In defence of David Booth, who really shouldn’t need defending

One unfortunate aspect of professional athletes using Twitter is that it leads, invariably, to a greater insight into what they think.

Of course, this isn’t the end of the world if their views happen to line up with yours. But if they don’t, for many, that’s a problem.

I’ve never been quite sure as to why; an athlete’s worldview has no bearing on whether they can succeed at their sport. Unless the athlete is espousing a racist, violent, or homophobic (i.e. harmful) ideology, I don’t really see that what they believe is anybody’s business. But for some, it’s not enough for the athlete to do sports well — he or she also has see the world the right way (i.e. their way).

I think it’s a foolish approach to sports fandom that only increases the avenues through which a member of your favourite team can disappoint you.

Since descending on Twitter, David Booth has disappointed many. His right-wing views have offended the sensibilities of Vancouver’s left-leaning populace, and in the midst of this lockout, where he can’t possibly score the goals necessary to mitigate the importance of who he is off the ice (let’s call this “the Todd Bertuzzi effect”), public opinion of the Canuck winger only drops.

But it really isn’t fair. Sure, Booth’s opinions don’t reflect the consensus in Metro Vancouver, but the flak he gets over voicing them is completely unreasonable.

Canucks fans would prefer Booth was more like Kevin Bieksa, who had this to say in the wake of the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary:

 

This fit nicely with much of the local sentiment in the wake of that heartbreaking tragedy and — disclosure alert — I agreed with it too. Gun control laws in the United States are too lax. While those sorts of tragedies are never going to be completely eradicated so long as humans exist, I believe they would have a lower rate of occurrence and a lower body count if it were harder to procure the sort of efficient murder weapons so commonly used to commit them. The same day as the Sandy Hook shootings, a man attacked a school in China with a knife. He cut 23 students through a fence. But no one died, because his range of attack extended no further than the blade of the knife fit through the fence. Scary? Yes. Lethal? No.

Fewer guns will equal fewer dead in fewer mass slaughters. That’s my personal opinion, it’s Bieksa’s opinion, and I would say it’s the personal opinion of more than half of Bieksa’s followers. But it’s not everyone’s opinion.

David Booth, for instance, may share a similar follower base to Bieksa; he doesn’t share the opinion. Booth pointed to something else that might mitigate tragedies of this sort: Jesus. Or, in his own words in a follow-up tweet, “Teaching morals.”

 

Understandably, Booth elicited a very different reaction.

Obviously, the Michigan-born winger isn’t alone in thinking this way. It’s an opinion shared by many right-wingers (and, frankly, some Bible-believing left-wingers) that America messed up big-time when it took pre-class prayer from school systems. “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” said Mike Huckabee in the wake of the tragedy, echoing an old Christian anecdote where a concerned student asks God why there’s so much violence in schools, only for God to respond, “I’m not allowed in schools”.

Now, I don’t agree. Heck, I was raised Charismatic Christian and homeschooled with Bible-based curriculum (A Beka books, which is featured prominently in this article), and I’ve never agreed. It’s always seemed to me that if I’m a parent of a certain religion, I don’t want my kids made to observe the rites of another religion at school. The Christians pushing for prayer in schools would be furious if schools handed out prayer rugs and made the children perform Salah. But kids aren’t made to perform Salah, because not every kid is a Muslim.

This has to work both ways, otherwise we’re mandating religion, and that seems like a clear infringement of the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is not, as the Right Wing likes to say, what the founding fathers would have wanted. So let the kids pray at home.

That said, I certainly don’t feel that we should be directing scorn at Booth, Huckabee, or the many others that believe the tragedy at Sandy Hook is attributed to prayer-free classrooms. If they were cheering the tragedy for teaching us a lesson about secularizing education, that would be one thing. But for them to express the same grief, confusion, disillusionment and despair as the rest of us, then polemicize about the root cause as seen through the prism of their worldview — well, that’s what everyone did.

And yet Booth was fully vilified over it. It’s silly and it needs to stop.

For one thing, I think a lot of Booth-haters suffers from a fundamental misunderstanding, which is that every single right-winger is a racist, homophobic, Bible-thumping, gun-crazed Tea Party nut. There are people that are all of those things. They are just awful. But plenty of right-wingers aren’t like that.

