gimme-five | The blog of a busy guy.

TAG | muslim

Apparently, one of Barack Obama’s largest political liabilities is that 15% of voters think he is a Muslim, and do not feel comfortable voting for a Muslim (AP-Yahoo Poll Conducted April 2-14) (some polls say 10%).  Notwithstanding that it is a bit crazy to think someone who just publicly dealt with his connections to a crazy Christian pastor is Muslim, it disturbs me that 15% of the country would not vote for a candidate because he is a Muslim.  Isn’t it racist to not vote for someone because he practices a particular religion?  I do not see any other way to describe these attitudes.  Isn’t the Jim Crow era over?  Haven’t we moved on?  Apparently not, for 15% of the country.

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This morning I read an interesting article in the Washington Post entitled “When the Rules Run Up Against Faith.”  Essentially, the article was about an excellent female high school cross country and track runner, who was a practicing Muslim and was thus forbidden from showing skin except for her hands and face.  Thus, at track meets, she was wearing a unitard that covered her arms and legs, and was equipped with hood to cover everything but her face, which she wore under her team’s uniform.

Everything was fine for the past three years, in which she raced in that uniform at many track meets.  However, at a recent meet, and one that was very important to her, a meet director told her that her uniform was unacceptable and she was disqualified.   Essentially, his argument was that technically, her uniform violated the rules (his argument is wishy-washy to begin with), so she has to be disqualified.

Assuming that the meet director was entirely correct when he said that her uniform violated the rules, he is still wrong in disqualifying her, because he is ignoring the entire purpose behind the rules.  As far as I can see, there are three purposes behind the rules: (1) to prevent an unfair advantage; (2) to make team uniforms the same to differentiate one team from another; and (3) to prevent athletes from wearing something obscene.

First off, wearing a full body-covering unitard under a uniform is not an unfair advantage.  When I run races, I do so in the lightest and coolest clothing possible.  I don’t want to sweat more than I have to, or carry around extra weight.  She was disqualified at an indoor track meet, where heat is a huge factor – it is very stuffy on an indoor track – so if anything her uniform was a disadvantage.

Secondly, her unitard UNDER her school’s uniform did not make it impossible to differentiate one school from another.  If you want to tell what school she went to – just look at her uniform!  Additionally, many sprinters wear speedsuits at track meets, which essentially look identical to her uniform except without a hood.  Why aren’t they disqualified?

Thirdly, her unitard is far from obscene.  In fact, it’s the opposite – she’s covering up.  The super-PC attitude in high schools today should love this.

The meet director that suspended this young track athlete was following the letter, but not the spirit of the rules.  Sometimes we have to realize that the rules are there for a purpose, not merely to be followed blindly.

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