Alabama Football and the Reformation

Posted on July 21, 2023


You history buffs and Christians expected something with Martin Luther, right? Don’t worry, he’s down below, but first some prelims. For those of you looking for Martin Luther King, Jr., you’re about four centuries removed from the Martin Luther of the Protestant Reformation. Go and retake your class on world or western civilization. If he wasn’t in there, try a different college or university.

I am a firm believer of suggesting how to fix something when I am critical of something. Another one of my old slogans which I have renewed occasionally is “do the right thing” when faced with an issue or challenge. So, I have put these together recently—do the right thing—and –do something other than criticize. For those of you into Scripture, you all know that the apostle James put it much better than me: “Do not just listen to the word, do what it says,” (James 1:22-25)

The Protestant Reformation came to mind as a model the other day when I was sharing some information and points of view with a couple of  old friends over the disaster that the programs of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” have produced in colleges and universities across the country, including here in Alabama at places like Auburn, the University of South Alabama, the University of Alabama and I suspect at a number of other colleges and universities. And, as I said, the phenomenon is widespread across the country. States like Florida and Texas have taken on the Wokes and purged politically correct warriors in higher education. DEI and its associated ills, like Critical Race Theory—are either being dismembered or are coming down under different forms of legislation.

These are very positive trends to restore education to some semblance of what it all should be about. And DEI is not just about higher education. It’s all over the business world of the country as well. Just chat with your neighbor who happens to work for a large, or not even large, company or enterprise somewhere around here. “Is DEI at your workplace?” I can almost assure you that the answer will be yes! at different levels of disapproval. United Airlines a year or two ago I read someplace was going to promote a major effort to hire new pilots, something like five thousand. And half, or 2500, were to be minority candidates, taking race, gender, minorities, and an assortment of other Woke categories into account.

Now, let me be clear here. I’m glad United and Delta do their best to diversify and meet Woke criteria, BUT I want the BEST pilots—qualified by skills, tests, merit, and other quantitative measures of what makes the best pilots—as the principal qualification. Who do you want sitting in the left—the pilots—seat in the cockpit?

Let me mix in some thoughts here on the Reformation. Don’t worry, we’ll get there. Companies should hire and universities and colleges should recruit the same way Nick Saban recruits. Think about that one. Who do Nick and his coaches look for? Hispanics? Blacks? Asian-Americans? Transexuals? Or, and you know the details more than likely better than me, the best football players in the land? Why don’t we use Nick’s model for excellence and championships and transfer it to recruiting faculty and students at UA the same way?

So, one axiom of mine would be met: do the right thing. Get the best and brightest, and students and faculty with most promise and intelligence, drive, and initiative in whatever field for whatever level we are looking at, from freshmen (freshpeople sounds a bit awkward) to world class researchers and scientists as faculty. And if UA, Auburn, etc. did that, they would be leading the country, not just in a sport, but in what matters most in restoring our country and civilization to the promises and performance of the past. Which takes us, finally, to the Reformation.

The Protestant Reformation kicked off by the Augustin friar, Martin Luther, was not meant to destroy an institution which he belonged to as a priest. It was meant to restore it to its origins, in words (Scripture) and practice, or how to live as Christians as described and pointed to in the Bible. The Roman Catholic Church, the principal, but not the only expression, of Christianity in the world had strayed from its roots, endorsed the acquisition and expression of wealth, and was promoting man’s virtue rather than the ultimate expression of wisdom and goodness as taught to us by the words of Jesus and interpreted for us by great disciples and apostles such as St. Paul in his writings.    

Below is a picture of the cover of a book I edited not too long ago on Martin Luther. The Introduction is useful for the background and life of Luther. You don’t have to buy it, but it would nice if you did to add the short story of Luther to your library of Christian thought and action, and especially for Luther’s making of the Protestant Reformation.        

 Luther struggled to be good enough, especially in works, to merit the salvation that Jesus had promised to all men. But Luther discovered, especially when teaching the Book of Galatians, that God, through his grace, extended salvation to all men upon their confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. There was no amount of work that man could do to earn salvation.

Luther was accused of heresy by the Church who ordered him to repent from such monstrous sin as questioning the Church’s authority. Open your browser to the “Diet of Worms.” Don’t worry, I’m not pointing you to something to eat. It’s food for the mind.

So, how does Luther’s declarations at the Diet of Worms have anything to do with restoring integrity, honesty, and truth in U. S. education? And, BTW, I am including K-12 in this indictment of DEI, but that for another time. Luther did not wish to destroy the Church. Neither do those of us who are critical of DEI, CRT, and other attributes of the progressive, Woke faithful who brook no questioning of their authority and righteousness. We desire to reform education, just like Luther and his contemporaries like John Calvin, desired not to destroy the Church but to reform its practice.

Finally, if you look at the results of DEI-inspired programs, you will see failures all across the board, from the measures of learning and skills at all levels to massive grade inflation in colleges and universities to make up for inadequacies in the classrooms and labs of our colleges and universities driven not by excellence and merit, but by the Woke criteria of race, sex, ethnicity, and other factors having nothing to do with true education.

You have proven you want and like the best. 100,000+ people in the stadium on fall afternoons proves that. Take a few million dollars in university and college budgets that number in the hundreds of millions of dollars and restore true education to center stage. We need kids that can read in the fourth and fifth grades and world class teachers and scholars in physics and history. Want specifics? Stay tuned in. I have a suggestion that will kick this off.