Majerus v Burke
January 23, 2008 10:57 AM   Subscribe

Rick Majerus has always been a bit controversial, but this has been a bad month.

The details of the lawsuit mentioned in the article are here
posted by ozomatli (19 comments total)
Oh, the best is on top of this: Majerus was at a Hillary Clinton rally last week, and tld a reporter, "Personally, I'm pro-choice." Now, the archbishop of St. Louis, who is well-known for refusing to give communion to John Kerry, is trying to get the University to "take appropriate action". The archbishop has also closed down many catholic schools, defrocked an entire parish which had a century-old independent charter for refusing to submit to his will, and generally been the worst kind of authoritarian bully.
posted by notsnot at 11:08 AM on January 23, 2008

I guess it's not "on top", since it's the lede - I thought I'd clicked on it, but the main link was shown in "visited" color since I was at that page earlier today. Mea culpa.

Oh, and did I mention the women who were "ordained" priests at the Jewish community center? He excommunicated them, too.
posted by notsnot at 11:10 AM on January 23, 2008

Why does this have a "seperationofchurchandstate" tag? I mean, leaving aside the misspelling, since when did basketball coaches at private universities become agents of the state?
posted by dersins at 11:13 AM on January 23, 2008

I put the tag because of the inherent trouble the trouble SLU can get into if they decide to bow to the demands of the archbishop. SLU is skating a thin line as a Jesuit University and still accepting state aide.
posted by ozomatli at 11:22 AM on January 23, 2008

One of the contentions of Burke is that University employees may not publicly stray from Church doctrines. Except, last year the MO supreme court rejected a motion to keep SLU from receiving TIF financing on a new stadium, on the grounds that while the university may hold certain creeds as an ideal, it is not directly part of the Church, and thus is not banned from public TIF money.
posted by notsnot at 11:23 AM on January 23, 2008

I have no idea who this guy is. Is he trying to take down the Church from the inside or what?
posted by DU at 11:28 AM on January 23, 2008

These sports activities...people watch them?
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 11:30 AM on January 23, 2008

Really, the question comes down to can his employer - after successfully arguing they are not controlled by a religious creed or dogma - discipline the coach for expressing opinions at odds with a religious creed or dogma.

I would expect that if they tried, there would be hell to pay. Not to say that they can't give him some grief for not distancing himself from his employer before speaking; I'm guessing the reason he was interviewed on camera is because that association makes him a local celebrity.

Disclaimer: The speaker is not in any way endorsing the existence of hell, either as a real physical, metaphysical, or metaphorical place. No assumption of any particular model of hell (Catholic, Greek, Jewish, Hindu, etc) is made. No assumption of the type of currency used in hell is expressed or implied. I speak for myself, and not my employer.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:38 AM on January 23, 2008

Did, in fact, the Corinthians write back? And was it similar to kthxbai?
posted by jsavimbi at 11:38 AM on January 23, 2008 [3 favorites]

The fewest points ever by a Division I team was set by Arkansas State in a 75-6 loss to Kentucky in 1945. It was matched by Temple in an 11-6 loss to Tennessee in 1973.

Ouch. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to play an entire basketball game and get 6 points, or 11 either for that matter. What did they do in that 1973 game, spend most of it getting high on the sidelines and giggling?
posted by languagehat at 11:41 AM on January 23, 2008

Rick Majerus is a... strange person. He's one of those people with bad traits that most people who are around them come to like. He almost "dated Cindy Crawford" anyway--rumor has it that, after Roy Williams turned down the coaching job at North Carolina after Bill Guthridge's retirement, Rick Majerus was Dean Smith's recommendation as the next coach. Unfortunately, the athletic administration didn't see it that way, and the unproven (and disastrous) coach Matt Doherty got the job instead.

Roy Williams is there now, of course.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:41 AM on January 23, 2008

Actual quotes:

Asked about abortion, he said, "I'm pro-choice, personally. But I mean, again, you know, I believe that that's the province of being a woman. You know, you can be for people making a choice without yourself wanting to engage in it. Easy for me to say."

"Oh, I'm very much an advocate for stem-cell research. Anything that can help eliminate people's pain in life and suffering and things like that, I think you've got to explore all of those options."

via Salon
posted by ozomatli at 11:51 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

And then Rick Majerus went on to extoll the virtues of the 1-3-1 zone and the clergy went apeshit.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 12:11 PM on January 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

I don't think we're focused enough on the GW/St. Louis game... Majerus's team went 20 minutes with nothing but a single made free throw. They also scored 10--half!--of their points in the final ten minutes of the game. Languagehat, the NCAA didn't introduce a shot clock until 1985, and didn't have a three point line until 1980.

I was at the game. It was a big highlight of a dreary GW season. Hail to the buff and blue!
posted by sdrawkcab at 12:25 PM on January 23, 2008

Tennessee vs. Temple, 1973
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:41 PM on January 23, 2008

This is what the legal finding was "Although the [MO] constitution does not define "creed," based on its dictionary definition, the phrase "control by a religious creed" suggests that the religious component dictates the institution's administration and oversight and is likely to be marked by efforts to indoctrinate the faith or support a particular religious denomination."

This is what he Archbishop's position "When you take a position in a Catholic university, you don't have to embrace everything the Catholic church teaches. But you can't make statements which call into question that identity and mission of the Catholic church."

It seems to me that the court's position is that the school can't force someone to act in accord with a certain religious doctrine nor to adopt a religious creed. The archbishop could be reasonably taken to argue that he doesn't care whether Majerus is pro-choice, donates money to abortion clinics, or performs abortions himself so long as Majerus refrains from actively speaking out against the Church's position. The question at hand is really whether restricting what an employee can say publicly is tantamount to forcing them to support a religious creed. It's not obvious that the two are the same. In fact, I would go further and argue that equating the two is position that needs to be argued for.
posted by oddman at 1:03 PM on January 23, 2008

Burke is well known in these parts for being a doctrinal hit man, a canon law apologist par excellence, and complete anathema to any parish in the archdiocese that fails in its responsibility to kowtow to the archbishopric (see the section on the St. Stanislaus controversy here). IANARC, nor do I give a damn about basketball, but this whole episode makes Burke look even more bizarre and mindlessly doctrinaire than he did in the wake of the Sheryl Crow incident.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:03 PM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks, GhostintheMachine! What an amazing read:
Two of Temple's best ball-handlers, Rick Trudeaux and John Kneib, stood like Easter Island statues in Chuck Taylors, passing the ball back and forth for minutes at a time. With no shot clock to stop them, the Owls had decided before their game with host Tennessee in the Volunteer Classic on December 15,1973, that no matter how ugly or boring it was, or how badly they desecrated the game ... they were going to stall.

For Temple coach Don Casey, this was the Owls' best, and perhaps only, way to best Tennessee...
I'm sure glad it didn't work.
posted by languagehat at 3:19 PM on January 23, 2008

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