Woke culture ruins everything it touches. Case in point: the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Every March, basketball fans tune in to see the best teams compete for the college game’s top prize. One of the thrills of the event – and the reason it’s nicknamed “March Madness” – is when the top-seeded teams fall prey to pesky upstarts.

Small colleges routinely upset multi-million-dollar programs, bringing their campuses notoriety and alumni pride – if even for a few days.

This year, Oral Roberts University (ORU) from Tulsa, OK, beat not one, but two hoops powerhouses – Ohio State and Florida – on its way to the Sweet Sixteen. But, of course, someone had to make the university’s Christian beliefs an issue.

Finding Fault with Biblical Values

Capitalizing on ORU’s tournament run, journalist Hemal Jhaveri of For the Win (USA Today’s sports blog) recently mocked the school’s biblical position on healthy lifestyles (a key component of evangelist and founder Oral Roberts’s goal to “educate the whole person”):

While the school has been soundly mocked on social media for its archaic standards of behavior and code of conduct that bans profanity, “social dancing,” and shorts in classrooms, it is the school’s discriminatory and hateful anti-LGBTQ+ policy that fans should protest as the Golden Eagles advance in the tournament.

Twice in their student handbook, Oral Roberts specifically prohibits homosexuality. [emphasis added]

With the ascent of the LGBTQ agenda, wokeism, and cancel culture in recent years, it shouldn’t surprise anyone ORU came under attack. Jhaveri goes on to slam the university for telling students to not break the norms of common decency:

In their student conduct section, under the heading of Personal Behavior, the school expressly condemns homosexuality, mentioning it in the same breath as “occult practices.”

Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of integrity, honesty, modesty, and morality . . . Certain behaviors are expressly prohibited in Scripture and therefore should be avoided by members of the University community. They include theft, lying, dishonesty, gossip, slander, backbiting, profanity, vulgarity (including crude language), sexual promiscuity (including adultery, any homosexual behavior, premarital sex), drunkenness, immodesty of dress, and occult practices. [emphasis added]

Ignoring Criticism and Standing for Truth

The Family Research Council recently took Jhaveri to task for attempting to drive “all Bible-believing Christians, Christian education, and Christian institutions into some sort of spiritual ghetto – far away from the public square.” When a person or organization publicly honors God, it’s become all too common for critics to “cancel” them, even if they are doing something seemingly non-threatening like playing basketball.

The Apostle Paul wrote that a time would come when people would be “false accusers,” “despisers of those that are good,” and “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:1-13). Representing biblical truth, even as college athletes, will bring persecution from the world. But facing criticism and overcoming is part of successful Christian living.

To its credit – and despite the criticism – the team is staying focused on its goals, school pride, and what is really important – bringing God glory.

According to ORU head coach Paul Mills:

We need to use our God-given abilities for God-given reasons. In a hundred years, none of us will be here. . . . We’re really not that important. . . . One hundred twenty million people gather every Sunday, and 180 million on Easter gather, to celebrate one name, and that is the name of Jesus Christ. So, to be at an institution that honors that “There is no other name under heaven and earth which men must be saved” (Acts 4:12). . . . We are so thankful for the support and the people – but we want to do this the right way. [emphasis added]

Stand with ORU

Coach Mills and the Oral Roberts University basketball team are already winning at life, even as they play in the NCAA Men’s Tournament. But the Christian university, its students, and its fans are coming under attack from leftist activists. Critics are pressuring the National Collegiate Athletic Association to make the school comply with diversity and inclusion initiatives that violate biblical principles.

Make your voice heard by contacting the NCAA today, and tell them you support freedom of speech and religion. Show them you support Christian institutions like Oral Roberts University that stand for biblical truth. Contact NCAA President Mark Emmert via email at memmert@ncaa.org. Also, contact the NCAA on social media via Facebook and tweet @NCAA on Twitter.

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