headline came across my news feed yesterday. My personal jury is not handing out a guilty verdict to the track officials that disqualified the winner (and his relay team) who pointed upward as he crossed the finish line to indicate who gets the glory. My instinct perhaps at first was to cry foul. And I still think its ridiculous to disqualify this guy and his entire team when they blasted the competition with their hard work, determination, and talent. I don't care if the guy did five fist pumps in celebration when crossing the line, he earned his spot and all that comes with that.
I will also fight the temptation to rant about what a wimpy nation we have become that we've made rules such that the victor cannot enjoy their accomplishments because it may hurt the feelings of those that lost. Instead I will elaborate on what does concern me from a Christian standpoint about this story. I am not saying this is what is going on but this is a fear of mine that this story brought out. As popular as it has become to take God and faith practices out of every part of school life, its also pretty unpopular to be the one initiating these actions. Could it be that rules like this are just subtle ways of further restricting personal faith choices and practices? I mean the rule is that you cannot use any hand gestures in celebration which covers them from having to say specifically pointing to God but does indeed restrict that very thing.
If I wanted to directly attack Mormonism for example, I could try to get legislation passed that outlaws Mormon Missionaries from knocking on doors in my city. If I wanted to be more subtle about it, I could instead try to get legislation passed that outlaws any door to door activities be they sales people or proselytizers. I know its impossible to know but I can't help but wonder how many rules have been put into place with that kind of ulterior motive in mind. On that very post on Facebook another lady mentioned that its against the rules for her to wear her necklace on the track which just so happens to have a cross on it. Granted no necklaces can be worn but that's another example that makes me wonder.
As Christians we need to be careful in shouting out that our religious freedoms have been violated if they haven't been. But we also need to keep our eyes open to the real possibility that certain rules are made with the explicit intent to restrict the outward display of our beliefs. What a crazy world we live in!