As proof, consider that Booth was attacked for being a gun nut when he isn’t one. The man hunts with a crossbow. In response to a fan that told him to “take his guns and BS and get out of town”, Booth responded, “I’m not in town and I don’t have guns.”

Booth gets attacked for being a lot of things that he isn’t. Truth is, while he’s said plenty of things people have disagreed with, he’s never voiced a hateful opinion. The worst he’s done is legally hunt animals and refuse to stop when Twitter got mad about it. When was the last time you stopped doing something you enjoy because the Internet told you to?

I’m not saying you can’t disagree with David Booth. I disagree with him all the time. But so long as he’s being respectful, can we please just aim to respectfully disagree?

I understand there’s no hockey to argue about right now, but let’s cut him some slack.

37 comments

  1. Matt Owen
    December 18, 2012

    The way I read that tweet was that Booth saw all these people offering their thoughts and prayers, people that are obviously not Christian, and wondered “If so many people are ‘praying’ for the school, why not bring prayer back into school?” I’m a Christian, and I don’t believe we should force Christianity on the general public. Sure, it’d be amazing and fantastic if that was something the public wanted, but I definitely don’t want someone else to push their beliefs on me, so I won’t do it to them. However, people, British Columbians especially, need to stop vilifying anyone who expresses their Christian beliefs.

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  2. Kelvin Yu
    December 18, 2012

    I wonder if all the people who think that hate Booth believe that he doesn’t deserve an opinion realize that this is exactly what religion in school did to those who didn’t believe in one.

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    • Kelvin Yu
      December 18, 2012

      Dangit I accidentally a word. MY POINT STILL STANDS THOUGH.

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  3. Timmy Wong
    December 18, 2012

    Something that is indeed puzzling is how much flack Booth gets for expressing his personal opinions on a social medium, and for doing something that is completely legal (ie. hunting with a license). Where exactly is this disdain coming from?

    There’s a lot more disrespect coming from his detractors than Booth himself – that’s saying something.

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  4. Beantown Canuck
    December 18, 2012

    Sorry Harrison but I’m going to strongly disagree here. When 6 year old kids get murdered, and it seems probable that those murders would not have occurred had it not been for policies premised upon ridiculous views, I feel no need to “respectfully” disagree with those views.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 18, 2012

      Hold up, though. You’re conflating two things: the pro-gun lobby and faith. In this case, they have very little to do with one another. As Booth said, he doesn’t have a gun. He’s just talking about God.

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      • Beantown Canuck
        December 18, 2012

        The pro-gun lobby and the more-religion-in-schools oh-no-war-on-christmas believers are bedfellows in American politics Harrison.

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        • Harrison Mooney
          December 18, 2012

          They can be. But they’re also two different topics. Not everyone who’s more-religion-in-schools is also pro-gun, I promise you this. I haven’t spoken to Booth personally, but I get the sense that he’s definitely FAR more pro-God than pro-Gun.

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    • madwag
      December 18, 2012

      i didn’t read booth saying it was “probable that those murders would not have occurred.” i do read that he’s wondering if the disappearance of the teachings of Christ in school has led to horrors such as these. surely he’s allowed to wonder about that. i certainly wonder why when such things happen, though i don’t attribute them to an absence of God in the classroon. I do wonder at the apparent need for people to own automatic weapons, and i do question the effects of modern day media on already potentially sick minds. and when it comes to “guns or knives”, i’m much more in favor of knives and even more so in favor of butch cassidy’s “neither”, but that’s a whole other story. personally i think mr. mooney’s post is spot on.

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      • John in Marpole
        December 19, 2012

        I’d suggest that an issue many take with the whole ‘Christ in school would prevent this type of thing’ is that it pre-supposes that only Christianity leads to morality and people identifying right from wrong.

        Morals and knowing the difference between right and wrong pre-dates Christianity by several thousand years, i.e., the dawn of mankind. Christianity (nor any other religion of the past, present or future) did not invent morals. Pre-historic peoples had societal expectations, that’s one of the reasons why homo-sapiens has – to date – been a successful species in the evolution of this planet. Without standards of acceptable behaviour within the group humans would not have survived against stronger, more capable predators and we would have never made it past the early stage of the age of mammals.

        There is a certain arrogance on the part of many religious people that their faith owns morality. I find that history has proven the fallacy of that, regardless of which faith is involved.

