Changing a School's Mascot

February 27, 2006

There has been a lot of talk and controversy concerning colleges that use Native Americans as mascots. However, Northwest Nazarene University is considering changing their school mascot not because they are the Indians but because they are the Crusaders. Here are some highlights from an editorial praising the potential change:

Pushed not by the NCAA, but by its own conscience and a thoughtful appraisal of its current appropriateness, Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa is considering changing its mascot.

... Given the university's global missionary and outreach programs, the board should do away with the Crusaders.

...In the very places where the Church of the Nazarene is reaching out through its colleges and universities, the term conjures up extremely negative images.

Church-affiliated schools exist throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe, places where crusaders actually existed — and not as a creation of Hollywood. In England, the school's "Crusader Choir" was asked to not use its name. Instead, the choir was referred to as the NNU choir in programs.

... The task force concluded in its report that because of the popular understanding of the name "Crusader," NNU was not serving its stated mission, particularly in its goals of "Christlike Character" and "Social Responsiveness."

... Point Loma Nazarene in San Diego changed its name several years ago from the Crusaders to the Sea Lions — not the walrus-type sea creature, but a lion emerging from the ocean.

... It's the school, not the mascot that people should — and do — give allegiance to.

NNU will continue to compete in intercollegiate athletics, continue to win and lose and continue to create lifelong memories on its fields and courts, no matter what mascot adorns the walls or the media guide.
Amen! It is great to see some Christians thinking seriously about the messages they are sending. The mascot is not what is important. If it will drive people away from God, then by all means get rid of it!