This week’s DHD covers three topics among the six items. Four involve the Oral Roberts University men’s basketball team. ORU has had an impressive run so far in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Golden Eagles (when did they stop being the Titans? Yes, I do “Remember the Titans”—har har) had two exciting upset victories over Ohio State and Florida.

Now ORU has been targeted by a USA Today columnist. Let’s get started.

  1. The writer who sparked the fire

Hemal Jhaveri recently served as race and inclusion editor for USA Today. On Tuesday, March 23, she wrote an article stating ORU should be banned “from NCAA competition.”

The article points out ORU’s policies, which includes no homosexual behavior and emphasizes marriage being between one man and one woman. These are the two points Jhaveri emphasized that should disqualify ORU from participating in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Notice I said Jhaveri “recently served” for USA Today. A few hours before I started writing this DHD, I discovered the national newspaper no longer employs Jhaveri because of a tweet she sent, wrongly describing the suspect of the recent mass shooting in Boulder, Colo. as being “an angry white man.”

So much could be said, but I don’t want to be the one to say it, regarding Jhaveri’s dismissal. I intend for this DHD to be on the ORU issue.

With that in mind, the next two points come in response to Jhaveri’s article.

  1. Mohler concludes ‘they’re coming after you too’

Al Mohler gave a bold response to Jhaveri’s article. His column titled “They’re Coming After Oral Roberts University, and that Means They’re Coming After You, Too” lays out directly what is at the heart of Jhaveri’s intention—disallowing Christian institutions from having any public involvement in society.

“(Jhaveri’s) column reveals not only a secular indictment of one institution, but rather an indictment of any Christian college, university, institution, chartered organization, church, or denomination that would dare to stand against the headwinds of the moral and sexual revolution.”

Mohler pointed out Jhaveri described ORU in a condescending fashion regarding the school’s handbook and standards. He also made the point that the standards found at ORU would be similar to what would be concluded at most Christian schools and institutions, as well as other religious schools and institutions.

What I appreciate most about how Mohler communicates is he limits personal commentary and tries to be objective, even respectful, of whom he writes. He does not use derogatory language that could be found in Jhaveri’s article about ORU. This is the most important reason I respect Mohler’s perspective.

“Jharveri uses language beyond anything most Christians might imagine. It keys us in to how the world is organizing itself. Oral Roberts’s policy is described as discriminatory and hateful—a belief system, rooted in fundamentalist Christianity, that proclaims beliefs, ‘wildly out of line with modern society and the basic values of human decency.’”

Now that Jharveri has lost her job, it would be interesting to see how much influence this article would have. But it is obvious she is not alone, and as Mohler points out, “the NCAA has long adopted policies entrenched with the sexual revolution, which will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Christian institutions to continue to participate.”

  1. Stetzer speaks out too

Another national Christian leader I respect chimed in on USA Today. I will give the national paper some respect that at least they are allowing rebuttal among its columns.

Ed Stetzer’s column “No, Oral Roberts University basketball doesn’t deserve to be canceled from NCAA Sweet 16” gives a similar response to Mohler’s, but I appreciate his presentation of how the “new moral dogma” has progressed.

“The dogma teaches that tolerance must mean agreement, then branding all who disagree as intolerant and harmful. Not satisfied that we respect opposing views on human sexuality, all must affirm homosexuality as acceptable within our own theology. There can no longer be any disagreement, only compliance.

This is a stunning 180 from the arguments we heard in 2009 when LGBTQ+ advocates maintained, ‘All we want is the right to marry. How will my gay marriage hurt you?’ Now it’s: ‘We want your college accreditation, your athletic participation and more.’”

Yes, this is important to notice. I pointed out this progression from tolerance to acceptance to approval in an article I wrote in 2014.

And I love Stetzer’s conclusion:

“Perhaps, instead of such a pendulum swing against people of faith, we could agree that all persons are worthy of dignity and respect, and that civil rights should matter for everyone.

“And, maybe, just maybe, we could let the religious college kids play basketball without it becoming a national controversy.

“That is what tolerance used to mean.”

  1. A totally different ORU article

Before I knew about the USA Today reporting, I was excited to see favorite writer Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra writing about ORU’s coach Paul Mills.

I became an instant fan of Mills after reading “Coaching Cinderella: Meet Oral Roberts’ Paul Mills.”

The article reveals that Mills is a fan of Charles Spurgeon and has a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. His response to why he has a seminary degree is so good:

“The kinds of questions you get from players after practice aren’t ‘How do I shoot a free throw better?’ or ‘What do I do on this pick-and-roll?’ It’s ‘Coach, my dad hit my mom last night, and I’m going to see him later tonight. What should I do?’

“Regardless of job title, you’re always ministering to somebody. And the more you know Scripture, the better equipped you’re going to be for whatever is needed. Basically, the more I invested in myself, the more I could help the players I was around.”

And there’s more! He shares how appreciates learning Greek and has grown even more in his Bible study.

Yes, for sure, I will be rooting for ORU for however long as they are in the NCAA tournament. I guess we will find out Saturday night when they face Arkansas.

  1. Thunder thoughts

The NBA trade deadline ended yesterday. The Oklahoma City Thunder made one move on the day, sending George Hill to the 76ers for Tony Bradley, Austin Rivers and two second round picks. The biggest element of this trade, from the Thunder’s perspective, is they increase their draft pick totals to 17 first round and 17 second round picks for the next seven years.

Yes, the Thunder have 34 draft picks through 2028. It can boggle the mind of most Thunder fans because we eagerly want to see the benefits of those picks. We want players. It’s the same concept of putting money in savings instead of spending that money now. Apparently Sam Presti applies Dave Ramsey’s advice to negotiating with other teams.

It is hard to grasp right now. And I have no idea how effective Tony Bradley will be and if Austin Rivers sports a Thunder jersey. But as far as who is on the team right now, the development is looking positive. And if the Thunder somehow end up with at least one favorable selection spot in the next draft, it may not be too long before the Thunder are on the level to challenge again for an NBA title. Give it maybe three years if not sooner.

  1. So long, Lon

Lon Kruger announced his retirement yesterday as the OU men’s basketball coach. I had no interactions with Coach Kruger, but I know many people who did. They all lavish out kind remarks, and I enjoy reading and hearing these stories about him.

Kruger is an open book, and he made everybody feel special. I remember in his early years at OU he would open practices to anybody who wanted to attend and would personally shake hands with everyone who came, like a preacher greeting guests in the Sunday morning pews.

Obviously it’s important for coaches to win, and Kruger has his share of success on the court, but nothing can replace showing kindness to everybody. That’s what appears to be the hallmark of Coach Kruger’s coaching career, and for many acclaimed coaches, this achievement will never be surpassed.