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Be Careful With Statues

By Don Loftis | 07.25.12

After much emotional debate, Joe Paterno’s statue is gone.  The legendary coach guided the Penn State Nittany Lions’ football team for 45 years.  During those years, his teams won a record 409 games.  He was noted for his personal integrity and his ability to develop character in his players.   Yet, his football empire and personal legacy crumbled, not for something he said, but for something he did not say.  Evidence suggests that he knew about children who were being sexually abused by a former assistant coach, but he chose to cover it up for fear of embarrassing the football program.

Someone commented, “No one ought to have a statue built in their honor until they are dead.” Our present behaviors certainly can discredit the honorable contributions of the past.  When Harding University named their new Bible and Missions building after Jim Bill McInteer, he commented, “I will try to conduct myself in such a way that you will not wish to have my name removed from this building.”  He then added, “I ask that what you teach and practice in this building will not make me wish to remove my name.”

Even at our best, human monuments are dangerous.  I suppose that is why we are called to worship the one true God and follow only Jesus Christ.  In light of our human frailties and deplorable decisions, the sinlessness of Jesus is worthy of a monument.  That monument is not a statue or a cathedral; it is the timeless cross on which deity paid the price of humanity’s sin.



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