Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Published in the "Newport (TN) Plain Talk"
Release Date: Nov 17, 2011
Column Number: FM 1146

Unless you have been living under a rock somewhere on the back side of Frogpond, Tennessee; you have probably heard of the fiasco that is currently unfolding in University Park, Pennsylvania.

Yeah, you know the place; but you probably only know it as the home of Penn State University – the venerated home of the Nittany Lions and their venerated – almost granted sainthood – coach, “Joe Pa”.

Thousands of Penn State students hit the streets on Wednesday night – doing their thing – over turning cars (why do mobs always feel they have to overturn cars and destroy private and public property?), chanting Joe Pa’s name, and selling “Support Coach Paterno” wristbands. It has been reported by Wayne Allyn Root that these were not hoodlums; these were “educated, middle class, salt-of-the-earth Pennsylvania college kids attending a well-respected university”.

Yes, I believe in the legal precept that a person is innocent until proven guilty; and I have no knowledge of whether or not the “incidents” actually happened – but it seems to be a foregone fact that “Joe Pa” did nothing to find out either – and he could have stopped it!

Of course, you will hear and read of former athletes from Penn State making their statements in support of “Coach Joe Pa”. After all, wasn’t he a winner? Didn’t he put Penn State on the map with multitudes of years of – what? What did he do? Oh yes, he was a winning football coach; and therefore, all is forgiven!

To someone’s credit, the riots on the streets on Wednesday were followed by candles on the campus on Friday – as the alleged victims – the little boys who were allegedly assaulted by a longtime assistant coach were remembered. One can only hope that the second group who found their way on Friday night was composed of many of the same students who had lost their minds on Wednesday night.

From all I know; from all I have heard; from all I have read, Coach Joe Paterno is a man who spent a lifetime molding the lives of young men at Penn State University. But now; all that is being said about the winningest coach in college football is that he didn’t lift a finger to help the little boys (other than reporting the incident to his like-wise-do-nothing superiors); then apparently never mentioning it again.

Hey! It’s football! And what is more important than that? Of course, a couple of years ago, lots of people were holding Miley Cyrus up as a role model for young girls. It would be a major big time bummer if (perish the thought) personalities like Coaches Bobby Bowden or Pat Summit or Quarterback Tim Tebow fall by the wayside like so many others who have influenced so many thousands of followers. Let’s join in prayer for these “lightning rods”.

I love the commercial that sometimes runs during football games (yes, I do get to watch some of them) where the tag line is that most of the students at (whatever) University will turn “pro” in some other field than athletics.

I have felt the exact same way in the past when the exact same “sweep-under-the-carpet” procedure was used by priests, bishops, and cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church; or the financial evidence of extravagant lifestyles of televangelists; or the reckless abuses of power of those in government; but in each case, apparently none of these people who had the authority to call a screeching halt to what was going on, called a screeching halt to what was going on.

I wonder if any of these people who could have stopped this, stopped to think, “What if that little ten-year old boy was my ten-year old boy?”

Have we lost our minds? We certainly have lost our way!

Frankly, we better get our priorities back in line with those of Almighty God; if we ever expect Almighty God to pay attention to our cries for help when we find ourselves being overwhelmed by evil forces – like all those numerous little boys must have felt.

Where have all the role models for our little ten-year old kids gone? Obviously those students on Wednesday night were following the examples of what they see on MTV or Beavis and Butthead or the Kardashians or whatever! Come on Christian, let’s give our ten-year kids something to imitate, an example to follow – and know that if they do; they will be on the right path to eternity!

Because that is exactly the path we are all on – eternity!

Tom Mooty serves as Senior Pastor of Newport’s West End Baptist Church; and can be reached with your comments at tommooty05@comcast. See the church website at www.webaptistchurch.org.
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