By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

160921ballMy 3-year-old grandson, Eli Beasley, is playing soccer this fall. Personally, I think he is too young to play in a league, but Pappy deferred to his parents.

Well, Eli is proving Pappy probably was right. He takes a notion to play and practice when he wants to, causing his mother a great deal of frustration. But when he decides to play, Eli tries to do what he is instructed.

In soccer, you are not supposed to use your hands (unless you’re the goalie). In Eli’s game last week, he didn’t particularly want to play but when the coach told him he could play with his soccer ball that piqued his interest so he went onto the field.

After a few minutes, Eli realized the players on the opposing team were trying to take his ball away from him. Obeying his coaches and not touching the ball with his hands, Eli decided the best course of action to take was to sit on his ball. My daughter took a classic photo of Eli sitting on his ball while two 3-year-old opponents looked at him with the most puzzled expressions, “What do we do now?”

I give Eli credit. He didn’t take his ball and go home. Hopefully, as he grows older he will realize that sitting on the ball is not really an option either. He needs to learn to work well with others.

Lonnie Wilkey

Lonnie Wilkey

Apparently, the NCAA has not learned to play well with others either.

Last week Baptist Press reported that the NCAA has decided to not play seven championship athletic events in North Carolina during the 2016-17 academic year because of a state law requiring individuals at public agencies to use restrooms corresponding to their biological sex.

We talk so much about the separation of church and state. Looks like now we need to talk about the separation of sports and politics.

The NCAA has no right to force a liberal agenda on a state that has the right to set its own law (at least for now). Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, summed it up well in the Baptist Press article released on Sept. 13: “The NCAA is punishing the state of North Carolina because it dares to stand up for the common sense notion that everyone has a right to privacy, decency, and safety in bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.”

In other words, the NCAA is acting like a 3-year-old. This organization is trying to dictate to an entire state what it should or should not do. Their job is to “police” intercollegiate sports and make sure they are run fairly and efficiently. Instead, the NCAA is being a bully. As a result, the state of North Carolina stands to lose millions of dollars from the lost revenue that these sporting events would have brought to the state. Among the games taken away are the first- and second-round Division I Men’s Basketball Championship games that were slated for March 17 and 19 in Greensboro.

Instead of simply saying they disagree with the state of North Carolina and expressing a desire the state will eventually change the law, the NCAA is taking its ball and leaving.

Shame on them.

But we might as well get used to it. We are going to see more instances where money will be used as a threat. “Do it our way or the money goes elsewhere.” So far, the state of North Carolina has not caved in to the threat and backed off its law. Pray they stand firm.

We see it happening over and over. Individuals and businesses are already being sued for standing true to biblical convictions. It won’t be long before churches will be challenged in courts for their stands. The culture war led by Satan is gearing up for the long haul.

Are Christians and churches today really prepared for this battle? I fear they are not. Pray, pray, and pray some more. Our only hope is Jesus Christ. Now, some good news. He’s all we need.