Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fordson Principal Pile Drives the First Amendment

“DEARBORN -- A veteran wrestling coach at Fordson High School lost his job amid concerns that his one-time assistant, who is a local minister and parent of a wrestler, attempts to convert local Muslim youths to Christianity.” (“Fordson High coach let go after parent tried to convert Muslims”).

Discussion questions:

(1.) In what year did the practice of personal evangelism by American Christians toward nonChristians lose its protection under the First Amendment?

(2.) In what year did the United States adopt as our public policy that public school personnel are subject to termination for extra-curricular associations with evangelistic Christians?

Let’s get one thing straight: the fired coach, Jerry Marszalek, was not fired for using his public-school coaching job to try to convert Muslims. He was fired because he was friends with a local minister who sees his mission as winning all people to Christianity. And Fordson’s Islamic principal, Imad Fadlallah, and the Muslim parents at Fordson, (also know, with very good reason, as “Hezbollah High,” ), simply don’t like that.

Is this such a big deal?

Then try to imagine you’re the employee. I mean, I happen to be friends with a local minister or two, and many lay Christians, who are extremely zealous, and vocal, about trying to win people to Christ--and they wouldn’t make exceptions about talking to Muslims. Does that mean that someday soon we'll be reading the headline, “Hapless paper-pusher let go after pal tried to convert Muslims”?

Well, you say, that may be, Clancy, but you don’t let your friends come in an evangelize your workplace, do you? No I don't, and neither did Marszalek. Nor did the Christian pastor, Trey Hancock, who says he never spoke about the Lord while at the school or on school activities. (None of the stories offer any facts to the contrary).

That’s why the Detroit News headline, “Fordson High coach let go after parent tried to convert Muslims” while technically accurate, at a first glance is completely misleading. It comes across as if the coach was using practice time to browbeat his captive wrestlers into giving up their 72 virgins in exchange for a starry crown.

But that’s nowhere near what happened. What really happened is that Fadlallah hated Hancock because he talked to Muslim kids about Jesus Christ--(and not even during school activities, and not on school grounds--but apparently where Allah could still see him). Fadlallah ordered Marszalek to fire Hancock as assistant coach, and then to ban him from all the wrestling matches, even though one of the team stars was Hancock’s own son. Marszalek did let Hancock go as coach--three years ago. (News reports actually say that Hancock baptized a Muslim kid three years ago, in 2005, and wasn’t even a Fordson student).

That Marszalek didn't do. So Fadlallah earlier this month told Marszalek “he was being let go because he had ignored his earlier directive to keep the pastor away from the team.” (“Coach's firing draws praise from Muslims”). Fadlallah didn’t want Hancock anywhere near Fordson’s Muslim wrestlers with his Jesus talk, because Sharia strictly forbids that.

The only thing wrong here is we Americans haven’t quite finished transferring over from the U.S. Constitution to Sharia. So while hundreds of Muslim parents at a board meeting may have praised Allah for Fadlallah’s act of jihad, the principal clearly violated both state and federal laws against discrimination based on religion.

It isn’t clear if Marszalek’s going to do anything about it legally, but I hope he does. Some people are trying to say Marszalek's contract didn't have to be renewed, and he was only an at-will employee. But at-will status still doesn't justify an illegal firing, which is what this is. Fadlallah told him he was letting him go for refusing to ban Hancock based on Hancock's Christianity.

If Marszalek doesn't take any legal action, this story won’t be around long, just like so many of the others. We’re too used to this kind of thing now.

Why do we accept this stuff as so matter-of-fact? Why are the news articles expressing shock at what Trey Hancock may have done, instead of what hundreds of Dearborn parents just did?

I think that ever since Desert Shield in 1991, when we first stationed a lot of American military personnel in the Middle East, we’ve been told and told again that we have to be careful of Muslim senisbilities. We had to get along with Saudis, Kuwaitis, Afghanis, and Iraqis, all Muslim nations completely unashamed of demanding we comply with their Islamic proscriptions of evangelism--no Bibles or even necklace crosses for US military guarding Saudi Arabia--and of course we went along with it.

Then there’ve been all those hundreds of hours watching Muslims riot around the globe because some Westerner insulted the Prophet or offended Islam. And nothing’s more insulting to the Prophet than converting a Muslim to Christianity! We Americans have been so conditioned to see applying Great Commission to Muslims as a religious crime we’re almost as offended when it happens as the imams are. (If you think I’m exaggerating, read this and notice the tone of shock: “Iraqis say Marines handed out Christian coins.” You’d think the Marine was handing children DVDs of the R. Kelly sex tape instead of telling these poor people that God loves them.)

It's become second nature to us that Muslims simply aren’t going to tolerate evangelism on their turf.

But even if that made any sense for us to feel that way, it still raises the whole question, is Fordson High School Muslim turf? Or is it a state-financed, Dearborn-taxpayer supported, American public school?