        If, OTOH, the sentiment that was being expressed was that perhaps there needed to be more attention to base inter-personal skills such as respect and co-operation and not equating a specific – or any – religion with people making correct choices, then there would be much less objection to statements like those made by Booth.

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  5. sarah
    December 18, 2012

    “For one thing, Booth-haters suffers from a fundamental misunderstanding, which is that every single right-winger is a racist, homophobic, Bible-thumping, gun-crazed Tea Party nut” – You forgot sexist! (jk )

    Interesting article. I’m not really sure how I feel. I’ll admit that I’m the type of latte-liberal that is very common on the left coast and I was disappointed when I started following Booth on twitter. I’ll continue to cheer for him in hockey, but I’m probably less likely to want to grab a beer with him as I was when I just saw him as a tanned, smiley guy with great hair…..er….

    An example from the opposite side: I’m going to continue cheering for Schneider at hockey but I’m much more likely to want to grab a beer with Schneider since I’ve discovered his fondness for plaid suits and quoting movies. Is this unfair? probably…but it seems to be the way fandom often goes.

    That said, I don’t want to silence Booth on twitter or social media and I continue to follow his account, but I will also roll my eyes at his tea-party posts and grimace at his pictures of dead animals. Also I don’t want to see him fail at hockey and I won’t campaign trading him because of his views.

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    • Nee
      December 18, 2012

      Well put. I too am a “latte-liberal” and I admit that Booth’s public expressions of hunting and Christianity have at times made me uncomfortable. But he’s obviously a very kind hearted guy, and though I don’t share his views on a lot of things, he has a right to his views just as much as I do to mine.

      Twitter, as an anonymous echo chamber, is by it’s very nature prone to belligerence. People are often very rude on that site, and I say this as an avid Twitter user. So as a public figure, Booth is inevitably going to get negative feedback.

      From looking at his @replies though, the feedback he gets is very often overwhelmingly negative, which is too bad. I wish people could just agree to disagree. Not going to happen on Twitter though.

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      • Nee
        December 18, 2012

        I should add, that it’s not so much that people are negative towards him (fair enough…he expressed his opinion, he should expect a response, positive or negative) but its frequently really rude and harsh comments. That’s what I find a bit unfair.

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  6. sm
    December 18, 2012

    I fully agree that everyone is entitled to there views, I certainly don’t hold it against Booth for his point of view,that being said my issue is with the idea that somehow bringing religion back into school would have some how prevented this tragedy from happening.

    No amount of morning prayers or religion in general , who have prevented that madman from commiting that terrible crime.you need not look any further then nations that prescribe to shariah laws in the middle east. Can anyone honestly say that it has helped? having religion in schools does nothing but promote secularism,partisanship, and derision towards anyone of other faiths and beliefs.

    The last time I checked religion has been a huge source of hate,anger and war throughout history. How can it possibly be the answer to solving these tragedies?

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    • Kelvin Yu
      December 18, 2012

      Booth isn’t suggesting that if God had been in schools the shooting wouldn’t have happened, he’s suggesting that with the prevalence of the pray for ct hashtag or whatever we should bring God back in schools anyway. Terrible timing, as is customary for him, but he’s not suggesting what you think he is.

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      • John in Marpole
        December 19, 2012

        Booth’s words are supportive of those of others, like Mike Huckaby, who have indeed stated that Christian prayer in schools would prevent these horrible massacres. Public schools in the US are supposed to be secular. Unless an hour every morning is going to be reserved for prayers from every faith that would be unfair to some. And consider the athiest/agnostic kids who, as I was back in the day, might be punished for not wanting to participate.

        Teaching morality and right/wrong does not have to include religion, because religion has nothing to do with either concept.

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  7. _Proto
    December 18, 2012

    Harisson, we spoke about this on Twitter the other day, and I have to say I’m disappointed in the tenor of your article. You managed to set up and knock down a number of straw men, but that’s about it. A few thoughts in response.

    First, my initial point was simply that it amazes me that the media in Vancouver basically ignore Booth’s questionable social media practices. When he made a comment about how a woman couldn’t be president because she’d be too busy shopping for shoes, there wasn’t much response, nor was there the other day — though you did take time to defend him, for whatever reason.

