The Clemson Tigers just won the College Football National Championship.
Speaking after his team’s victory, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney had this to say:
“All the credit — all the glory — goes to the good Lord.”
But what isn’t being reported is that in 2014, Coach Swinney faced a coordinated attack by radical atheists because of his Christian faith.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a formal complaint against Coach Swinney, and you won’t believe what it said.
“What we have observed in the records is that the football coaching staff is doing a number of things to promote Christianity to their student-athletes.”
And then they went for the throat demanding Coach Swinney be fired from leadership positions and be banned from sharing his faith on campus:
“What we’d like to see is the end of this chaplaincy position and end to Bible distributions by coaches, an end to devotionals scheduled and put on by coaches and staff. The coaches need to step back and just coach (football) and not coach in religious matters.”
What these atheist activists don’t understand is when faith in Christ isn’t something you just turn on and off depending on the context.
It is an essential part of who we are as Christians and it permeates every aspect of our lives.
Our relationship with Christ informs our relationship with others. We love because He first loved us. Our jobs, our careers, the work we do, we do as if working for Him, not for man.
Coach Swinney explained it himself perfectly when he took to the microphone to announce his hiring as head coach at a 2008 press conference:
“There’s really only one reason that an old boy from Pelham, Alabama, is sitting here in front of you today, and that’s the grace of God,” Swinney told an audience of university supporters and sports journalists. His remarks were televised live to thousands of Upstate residents who tuned in for their local 6:00 newscasts.
“To be here as the head coach at Clemson, that doesn’t just happen.”
“I hope people will really listen to me when I tell them what my secret to success is, and that is to put your eyes on the Lord in everything you do, and believe in yourself, and don’t quit.”
“It’s really that simple. And if you do that, then you’ll know true success, and you’ll know true happiness. You may not be the head coach at Clemson, but that’s not what defines success and happiness.”
Six years later, atheist activists were demanding Coach Swinney reject what he believes to be the number one source of his success.
But Coach Swinney didn’t give in and neither did Clemson University.
The atheist attack ultimately went nowhere.
And Monday night, Coach Swinney led his team to their second National Championship victory in two years.
“You can’t write a Hollywood script like this … Only God can do this. … Only God can orchestrate this.”
“There’s so many great coaches that are so deserving of a moment like this and never get the chance to experience it. To get to do it once and now to get to do it again, it’s a blessing. It’s just simply the grace of the good Lord to allow us to experience something like this.”
The Clemson team is filled with Christians who speak the Gospel every chance they get.
Star quarterback Trevor Lawrence had this to say:
“Football is important to me, obviously, but it is not my life,” he said. “It is not like the biggest thing in my life. My faith is. That just comes from kind of knowing who I am outside of that. I just know, no matter how big the situation is, it is not really going to define me.”
Lawrence’s social media reflects his faith.
On Twitter, Lawrence talks “about the privilege it is to have a Lord like ours.”
And on Instagram, he recently posted, “Amazed at God’s grace. Blessed to meet some amazing people and start this Journey of bringing some of the kingdom down here to Earth. Let that light shine!”
“I put my identity in what Christ says, who He thinks I am and who I know that He says I am,” the freshman said. “Like I said, it really does not matter what people think of me or how good they think I play. That does not really matter. That has been a big thing for me, in my situation, just knowing that and having confidence in that.”
Please pray that these Christian leaders will continue to shine His light and that more and more of the lost will find their way back to Him through the platform provided by this football victory.