October 3, 2012
Blown Call Illustrates Battle for Truth
If you think that truth is irrelevant and unwelcome in our culture today, consider this modern-day parable from professional football.
Fans of America’s largest and most lucrative sport struggled with poor officiating through the first three Sundays of the 2012 season. But the faithful finally had enough of the “replacement referees” last week when the poorly trained fill-ins blew a game-changing last call on Monday Night Football.
Packer defensive back M.D. Jennings clearly made a heroic interception in the end zone as time ran out, but the replacement refs awarded Seattle with a phantom touchdown and the win. It was the second, observable bad call in the play that should have favored the Packers. Game over. But not forgotten.
With that single event, the sub-par officiating that had been evident across the league during the union referee lockout, suddenly mattered.
For the league, the financial stakes were no longer limited to the union refs’ compensation demands. The dispute was causing even the most devoted fans to walk away, putting at risk the estimated $9 billion the NFL earns in annual revenue.
Even President Barack Obama found time during his busy schedule to weigh in on the issue saying, “We’ve got to get our refs back.”
Just three days after the infamous bad call, now referred to by pundits as “the Inaccurate Reception,” the regular referees were back on the job. All was considered right again in the world of big sports—fans happy, players happy, advertisers happy, owners happy.
It is almost refreshing to be reminded on such a grand stage that the American people, and certainly NFL fans, appreciate truth when it counts. Christians can learn something from this.
First: Consider the recent challenge to Chick-Fil-A owner Dan Cathy’s right to operate his business according to his personal religious beliefs.
The Constitution protects Dan Cathy’s right to free speech and the freedom to practice his religion. Customers who are offended by his statements are free to eat lunch elsewhere. These freedoms should be championed and defended because they are derived from standards given to us by God. And if Dan Cathy can be attacked for his views and bullied, than so can any one of us.
Media elites and even some politicians justified their trampling of Cathy’s Constitutional rights in the name of “tolerance,” defined and practiced as intolerance of faith.
Yet the rule of law is the cornerstone of a free and orderly society. Without standards that are consistently and fairly applied, order becomes chaos.
Leviticus 19:15 warns, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” When there are no longer common standards to determine right or wrong, might makes right and the freedoms we all enjoy are threatened.
Second: Consider the difficulties that are arising as biblical standards of righteousness are removed from our schools, our courts, our businesses and our public policy and replaced with new standards of “tolerance” for everything but biblical values.
Without reliable standards of right and wrong moderating our choices, we are vulnerable to the whims of political correctness. We can clearly see that inept referees calling an interception a touchdown is not good, and we can all understand the far greater threat to society if evil is celebrated as good and good punished as evil.
That bad call cost replacement referees their temporary jobs. Will making man the central authority for moral judgments permanently cost us our nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian values?
Isaiah wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
This past weekend, I experienced a wake-up call.
My wife, Ann, and I with our two youngest sons attended a conference on Creation at an evangelical church. The talk was interrupted repeatedly by a man and woman who appeared to be there solely to mock the presenter, and throughout the course of the event they would applaud references to atheists, as self-appointed referees against biblical truths.
Earlier, this couple even deceived the speaker into having his picture taken with them so they could boast about their exploits on social media. They were cheerleaders for a culture attempting to deconstruct our national basis for Truth, the Bible.
As believers, we have a choice—to remain apathetic to these attacks or to become active. I, for one, am choosing to step up my game. My heart has been quickened to do more, to fight for what is worth dying for and to take a clear stand. I ask you to join me. Put on your spiritual armor and together let’s stand for God’s truth.
To become active, we must be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. This is a call to combine courage, humility and love, but we must all use our voices. But make no mistake; if you take on this challenge and speak up, you will be putting a target on your back.
Prepare to be labeled intolerant, hater, fundamentalist, idiot, bigot, racist—the other side uses the powerful tool of embarrassment and humiliation to discourage and defeat you.
Upholding a standard for Truth is an issue far more important than the outcome of a football game. If we lose the battle to preserve Truth as our common standard, we not only lose America, we lose everything.
It is not time to wave the white flag of surrender. This is not a game; it’s a battle that demands our all, and we are on the winning team.
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