God bless the Raiders and their fans
Georgia high school football started off last weekend with the usual fanfare and excitement. The season’s first game for West Laurens High School in Dexter was no exception, but the moments prior to the kickoff were notable indeed.
Traditionally, the school’s marching band performed great songs of faith and folks bowed their heads to pray before Friday night football games. However, months ago someone complained about the pre-game prayers and the band’s performance of the hymn “How Great Thou Art” and a D.C. group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, decided to assert their infamous influence and put a stop to it.
The Washington-based group wrote a letter to the school district, stating, “The opening prayer and religious hymns at a football game are plainly unconstitutional. The presentation of prayers at school sporting events violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.”
The decision was made to drop the pre-game prayer in favor of a moment of silence, but prior to the kickoff at the West Laurens Raiders game last Friday night, instead of one person leading the invocation – the entire stadium led the invocation. Hundreds stood to their feet and recited “The Lord’s Prayer.”
According to Todd Starnes of Fox News, the marching band – also – complied with the demands of Americans United. They did not follow the prayer with a rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” Instead, they played “Amazing Grace.”
Starnes surmised, “Finally, a word of advice to the hummus-eating, hymn-hating culprit who caused this kerfuffle. I sincerely doubt that our Lord appreciates you picking on a bunch of teenagers. So knock it off.”
Those folks in Laurens County have given us a good example of how to respond to the pusillanimous curmudgeons who want to quench the Spirit and stifle our expressions of faith.
The hypocrisy of political correctness
This week Curt Schilling, former Red Sox pitcher, sent out the following Tweet: “It’s said only 5-10% of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7% of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?” The former pitching ace likened the demographic “statistics” about Muslim extremism to those from Nazi Germany – a staggering deduction.
However, ESPN suspended Schilling from his duties as an analyst for the Little League World Series and his spot on “Sunday Night Baseball.” ESPN released a statement explaining, “Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective.”
Of course, we know what ESPN’s perspective is. The ESPN brass indicated that they have an IQ no higher than Kim Kardashian when they gave Caitlyn Jenner the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
At the same time Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was casting herself as the enforcer of women’s rights on the campaign trail by lambasting the Republican establishment for what she called “their radical and offensive positions on women’s reproductive rights.”
CNN reported that Clinton even ventured to compare those who hold conservative views on abortion to “terrorist groups.” In other words, she is likening the vast majority of Southern Baptists to Osama Bin Laden.
How can a former baseball player be suspended for making a comparison of 1940 Germany to 2015 America and a presidential candidate get a free pass for calling pro-lifers “terrorists.” I just don’t get it. In America political correctness has run amuck.
Sowing seeds of ruin
Duke University in Durham, NC, listed Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home as a part of its Common Experience Summer Reading Program, in which the university selects a single book to be read by all incoming first-year students – a way of giving everyone a “shared intellectual experience.”
When the College of Charleston assigned this graphic memoir as summer reading, members of the South Carolina House of Representatives voted to cut funding of the school. SC Representative Garry Smith told the Charleston Post and Courier that he doesn’t believe the memoir is introducing themes for scholarly consideration. He reasoned, “It goes beyond the pale of academic debate. It graphically shows lesbian acts; it is promoting the gay and lesbian lifestyle.”
The content of the book is not surprising since Bechdel, who is a lesbian and who was married in a civil ceremony to her girlfriend in 1992, has made her gender and sexual identity a large part of the core message of her work.
Brian Grasso, a Duke freshman from Cumming, was one of several students who decided that he was not going to read Bechdel’s book. The Washington Post reported Grasso saying, “As a Christian, I knew that my beliefs and identity would be challenged at a progressive university like Duke.
“My first challenge came well before I arrived on campus, when I learned that all first years were assigned Fun Home, a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel.
“After researching the book’s content and reading a portion of it, I chose to opt out of the assignment. My choice had nothing to do with the ideas presented. I’m not opposed to reading memoirs written by LGBTQ individuals or stories containing suicide. I’m not even opposed to reading Freud, Marx or Darwin. I know that I’ll have to grapple with ideas I don’t agree with, even that I find immoral.”
Grasso continued, “But in the Bible, Jesus forbids his followers from exposing themselves to anything pornographic. ‘But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away’ (Matthew 5:28-29). This theme is reiterated by Paul, who warns, ‘flee from sexual immorality’ (I Corinthians 6:18).
“I think there is an important distinction between images and written words. If the book explored the same themes without sexual images or erotic language, I would have read it. But viewing pictures of sexual acts, regardless of the genders of the people involved, conflict with the inherent sacredness of sex.”
The Duke freshman from Georgia added, “I’m well aware that my ethics make me an anomaly on campus, in contemporary culture and even among many professing Christians. However, my principles come primarily from my understanding of the Bible, which I have read multiple times, studied weekly in community for the last seven years, and consider to be the Word of God.”
Often Christless teachers will attempt to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of young college students and create an atmosphere on campus that humanizes God, deifies man, glamorizes sex, liquorizes society, minimizes the truth, and maximizes the lie. Thank God for those like Brian Grasso who stand firm in the faith and adhere to the truth of God’s Word.