Baxter Black: Cowboy Christianity
December 31, 2015
A funny thing happened at the rodeo. I saw the power of prayer.
The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) last December in Las Vegas came at the end of a tumultuous year of savage terrorism around the world and in our own front yard. The news media has been awash with violence. The deliverers of the death and chaos claim that their God, Mohammad, and their 'bible' the Quran, commands Muslims to "kill the infidels" and thus are justified in doing it.
Obviously, most Muslims don't translate it that way, nor do the victims of what is now known as radical Islam. Yet the shootings, bombings and murders continue unabated.
Americans are walkin' circles on the sidewalk waiting for someone in our government to give us marching orders, some direction to protect ourselves, someone willing to take a stand. Washington DC is dizzy. Protesters would have the 1st Amendment selectively eliminated so only they can talk. And amidst all this, our leaders threaten us with politically correct "no, no's" that turn us into liars, deceivers and fools.
What is missing in this picture?
Our government has forsaken the strongest force that unites us…God. It is Christians the terrorists fear the most. Terrorists watch with glee as America continues to desert the bedrock of our country. Christianity is the backbone of our Constitution, our laws, our moral compass and our daily lives. ISIS knows it and is sworn to wipe us out.
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The NFR rodeo is a sport borne, supported and loved by primarily rural people. It is the "superbowl" of rodeos. About 77 percent of Americans are Christians– three out of four. The belief in God is obvious at the performances. The rodeo begins with a prayer. How many other sporting events from Little League to the World Series begin with a prayer? How many grade school days start with a prayer? How many political speeches begin with a prayer?
Muslims pray publicly five times a day. Are Muslims forced to join Christians in prayer? No. This is a free country. But it is a Christian country. The final night, none other than the winningest professional rodeo cowboy in the world, reining All Around Champion Trevor Brazile, in front of 15,000 people, plus the television audience, spoke for most of us during his acceptance speech. (I paraphrase) He gave thanks to God, said American was built on Christian faith, that we can be merciful and forgiving to others but that does not include forsaking our beliefs just because it offends somebody.
In times of war our armed forces are visible. At the rodeo they are recognized for their service. More than 15,000 flags were passed out. When Lee Greenwood sings "God Bless the USA" the roof comes off Thomas & Mack Arena…you can hear it as far away as Tulsa!
Iran and Saudi Arabia are described as Muslim countries. In our world the United States is described as a Christian country. In our world God and Country are inseparable…as are America and Christianity.
It is common in rodeo for a rider or roper to genuflect or point upward after his run…do a Tebow, I guess. We don't mock him…we know who he is talkin' to.