Women may have won lots of legal battles a generation ago, including the right to compete in athletics. But the issue does not go away, as evidenced in Iowa this week where a boy refused to wrestle a girl in the state competition and, thereby, forfeited.
What annoys me most is not this kid (more on that in a moment), but when I logged onto the Omaha World Herald website today, the daily poll was about the situation and people's opinions of the boy. The paper is, first off, irresponsible to treat this as an issue dependent on public opinion. People's equal rights are not subject to a poll; they exist inalienably. Also, I was disgusted that most people voted that the boy had done the right thing. Appalling.
According the article the boy refused to wrestle, "citing his faith." His faith? Now, if he were a conservative Muslim I'd see where he had a point, but my guess is he probably isn't. Nor would his religious difference (if he were Muslim) change the situation -- the girl has her civil rights. This would be one of those cases where religious liberty is the right to refuse to participate, but society does not have to bend-over-backwards, or, more importantly, sacrifice someone else's rights for the practice of yours.
But, my guess is, the boy isn't a conservative Muslim (or Orthodox Jewish rabbi in training, or something else). I'm guessing he is a conservative Christian. So, the same constitutional argument applies as if he were a Muslim.
But I'm trying to figure out why his Christianity would forbid wrestling with a girl. I don't remember that anywhere in scripture or the Christian tradition. What this amounts to is some sect that maintains its patriarchal fear of women's bodies. It isn't your religion, it is your patriarchy and misogyny as expressed in your religion. We have to legally and constitutionally tolerate such religions, but thankfully, as a society, we are moving beyond patriarchy and the fear of women's bodies (except in the U. S. House this week) and, so, increasingly sects with views like those of this boy will find themselves isolated from the broader society.