    You write:

    “I’ve never been quite sure as to why; an athlete’s worldview has no bearing on whether they can succeed at their sport. Unless the athlete is espousing a racist, violent, or homophobic (i.e. harmful) ideology, I don’t really see that what they believe is anybody’s business. But for some, it’s not enough for the athlete to do sports well — he or she also has see the world the right way (i.e. their way).”

    To be clear, David Booth is free to say/do/think whatever he likes. He seems like a decent man, for the most part. But when someone chooses to use the platform they have (in his case, one provided by being a professional hockey player) it strikes me as the height of absurdity to imply that fans are being foolish for questioning what he chooses to say. It might be indirect, but his salary is very much supported by fans of the team. In much the same way that someone might be proud of the team for all their local initiatives (Canucks place, Canucks for Kids, etc.), one can equally be disappointed when members of the team act contrary to how we would like them to comport themselves. Your mileage may vary.

    It’s also critical to point out that you are being very charitable in your reading of David Booth’s comment. When a tragedy occurs and someone’s response is, “Gosh, I wish we had more [blank]“, it seems fairly clear (to me, at least) that the person is ascribing some blame for the event to a lack of [blank] — in this case, “CHRIST” in schools. If that weren’t clear enough, Booth follows up his initial comment by tweeting “very well put” to someone that wrote the following:

    ” The lack of morals taught combined with all the violent movies creates these people. Guns been around 100s of yrs wo this”

    He then says that teaching “morals” would help reduce the violence.

    There are all sorts of things that are wrong about what he’s said. But, to be quick, guns in their current form have not been around for 100′s of years — even several decades ago, these sorts of military-grade weapons were not commonly sold as they are today. Second, there is basically no evidence that supports this ‘moral decay’ argument: no evidence that violent movies or videogames (or books or plays before that) create more violence. None whatsoever. There is zero evidence that prayer in schools reduces violence or that 6-year-olds praying would discourage a mentally ill 20-year-old from taking his mother’s Bushmaster .223 Semi-automatic assault rifle and committing mass murder. None.

    There is, however, a pervasive desire in America (and Canada) to say “Well, everyone has an opinion!” and move on, because it’s polite and we don’t want to offend people. We do this when people are fundamentally wrong. Dangerously wrong. It effects public discourse, and media narratives, and you end up with a public that is either not offended by intellectually dishonest discourse, or simply doesn’t recognize it.

    Gun control isn’t an issue of opinion. It’s simply not. There are hard, data-driven arguments that gun control works. It works in the UK, in Australia, in Japan. David Booth can say whatever he wants, but I’d certainly hope people would at least call him to task when he seems to be suggesting something so foolish in the public sphere. You don’t get to hop on a soapbox and then run away when people throw a tomato at you…

    And your defense of Mike Huckabee is appalling. This is a guy that ran an advertisement during the US election that basically stated people will go to hell if they don’t vote for Romney (complete with flames in the background). This isn’t an intellectually serious person.

    Everyone, including you, is free to have an opinion. But you’re not being fair when you conflate this with the response to his hunting practices, or when you set up a straw man and say everyone assumes he’s A, B, and C. I don’t assume anything about him. He seems like a nice guy and he’s a decent hockey player. I’ve never heard anyone say anything negative about him as a person. But some of his comments are absurd and deserve to be commented on.

    We’re not at a dinner party here, holding our tongue while our wife’s friend’s boyfriend goes off on an implausible rant, or ignoring someone’s dumb comment in line at the grocery store. This is someone using a public platform to make, at best, controversial/unsupported claims about a tragedy that took more than two dozen lives. I’m not sure why the media would ignore that, or feel the need to defend it.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 18, 2012

      Hey man, thanks for dropping by and chiming in.

      I wrote a really detailed response to this, and then my computer froze and it disappeared. I am sad. Anyway, here’s the somewhat abbreviated version:

      1. That Booth tweet was a reference to the Ali G show. He’s not actually a crazy sexist. He’s just so bad at Twitter no one got the reference.

