Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has been an inspiration to many with his vocal Christian testimony and laudable charity work. On more than once occasion, secularists have been appalled at the coach’s display of religion, while many Christians have found it refreshing, especially in this day.
Things took a turn, however, when the Palmetto Family Council (PFC) announced in May that Coach Sweeney was going to be honored for his Christian testimony and the work of his “All In Foundation.” The reaction from the radical left was immediate, predictable, and intense. Cassie Cope, writing for The State, reported that “Jeff Ayers of S.C. Equality, a gay rights advocacy group, said he is disappointed Swinney accepted an invitation to appear at a fundraiser for an organization that has been outspoken against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. ‘It’s sending the wrong message to the LGBT students, and faculty and supporters of Clemson.’”
Such a reaction from a homosexual advocacy group was not unexpected, but a similar one from a South Carolina legislator was. Todd Rutherford, South Carolina House Minority Leader from Richland, was apoplectic that Swinney would accept the PFC award: “I cannot fathom why Coach Swinney or anyone else would knowingly assist a group whose mission is to fight against equal rights and equal treatment of others. As a state employee, national figure and role model to kids all over the state, Coach Swinney should send a message that he has zero tolerance for discrimination and cancel his appearance.”
So there you have it. A group that promotes the family, opposes abortion, and stands for the historical, not to mention biblical, view that marriage is to unite a man and a woman is charged with “discrimination.” That a Democratic politician holds such a view is no longer surprising. Indeed, that is the national party’s obsession. That a Democratic leader in South Carolina would make such a public statement reveals a culture more depraved than we had imagined. Something about calling evil good and good evil comes to mind, Mr. Rutherford (see Isaiah 5:20).
All of that, however, is beside the point. Coach Swinney, a man who had been honored for his courageous stand for Christianity, quickly caved to the pressure, stating, “I had no idea that I was being invited into a political controversy.” I’m sorry, Coach, but everything in America that is seen as standing for traditional morality is deemed a political offense by the collective voices of depravity.
Coach Swinney, widely considered an honorable man, raised the white flag when the LGBT crowd objected. It was a time to take a courageous stand for biblical truth. The coach failed the test.
Coach Swinney’s giving in to the LGBT bullies has been roundly and rightly criticized. We need remember, however, that we all face such tests, and we shall face them more often as that which was only recently deemed depraved is now deemed normal by most and even divinely blessed by some. The charge of discrimination will grow louder against those who stand for biblical morality. Will we stand or surrender? I don’t bear any animosity towards Coach Swinney. I can only imagine the pressure that a man faces when he enjoys a base salary of some $3.3 million at an institution that would be very much on the side of leftist morality. I know what I hope I would do were I faced with his decision, but I’ll never know exactly because I’ll never have so much money on the line and be in his situation. Nevertheless, anyone who so caves to the LGBT pressure is wrong, whether it’s Coach Swinney or you or me.
Unfortunately, such decisions are not mere matters of opinion. When we fail to stand for what the Scriptures clearly teach, and the Scriptures are clear about homosexuality, we deny the God of those Scriptures. The words of Jesus are haunting, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:32-34 [ESV]). We can’t have it both ways: affirming Jesus on the one hand and denying his Word on the other.