This week, the Catoosa County School Board in Ringgold, Georgia will meet on controversy over the cheerleaders of Georgia’s Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School who use Biblical verses as part of their displays to root for the football team to “commit to the Lord” and “take courage and do it.”
The players would break through paper signs with the Biblical verses but local youth minister Brad Scott insists that they “are not trying to push a religious cause, to shove religion down someone’s throat. The cheerleaders are just using Scripture to show motivation and inspiration to the players and the fans.” They have a curious selection of scripture choices. For example, one banner quoted Ezra 10:4: “Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” The only problem is that this Biblical passage describes how Ezra followed the lead of God to banish foreign women and their innocent children for not being pure. Here is the whole passage for the next game:
“While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly. Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, “We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel. Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law. Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.” So Ezra rose up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel under oath to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath.”
Thus, the cheerleaders were exalting their players to go into the stands, find foreign women and their children, and chase them from Catossa County. Now, that is a half-time show!
Of course, I wonder how parents would feel about some heartening Muslim passages like “He is the Mighty, the Wise One” or “The fate of each man We have bound about his neck.”
The school system received a complaint and found correctly that it constitutes “a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution for signs with Bible verses to be displayed on the football field.”
This has led to a backlash among parents who demand that the Bible be brought back to the football field.
If the verses are reintroduced, they might want to go with a few with a bit more kick:
“You . . . will also be slaughtered by my sword.” (Zephaniah 2:12-15)
“They shall be apportioned for foxes.” (Psalm 63: 11)
“Be patient; the time is coming soon. (Zephaniah 2:12-15)
“When he raises himself up, the mighty fear; Because of the crashing they are bewildered.” (Job 41:1-34)
“The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem and captured it, killing all its people and setting the city on fire.” (Judges 1:1-8)
Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Ronnie Cobb insists that he is “against them doing away with it” and that “[i]f it’s offensive to anyone, let them go watch another football game. Nobody’s forced to come there and nobody’s forced to read the signs.” Now, there is an intriguing standard: if you do not want Jesus with your football, do not come and watch the game or your children. So much for Zechariah 13:3 “If a man still prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken a lie in the name of the Lord.’ When he prophesies, his parents, father and mother, shall thrust him through.”
The board will now decide whether to comply with the constitution or spend the entire sports budget in fighting the ban on the entanglement of church and state. Wouldn’t a “Go Team” banner be sufficient? You can even leave a space and imagine a “d” following “Go” . . . and cheer religiously.
What most maddens me, however, is that the high school left out one of my favorite country music songs:
For the full story, click here.