      2. So basically, my defence of Mike Huckabee is appalling because he’s objectively bad and I failed to say so? Listen, I don’t much care for the guy, but a lot of what he says gets misunderstood by people outside his audience, which is pretty much entirely Christian. That commercial is a great example: It wasn’t as heinous as it was made out to be; it was just a bad commercial. It was making visual reference to the “refiner’s fire”, a Christian concept introduced in 1 Peter. It’s about valuing faith over all else because it’s the only thing that lasts. It has nothing to do with Hell. I saw the Daily Show episode where Stewart takes Huckabee to task on this, but Huckabee wasn’t lying with his defence. The commercial really wasn’t saying if you don’t vote for Romney, you’ll go to Hell. It was saying you should vote on the faith-based issues above all others. (Still pro-Romney and a smarmy abuse of Biblical rhetoric, but not as literally damning.) Of course, if you aren’t immersed in church culture, it’s pretty much impossible to see it as anything but a cheap appeal to the fear of Hell, but I assure you the Christians at whom it was aimed saw it for what it was.

      3. I think you misunderstand what I’m saying about Booth’s opinion. I think we’re entitled to respect him, even if we don’t respect the opinion. But speaking of not respecting the opinion, let’s not get carried away with the high horse. Gun control *is* an issue of opinion. It simply is. It requires evidence to support it and there is evidence against it. I think the evidence against it isn’t strong and I agree that the choice seems clear. But it’s not objective fact. It’s still opinion.

      4. Speaking of believing something strongly, that’s what Booth is doing with his faith. I don’t understand this twisted logic that Booth is suggesting non-religious people are evil and violent. It’s not that simple — it’s simpler. Booth and other Christians believe that ALL people, themselves included, are inherently evil and violent, and that a relationship with God keeps these innate tendencies in check — maybe even purifies them. But they also believe that going the other direction is dangerous. The further you get from God, the more likely you are to commit awful acts like this. There’s nothing discriminatory about that at all. It’s fully inclusive. The Bible says “ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. (Can you tell I grew up in church? Geez. I pulled that verse out of thin air.)

      Don’t subscribe to this belief? Fine. But Christians would tell you it’s not opinion, it’s fact. And I would say the same thing to them I said to you: that’s just your opinion. (And around and round it goes.)

      Since we expect Christians to respect our opinions and get mad when they don’t, it has to go the other way, too.

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      • _Proto
        December 19, 2012

        1. Fair enough. I feel less irked — reminiscent of when MMA fighter Miguel Torres was released by the UFC for tweeting about a “rape van” (which was just a poorly delivered reference to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”).

        2. I wasn’t raised religious, so I will mostly defer to your knowledge on this point. It strikes me a distinction without a difference, however. While by the very letter of what he said he might not be referring to “hell”, the implication seems quite clear to me. Urging someone to vote for “faith-based” reasons is hollow when that message has been co-opted by the right-wing political machine to mean “lower taxes”, “overturn Roe V. Wade”, and “ban gay marriage”. Mike Huckabee is a shameless peddler of small-minded bigotry posing as folksy southern charm. This is a guy who accused “the left” of “intolerant bigotry” and “vicious hate speech” for rising up against Chik-Fil-A.

        I guess the Huckabee stuff is a tangent, but I think Christians in the United States complaining about bigotry is like white dudes (read: me) complaining about reverse racism. Rings hollow.

        3. We’ll agree to disagree here. The evidence against gun control is about as strong as the evidence against global warming. It’s propped up by John A. Lott’s 15+ years of academic exaggeration (and likely intentional fraud). It just doesn’t pass the smell test. To wit:

        A) In Japan, as of 2007, homicide rates involving firearms was 1.8%. In Canada, it was 30%. In the US, it was 60%. Japan has perhaps the harshest gun control laws in the western world.

        B) The US has between 30-50% of the worlds civilian owned firearms (roughly 200 million, or 88 per every 100 civilians) and less than 5% of the population.

        C) 80% of crimes in the United States involving handguns are perpetrated by people using handguns that were sold through a “loophole” that allows the private sale of handguns without any background check whatsoever — that includes at gun shows.

        D) In Australia, there were 13 mass killings involving firearms in the 16 years before their weapon ban, and none in the subsequent 16 years.

