High school football is back on the calendar for every Friday night from now til November. Who knew that it would also be on court dockets and the place where so much controversy would take place? In recent years there has been much debate of the practice of religious prayers held at games, before games, in locker rooms or on the field. The latest firestorm surrounds a LaFayette high school football coach who reportedly ” violated the first Amendment by allowing local churches to prepare meals for team members.”
The claim against coach Mark Mariakis also stated that he had prayers with players, used motivational Bible verses and that he was heavily involved in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. But the question I have is what is the difference in using Jesus as a role model as opposed to Ghandi, Martian Luther King Jr. or some star professional football player? Why is it wrong to use Bible verses to inspire but quoting Vince Lombardi is ok?
What if Jesus said:
“Football is like life – it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority. “
The quote is actually from Vince Lombardi, legendary coach and for whom the Super Bowl Trophy is named. Why is it wrong then to take a quote from the Bible that says:
3 But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Romans 5:3-4
The verse above could have easily been said by Lombardi but because Jesus said it and it’s recorded in a sacred book it becomes wrong to quote or use to encourage and motivate?
Vince Lombardi also said: “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” Sadly groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation are working against many positive and transformative people within our school systems. The task that will make a difference is the very thing that has sparked this debate: prayer.
In light of it being 9-11 let me remind us all of what really is important here by using the words of Brett Farve:
“But when you lose a family member or something tragic happens, that stays with you forever. You never get over it. Knowing that you have to deal with that for the rest of your life… Football is important, but not as important as you once thought it was.”
We cannot forget the power and importance of prayer. As Christians and as Americans, we have to remember God, prayer and understand that our battle is not on a foreign field alone. It is transpiring on every campus, field and home today and everyday. Our enemy is not Islam, atheists or the FFRF. Our enemy is Satan and we cannot be unaware of his schemes!
Please join me in prayer for our country, schools, and especially this latest battle that is being taken to Christians who practice their faith in all aspects of their lives. Jesus was clear that persecution would come and therefore we all need to be ready. Are you ready for some spiritual football?
Please be praying for me. I’ll be speaking to the Whitewater High School football team on Friday night before the game. Thanks!