Nebraska football coach was denied Stanford job over religious beliefs
After his team lost in the Rose Bowl, Nebraska Assistant Football Coach Ron Brown applied for the head coaching job at Stanford University. He was denied the job after the first interview, reports The Daily Nebraskan, because of his religious beliefs, especially his belief that homosexual behavior is a sin.

"(His religion) was definitely something that had to be considered," Alan Glenn, Stanford's assistant athletic director of human resources, told the student newspaper. "We're a very diverse community with a diverse alumni. Anything that would stand out that much is something that has to be looked at."

Brown also wrote about the discrimination in the March 2002 issue of Sharing the Victory, the magazine of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (the article is not yet available online). In it, he says he was directly told that he wasn't getting the job because an athletic director "did not believe that my Christian convictions would mesh well with that university. … I wasn't upset with (the) decision to choose another candidate over me. But I was shocked at the reason and that the university was that up-front in telling me the reason."

He voiced similar shock to the Nebraskan. "If I'd been discriminated against for being black, they would've never told me that," he said. "They had no problem telling me it was because of my Christian beliefs. That's amazing to me."

The paper agreed. "While we don't agree with his comments that homosexuality is a sin, we also don't think Stanford should have turned down a good coach because of a belief system he holds. That seems a bit too much like reverse discrimination to us," said a staff editorial. "In an effort to protect all viewpoints and diversities at the liberal Palo Alto, Calif., campus, it seems Stanford's athletic department failed to protect Brown's Christian point of view. That's not right."

Stanford officials were quick to deny the story. "Religion played no role in our decision-making process, and to assert that Ron's religious views were a consideration is inaccurate," Stanford athletic director Ted Leland said in a letter to the Nebraskan. Glenn wrote a similar article saying his comments were taken out of context, and that religion wasn't a factor.

Others criticize the paper for defending Brown's "bigotry." "I trust that your editorial staff today would applaud any university that chose not to hire qualified candidates who were outspoken racists, even if the individuals turned to the Bible to support their views on race," wrote an assistant music professor.

Article continues below

The Nebraskan, however, stands by its story. "Frankly, we're disappointed in Stanford, which appears to be trying to cover itself for telling Brown he didn't get a job because he has strong Christian beliefs," the paper said in a follow-up editorial.

They have good reason to cover themselves. ACLU lawyer Margaret Crosby tells the San Francisco Chronicle that "a coach who felt discriminated against likely could cite Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects against discrimination of employment based on religion, among other things."

Brown isn't talking about the story now (a fact also lamented by the Nebraskan), but in the original piece he said the Stanford denial won't silence his Christian beliefs. "The truth is the truth," he said. "I don't believe you compromise any truth for whatever job."

No end in sight to Church of the Nativity standoff
Three Palestinians were allowed to leave the Church of the Nativity compound yesterday, but an end to the standoff seems far away. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said a surrender deal had been reached with the 200 or so Palestinian gunmen inside, but the Palestinians backed out. The Palestinians, on the other hand, say Sharon is lying and no such deal was ever made.

Yesterday, President Bush called Sharon and told him that ending the clash at the reported site of Jesus' birth was very important to the U.S.

Two Palestinians—one shot in the stomach, and another suffering from epilepsy—were evacuated by Israel Defense Forces yesterday, placed under arrest, and sent to the prison ward of an Israeli hospital. Peter Kumri, director of Beit Jala hospital, told Reuters that more than a dozen others inside the church also need medical attention.

A third Palestinian from inside the compound, a 14-year-old boy, was captured by Israeli soldiers as he climbed over the church's walls in a search of vegetables. "It is better to die outside after eating a meal than to die inside hungry," he told Kumri. Food inside the church is reportedly almost gone, except for a few potatoes and some other staples.

More articles

Church & State:

Article continues below




Article continues below




Ransoming the Burnhams:

  • Abu Sayyaf's ransom | How can we expect other nations to help us stop the flow of money to terrorists when we ourselves are sending it? (Editorial, The Washington Times)

Article continues below

Missions & ministry:

Other stories of interest:

  • Falwell goes global | The Reverend is launching a Mideast non-peace campaign and a cable station (Bill Berkowitz,

  • God's own country | What may emerge from the priestly scandals and the taped revelations of Graham and Nixon is a recognition that deference to church leaders is just as dangerous as deference to any other kind of leader, and that people who claim their political acts are somehow inspired by and endorsed by an Almighty may turn out to be both liars and hypocrites (Duncan Campbell, The Guardian)

  • Biblical reserve echoes Noah's 'two by two' | The Biblical Wildlife Reserve of Hai-Bar Yotvata displays and protects Israel's wildlife, its wildflowers and natural landscape (The Japan Times)

Related Elsewhere

What is Weblog?

See our past Weblog updates:

April 15
April 12b | 12a | 11 | 10 | 9 | 8
April 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1
March 28 | 27 | 26 | 25
March 22 | 21 | 20 | 19 | 18
March 15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11