Kansas high school official: woman "cannot be put in a position of authority over boys"

St. Mary's Academy (25 miles northwest of Topeka) won't let women referee boys basketball games.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association said referees reported that Michelle Campbell was preparing to officiate at St. Mary's Academy near Topeka on Feb. 2 when a school official insisted that Campbell could not call the game.

The reason given, according to the referees: Campbell, as a woman, could not be put in a position of authority over boys because of the academy's beliefs.



  1. Yes, another banner day for the American heartland. WHAT are they “thinking?” Is this sort of ignorance fashionable this year?

  2. hah, sorry Guysmiley, didn’t see yours when I submitted mine.

    But you gotta admit, they do have a point. I mean, if you let women ref for boys’ basketball games, next thing you know they’re going to want to vote, or own property, or get a driver’s license…

  3. I’m guessing there are no female teachers or staff at the school?

    By that rule, girls wouldn’t be able to run for student body leadership positions.

  4. Is there any aspect of life that isn’t improved by religious legalism?

    If there is, I don’t want to know about it.

  5. I see no problem here, c’mon give them a break, probably the boys are subjected to far enough female authority at home.
    I am, so I comment semi-anonimously.

  6. Is the school’s statement of beliefs in print somehwere? Coz I’ve always been curious how you’d spell [ several minutes of hairy-simian screeching, chest-pounding and shit-hurling ].

  7. I grew up in a small town in Kansas, still visit the folks a couple times a year, and in general greatly appreciate the place where I was born and raised. That being said, crap like this just makes me sad.

  8. Let’s not be too hasty to judge until all the facts are in. For example, maybe the woman was also non-white.

  9. I was kind of wondering about this, because the name sounds so Catholic, and Catholics never had a problem with authoritarian nuns telling boys what to do.

    But evidently the school seems to belong to the same breakaway cult that Mel Gibson belongs to, the people who think that the modern Catholic Church isn’t Catholic enough. They reject Vatican II, but evidently they also reject earlier church practices as well.

  10. This isn’t a story about the backwards ways of Kansas or the Mid-West. St. Mary’s Kansas is a very particular place – as Joe says, they are part of an extremely conservative Catholic sect that was excommunicated by the Vatican. They and their founder, the late French Bishop Lefevre, reject the reforms mandated by Vatican II in the 1960s. This includes saying the mass in Latin, refusing to remove the words “the profidious jews” from the Easter mass, and many other reforms regarding gender, ordained people, religious freedom and justice.

    I visited St. Mary’s when working on a documentary on Vatican II for PBS. It is truly a cult-like town, and they live in a very closed society. They also have been reported to have militia ties, including a relationship with Terry Nichols just before the Oklahoma city bombing.

    St. Mary’s Kansas is an isolated example of a freakishly anachronistic and fearful society. Hardly representative of Kansas, or any part of the country, as a whole.

  11. I live in Lawrence, Kansas. I grew up on a farm smack dab in the middle of the state. Also I lived in NYC for 7 years and just moved back.

    Lawrence is the most progressive city in the state and surrounding area.

    Kansas can be very backward at times. This is the state that wanted to teach creationism. It’s also the state that brought Brown vs. Board of Education.

    It’s also the state where the most popular type of restaurant is Buffet.

    The good thing about this story is that it will cast a spotlight on St Mary’s and maybe they’ll have to wind their clocks forward about 50 years to catch up with the rest of society

  12. I live in Kansas, what that woman tried to do his horrid. After the game we honor killed her by stoning her.

  13. Like FloatationMan, I am a Kansan living in the diaspora. Like se7a7n7, I know KS can be backwards at times, but I appreciate the fine-tuned response of DConners on this, because not all of the state is so very retrograde. Some of us are still of the freak ilk of flatlander that came out to The Big Empty in the first place. And we like it that way: Big. Empty. Flat.

    Also, memo to St. Mary’s RE authority over boys: have you had a good look at the KS governor lately? Kathleen Sebelius, democrat, gaining nearly 5% more votes for her re-election than her initial election. I’m just sayin’, is all I’m sayin’.

  14. Why do I get the creepy feeling that official has had a red gimp ball in his mouth more than once in his life?

  15. Oh, yeah, ‘There’s nowhere like home’ You forward thinking Kansans have got to go and protest outside this school. Or get some ruby slippers!

