Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

The Olympics, Public Faith, and a Censorious MSM

Aug 7, 2012

The London Olympics has been a mixed bag with high and lows, including mighty victories and crashing defeats. As far as the gold tally goes, China and the US have been neck and neck all along, with both having around 30 gold medals at the moment. If you are an Australian, it is not such good news, with only two golds.

To avoid the pain, many Aussies are now talking about ‘silver being the new gold’. Well, I suppose that’s one way to look at it. But it is not all about winning and losing, as important as all that is in the Olympics. Being a good sport used to count for something, and realising that there are in fact more important things in life than winning gold is another important but often missing value today.

But some athletes have things in proper perspective. Some know that the ultimate prize which anyone can receive is knowing that God is being glorified in one’s life. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism rightly states when asked about man’s chief end: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”.

A young Black American gymnast has been bringing home the gold, but her feet are firmly planted on the ground as her body floats through the air in her routines. She had no doubts as to who should get the glory for her gold-winning performances. See her refreshing remarks here for example:

This teenager is a Christian who does not shy away from her faith. A neat video of her can be found here as she is interviewed at an Iowa church service just days before she headed off to London. Jesus is still number one in all the excitement:

She is a brave Christian who is not ashamed of the gospel, and is not ashamed to give all the praise and honour to God. And of course the secular left and the MSM really do not like that too much. The former are already jumping all over her for daring to publically acknowledge her Lord and her faith, while the latter have done their best to prevent her praise from ever seeing the light of day.

As Marvin Olasky writes in his “Gabby Douglas vs. secular journalism,” it seems the MSM just does not have any patience with public God-talk. His piece is worth sharing here:

“What do reporters know and when do they report it? It was hard to miss yesterday the Christian beliefs that gave Gabby Douglas the foundation for all the work and concentration that went into her gold medal performance. Interviewed on television directly after her triumph, the gymnast said, ‘I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me.’

“Later Douglas tweeted, ‘Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me.’ Earlier in the Olympics she had blogged for ESPN, ‘Gotta give God the Glory! Thank you everyone for praying for me! It means so much to me!’

“Earlier this summer I asked all-star pitcher R.A. Dickey (‘Worship on the Mound,’ WORLD, July 28) how secular interviewers treat the faith in Christ that he regularly mentions. Dickey said, ‘Most of the time it will be edited out.’ So I looked at how some leading secular publications this morning referred to the hard-to-miss faith of Gabby Douglas.

“Stories in USA Today and the Los Angeles Times didn’t mention it, nor did The New York Times story, but The Times did note that Douglas’ mother and the mom of the family she lived with in Iowa ‘shared religious beliefs.’ The Times did not specify what those beliefs are.

“The Christian Science Monitor also left out what is so important to Douglas, but it did quote her saying ‘“hard work really does pay off” in the astonished tones of someone who had just bought a Ginsu knife and was shocked to learn that it really can cut tomatoes wafer-thin.’ Good line.

“Reporters are surprised and sometimes shocked to hear that faith in Christ (except among people they think are crazy) makes a difference. When I did a Nexis computerized search of ‘Gabby Douglas’ and ‘Christian’ in publications yesterday and today, only Agence France Presse came up: ‘Douglas, a devout Christian.’ No major publication apparently quoted her ‘glory to God’ remarks. But that makes sense, within standard journalistic understandings. Newspaper space is limited: Why waste it by bringing up something irrelevant, even though the subject of the story benightedly thinks it important?”

Quite right. Indeed, it took me quite a while to finally track down a video clip which actually featured her God-honouring words. And it is not just the non-reporting of her glory-to-God remarks which is a concern, but so too is the fact that the secular lefties go just ballistic with such public affirmations of faith.

David French writes about this disturbing aspect as follows: “It’s a sad commentary on modern life when I heard an exuberant 16-year-old thank God for the greatest success she might ever attain and immediately thought, ‘Someone’s going to attack her’.”

And sure enough the attacks did come, and French records some of these. After printing some sleazy remarks from Salon, he says this: “Thank you, Salon, for that oh-so-snarky takedown of a triumphant teenager.  What makes it even worse, of course, is that Gabby’s life has hardly been full of sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns before this moment. She’s known more fear and heartbreak than the average teenager. Her father’s an NCO in the Air Force, and her parents are divorcing under the strain of multiple deployments.”

He concludes, “While Gabby gave most Americans a moment of joy last week, her family has been sacrificing in deep and profound ways far, far from the spotlight and far from Salon’s condescending ‘tolerance.’  Had Salon done its homework, it would have seen that Gabby does not in fact simply pray to the ‘God of Parking Spaces’ but instead to the God who watches over a father at war, to a God who provides comfort in the midst of family heartbreak, and yes to a God who gives good gifts to His Children including – very rarely – an Olympic Gold Medal. If the writers at Salon can’t watch a child thank her Lord and Creator for a great day – maybe even her greatest day — without sniping at her faith, perhaps they are the ones who need to grow up.”

Yes quite so. But we expect such treatment from the worldlings. Just this morning I read what Jesus said as he sent his disciples out to preach the gospel. He warned them with these words: “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”

It seems things are exactly the same today. Way to go Gabby!

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8 Responses to The Olympics, Public Faith, and a Censorious MSM

  • I love it when someone has the guts to stand up and give God the glory he deserves! I just pray that she doesn’t allow the comments of non-achieving anti-Christian LOSERS to quench her zeal.

    Mario Del Giudice

  • Yes quite so Mario

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Great article Bill. And yes indeed, Way to go Gabby.
    The world really does hate us.

    John WL Wilk

  • I was watching her on the podium when she made that comment. (Big fan of gymnastics). I was so touched to see her comments – and amazed that’s it’s still worthwhile turning the television on from time to time!

    David French’s comments are spot-on. Any snarky comments against Gabby are pathetic indeed.

    Lauren Hughes

  • Haven’t watched much of the Olympics, but this was certainly one of its finer moments. What an inspiration to the rest of us. May we witness more Christians like Gabby.

    Fred Merlo

  • Dear Bill, Since you wrote this article Australia has won 2 more gold medals, after our media commentators had a panic attack. So far as Olympic athletes declaring their Christian faith, I suppose the media has its own secular agenda. Thank you for telling us a different aspect of the Olympics.
    Regards, Franklin Wood

  • Unfortunately another American athlete, Lolo Jones, has been embarrassing… stating how she wants to keep herself for her future husband but appearing in magazines scantily clad and nude…

    Liz Gee

  • You should have heard Stephenie Rice talk about God on the ABC last Saturday – talk about floor the ABC journo, but to his credit he ask more questions about her faith. Never heard anything else about it since it was live.

    Charles Northcote

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