Friday, October 23, 2015

High School Quarterback Penalized for Thanking God

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It's epidemic.

In "Progressive Land," coaches can't pray, and now, a high school football quarterback is penalized for raising a single finger to the sky in praise to God.

The penalty?


The high school athlete told the referee, "I wasn't trying to do anything malicious or arrogant, I was just trying to give praise to God."

The ref's response was terse. And it violates this young man's First Amendment rights.

What the ref said. What the coach said. And what a Christian Law Firm is now saying.

Dante Turo was raised in a Christian home, has committed his life to Jesus Christ and wants to give God praise for the blessings in his life---as the Bible instructs us to do.

Geno, the father of Dante, the quarterback for Mexico High School near Syracuse, New York says, "When you score touchdowns, when you make big plays, it's easy to become proud. It's easy to take credit for yourself."

He has taught his son to give God the glory in all things.

Dante had just made a big play---ran 73 yards for a touchdown---and lifted one finger to the sky as his personal way of thanking God for the abilities God has given him.

The referee penalized him.

Dante immediately explained to the ref what he was doing.

The Referee responded, "Don't do it again," and penalized the young man and his team anyway.

Head Coach Tee Murabito says he, too, tried to explain to the ref that Dante was not taunting anyone, he was giving praise to God in a personal expression.

The coach says Dante is a good kid, God is a very big part of Dante's life and he tried to explain that to the ref. The ref wouldn't talk about it.

Dante's high school has a game again tonight. The 17 year old says if he makes a big play or scores, he will give God the glory.

Granted, this was just a high school football game in upstate New York last weekend, but it is representative of a much larger issue that exists across the country.

Dante's father Geno says, "It troubles me. I think people have forgotten that we settled in this land to flee religious persecution. We're supposed to have religious freedom here. But it seems like instead of religious freedom we are being persecuted for our beliefs."

He's right. We are.

Christians are being told to shut up. Be silent.

You may know that the New York Mets will be playing in the World Series next week. If you follow sports at all, you may also know that Daniel Murphy, the Mets' second baseman, is the "Most Valuable Player" of the series because he set an all time record by hitting a home run in 6 playoff games in a row.

ESPN ran this headline reporting his unbelievable success: "Daniel Murphy Powers Mets to World Series With October Run for The Ages." They hail him as the greatest post season hitter ever---he did what Babe Ruth never did.

What you may not know is that Daniel Murphy is a very committed, and often outspoken Christian.

Earlier this year there was an issue regarding Billy Bean, a homosexual player who had concealed his behavior throughout his career. Murphy was asked about it. He said what most biblical Christians would say.

He told the press, "I disagree with his lifestyle. I do disagree with the fact that Billy [Bean] is a homosexual...I would say, you can still accept them, but I do disagree with the lifestyle 100 percent."

Murphy said, "Maybe, as a Christian...we haven't been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality. We love the people. We disagree with the lifestyle. That's the way I would describe it for me."

After much discussion, and press reporting, ESPN published an article announcing that Murphy said he would "no longer address his religious beliefs and will stick to baseball."

That was not exactly what had transpired. Murphy let the matter with Billy Bean drop and didn't talk about it any more, but he has certainly not stopped talking about his faith in Jesus Christ.

The pressure is intense to silence any Christian expression in the culture. Whether it is high school coaches, high school athletes, students in general, professional athletes, florists, bakers, photographers---whatever, the message is "shut up"...or else.

Liberty Institute, who represents coach Joe Kennedy in Bremerton, and a number of other Christians in similar situations, including Christian teachers and administrators, has published some legal information regarding these matters.

I would strongly encourage you to take a moment and look at their information regarding public education: "Religious Liberty Protection Kit for---Students and Teachers."

I'm reminded of comments by Abraham Lincoln---a president who stood for righteousness: "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."

This thinking was not original to Lincoln. He was fully aware of what John Hancock, a Founder and signer of the Declaration of Independence, said earlier: "Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christians and social duty of each individual. Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, notably defend those rights, which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us."

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Blessed.