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High school athletes link up with a right-wing religious group: what could possibly go wrong?

The three high school athletes bringing suit against the Connecticut Association of Schools and the CIAC are now being supported by Alliance Defending Freedom.

Lest you think the ADF is some quasi-sports organization hell-bent on keeping records pure and achievements organized, it’s not. It’s a group of more than 3400 attorneys protecting what they call religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and the family.

It doesn’t take a lot of reading between the lines to know what all that means, but let’s listen to some of their attorneys:

—“The endgame of the homosexual legal agenda is unfettered sexual liberty and the silencing of all dissent.”

—“In the end, those who profess to be ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian,’ or who have otherwise slipped in and out of homosexual behavior, including ‘cruising’ for anonymous partners, are people who succumb to a dangerous temptation.”

Not much about sports there. But I nice dollop of bigotry and fear-mongering.

Permeating the literature of ADF are continual references to the so-called “homosexual agenda” — a nefarious scheme to destroy Christianity and, eventually, civilization itself through LGBT efforts to secure equality under the law.

Equality under the law—that shouldn't be such a big deal. It certainly should not presage the end of life as we know it.

When I was young and fretted over the end of the world (we heard a lot about that in religious instruction classes) I used to worry about a nuclear weapon from the USSR (remember the USSR from that Beatles song?) or some stray asteroid crashing into earth. Those nuns who scared the hell out of us could never have imagined that the vehicle of ruin would be our fellow human beings seeking to destroy Christianity, the family, and culture.

Fellow human beings, Christians! The image and likeness of God and all that. (It's also a tenet of Islam and Judaism, so no one's off the hook.)

Now I don’t want to make light of those athletes’ concerns about records and achievements and scholarships. I get it. And the athletes bringing suit may very well not be bigots themselves. But throwing in with Alliance Defending Freedom puts them on the wrong path and adds an obvious shading of intolerance to what might have been a well-intentioned effort. In the athletes' defense, we're all treading on new ground here and the adjustment is going to take some time and wisdom; but that adjustment is unlikely to benefit from equating transgender athletes with Armageddon.

Remember, to Brooklyn Dodger fans 74 years ago, the arrival of Jackie Robinson was the end of the world; to Southerners in the U.S. 180 years ago, abolishing slavery was the end of the world; a century ago many men felt that giving women a vote was the end of the world; and sixty years ago electing a Catholic as president meant having the Pope live in Washington and that would be, of course, the end of the world.

The world is still here—teetering in 2020—but still here.

Not everything different in life is an attack on morality or an affront to God. And not everything that goes awry these days is the fault of Donald Trump. But combine a simmering religious fanaticism with a blatant political expediency, and we can easily understand how a group like ADF can gain and maintain traction. I wish the athletes had used traditional means to pursue their concerns: tying it in with religion and morality will politicize their efforts, and we already know Trump's opinions from his previous assaults on the LGBT community.

With a cheating scandals and horrific injuries sullying professional sports, and a myriad of scandals tarnishing college athletics, the last hope for some purity in competition resides at the high school level. It would be worth salvaging, though it may be too late already to return yet another genie to the bottle.

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