        Of course there are a multitude of other reasons that factor into the debate (socio-economic, mental health, etc.), but there really isn’t much evidence against gun control. As I said earlier, almost all of it is based on highly questionable (likely fraudulent) research by John A. Lott:

        “The right has good reason to stick by Lott: “The entire ideology of the modern gun movement has basically been built around this guy,” says Saul Cornell, an Ohio State University historian who has written widely on guns. Over the years the pro-gun intellectual agenda has had two prongs: Defending a revisionist legal understanding of the Second Amendment in constitutional law, and refuting social scientists and public-health researchers who argue that the widespread availability of guns in America plays a key role in the nation’s staggering number of homicides and suicides. Without Lott’s work, the latter argument becomes much harder to make.”

        Source: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2003/10/double-barreled-double-standards

        My point here is not to defense undue/mean-spirited criticism of David Booth. It’s to point out that letting the kind of unthinking (and, frankly factually unsupported) claim that he made is actually damaging to public discourse. These sort of emotion-based, fact-denying claims are commonplace — I think they deserve to be properly addressed.

        4. This might make sense to you, as someone who was raised around faith, but to me it seems incredibly intolerant. And it’s not inclusive, despite what you say. You can’t say that we’re all sinners, and the further we get from god the more likely we are to commit immoral, heinous acts without making a value judgement that people who are further from god are somehow worse than people who follow Christian faith. It’s the kind of ethno-centric babble that led missionaries to Africa and South America. It’s the harmful dialogue that helpfully discouraged the use of condoms in Africa. People are free to believe whatever they like, and it doesn’t make them bad people, but that seems like a dangerously misguided sentiment to chalk up to “difference of opinion”. Just my two cents.

        I’ll leave with this brilliant short essay by Garry Wills:

        2. It has the power to turn all our politicians as a class into invertebrate and mute attendants at the shrine. None dare suggest that Moloch can in any way be reined in without being denounced by the pope of this religion, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre, as trying to destroy Moloch, to take away all guns. They whimper and say they never entertained such heresy. Many flourish their guns while campaigning, or boast that they have themselves hunted “varmints.” Better that the children die or their lives be blasted than that a politician should risk an election against the dread sentence of NRA excommunication.

        http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/dec/15/our-moloch/

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    • Anonymous
      December 19, 2012

      When he made a comment about how a woman couldn’t be president because she’d be too busy shopping for shoes

      Ugh I never saw that until now. Damn that’s gross. He’s hitting each R stereotype on the list, huh

      I have to agree with the tone of these comments… we can take him to task for his views and point out the fact that what he says is nonsensical and that we don’t agree, that doesn’t mean it affects his hockey playing ability and that we should run him out of town asap.

      Harrison, you say above that “I don’t really see that what they believe is anybody’s business. ” but he put it out on Twitter. Not even like his personal Facebook status but Twitter! He made it the business of everyone who sees it.

      I have to majorly side eye his tweets regarding the shooting because he IS making a connection between a lack of morals/Christ and what happened. In a time of ‘It’s too soon to politicize this tragedy” he’s going right ahead and doing that, turning it into a ‘i wonder if we could have prevented this if we: 1,2,3′. He’s using an incredibly public platform to do so. It’s logical people will get upset, especially if his views are not very understandable.

      I think Booth was so vilified for it for both what he was saying and the timing. Because, well, we can’t understand it, unlike Bieksa’s tweet. Booth’s just doesn’t make sense. Do only Christians have morals? I mean, don’t secular schools teach you not to be violent, to share with your fellow peers, etc. Does being taught Christianity mean that you’re less likely to shoot elementary school children compared to other religions/non-religious? No Christians have strayed the path and done horrific things (even in the name of Christianity)? Combined with the timing + way it was worded, it’s an expected result. He comes across as uneducated and pushing his own (religious) agenda off of the back of a horrific tragedy, it’s not a good look.