These news stories seem to take for granted that Fordson is indeed part of the Ummah. The Detroit News’s Muslim Affairs Correspondent, Gregg Krupa, describes Fordson High as “a predominantly Muslim school,” not even bothering with the distinction that Fordson is really a public school with a majority of students who are Muslim.

Still, if Fordson’s “predominantly Muslim” parents don’t want their impressionable kids exposed to Christianity, why not just let them fire their Christian staff out of deference to cultural sensitivity?

Well, it looks to me as if that’s what we’re doing.

But don’t forget that it’s still against the law to fire people in this country because you don’t like their religion. And we’ve been serious enough about that historically to reinforce that part of the Constitution by passing a Civil Rights Act banning religious discrimination in the workplace.

Not that those laws mean anything if no one’s going to see they’re enforced.


Anonymous said...

You got it! Will the persecuted Marszalek challenge the violations of our American laws or not?

We all should hope he does and support him in this as protection for all.

Anonymous said...

hey, this is the daughter of trey hancock!! thanks for writing this!! its encouraging!!

T.R. Clancy said...

Daughter of Trey:

Thanks for commenting. I'm glad if anything we did here was a help.

Luke Duncan said...

This post is racist bullshit. I knew about this, and the coach was rightfully fired. I’m sorry, but I wish I had the excuse that “I had to” to tell everyone I was right and they were wrong, and to abuse my position of authority with students to do it. It’d be much more convenient when I wanted to tell people that their religion made no sense, if I had an emotional directive (the fear of hell for non-believers) to hide behind every time I began condescending the masses.

The coach was fired because he used his position of authority as a pulpit for conversion. When it comes to religion, teachers are allowed to respond to questions about their faith, but are not allowed to proselytize. The general tone of the post seemed to make the statement that since Christian teachers have an obligation to their faith to convert the heathen masses, they should therefore be allowed to attempt to convert children.

I for one, applaud the firing.

T.R. Clancy said...

Seems like I commented not long ago about how many intellectual errors are the result of poor reading comprehension.

Luke, read my post again and then get back to me with a quote, not just a description of “tone,” where I made “the statement that since Christian teachers have an obligation to their faith to convert the heathen masses, they should therefore be allowed to attempt to convert children.”

As I made clear in my post, no one has offered any facts supporting the “tone” of the accusations that either Coach Marszalek nor Hancock EVER proselytized any students at Fordson High. No one has offered any shred of support that the “coach was fired because he used his position of authority as a pulpit for conversion.”

And yet they’ve both been fired, one of them after 35 years of service.

You say you knew about this. So where are you getting your version of reality from?

Anonymous said...

July 4th is a great time to consider this problem in Dearborn. Our forefathers who signed the Declaration of Independence were willing to die so that ANYONE, INCLUDING MUSLIMS, would enjoy God-given rights to life, liberty , and the pursuit of happiness. Since those rights include the freedom of religion, it makes you wonder IS DEARBORN STILL PART OF AMERICA? Do they not understand our freedom of religion applies to BOTH MUSLIM AND CHRISTIAN!!! If that is one too many religions for them, they can easily choose another country where their faith is the only one allowed. Someone asked where the ACLU was. Now that is a great fourth of July joke! This situation would only hold interest for the ACLU if the coach had been a Muslim cleric and a Christian principal had fired him. Then the ACLU would have their teeth in the principal’s neck! But as for the actual situation, evidently the Muslim principal is entitled to trample the rights of Mr. Marzalek and Mr. Hancock since the Muslim faith seemed threatened. (Notice that even the sacred ACLU mantra of ’seperation of church and state’ carries no weight in this case since it is a Muslim in violation.) The report indicates the Muslim parents were thrilled that the basic rights of Mr. Hancock and Mr. Marszalek had been trampled.
So HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY - to all the Muslims in Dearborn who have no idea what that means. It USED to mean they could not do what they just did to Mr. Marszalek and Mr. Hancock. I hope Mr. Marszalek and Mr. Hancock will pursue a court case to see if they can win back our freedom of religion in Dearborn.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that the actions of a Pastor who baptized someone who had attended his church for atleast 2 years in another city 80 miles away from Dearborn would be suspect to crossing the line of their perceived notion of the seperation of Church and State within the Dearborn Public Schools and thus loose his "volunteer" position at the school as a direct result of that event.

Anonymous said...

daughter of trey hancock dont mean nothing, stupid americans tasted a little bit of their own poision and now they want to get mad go read the bible it will lead u straight to hell.

Anonymous said...

God bless tre hancock. I've been trying to find him and support him in any way I can I love what he's doing and heard about him from a friend when I lived in Hawaii this year. He needs our support. Maybe one day, peoples rights will be given back to them in dearborn if we can convert more muslims.

T.R. Clancy said...


Try reaching Rev. Hancock at his church. I'm sure he'd be glad to hear from you.


Anonymous said...

I attended the school and I am of Christian faith. The firing was just. Stop it