Thursday, February 02, 2006

I'm Not Offended, Are you?

According to WorldNet Daily Oprah Winfrey is hosting an essay contest on the book Night. The rules say,

"Contest open to all legal residents of the U.S. who are currently enrolled full-time (and in good standing) in a public or state-accredited private or parochial school, grades 9-12,"
According to a letter announcing the contest Winfrey says the contest is open to

"high school students across America"
Homeschool Legal Defense Association President, Micheal Smith, is upset that she excluded homeschoolers. He wrote an open letter to Oprah asking her to reconsider. They were rebuffed.

I am disappointed that Oprah did not include homeschoolers. However, I am not offended by it. It's her company she can have who she wants enter. HSLDA is free to petititon the company to reconsider but must accept the fact that as a private citizen, Oprah is allowed to host a contest that excludes homeschoolers. It doesn't say ALL high school students across America.

It is NOT discrimination when a private citizen decides to hold a contest for only certain individuals (with exceptions for those protected by law, ie. race, religion, etc.). I excluded public school bloggers in the homeschool blog awards. There are some excellent mom bloggers out there who don't homeschool but they were not considered even though they were nominated.

HSLDA as an organization has qualifications for membership. One is that they do 50% of the teaching. That by its nature is exclusionary. But it has a purpose that serves the goals of HSLDA. Further, to join HSLDA a homeschoolers must agree to use a "clearly organized program of study" or forgo membership. Again, that eliminates a whole subgroup of homeschoolers. I am not criticizng HSLDA for their choices. Their organization has a purpose that requires these qualifications.

It is her contest let her run it her way. It's her money let her spend it the way she wants. This is America the land of the free and the home of the brave. I think she is wrong to exclude some of our nation's brightest students in her contest. But in America we have the liberty to be wrong.
A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
I think this is one offense worth overlooking.

Read others viewpoints: Steve Walden

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