Attacking the values of Christian universities is now an annual rite and ritual of March Madness media coverage. With “archaic” rules that are wildly out of touch with modern society, Oral Roberts University (ORU) is called out for banning by USA Today’s For The Win publication.
Oral Roberts, which has already upset Ohio State and Florida, is definitely not the feel-good March Madness story we need, writes Hemal Jhaveri, the "race and inclusion editor." (Yeah, that's a job, apparently.) She admits the evangelical university from Tulsa is a fan favorite as an underdog, but she detests its strict student requirements. ORU’s “deeply bigoted anti-LGBTQ+ polices can’t and shouldn’t be ignored,” Jhaveri writes in a despicable screed. (In above photo, Coach Paul Mills and team prepare for prayer after beating Florida).
That’s just the opening salvo of a long bombardment on ORU and a call for the NCAA to ban the school. Headed for the Sweet 16 in the tournament this coming weekend, Oral Roberts is pummeled for its fundamentalist values and beliefs. It’s “a relic of the past” and completely incompatible with the NCAA’s values of equality and inclusion.
Jhaveri, the would-be moralistic referee, calls fouls on ORU for a student code of conduct that bans profanity, social dancing and wearing shorts to class. She demands fans protest Oral Roberts for its homophobia as the Golden Eagles advance in the tournament.:
“Twice in their student handbook, Oral Roberts specifically prohibits homosexuality. In their student conduct section, under the heading of Personal Behavior, the school expressly condemns homosexuality, mentioning it in the same breath as ‘occult practices.’ ”
Following God, purity and modesty instead of the NCAA is a really bad move by ORU. Jhaveri scalds the school for recognizing marriage as the union of a man and a woman, and for keeping its students “tied to toxic notions of fundamentalism that fetishize chastity and abstinence.” Its “anti-LGBTQ+ stance is nothing short of discriminatory and should expressly be condemned by the NCAA,” Jhaveri rants.
Not only is Oral Roberts opposed to the NCAA’s worldly values, but it should be banned from competition by the association that governs college sports, the writer demands. She further shames Oral Roberts for not personifying the social justice “equality” slogan emblazoned on the NCAA Tournament basketball courts.
Working up her anti-Christian hatred, Jhaveri rages that “the school is a hotbed of institutional transphobia, homophobia with regressive, sexist policies. There is no way to separate their men’s basketball team from the dangers of their religious dogma, no matter how many top seeds they defeat.”
By the way, ORU is also accused of reaping rewards off the backs of unpaid athletes as it advances through the tournament.
Jhaveri wraps up the lashing by charging that Oral Roberts’ on-court victories cannot offset its “moral failings.” The Golden Eagles basketball team cannot obscure the “dangerous and hateful ideology of its core institution.”
During March Madness two years ago, Deadspin spewed the same kind of anti-Christian bigotry against Liberty University, the school they called the “most hateable” in the Big Dance. Liberty lost in the first round of this year’s tournament and was spared of another brutal media assault
USA Today is obviously out of touch with the First Amendment and the right of religious liberty. Readers who'd like to remind the paper of that right or who recoil at anti-Christian bigotry in their sports pages can contact USA Today Editor in Chief Nicole Carroll at 703/854-6000 or on Twitter @nicole_carroll.