Dabo Swinney vs The Freedom Police(?)
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-19 (NLT)
If there’s anything you can say about Dabo Swinney, I think “he’s consistent” would be appropriate. From being enthusiastic in post game interviews that happen to be on live TV, to maybe being a little too blunt, (about athlete unions, or something that another coach didn’t say, or criticizing the on campus dorms at Clemson) to coming up on the losing end of “big games”, (5 straight losses to South Carolina, two straight double digit losses to Florida State) to being at the helm of the best 5 year stretch the school has seen in at least 20 years, what you see is what you’re going to get with “that boy.”
What does that have to do with the Freedom Police? In case you haven’t heard, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (is there a Freedom From Cookies Foundation? I kinda need that) filed a complaint against Clemson, saying that they are promoting an environment that is forcing Christianity on the team (The complaint does have specific instances, including when DeAndre Hopkins was baptized after a practice and Bible study for coaches). Because Clemson is a state university, that’s not supposed to be happening (Something something something separation of church and state).
I’ve done some reading up on the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I do think that they mean well. And, hey, the Constitution was written for a reason. But what harm is there in what Clemson is being accused of? None of the Bible studies/praying after practice are mandatory. At least from what I’ve gathered thus far, there have been no complaints from players or coaches.
I do not think that it’s right to force any religion (or any way of thinking, for that matter) upon someone. As a matter of fact, the Bible doesn’t say anything about forcing people to believe. Now (as the verse at the beginning mentions) we are asked to lead people to Jesus. The hope is that people who don’t believe will see Christ through us and want to follow. Now, not everyone does that (raises hand). And yes, there are people who hide behind “their Christian beliefs” to promote messages of hate and exclusion. That is not a new thing. When I see the things listed in the report, what comes across to me is that Dabo is using the platform he has to do what anyone who says they believe in Christ should be doing.
I’m going to take this a little further. Through this FFRF complaint, we have at least a peek at what things ate like for the atmosphere of Clemson football. Is it really a confidence that they’ve been as successful as they’ve been with Swinney in charge? Now, I don’t think God cares about football. But a lot of the stuff in the Bible is about just being a good person. Treating others with respect. Helping those in need. Not trying to take another person’s possessions. Respecting your parents. Where is the harm in that? I don’t think it’s necessarily Dabo’s responsibility to make sure that his players are sufficiently prepared for life after college (They could, you know, get a degree to help with that). But if he’s fostering an environment that will help them be better men? I’d love to see where that’s a bad thing.
Now, if there are Clemson players who have taken issue with any of the things in this report, then I understand the reason to file a complaint. To me, I feel that Dabo Swinney is doing nothing wrong. I wish I had the courage he has to wear awful looking jackets on the sideline to try and help his players to become better men. If the FFRF sees this as a problem, then I think it’s definitely a problem worth having.