      We like to get attached to our hockey players. It makes the games and wins mean that much more, like they’re our friends and family (I’ve been following the Sedins for longer than I’ve known some members of my family!) and we’re all in this together. We like hearing about the fact that they donated 1.5 mill to build us a Children’s hospital. We like hearing that Malhotra and Garrison walked in the Gay Pride parade. We like hearing some Canucks went to do their annual Christmas hospital visit even though they’re locked out. When we see who athletes are as good people behind the jersey numbers it really brings us closer to the team and makes it more enjoyable to cheer for them. You feel like you’re a good person for cheering for a team with all these good people on it. No one wants to cheer for an uncharismatic douchebag team. However if it can work positively it can work negatively, like you mentioned. Once you know something about a person (especially a negative thing, Psych 101) you incorporate it into their persona and it’s hard to separate, even when watching them do something else (like playing hockey). If someone’s at a hockey game and they see Booth make a play and think to themself ‘oh man I can’t believe that guy believes that Newtown could have been prevented if only Christianity was taught in schools, that’s too bad’ and their enthusiasm for his play is dampened a little, that’s a logical response. People do it all the time with Scientology and their favourite actors/actresses. Not that I mean to be directly comparing the two but I’ve heard Scientology is relatively harmless and it doesn’t affect Random Moviegoer whether Actor A is a Scientologist or not and has no consequence in their movie, but Random Moviegoer will think about Actor A and their Scientology beliefs (‘oh man this dude believes in Xenu? seriously?’) even though it has nothing to do with their profession. But that isn’t really the point, I went off on a tangent there, sorry.

      If you find out your uncle is ignorant and thinks in a hardcore religious way you just can’t understand , well you aren’t going to kick him out and ban him from your life ( he’s pretty harmless and your dad’s only brother!), but that doesn’t mean you blithely let his ignorance go unchecked when he’s going off on a spiel at the dinner table.

      But yes, the end all be all is the same I’m sure everyone agrees: LET’S DISAGREE RESPECTFULLY.

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  8. karen
    December 18, 2012

    Great article, and I think quite balanced. Thanks.
    And you might be interested in this blog post that is another Christian’s response to (perhaps not David Booth) to US folks like Mike Hukabee who think that this happened because God isn’t allowed in school. It’s a great post!
    http://rynomi.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/how-god-deals-with-rejection/

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    • pooroldbearandelkandducksandunicorn
      December 18, 2012

      Actually, that is a great post, worth sharing!

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  9. _Proto
    December 18, 2012

    Er, *Harrison. Sorry about that.

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  10. Abby
    December 18, 2012

    I hate that this article had to be written.

    But as always, I’m thankful that I know even from the title that you guys will hit bang-on.

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  11. Abby
    December 18, 2012

    And wait. You were homeschooled?

    Wicked cool, man. I love that you burst the stereotypes of homeschoolers by running a blog as insightful and objectively awesome as PITB.

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  12. bedaluma13
    December 18, 2012

    good read. I agree

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  13. John Bass
    December 18, 2012

    Booth is free to bring up God up in this context, no doubt. Who wouldn’t, and who of us didn’t cry? I did. I grew up in Connecticut. Huckabee is free, as is Booth, as are you, to conflate this tragedy with God, guns, good will, hockey, and bear hunting. But sorry, that’s a conflation. This was a sick kid, able to get access to serious killing machines. God had nothing to do with this.

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  14. Arnold Jamtart
    December 19, 2012

    _Proto pretty much nailed it, as far as I’m concerned (not sure I’m entirely on board with the “we pay his salary” argument, exactly, but everything else: good).

    A couple of sentences struck me as particularly problematic (though I’ll be reiterating some of what _Proto already said):

    “I’ve never been quite sure as to why; an athlete’s worldview has no bearing on whether they can succeed at their sport.”

    Unless people are saying, “you’re wrong about prayer in schools and are therefore a lousy hockey player!” (is anyone saying that? because that’d be pretty dumb), this is a total non sequitur. His worldview has no bearing on his athletic ability; it has a bearing on his worldview. That’s what we’re critiquing. The only difference is that as a public figure, more people are going to hear (and object to) what he said.

    “Unless the athlete is espousing a racist, violent, or homophobic (i.e. harmful) ideology, I don’t really see that what they believe is anybody’s business.”

    He publicly stated his position, which makes it anyone’s business. Until I saw the tweet, I didn’t care what his position was. Also, you don’t need to say something that is directly harmful in order for people to take issue with it. They just have to, y’know, disagree.

    Booth tweeted something that was ignorant for the reasons you yourself pointed out (prayer in schools is a violation of the separation of church and state and is therefore blatantly unconstitutional). A person can’t just spout whatever and then hide behind “well, that’s what I believe” and expect everyone to give them a pass. If you can’t defend your point of view, you probably shouldn’t fire it off into the global marketplace of random ideas in the first place. Believe whatever you like, but if you express it publicly, be prepared to defend it.

