We are being inundated this week with the unfolding scandal of Penn State University’s football program and how Joe Paterno and university officials did (or did not) handle revelations of child sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky. The morally abhorrent news continues to come out.
PSU students rioted last night because they’re beloved football coach was fired. But where was the moral and cultural outrage over the ongoing sexual abuse of children across the world prior to the PSU incident became a media frenzy?
The indignation over Sandusky and the inaction of PSU leaders reveals an unsettling reality. We don’t like our idols messed with. In our culture, the love of sports and its personalities overshadows the reprehensibility of the abuse of children. It would be difficult, indeed, to mobilize stadiums of Americans to work against the mistreatment of children in our country and internationally.
I don’t know Joe Paterno. However, I question where his moral outrage was when he learned of the allegations against Sandusky. In addition, I question why those who witnessed the incidents didn’t have the backbone to physically intervene or to report things to the police. I have an uncomfortable sense that the perpetrators were ushered out with quiet threats in order to protect the reputation of an academic institution and a revered sports program.
The folly of inaction is addressed in the New Testament:
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17 ESV)
It’s easy to sit on the periphery and cast stones. Lest we forget, we are all guilty of significant moments of inaction.
What life transforming resolutions will you make after seeing another powerful reminder that sin has great consequences – whether sins of commission or sins of omission?