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Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life

Devotional for January 10

My mother used to have no problem with me watching sporting events. She always saw them as safe. She felt that watching sports would keep my mind off those things which might curry sin in my life. Then one day Dad and I were watching the Dallas Cowboys play the Cleveland Browns and the camera panned to the newly added Cowboys Cheerleaders. My mom looked at the screen with a shocked look on her face as she viewed navels and ample breasts challenging the fabric which was struggling to contain them.

Oh, that that were the least of our worries now in televised sports. Free speech has reared its "depends on what you're doing" head. Recent telecasts of collegiate basketball games have been rife with obscenity laden clothing and chants from the student attendees. A recent national release began with the following. "You can't shout 'fire!' in a crowded theater. But can you shout a different F-word in a crowded arena?"

Nationally prominent basketball programs are regularly televised by the major sports networks. Due to the impromptu nature of the happenings, shirts with obscene words on them and organized chants laced with four letter expletives make their way onto national broadcasts. Evidently, what is at issue are the rights of those using the language that are "protected" under the First Amendment.

I wonder what would happen if a group of Christians were to purchase a large block of tickets at a nationally telecast basketball game and spend the entire game wearing apparel with Christian themes and saying the Lord's Prayer and other scripture verses as loudly as they could? I bet they would be asked to leave due to their statements being offensive to people who were there for a basketball game and not a church service. It seems that free speech is protected as long as it is dissident or immoral.

Oddly, a piece of advice from a man almost 2000 years ago would solve the problem. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification (building up), that it may impart grace to the hearers." Ephesians 4:29 Speech was never intended to be free when God invented it. It has always carried a price tag.

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