This story from the end of October came to my attention this morning. The UK Daily Mail covers it-
“A group of Christian football fans at Louisiana State University has been left outraged after the college airbrushed out crosses painted on their chests in a picture it emailed to students. The ‘Painted Posse’ attends every Tigers home game with their bare chests painted with the team’s colours – yellow and purple – with a small cross added above their hearts. But in an email about the LSU game against South Carolina on October 13, the college included the picture but digitally erased the cross. The photo was otherwise untouched.”
Above is the photo as it was taken
Here is the photo with the crosses airbrushed out
These boys are known as the Painted Posse, and have been attending LSU games in this manner since they were students in 2003.
The University said,
“The university stood by its decision, which had been taken so as not to offend other students. ‘We don’t want to imply we are making any religious or political statements, so we air-brushed it out,’ LSU said in a statement. ‘Only one of the students, who didn’t appreciate it, actually contacted us about it. So next time, we’ll just choose a different photo.’
Though their photograph has been published many times before, this was the first time the University took steps to deliberately remove the “offensive” cross.
The cross IS an offense. The depraved minds of the people of the world are so blinded by hatred of Jesus that they will do anything to take the offense away from their sight. Offending other students or not wanting to appear religious is the excuse. The bible tells us the real reason is that Jesus is an offense. (Galatians 5:11).
Peter said in 1 Peter 2:7-8,
“So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They just don’t want to obey Him. They are more worried about offending rich alumni, other religious students, donors, parents, whoever, that they forget the One they should not offend is Jesus Himself!
I just wanted to let you know that the chasm between believers and non-believers is widening fast. Expect trouble. If you wear a Christian fish pin, or a cross, or carry a bible to work, pray before your meal in the employee cafeteria, expect someone to make a case about it. You may be asked to take off your pin. To stop praying in public. Anything. Study the Word now for the verses that the Spirit may lead you to respond with. Pray now for strength and clear eyes and open ears to make the decision the Spirit will lead you into.
The Painted Posse simply responded in Christ-like manner. They said they love Jesus and they love LSU. Their passion is proclaiming Christ and they will continue to do that. They don’t want an angry showdown with University officials, but one of the boys said he would love to see a campus full of crosses for the next game.
“The Alabama game is Nov. 3 and everyone needs to wear a purple or black shirt and wear a large cross, a shirt with a cross on it or face paint a cross on your face. The media will be everywhere and my goal is to have a campus of crosses.”
They may try to Photoshop the cross out of existence, but as long as He lives in us, His light will continue to shine! Did they extinguish the Light in the first century martyrs? No! His light shone even brighter!
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs
tells the tale of the blood-born battles to keep the faith alive. In one story, Foxe recounts,
“A Protestant gentleman being ordered to lose his head for not renouncing his religion, went cheerfully to the place of execution. A friar came to him, and said these words in a low tone of voice, “As you have a great reluctance publicly to abjure your faith, whisper your confession in my ear, and I will absolve your sins.” To this the gentleman loudly replied, “Trouble me not, friar, I have confessed my sins to God, and obtained absolution through the merits of Jesus Christ.” Then turning to the executioner, he said, “Let me not be pestered with these men, but perform your duty,” on which his head was struck off at a single blow.”
Or this story:
“Upon the day appointed, Lord Cobham was brought out of the Tower with his arms bound behind him, having a very cheerful countenance. Then was he laid upon a hurdle, as though he had been a most heinous traitor to the crown, and so drawn forth into St. Giles’s field. As he was come to the place of execution, and was taken from the hurdle, he fell down devoutly upon his knees, desiring Almighty God to forgive his enemies. Then stood he up and beheld the multitude, exhorting them in most godly manner to follow the laws of God written in the Scriptures, and to beware of such teachers as they see contrary to Christ in their conversation and living. Then was he hanged up by the middle in chains of iron, and so consumed alive in the fire, praising the name of God, so long as his life lasted; the people, there present, showing great dolor. And this was done A.D. 1418.”
The blood of Jesus makes a way for us to be reconciled to God, and the blood of the martyrs kept the light alive. Reading stories like these brings tears to my eyes every time.
I do not know what lay ahead for the brethren of our faith. The noose is tightening, we can see that. Photoshopped Painted Posse pictures are nothing compared to the blood shed in the Middle Ages nor the blood that will be shed in the Tribulation. But blood is being shed now, in Nigeria, in Egypt, in Tunisia. And in America, home of the free, the cross is seen to be increasingly an offense and a stumbling block. Who knows what tomorrow will bring for Christians in America? Nothing good, that is for sure.
Remember the martyrs, have faith in Jesus, and be ready for whatever private or small battle may come your way. It will likely happen suddenly, or from an unexpected quarter, like the Painted Posse suddenly being airbrushed for the first time, after all these years. So be ready to show Christ-like love and equanimity in the face of their anger and offense. This will heap coals upon their head. And above all, Jesus will be glorified!