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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Armies of Mordor: Inside the Barracks

Thursday's link to the Armies of Mordor led me to the blog "Now What: A daily blog on choice issues". Curiously enough, the first entry I came across, Give Me a "D", had far less to do with "choice issues" than it did with taking an ordinary jab at Texas Republicans. Not surprisingly, the blog mocks the Texas House's move to prohibit "suggestive cheerleading" at state high schools, which (according to Dem. Rep. Al Edwards) can lead to pregnancies, STDs, etc. The entry goes:

Are you freaking kidding me? They don't have better things to do in Texas -- like, say, call for the impeachment of Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)-- legislators there need to shake their groove things in opposition to cheerleading moves? Last I heard, involvement in activities like cheerleading was key in the prevention of teen pregnancy, not a leading cause of it.

It's easy to criticize the Texas legislature for getting involved with regulating cheerleading, a popular "institution" which has survived multiple generations and is identified so closely with American sports. And, yes, it's easy to criticize a crack down on suggestive cheerleading if its rationale is only to cutdown on teenage pregnancies and other sexual social problems, since the connection sounds tenuous - even if it may very well exist.

But regardless of any connection to teenage pregnancy that suggestive cheerleading may have, or whether legislative action is appropriate (rather than executive enforcement of rules already on the books), why can't the crack down be justified merely because it's offensive? If high schools are public property, and football games are places for communities to gather and be entertained, why shouldn't cheerleaders be held to community standards of decency? I wonder how many parents like bringing their little kids to high school football games when the dance act includes something that is better suited for something you'd find at King Henry VIII (of Southgate notoriety). So often we hear the pro-abort crowd complaining that the right unfairly "forces" its values on others. But for some reason, they don't seem to have a problem when sexually-depraved "values" are "forced" on high school students and communities at large. Remember Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, where the court said that student attendance at high school football games isn't really "voluntary"? Justice Stevens' words are rather telling, even outside the context of an Establishment Clause challenge:

To assert that high school students do not feel immense social pressure, or have a truly genuine desire, to be involved in the extracurricular event that is American high school football is "formalistic in the extreme"... High school home football games are traditional gatherings of a school community; they bring together students and faculty as well as friends and family from years present and past to root for a common cause. Undoubtedly, the games are not important to some students, and they voluntarily choose not to attend. For many others, however, the choice between whether to attend these games or to risk facing a personally offensive religious ritual is in no practical sense an easy one.

So for the left, it's out with the "offensive religious rituals" at high school football games, and in with "offensive sexual rituals". I suppose, though, not all that surprising considering what goes on inside classrooms these days.