    TL;DR: Harrison is tone trolling us; Booth needs to read up on his country’s constitution.

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    • Andrew
      December 19, 2012

      I think where Mooney is coming from is the multidude of twitter replies along the lines of “Don’t you know Vancouver is a liberal city, you can’t have those views here! The Canucks should trade you!”

      People are tying Booth’s personal opinion to his job performance, as well as showing a shockingly low level fo tolerance for ideas different than their own.

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  15. Ginja Ninja
    December 19, 2012

    Little late to the party, but here goes.

    Every religion has a golden rule and too many people don’t follow it. Every holy book says something along the lines treating others the way you would like to be treated. That idea stretches across all people. Had David said ‘religion’ (though we all know he’s Christian) instead of Christ, I think it would have been taken better than it was.

    I am a church going Catholic but I don’t know if saying prayers in school would have stopped this 15 years ago when the shooter (who shall remain nameless on purpose) was in Kindergarten. The fact is that no one knows. No one will ever know. All I wish is that people treated each other with the respect they wish they had themselves. Clearly the shooter did not.

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  16. akidd
    December 19, 2012

    wow, some good posts here. proto, john in marpole and others…well put. and you too, harrison, as articulate as ever.

    booth himself is not really even the issue here. he just gives us an excuse to talk about these issues, safely under the guise of canuck talk.

    the question of whether to engage about these issues is the interesting one. there’s quite the ideological rift in the world, especially down south. ‘battling ideologies’ seemed like a more engaging past-time back in the day. now it’s just kind of tiring. people are pretty entrenched in their beliefs. there may remain a few ‘undecideds’ that could swing either way but for the most part in the debates most are just going through motions, and very few are swayed away from their original postions. sure a little political swell or capital increases or decreases and it’s in these moments that laws can be pushed through but people ultimately believe what they believe regardless of events and discussion.

    you get times though where it becomes harder to just smile politely and listen to the flat earth society prattle on about the edge of the world and how not to fall off. and there’s a murky place where tolerance is actually dismissiveness, which is where i’m at with booth, and i’m not sure if that’s the best way relate to others either. tricky stuff.

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  17. Bodean
    December 19, 2012

    There are no Canuck players spouting off about atheism, so why is one tweeting about religion, if it’s not to create some sort of dialogue? Booth is well aware that his comments are contentious, much like Tim Thomas knew how his political comments were going to be received. Bieksa’s tweet wasn’t political or religious; it was fact, not belief. David Booth doesn’t need defending or some slack cut. He’s entitled to his own opinions, but is in a situation where he should know better than to express them through this particular medium. This is less about the content of his tweets and more about his choice of platform.

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  18. Austin Wallace
    December 19, 2012

    I have no ill feelings toward his view and I highly doubt that he meant “Christ” in that sense and that if he put it in more than 140 characters, he would envision a system where children would be guided in prayer to whichever deity is their choice. Which I am totally fine with as long as people can opt out.
    You really think he would force kids to pray to another god every day? Give your heads a shake.

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  19. Sgeve
    December 20, 2012

    I’m reading Booth’s Twitter comment differently than a lot of people. To me, it doesn’t seem that he’s saying that having prayer in the schools would have prevented the shooting. I think he’s looking at the reaction after the shooting, with people offering prayers to the families of the victims, with prayer vigils and Barack Obama quoting “scripture” and specifically Jesus’ words, and he’s thinking, “If we’re having all this prayer and such after such a tragedy in the schools, why not bring it back into the schools?”

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    • _Proto
      December 20, 2012

      If you read his follow-up tweets, he says “very well put my friend” to someone who blames violent movies over guns, saying “guns have been around for 100s of years”. Booth then follows that up by saying we would have less violence if the sort of “morals” he referenced (Christ) were taught in schools.

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  20. Tom Hawthorn
    December 20, 2012

    The first child buried was Jewish. That shows the self-serving, self-reverential and self-regarding nature of David Booth’s tweet.

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  21. Greg Sharps
    December 29, 2012

    Mr. Kelly …have opinions. Share them if you wish. Disagree with vigour. That’s all good. But ‘utter contempt’ …really? That’s when you lost me. You may have valid positions and trenchant arguments but I won’t be reading them.
    “Utter
    Contempt”
    Really?

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