Katie & Briscoe

Katie & Briscoe

Monday, February 7, 2011

Are You Ready for Some Football (and Religion?)

Have I mentioned that I'm a football fan? You can probably thank my father for it. I can remember watching Sunday football games when I was really young. Mom never liked it, but I always did, I guess. Daddy was a Dallas Cowboys fan, but that's not surprising since it was the 70's, back when the Cowboys were "America's Team." We lived in the Mid-South, so we had no pro-football teams of our own back then. Personally, I've never much cared for Dallas. I don't like Jerry Jones. Anyway, I do love football. I'm sitting here watching the Super Bowl as I type this. At the moment, Green Bay is up by 2 TD's. I sure hope this doesn't turn into a blow out. That makes for such a boring game. Plus, I don't want to see the Steelers go down like that. My team, since Tennessee FINALLY has its own team now, is the Tennessee Titans. Sadly, they aren't very good. But I'm not so picky that I can't root for other teams. I happen to like Green Bay and Pittsburgh, so I'm not really cheering specifically for either team tonight.

Football is pretty much the only pro sport I follow. I don't care for basketball, and gave up on baseball when they went on strike a few years back. (I'm sincerely hoping the NFL league and players can get their rears in gear and settle their differences before we get a strike this year.) Football is pure entertainment to me. I don't care who's playing, I'll watch the game. [Big Ben just ran for a first down. Woohoo!] 
The Super Bowl is a special game, of course, not just because it determines who goes home with the ultimate title and trophy for the year, but because it is the only time in the entire year when the commercials are actually kinda worth watching. There have been some true classics to debut through the years. Most recently, I guess the Etrade babies are probably the most popular. Mark and I still crack up at these commercials. Though I don't actually drink beer, I have to admit that they do produce some of the funniest commercials. (Though some of the ones I've seen so far tonight were more stupid than funny.) I was one of those stereotypical little girls who loved horses, so I always liked the Budweiser commercials that feature the Clydesdales. (The ones where they were playing football always cracked me up.) So far tonight, there have been a couple that have made me laugh out loud and a couple that have made me cringe. The second Doritos commercial tonight was just uncomfortable for me. (Guy loves Doritos so much that he licks the cheese off his friend's fingers... gross!) The one commercial most of us WON'T see tonight, is one produced by a group called Fixed Point Foundation. [Just saw the funniest Volkswagen commercial. Little kid dressed as Darth Vader. LOL] They have created a project called "LookUp 3:16." They created a commercial and pitched it to Fox for the Super Bowl but it was rejected because it was considered to contain an "overtly religious message." Here is what they say about the project on their facebook page:
If you had thirty seconds to tell the world one thing, what would it be? Would it be funny? Would it be about politics? If it were worth it, would you pay to be heard?

What if you used that opportunity to do something great? To share the message of hope.

We believe that Super Bowl XLV is an opportunity to encourage football fans to look up John 3:16. After all, John 3:16 is part of the football culture. It’s on signs, t-shirts, and even eye black. And yet, many fans don’t know what it means. They have yet to be touched by the hope it offers; the immediate relevance it has to their lives. Therein is your chance to say something meaningful.

We will be airing a commercial throughout Alabama during this year’s Super Bowl on February 6th, 2011. This commercial won’t sell anything, advance a political cause, or promote some organization. It will encourage people to look up John 3:16 and consider its profound message of hope.
Here is that commercial:
video
It's a shame that we live in a society where political correctness has so pervaded our day to day lives that the mere suggestion that those who don't know what John 3:16 means ought to look it up is considered "overtly religious." I watched a few minutes of the pre-game show. In it, Fox played a segment that has become something of a tradition for them in the years since 9/11. In it they have an assortment of players read the Declaration of Independence. It is quite powerful. Especially these parts:
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (This gives me chills every single time I read or hear it.)

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions...

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
It should be noted that they left out a large portion of the middle of the Declaration that listed the varied and many ways in which the King of Britain had abused the Colonies. That's understandable, I suppose, considering just how long that list is. Of course, following this video came the also traditional singing of America the Beautiful.
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
And then there was the National Anthem. I don't know how many out there know that the Star Spangled Banner actually has four verses. This is the final one:
O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
So, I have to ask, how is any of this less "overtly religious" than a commercial that merely recommends that those who don't know what something means should look it up to find out? That final verse of our National Anthem says it all. We are a land that owes our existence and freedom to God. As such, we ought to give Him the Praise for that. And our motto should be and is, "In God we Trust." And so long as it remains so, the stars and stripes will triumphantly fly over our land.