  16. I don’t get it – it’s ST. MARY’S! Don’t they worship Mary as if she were a god? Aren’t they always praying to Mary for favors, etc.? If she answers the prayer, they won’t do what she says?

    /I understand that’s all hypothetical because no prayer has ACTUALLY been answered, but still, THEORETICALLY, if Mary were to say: “Go to Third St. and wait there for a sign”, they wouldn’t do it?

  17. #13: women should be in the kitchen baking pie, not disciplinin’ the kids. That’s for pa to do, with a belt.

  18. The Topeka newspaper had the initial coverage of it, this past weekend (http://cjonline.com/stories/021008/pre_245553740.shtml), but apparently the piling on is too much to resist for the rest of the country so they can say, “Look at them wacky Kansans.”

    From what I heard, the girls and boys at the school are kept separate, and that neither group can attend the other’s sporting events.

  19. Personally, I don’t mind at all if a woman has a position of authority over me. Especially if she’s wearing black spandex.

  20. Moon (28): No, they don’t. That set of beliefs you just quoted is on par with believing that Jews ritually desecrate the Host during secret ceremonies. Claiming that Catholics worship Mary as a god is a standard piece of anti-Catholic propaganda.

  21. I know a tuff woman can coach boys or girls. Perhaps I was too quick to judge. I had a woman as a gymnastics coach, but the rest were male. I think I needed men at that time, or related to them in a different way. I think my young personality needed more male role models and that’s what my coaches did in part. The female coach was great too. I guess I’m falling back on my Men and Women are actually two different species argument. As lame as that may seem. And I’m from there, born in Ft.Riley.

  22. To the moderator: While it may be true that in the strictest sense of the word Catholics are not supposed to worship Mary (at least on equal terms with the male dieties), it’s hardly on par with saying Jews desecrate the host! The last pope, John Paul, was a HUGE promoter of Mary veneration, if not actual worship. And growing up in the northeast in certain areas, I know that (particularly of Italian or Polish descent, but not exclusively,) it was rare for a neighborhood not to have at least one Mary shrine in the front yard — I don’t think it was just for the decorative value.

    I speak, of course, as a happy rational humanist (brought up Catholic) so the whole argument is as silly as whether the Easter Bunny could beat up Santa Claus — but I just thought your statement was a little over the top to let pass unremarked.

    As far as these superstition-ridden, brain-dead Kansas cult goes…they are a terrifying example of why religion is a very dangerous thing.

  23. my friend brendan dodged many a religious argument with his girlfriend by citing “suffer not a woman to teach.” something that he didn’t agree with, but if she wanted to adhere to her own religion…

  24. also, to Teresa.

    you are correct in saying it is not in catholic dogma to worship mary, I grew up with a mother obsessed with her, and there is a sizable community of catholics where the question of “are they worshiping mary” is a semantic argument. When they start throwing around words such as co-redemtrix, its clear that its a bit more than veneration.

  25. And while it would appear male educators have learned not to get involved with young girls, as of late, MANY females in the profession seem to be incapable of resisting the charms of adolescent boys…..

  26. If you boys can’t play without fouling each other I’m taking the ball and you can go to your room and think about it.

  27. sorry for the typo in my previous post about the St. Mary’s sect. I meant to say “perfidious jews”, which basically means “faithless” (that’s a mild definition of that word) It was part of the Catholic Easter mass until the 1960s, when it was removed by the council.

  28. perfidious is really closer to deceitful or treacherous, which is precisely where the problem lies with that term being in the liturgy.

  29. The Catholic Catechism does not include the worship of Mary. But it’s hard not to when you see it all around you, and rightly so. A ballance trys to exist in the Church. Mary, the Three Sisters, a bunch of saints. There are many women to pray to if you so desire.

  30. Deliver us, Lord, from your followers.
    and tell us, Lord, why they hate the Islamic Fundamentalists so much,
    when they have so very very much in common.

  31. I didn’t say worship Mary as a god, I said worship Mary as IF she was a god.

    A huge difference.

    /The point anyway was that they wouldn’t follow Mary if she told them to do something because she’s a female.

Comments are closed.