Dabo Swinney’s team lost on Monday night. It was their first lost of the season and it came in the final game of the season – the national title game.
Swinney has done a fine job of representing his school. He has put Clemson back on the map. They are no longer just contenders for ACC titles but national titles as well. Clemson fans are excited and rightfully so.
But the news isn’t all good for Dabo and Clemson. As if losing on Monday night wasn’t enough, it appears that Clemson will soon be taken to court. And it’s all Dabo’s fault.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation plans to sue Clemson University because their athletics program is a little too Christian. And the man who finds himself in the crosshairs of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is Dabo Swinney. If you are a coach who also happens to follow Christ, when all of your wins and losses are tallied, the fact that the Freedom From Religion Foundation came after you just might be your greatest accomplishment.
Swinney is a very outspoken Christian. And that’s okay with the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Just as long as Coach Swinney resigns from Clemson and starts coaching for the Saint Benny the Lesser Christian Academy Fightin’ Crusaders over in Dump Truck County, South Carolina. To put it another way, if you are a Christian and you get a paycheck from any government institution, leave your faith at the door.
A representative for the Freedom From Religion Foundation said, “We still have concerns about how that program is being conducted.” You’d think that he was talking about Penn State. But no, he’s talking about Clemson and their coach who has the nerve to actually live out what he believes, pray with his players, use chaplains and have church day events. Oh the humanity!
Such activity, as the Freedom From Religion Foundation sees it, is parallel with the President of the United States telling everyone in the country that they had better be at the First Baptist Church this Sunday morning or they can expect a visit from the IRS.
Swinney is clear. Prayer isn’t mandatory. When he leads the team in prayer, objecting players are free to daydream or think about something else. Sort of like the rest of us do whenever someone from the Freedom From Religion Foundation starts lecturing about how they want to protect us all from those evil chaplains that are ruining this country.
You would have a very difficult time finding a profession that impacts young students more than a football coach. No one is denying that. Some of those players come from difficult backgrounds. Others have had it pretty easy. But they all share one thing in common. Hardship. Football is a sport of hardship. Sort of like life.
And when that hardship shows itself, it’s always nice to have someone around who cares. Someone with some answers. Christianity is not just truth. It is centered around the Truth, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). That means that all other truths fall under, not next to, Jesus.
Perhaps, deep down, that’s what is really irritating the Freedom From Religion Foundation. If they had it their way, the next time a defensive lineman got killed in a drunk driving accident three weeks into the season, the coach would keep his mouth shut and bring in a government ordained grief counselor who can comfort those grieving hearts about how life is a series of scientific coincidences and that we are all ruled by chaos as we march our way to nothingness. Survival of the fittest, baby. Dry those tears. Sounds comforting, huh?
No one wants to hear that.
But, regardless of what their beliefs are, kids like to play for coaches who care enough to pray with them and parents like knowing that their sons and daughters are under the influence of coaches who actually live out their faith. That’s why men like Dabo Swinney and Mark Richt are so loved, even by people who don’t own a Bible and haven’t been to church since Easter of 1995.
Dabo Swinney says that his team is open to players of all faiths.
If only the Freedom From Religion Foundation was so inclusive. When it comes to government officials, they are only open to people of no faith. How tolerant of them.
Organizations like this one remind us that atheism and agnosticism are religions of their own. Their savior is self. Their church is the mind. Their sacrament is nothingness. Their pulpit is the courtroom. Their hope goes no further than the grave they will be buried in.
So if it’s freedom from religion that this organization really wants, perhaps they should all begin their crusade by looking in the mirror and just leave Dabo alone.