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 …

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