Monday, March 29, 2021

Oral Roberts University's Faith Is Under Fire

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Oral Roberts University's run in the NCAA's March Madness national championship tournament came to an end Saturday night with a narrow loss---72-70--- to  Arkansas who is ranked #3 in the nation.

The fact that Oral Roberts University even made the tournament surprised most sports fans across the country---particularly the enlightened sports press.

However, the bigger story that has emerged is that the team and their coach turned the attention toward Jesus Christ---while the secular left turned hell's wrath on the team, their coach, and the institution itself.

Their faith is under fire.

Ironically, CS Lewis predicted such a time as this.

Be informed, not misled.

It's bigger than a basketball game.

The ORU Golden Eagles started the game by dominating the 3rd best team in the country in the first half of the game, but in the end, Arkansas was able to beat the Golden Eagles by 2 points.

Over the past week, ORU's participation and success in March Madness have shown the world that Christian colleges can play sports on equal footing with their state and secular counterparts. 

On March 19, ORU beat Ohio State University---in front of the world. Nobody saw that coming. Especially Ohio State University. This after they defeated Florida a few days earlier.

Christians from many organizations and institutions were publicly rooting for ORU.

John Jackson, President of William Jessup University---one of the top private Christian universities in America, wrote in a commentary, "We are all ORU now."

After the loss, the press tried to portray the ORU kids and their coach as downtrodden, disappointed, discouraged, broken, and "upset at themselves for losing the game by only 2 points."

However, Coach Paul Mills put it all in perspective: "In 100 years," he said, "none of us will be here. And what our guys need to understand is we're really not that important. And you need to know that," he told the press.

He said he and the team were grateful for all the support from their fans, but "honoring the name of Jesus Christ is what's really important."

He said of America,

"120 million people gather every Sunday and 180 million on Easter gather to celebrate one name, and that is the name of Jesus Christ. So to be at an institution that honors that 'There is no other name under heaven and earth which men must be saved'---to be at an institution that honors that, and we can give them something to celebrate, at the same time..."

However, even as Mills displayed modesty and humility, placing the attention and the focus on Jesus Christ, he, the players, and the university are being relentlessly mocked.

No tolerance, inclusion, or equity for those Christians.

While watching part of a different game, I personally saw the CBS half-time crew mocking ORU as they talked about their win over Ohio State University. Former NBA star Charles Barkley led the mocking---including putting hands in the air mocking Christian worship.

Hemal Jhaveri, writing in USA Today, captured the spirit of a good many in the press as she wrote

"Part of the joy of March Madness has always been watching smaller schools upset powerhouse programs....And yet, as the spotlight grows on Oral Roberts University and it reaps the good will and publicity and revenue of a national title run, the university's deeply bigoted LGBTQ+ policies can't and shouldn't be ignored."

Well, they weren't ignored. 

She continued: 

"Founded by televangelist Oral Roberts in 1963, the Christian school upholds the values and beliefs of its fundamentalist namesake, making it not just a relic of the past, but wholly incompatible with the NCAA's own stated values of equality and inclusion."

She informs that the school has been soundly mocked on social media for its "archaic standards of behavior and code of conduct that bans profanity, social dancing, and shorts in the classroom," but it's the schools "discriminatory hateful anti-LGBTQ+ policy that fans should protest as the Golden Eagles advance in the tournament."

She notes that ORU is so bad that it "specifically prohibits homosexuality...twice, in the student handbook."

And she says the student handbook even "expressly condemns homosexuality, mentioning it in the same breath as 'occult practices'."

She quotes further from the handbook to prove just how bad these people are: 

"Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of integrity, honesty, modesty and morality...certain behaviors are forbidden by Scripture," she quotes, "and  therefore should be avoided by the University community. They include theft, lying, dishonesty, gossip, slander, backbiting, profanity, vulgarity (including crude language) sexual promiscuity (including adultery, any homosexual behavior, premarital sex), drunkeness, immodesty of dress and occult practices."

She goes on and on to the millions of USA Today's readers, noting that ORU wants to keep its students tied to toxic notions of fundamentalism that fetishize chastity, abstinence, and absurd hemlines---calling for the NCAA to remove them from the league because no matter how accomplished their athletes are, the university is one that is a hotbed of institutional transphobia, homophobia with regressive, sexual policies."

Ironically, CS Lewis predicted such a time as this.

In his "The Screw Tape Letters" Lewis wrote, "We now have an intelligentsia which, though very small, is very useful to the cause of Hell."

As you likely know, The Screwtape Letters is religious prose disguised as satire, which is a series of messages from the senior devil "Screwtape" to his protege "Wormwood" on how best to corrupt mortals.

Shortly before Lewis's death in 1963, an addendum was released titled, "Screwtape Proposes a Toast." 

Jared Whitley writes, "In the addendum, Lewis directly criticizing social trends of his day, trends which have gone from mere whispers on college campuses 60 years ago to become orthodoxy with the power of law today. Reading it today feels like the author was more prophet than professor.'

Indeed it does.

Lewis describes in detail just how the Devil instructs Wormwood to corrupt mortals and destroy them along with their culture. All children must be "educated" in these schools---including those kids who may not care all that much about a college education, so they can all be made into the same likeness of the enemy.

Screwtape tells his fellow devils that "Democracy is the word with which you must lead them by the nose. Explaining how the word democracy can be used to lead the kids wherever the agenda needs to lead them.

Lewis outlines how the forces have been created to bring a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian principles to a point where activists and the press can find an audience in their declaration that any American university should be punished--- canceled, for actually standing for the nation's founding principles and it's people's deeply held biblical values.

In framing his conclusion, CS Lewis writes this from the Devil, Screwtape: 

"The great sinners are easy to catch. But they are incalculable. After you have played them for seventy years, the Enemy may snatch them from your claws in the seventy-first...They are, if things take the wrong turn, as ready to defy the social pressures around them for the Enemy's sake as they were to defy them for ours. It is in some ways more troublesome to track and swat an evasive wasp than to shoot, at close range, a wild elephant. But the elephant is more troublesome if you miss."

The press and activists (Screwtape) "missed" the targeted Christian university that honored God. In doing so, they created a greater platform and pulpit for the message of the school, its coach, and its kids.

The coach is now in high demand to share his faith and some coaching tips.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.