Trouble is, we don't give God the praise for all He's done for us. We have turned our backs on Him. We have made it unpopular to declare our trust and faith in a Creator. We have allowed a few to wholeheartedly reject the very principles upon which this nation was founded. Like it or not, a belief in a Supreme Creator played a major, pivotal role in every facet of the birth of this country. Separation of Church and State has nothing at all to do with whether or not the 10 Commandments can or cannot be displayed on the grounds of a courthouse or whether a cross can be used as a marker for a national memorial. All it was ever intended to do was ensure that this nation would never establish a National Church like the Church of England, which is still in existence today in England. (Just as an FYI, the Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England. Its supreme governor is the Queen.) Amazingly, I have NEVER once seen anyone supporting the establishment of ANY church which would be headed by our President. Yet this is exactly what many seem to argue against. As if having "In God We Trust" on our money somehow means we have a national religion. It is very sad to see how many let the rhetoric of a few sway their own beliefs. They aren't interested in learning the truth, they just believe what they read or hear and run with it. This is the ultimate failing of the American people. We have lost our interest in reality and just follow along behind those we idolize. People boycott what their favorite star tells them to. They vote for whoever does a better job of posting tweets on Twitter. We're getting less and less involved in the actual governing of our nation because it's just easier to pick someone we like and believe everything they tell us.

I often wonder what our Founding Fathers would think if they could see what we've become. Would they have changed the wording in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution? Would they have been more explicit in defining exactly what they meant by the right to bear arms and freedom of religion? Or would they be so disgusted and discouraged by us that they would give up on establishing a new, free nation at all?

I love football. I'll miss it through its off season. To me, football is America's game. In tonight's Super Bowl, while the National Anthem was being sung, they showed some of our military members standing at attention. They showed one of the players who had tears streaming down his face while his hand covered his heart. I've seen more than one NFL player kneel to pray on the sideline at the start of the game or as another player lay injured on the field. They sing God Bless America before every game. And as broadcasters go, Fox is certainly considered to be the most conservative station on the air. Yet even with all this, we still shy away from any suggestion that we might support the belief in God. I find that terribly sad. I am proud to be an American. With all our problems, I still believe we are the greatest nation in the world. I truly support the principles upon which our nation was founded. I just wish the majority of the rest of my fellow Americans did as well.

1 comment:

  1. I trust you are not intentionally disparaging our nation's founding principles and religious heritage.

    The truth is that church state separation is central to America's founding principles and faith heritage ... in reaction to the theocracies of colonial America, where "Christian" colonies persecuted and even killed citizens who refused to embrace the official state faith or obey the official religious laws.

    In 1644, Baptist Roger Williams (persecuted by Massachusetts' "Christian" colonial theocrats, who considered Baptists heretical) called for a "wall of separation" between church and state. Baptists' "wall of separation" would prevent government from interfering with the free exercise of religion, and prevent government from incorporating religion into governance.

    Generations of Baptists were persecuted, and shed blood, in the fight (against colonial theocracies) to separate church and state. Their triumph finally came in the enactment of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, establishing the Baptist vision of a "wall of separation" between church and state.

    Deniers of church state separation often respond that the phrase "wall of separation" is not in the U. S. Constitution. Well, neither is the word "Trinity" in the Bible, but most deniers of church state separation probably believe in the Trinity.

    More importantly, Christians of the late 18th and early 19th centuries clearly understood that the First Amendment wording - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" - separated church from state. Their testimony bears much more weight than the fabricated history loved by many modern conservative Christians and politicians.

    Make no mistake: denying church state separation mocks our nation's founding principles and faith heritage. Church state separation was good for America in 1791, and it is good for America now. To see the problems of merging church and state, look to the Middle East, where conservative religious law (Sharia Law, based on the biblical Old Testament) rules.

    Church state separation is a liberal, and American, moral value of which we all can be proud.

    Bruce Gourley
    Director
    Baptist History & Heritage Society
    www.baptisthistory.org
    www.wallofseparation.us

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