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Cheerleading, A Distraction!

Cheerleading, A Distraction!

by Cecil Smith

Published in
The Christian Informer
December, 2000

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Last updated:
December 4, 2000.

I recently read with great interest an article written by Mark Mayberry and published in Truth magazine, September 21, 2000. The article was entitled "Bobby Knight on Cheerleading," and there is much to be said concerning its content. The first two paragraphs should serve as an eye opener to all who consider themselves to be faithful unto the Lord. I quote:

"Bobby Knight, long-time Indiana basketball coach, is known for speaking his mind. According to a recent report in the Houston Chronicle, if Knight were coaching in the pros, the first thing he would do would be to fire the cheerleaders. Referring to them as 'bump-and-grind girls,' he said they are an unnecessary and inconsistent distraction: 'It's like we're selling a picture of a naked gal on the cover of the Methodist hymnal.'"

"Jesus once said, 'For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light' (Luke 16:8). Bobby Knight, for all the reckless excess that he occasionally displays in other areas - throwing chairs on the basketball court and allegedly choking players in practice - is dead on the mark in his aforementioned comments. In this regard, Coach Knight is more discerning than some members of the Lord's church who allow and/or encourage their daughters to become cheerleaders. In today's world, sex is the name of the game. The only difference between professional cheerleaders and their younger counterparts is degree. In both cases, flesh is on display. Whether we are talking about junior high, high school, college, or professional cheerleading, the clothing is typically scanty, the dancing provocative, and the bodily movements undeniably sensual and suggestive. Professional cheerleaders are held forth as the ideal for which younger girls are to strive!"

In our day and time, it is very seldom that we read such articles from any church of Christ source, especially among those whom we consider to be "digressive." It is a very sad day when we realize the truth of God's word on this subject has become a stumbling block to many parents and to some ordained preachers and leaders. A few years ago, in the same magazine, an article entitled "A Preacher On The Run" pointed out that many people will no longer tolerate preachers who will cry out as "watchman of the night" concerning such issues. Such preachers find themselves with no place to go. They are "on the run." The same can be said among us in certain areas. The subject of the above-mentioned article is just one of many that has become very unpopular to many people. I wonder why this is so. Have we drifted so far from the Scriptures that we would allow our daughters to grow up and become professional cheerleaders? If not, why do we start them down a road that has such as its end? Mark Mayberry does a very good job pointing out that the only difference between a professional cheerleader and her younger counterpart is degree. He goes on to point out how the "professional cheerleaders are held forth as the ideal for which younger girls are to strive."

But, some will argue, "we don't point our children at the professional cheerleaders. We don't set them up as their example." Who, then, are they patterning themselves after? We don't see Godly aged women as Paul described in Titus 2:3 walking around in cheerleading outfits and doing high kicks and splits to amuse an audience or cheer a team on! We don't see older women who are trying to teach the younger to be discreet, chaste, sober, and shamefaced, going around and partaking of such. (We do see older women at times, who like to be chased by men, dressing and acting in such fashion). Such is far from the picture of what a Godly woman is to be like and these are the women that Paul through inspiration tells Titus are to teach the younger women. The truth is, the cheers, dances, or routines that young cheerleaders do are generally inspired by those who are professionals. They pattern their routines after the best of the profession. This is the way they are able to compete on a national level in the cheerleading competitions. We might not like to admit it, but we are teaching our children to pattern after such individuals if we encourage them or allow them to be cheerleaders.

Bobby Knight, sinner though he is, is indeed wiser than some children of light. He considers such to be an unnecessary and inconsistent distraction. I wonder what type of distraction he is speaking of, the lust of the eyes or maybe the lust of the flesh. If such is considered to be a distraction, by a man Mr. Knight's age, what about to the younger men? I do not understand how any father, concerned about the safety of his girl and the thoughts that other men have of her, could allow his daughter to dress in a way that excites lust. That is, no doubt, what Mr. Knight is speaking of when he states cheerleading is an "unnecessary and inconsistent distraction."

In the very beginning of days, Adam and Eve sinned by partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Their eating caused their eyes to be opened and they immediately realized they were naked. Was this a good thing or evil? The Scriptures record they saw their nakedness and went about to fashion garments in order to cover themselves. The necessary inference involved here is that nakedness was sinful or evil in the sight of God. Their eyes were opened and they clothed themselves. We have no excuse today. We also have the knowledge of what is right and wrong contained in the Bible. But, we must be willing to study the word of God and accept those things taught by direct command and by divine principle. Many are striving to escape the principles of God when it comes to modesty. Paul stated "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14)!

The point is, if we will study the Scriptures, and if good and evil are the same today as they were in the days of Adam and Eve, we will come to the same conclusion they reached. This means, we will know when we are naked and will attempt to cover ourselves. Many today will need to add a number of inches of cloth to their garments as well as sew up a few splits and button a few more buttons. God's definition of nakedness is far better than anything man can come up with today. After all, "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." According to Isaiah 47:2, one is considered naked in the sight of God when their thigh is uncovered. Is there a better definition than this? God's teaching on this subject needs to be heralded over land and sea! Even if such makes us unpopular and we have nowhere to preach, we best stand fast on a "thus saith the Lord."

Bobby Knight's view of cheerleading should also open some of our eyes today. He has much the same outlook as Mary Quant, the "mother of the mini-skirt". She stated that "mini clothing has been described as symbolic of those who want to seduce another." Such is sinful, is a distraction to all men and promotes everything but modesty, shamefacedness, sobriety, chaste conduct, Godliness, holiness, discreet conduct, and obedience, all of which are supposed to be characteristics which we are teaching our daughters.

But, some will say, "we won't allow our daughters to wear the short skirts, we make them wear longer skirts." My question is, do you allow them to kick, dance, and do the splits? Are they modest in these efforts or are they revealing their nakedness (thigh) from time to time? It would do us all a world of good to remember that lasciviousness is defined as "wanton (acts or) manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females, lewd, lustful, etc." The point is, immodesty, which is prevalent in cheerleading outfits, is sinful, as well as the indecent bodily movements which draw attention to the female body and the unchaste handling of males and females that are found in many schools with both male and female cheerleaders. Modesty is not the only reason to oppose cheerleading. Indecent bodily movements, which are passed down from the professionals, are also sinful! How close do we want to draw to the world and it's allurement concerning this subject? Paul stated of those who are guilty of lasciviousness, "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

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[May we commend the teaching of brother Smith. The apostle Paul pictures the Christian life as a foot race with the multitude of faithful saint of the past gathered about observing our efforts to encourage and cheer us on. In that picture he refers to impediments or distraction to our progress toward the goal as "sins" and "weights". He says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:1,2). Some things are just sins. But, whether we consider an item a sin or simply a questionable thing, if it proves to distract from godliness and holiness it must be set aside because the consequences of hanging on to it are painfully high - you may lose your soul. Don't argue with those who encourage all to take the "safe course" - R.N.]