You know what’s outrageous? The way that Christians are constantly being oppressed in this country! Like for instance how a high school track team in Texas had its win taken away and was disqualified from going to the state championship, all because the winning runner in the 4X100 meter relay, Christian athlete Derrick Hayes, pointed to the sky to thank God for his victory. Shocking! Ridiculous! Political Correctness Gone Mad! What is happening to this country?
Oh, except what really happened was nothing of the sort: Derrick actually made more of a “We’re number one” kind of gesture, and when a referee warned him that excessive celebrations were a rules violation, he got all shirty with the ref. And THAT’S why the disqualification happened; a report by Texas’s University Interscholastic League, the governing body for school sports, found that “At no point during the discussions surrounding the disqualification at the meet was the issue of religious expression raised by any parties.”
Ah, but you see, that’s only what we know now, because a couple days after the track meet, the butthurt runner’s butthurt dad, KC Hayes, found a camera crew from the local FoxNews affiliate and told a possibly somewhat inaccurate and maybe even wholly-made-up story about Derrick thanking God for the victory and being smacked down for his innocent act of faith.
And then, the story blew up on right-wing media, because OF COURSE the only possible explanation is that Big Government is ALWAYS forbidding Christians from exercising their faith. A school administrator who said only that Derrick and his team had been disqualified for a “celebratory gesture” received angry emails and petitions.
Texas Governor Rick Perry got into the act, calling for an investigation and stating in a letter that he would “not tolerate the suppression of religious freedom anywhere.”
Oh, and then the truth came out: The UIL found that Derrick never said anything about it being a religious gesture, and that all coaches at the meet had been notified in advance that celebratory gestures would be cause for disqualification. The UIL received a letter of notpology from Mom and Dad Hayes:
“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.”
Fox News 26, the station that originally aired the story, has not run an update.
And of course, a week after the corrected story made its way out, “Truth in Action ministries” repeated the fake story as an example of how horribly oppressed Christians are. You won’t actually find it on their website, however, because after Right Wing Watch called them on it earlier today, the piece was quietly revised to remove the false example.
We think there may be some old adage about a Lie for Jesus making all the way around a hundred meter track and into wingnut media before the truth gets its track shoes tied, but we don’t really recall.