE religious rituals of all kinds but don’t take any seriously. Sure, you can point to the constitutional issues and legal decisions about creches in the park at Christmas and the like, but were those decisions correct? Religion is FUN–the more the better. And the more superficial religious rituals are available in the public square, the less likely anyone is to take them seriously or be bothered.

    This isn’t a matter of promoting religious dogma, “spiritual guidance” or any such crap but, being honest, a matter of jolly pep talks for the team, magic and superstition. And I’m all for that because it’s FUN.

  35. #35 qetzal
    May 27, 2007

    LogicGuru,

    Have you considered that some players might not think Christian religious rituals are FUN at all?

    Personally, they don’t much bother me. I don’t believe in any god, so to me it IS just superstition. But to believers of other faiths, it can be a very different matter.

    It’s also a little naive to say that players can just avoid it all if they choose. I would agree if most people tolerated differences in religion the same way they tolerate differences in pizza preference. But most people in the US consider religious beliefs much more serious than pizza.

    The sad fact is that many people are not tolerant of alternate religious beliefs. If a Jew or a Muslim or an atheist player refuses to participate in prayers led by the chaplain, do you think it won’t affect how they’re viewed by devout Christians on the team (including the coach, it seems)? That puts the objecters in a bad spot: go along with religious rituals they find objectionable, or risk significant team disapproval.

    Now, I agree that such situations arise in life, and no one should expect to be immune from them. But that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for the coach of a state university football team to put players in that situation.

  36. #36 Russell Miller
    May 27, 2007

    qetzal:

    I disagree, at least when it comes to situations involving religion, etc., you definitely should expect to be immune from them. And if a situation like that happens, you fight it and hopefully it stops.

    Maybe it will happen on occasion, but it is completely reasonable to expect for it to never happen.

    I suspect though that you and I are using slightly different interpretations of the word “expect”, though. Mine is in the conects of a parent saying to a child, “I expect you in bed in 5 minutes.”

  37. #37 Stew Rusby
    May 27, 2007

    Ed, you quoted Pollard as saying the team needed spiritual guidance. Is that correct? Did you ask him directly? I had the sense that the athletes needed guidance and counseling at times and the coach felt a person with beliefs in a stronger power would be advantageous. Maybe you have confined the discussion to spiritual guidance only and that might be too narrow.

  38. #38 qetzal
    May 28, 2007

    Stew,

    The paragraph in question is an exact quote from the Des Moines Register. See the link in Ed’s post.

    In any case, your interpretation seems unlikely, else why would they call the position chaplain?

    Russell,

    I think if you have strong beliefs about religion, you should expect to occasionally face situations where voicing your beliefs may put you in conflict with those around you (at least here in the US). We might reasonably wish it would never happen, but I think it’s unrealistic to expect it won’t.

    My point was that even if you do expect to face such situations, that doesn’t make it OK in this situation.

  39. #39 Art
    May 28, 2007

    The sad fact is that many people are not tolerant of alternate religious beliefs. If a Jew or a Muslim or an atheist player refuses to participate in prayers led by the chaplain, do you think it won’t affect how they’re viewed by devout Christians on the team (including the coach, it seems)? That puts the objecters in a bad spot: go along with religious rituals they find objectionable, or risk significant team disapproval.

    Like I was saying, this is what an assistant at other schools would say to recruits who were considering ISU. It’s pretty easy to paint a picture of the ISU coach as being somewhat intolerant. That’s going to impact lots of parents and kids, I would think.

    Of course, ISU would have a great chance of scarfing up those recruits who are looking at Liberty. (There’s a line for boosters – we’ll tap the D1AA talent pool. That’s how we can be competitive in the Big 12. Yeah, that’s gonna start the donations flowing in …)

  40. #40 Leni
    May 28, 2007

    LogicGuru wrote:

    Religion is FUN–the more the better.

    LOL, boy you sure got that right. Religion is tons of fun. Especially the Crusades. That was an especially fun part of our past that we can all laugh at in retrospect. Even though we don’t get to live the murder, rape, torture, and cannibalism ourselves, I bet it was just a TON of laughs at the time.

    There should be ride, really. Maybe even a theme park.

    And you know, it’s a good thing that Muslims have such a good sense of humor, because otherwise they might not have taken the joke so well. They could have been all mad and held it against the West for several centuries. They could have school trips to the sites of particularly gruesome mass murders, but you know, they were real good sports about the whole thing. Which is great, you know. We can all get together and have a good laugh about the whole thing.

  41. #41 Eveningsun
    May 28, 2007

    Here’s what’s likely going to happen: The proposed chaplaincy, which because of its private funding probably does pass constitutional muster, will be approved. Later, whenever some player gets in trouble or simply can’t handle the pressures in his life, the coach will refer the kid to the chaplain. The kid might or might not be a Christian, but will go to the chaplain anyway because coach said so. (Who wants to fall out of favor with the coach?) The chaplain thus gets first crack at a new source of lost and confused kids.

    There’s no way to prove it in court, but the chaplaincy will function de facto to enlist the coach’s authority (and hence the government’s authority) in proselytizing and converting students to the coach’s particular faith. Legal? Probably. Ethical? Definitely not.

  42. #42 Reginald Selkirk
    May 29, 2007

    Steve Deace, founder and publisher of Cyclone Nation, moron and bigot, asks: Is Hector Avalos the most powerful figure at Iowa State?

  43. #43 Reginald Selkirk
    May 29, 2007

    I’d like to nominate Steve Deace for a Robert O’Brien Trophy for his piece on Avalos.

  44. #44 Raging Bee
    May 29, 2007

    If the coach really wanted to help his team get spiritual guidance, all he had to do was tell them which church they could (voluntarily) go to if they so chose, and leave it at that. Or he could have paid the “chaplain” out of private funds and arranged for him to be available off-campus. Calling him a “team chaplain” and using the authority of the coach to steer kids toward him (and not toward a “chaplain” of any other faith) is clearly an abuse of the coach’s authority, and an infringement on the religious choices of the team members.

  45. #45 raj
    May 30, 2007

    The problem is that, if the coach hires a chaplain, whether or not the chaplain is paid with private funds, the coach may very well be tempted to give preference to players who attend the chaplain’s sessions, and discriminate against those that don’t. It’s a bad move, regardless of where the funds come from.

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