Iowa Wrestler goes to the mat for his religious convictions

He refused to wrestle a girl.  I really don’t understand parents who would allow their daughter to wrestle a boy.  The false premise that gender doesn’t matter, that is, that male and female are interchangeable has taken hold in our culture.  But that is a topic for another post.

Back to the story.

This story is causing quite a stir around these parts. People are stunned that anyone would give up a chance for a state title for his faith based convictions.

Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa — After a standout season in which he went 35-4, Joel Northrup had every reason to dream of winning an Iowa wrestling championship this year, but he gave it all up before his first state tournament match Thursday.

Northrup, a home-schooled sophomore who competes for Linn-Mar High School, said his religious beliefs wouldn’t allow him to wrestle Cassy Herkelman, a pony-tailed freshman from Cedar Falls who is one of the first two girls to qualify for the tournament in its 85-year history.

Northrup issued a statement through his school expressing his “tremendous” respect for what Herkelman and Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black achieved this season, but he said didn’t feel he had a choice.

“Wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times,” Northrup said in a statement released by his high school. “As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa.” Read more here. (H/T Get Religion)

Des Moines Register Sport’s writer Sean Keeler is confused:

“Of course, whether you think this noble or foolish depends on which side of the fence you happen to reside. Personally, if the only thing standing between me and the medal stand at Wells Fargo Arena is a lion, bring on the lion.” Read more here.

This story made the national news.  Most of the stories have been fair. The young man has not been denounced as being sexist. People just seem amazed that anyone—especially a young rising star—would go to the mat for his religious convictions.

The girl’s family expressed their respect for the young man’s decision. The grace exhibited by both families has Get Religion asking,

“Is this heaven? Well, it’s Iowa.”

I love that.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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2 Responses to Iowa Wrestler goes to the mat for his religious convictions

  1. LeAnn says:

    I was surprised that the national media picked up on this. What father in his right mind would even allow his daughter to be groped and wrestled by a boy in a skimpy elastic uniform? There is so much wrong about the idea that girls and boys are equal. I’m proud of my bosom and frankly don’t want to think of men as my equal!


  2. Susan Kehoe says:

    I don’t know. We live in a world gone mad. The idea that boys and girls are interchangeable is the philosophy that drives same sex marriage activists. It is, I believe, a real threat to women.

    Ha! I love your last sentence. Me too.


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