Tag Archives: football
Benjamin Watson has been a professional tight end for more than a decade. Watson has played for the Patriots, Saints, and now with the Baltimore Ravens. But being an NFL player is only part of who Ben Watson is.
When you think of the NFL, you typically do not think about outspoken Christians regarding moral and social issues. And yet, that is a perfect way to describe Benjamin Watson. Watson has been an outspoken Christian throughout his career and continues to speak up for biblical truth concerning some of the most pressing issues of our day.
Recently, Watson was giving an interview with the Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center, based in San Diego. During the interview, Watson shared some thoughts on how abortion and race relations go hand in hand. He said:
Suppose you’re a high-school football coach that has received praise and accolades in your annual review for the last 7 years. You’ve also been told by athletes and parents about what a good influence you are on the players and what a great role model you are. You don’t do anything special or different for your entire tenure as a coach. Then, one day you find out the school is placing you on administrative leave and suggesting you not be re-hired.
What would you think?
That is the position coach Joe Kennedy found himself in when the local Washington state school district he worked for refused to allow him to continue saying silent prayers on the football field.
Here’s the story.
In 2008 Coach Kennedy saw the movie “Facing the Giants” and decided to start praying for his team. He would stroll out to the field before and after games to say a silent prayer for the athletes. He didn’t tell anyone, didn’t invite anyone, he just started praying. Before long members of his team joined him and they would silently pray before and after games. No one was forced. No one was disciplined or removed from the team for not praying. It was a completely voluntary routine.
There’s an enormous misunderstanding regarding the Constitution and religion that is causing all sorts of trouble for folks that just want to pray. The misunderstanding is being intentionally propagated by an atheist group that doesn’t want to see religious expressions in public.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has a notion that government and religion are mutually exclusive. They have as their mission “to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state.” The problem here is that there is no such “constitutional principle.” Nowhere in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the Declaration of Independence is there a word about keeping religion out of public life; or the so-called “separation of church and state.” In fact, what the Constitution does say is that the government has no authority to make any laws pertaining to the free exercise and expression of religion.
But that doesn’t stop this atheist group from demanding that coaches not take part in team prayers.
One of the latest cases comes from Naperville, Ill. where a high school football coach is under fire for simply being present with his players during team prayers. (Click here to read the local article) The complaint came after a picture of the team, including the coaches, was sent to the FFRF. They sent a letter to the school district demanding the action cease immediately.
The major identifier of any Christian should be our identity in Christ. It’s not about our “conversion story,” or where we are in our “walk of faith.” Creating an identity out of something with no inherent worth or value will always lead to frustration when others don’t place as high a value on that thing as we do.
Take for example the story of Michael Sam, the former NFL draft pick that was also the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team.
Before the combine, before the draft, Michael Sam was a decent football player barely hitting the radar of NFL scouts. Most scouting reports had him listed as a little too small and a bit too slow for his defensive position. But he was nonetheless headed for the NFL combine and would try to make an NFL roster. Then, the relatively unknown player from the mid-west decided to have a press conference to announce that he was gay.
In the world of sports this was only news because there was no openly gay players and Sam would be the first if he could make a roster. For the most part though, NFL scouts, coaches, and owners sort of…yawned. They weren’t looking for a poster-child for social causes or to break new sporting ground. They were looking for talented football players that would help them win championships. Because, at the end of the day, wins is all that matters.