Monthly Archives: July 2012

Penn State Deserves The Death Penalty

45 counts of child rape and molestation that we know of.

Case closed.

For those not in the know, the NCAA “Death Penalty” refers to a school being banned from competition, effectively stopping the institution’s ability to recruit and create and kind of a competitive program for an extended period even after having the ban removed.

In essence, the program dies.

There have been arguments from some that doing something now, after all of the culprits who perpetuated the Penn State scandal have left the university or have died would be wrong Yes, the college has taken some steps to correct the problems, but has done nothing to make amends to the victims that they helped create by allowing Jerry Sandusky to continue in their program and his miscreant ways. They may have done nothingĀ  as yet, but I’m sure the courts will see that they do.

But the message must be sent that the institutions of higher education, as well as any person or business around the country, can and will be held responsible for allowing such reprehensible actions to exist. The message must be sent that we as people, corporations and everything else must stand up and do the right thing – whether it be in the face of the law or just what is morally right – regardless of what the ramifications may be.

When Southern Methodist University had its football program slapped with the Death Penalty, it was for paying its players. Giving its roster members as much as $725 a month to play for them. And while it was wrong and against the NCAA’s rules, there can at least be an economic argument made for what they did.

What kind of argument can made for child molestation?

Absolutely none.

My brother spent the better part of his life in the California Penal System for various drug charges. In the various stories he told me, he always made it clear that no matter what someone had done – drugs, theft or even murder – the inmates had some level of understanding for the choice someone had made. But when it came to child molestation, even inmates didn’t tolerate it. Someone going in on those charges wasn’t going to last long. And if they did, they’d get beaten & abused on a regular basis.

ESPN Radio's Mike GolicOn ESPN’s “Mike & Mike In The Morning” radio show July 16, Mike Golic stated that he didn’t believe that the Nittany Lions deserved the Death Penalty because it was too far removed from what had happened and that it would cause a financial hardship for those schools that would lose games this Fall against Penn State.

Financial hardship? Did Golic really just put a financial tag on when child rape and molestation becomes acceptable? REALLY?!

OK, so let’s say that opponents of the Nittany Lions – assuming none of them can get another game to fill the slot – lose a combined $55 million ($5 million a game for 11 games) over the 2012 season. That means that the 45 counts of child molestation and rape that we know of via the Sandusky case, that Golic is placing a price of tag of approximately $1.22 million of these heinous crimes to make them “OK”.

I wonder if that’s the cutoff point, or if he’d be willing to go a little lower?

I bet if it were Golic’s son that had been raped in a shower, that price tag – monetarily, emotionally and physically – couldn’t be high enough.

The phrase has been used repeatedly that there was a “… lack of institutional control …” and that is why the NCAA should step in and close the program. I disagree.

The Freeh Report clearly shows that there was not only clear institutional control, but that it rested in one man’s hands (Joe Paterno) and that the institutional actively sought to cover up the actions of Sandusky so that they would still be able to recruit and be competitive on the college football scene. This crime needs to be called exactly what it is, a cover up, pure and simple.

The NCAA needs to step in and deliver the fatal blow in this because of extreme institutional control, notĀ  alack thereof.

In the end, the analogies that people try to draw between SMU and Penn State are inaccurate. Because what SMU did pales in comparison to what Penn State did for more than 22% of Paterno’s tenure at Penn State (14 of 61 years).

And if I have to choose between allowing a school to pay its football players or to cover up child rape on their own campus, I say “Hand me my checkbook!”

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What Christians can take from Penn State

Culture.

It’s the one word that seems to permeate the Penn State football scandal.

And it is the chief culprit in why we as Christians don’t stand our ground in today’s world.

I was recently debating politics with a friend when he made the statement that the Supreme Court of our country “…stops you from witnessing the name of Christ to anyone you want to.” That statement, used in this case to outline what he though the issues with the country, and more specifically the health care bill, were really struck me. In fact, in enraged me a little.

What is REALLY stopping us from sharing our faith the way we should?

Is it the courts? Our parents? Our bosses at work?

No, the real culprit is our culture and the expectations that we allow it to put on us.

Yes, I said ALLOW. We let it happen. In fact to some degree, we encourage it.

The leadership at Penn State decided more than a decade ago that they would rather cover up the infamy that was occurring on their campus rather than suffer a few years of scrutiny and probably damage to their football program. They chose to be accountable to themselves instead of God or even the morals of the day, just so their vaunted head coach and a fan base could forgo the shame of one man’s heinous crimes.

They didn’t stand up for what was right.

As Christians, we do the same thing every day.

We buy into the concept that we must have the latest and greatest gadget, drive the best car and wear the best clothes. But more so, we are afraid of what people will think if we state our mind and beliefs in a clear manner if it flies in the face of what our culture accepts as good and right. And it is there that we fail and ultimately sin.

“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt 7:14, NIV)

Matthew’s writing seems to indicate pretty clearly that there will be fewer people finding the true way to Christ than those that do not. And in that, I think it is safe to project out that in the United States, as with the rest of the world, Christians will be in the minority over all. So the world taking an anti-God stance shouldn’t be any big surprise. We are told to live in the world, but not be of it (John 15:19 paraphrase). And 1 Corinthians 7:31 confirms it, telling us to “…use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.”

So when and where do we stand up and really, really trust God? It’s tough, and as with most things involving our Heavenly Father, He’ll likely have to break us all the way down before we’ll get the clue and start doing it right.

I’ve been broken like that once, a story best saved for another day. But trust me, it ain’t fun. Through it all I learned to stand up for God regardless of the culture around me. I’m more comfortable now proclaiming what God has done in my life and can do for others. I’m not perfect, but I’m a lot better at it for having gone through the trials God placed before me.

I once had some missionary friends tell me of the Afghanistan people they were working with. When one of them would turn from Islam to faith in Christ, they became a target for Taliban soldiers. From time to time these soldiers would approach a new believer, put a gun to his chest and cock the trigger. “Are you a Christian?” they’d ask? The new believer would have to answer, either disavowing God or his country. There was no in between.

My missionary friends said the soldiers they saw had always loaded an empty chamber. They heard that others had not.

What would be that gun in your chest today? And how would you answer?

Would it be your job? Your friends? Your spouse?

I once heard of a government official that was given authority to hunt down any and all people who opposed the nation’s leaders. He was so adamant about doing his job effectively that he actually went to the top brass and asked for the authority to kill anyone who he caught in opposition to the government and its policies. They granted it to him immediately and he left to carry out his extermination of the dissidents.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Damascus. Paul was approached by God, who subsequently changed his ways and made Paul one His greatest witnesses.

But here is the application for today. See, Paul KNEW what the leaders of the church would do to him if he spoke out about Christ. He was there when Stephen was martyred (Acts 7:58) and he himself had killed Christians for doing what he was now considering to take up as a vocation.

But Paul did it anyway.

And if he is our example, then why shouldn’t we stand up and be counted when are asked even the simplest of questions, “Do you believe in Jesus?”

God has asked us to stand up and preach the Gospel in love and truth. Nothing more, nothing less. We haven’t been called to tear down governments, take cities by military force or burn abortion clinics to the ground. We haven’t been called to condemn the world or those that choose a path different from what know to be the truth.

What we have been called to do is love those that are lost like a brother. To try and present them with with truth so that God can help them make the same choice that we have. We have been called to love one another unconditionally and to spread His Gospel around the globe, in our country and throughout our city.

So the next time someone puts you in a spot to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ or sit back and stay silent, what will your choice be?

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