Roy Exum: Now God Feels Left Out

Thursday, September 13, 2012 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

When UT-Chattanooga opens its home football season tonight at Finley Stadium, it will be the first time that God hasn’t been invited to the game. University Chancellor Roger Brown, in one of his last official acts before he retires at the end of the month, kicked God to the curb on Monday in favor of a ridiculous “moment of silence.”

The chancellor, presumably wilting to a letter written by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, issued a statement early this week that read, “We need to make sure there is never anybody that goes away from our campus, our stadium, our arena, or classroom, or work, that feels like they have been excluded or feel uncomfortable in any way.”

Fine, but how do you think God feels? I’m guessing that God will see, for a fact, that He has been “excluded" by the chief executive of the university and, for the record, that makes me very uncomfortable at a time when the nation’s leaders at our recent Democratic National Convention and other gatherings leave little doubt that God wasn’t welcome there, either.

I am of the opinion the Chancellor’s edict is yet another case of the “tail wagging the dog” and believe it hardly reflects the true values of those students, past or present, at UTC, whether they attend the game against Glenville State at 7 p.m. tonight or not. What a legacy for Roger Brown to leave in his wake.

I guess for as long as I’ve watched football games I’ve prayed, just before the start, that no players would get hurt. When one does, I pray the injury isn’t serious and, when it sometimes is, I pray the kid will heal quickly and play again. Prayer is easy for me and if some crowd from Wisconsin wants to prey on others using the church-versus-state bait as fodder, God bless ‘em but I’ll continue to ignore their whine.

By the same token, I think a moment of silence is absolutely ridiculous. It stands for literally nothing but a delay of the game and is a preposterous replacement of any official act, be it prayer or the National Anthem or a benediction. Have a moment of silence at a red light and they’ll honk at you. Have one at the Varsity Drive-In in Atlanta and they’ll kick you to the back of the line.

After Chancellor Brown “officially” became the man who kicked God out of UTC this week, Knoxville TV station WATE did a segment on the fact students at UTK are worried the same fate will be seen in Neyland Stadium. Baptist Collegiate Ministry intern T.J. Early said he was “Not shocked at all … disappointed … and it kind of puts a little bit of rage inside me, to be honest. I don't think it's appropriate."

Jake Darlington said he was also disappointed. “As a Christian, prayer is extremely important to me,” adding, “Let's just say if they actually do come here and try to take away prayer at UT, I'll probably be the first one running around signing a petition to try to get it back on the field."

The comments the Knoxville script generated were even better and may better reflect the true feelings of others on the intensely controversial topic. Wrote one viewer, “It always amazes me how Atheists seem to want to always fight against something that they say doesn't exist. If God doesn't exist, and you truly believe it, then why waste all of this energy trying to disprove it to those of us who do? We'll all find out when that last breath is taken.”

Another, who uses a screen name of Eviltopia, countered, “Don't take away my right to shove Christianity in everyone’s face. It's my duty to force everyone to pray or stand around twiddling their thumbs while I pray to the Invisible Sky Daddy. I sure hope that if Christians are allowed to pray at government funded places, that should be following the separation of church and state, that you are going to make everyone stand around and be tolerant of the Muslim who has to pray five times a day. But I know it won't happen.”

“Daniel” quickly wrote back, “I am not saying that is the only time to pray at all. Unfortunately all rights of Christians are slowly being taken away. Our forefathers never intended separation of church and state the way most non-Christians want to believe. I am just saying that one day all of the people on here who are doubting God will have to pay for what they believe -- and don't believe -- and for what they do and don't do. If you don't believe, and know Him, I hope you like it hot!”

Wow! What a country we have today -- freedom of speech, freedom to worship, and UTC’s Roger Brown still kicks God out of the game while he can. What makes it curious is that is the way the outgoing chancellor will now be most remembered and, most puzzling of all, Roger Brown really didn’t have to do it. What a country …


Smart Leaders Elevate Smartt

Phil Smartt is truly a homegrown candidate for county commissioner in District 7.  Born here, educated in the public schools here, he and Gloria raised their six children here, he built a very successful business here, and he has a life long record of investing himself in helping and serving the people of Chattanooga and Hamilton County.  I have found him to be kind, considerate ... (click for more)

Responsible Gun Ownership

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." And, no, that's not talking about the "national guard," lib-speak not withstanding.  After last Sunday's, April 13, Times editorial rant against legal gun ownership, I'm about ready to drop my subscription, especially after the ... (click for more)

Bus Driver Will Not Face Charges In Tragic Bus Accident

Sergeant Tommy Sturdivan announced in a Friday afternoon press conference that the investigation into the death of six-year-old Zackery Bryant at Chattanooga Valley Elementary has been officially declared complete and that there will be no criminal charges. Zackery died tragically on Monday morning after being hit by a school bus after stepping off. According to Sgt. Sturdivan, ... (click for more)

Soddy Daisy May Begin Effort To Allow Wine In Grocery Stores; Concussion Forms Required For Sporting Events; WWTA Chided For Causing Potholes

The Soddy Daisy Commission is considering taking steps to allow wine in grocery stores now that Tennessee lawmakers have voted to lift restrictions. To have the law appear on the next ballot for a vote, Mayor Janice Cagle said a petition with an amount of signatures totaling 10 percent of the number of voters in the last general election will have to be collected. Commissioner ... (click for more)

Fowlkes' 3-Hitter Leads Collierville Past Soddy-Daisy, 7-0

Veteran coach Jeff Hopkins has a unique way of handling the Collierville High School baseball program. Rather than varsity, junior varsity and freshmen teams, Hopkins uses the labels Major League, Triple A and Double A for his Dragons squads. “The kids love it,” Hopkins said of his innovative system. “It’s like a minor-league system and our players understand that. We have ... (click for more)

Pearson, Newell Lead Silverdale Past East Hamilton

The Silverdale Baptist Academy Lady Seahawks got off on the right foot Friday morning in the first game of pool play in the 24th Annual Lady Trojan Invitational softball tournament at the Kids Park in Soddy Daisy. Despite a couple of key players being away for the day, the Lady Seahawks didn't miss a beat as they scored three runs in the first inning before getting two more in ... (click for more)