Religious CheerOctober 01, 2009
Controversy has erupted over the decision to ban cheerleaders at a Georgia school from displaying banners with religious messages at football games. Some argue that the public school cannot allow the banners because that would violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment, while others argue that banning the banners violates the free exercise clause. However, beyond the First Amendment issues, it seems that there is another important issue here. Some Christians are arguing that their religious rights are being hurt in this case. But is that really the case? Isn't it actually kind of blasphemous to put up a banner supporting your football team that says "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me in Christ Jesus"? Although it is a play on the word "goal," the sign offers some poor theology. Will a player get to Heaven by scoring a touchdown? Or has the team been chosen by God to win the game? Let us be careful in our zeal to share Bible verses to make sure we do not take them too far out of context. And let us be careful not to fight too hard for someone that perhaps we should not even be doing in the first place.