Right Opinion

OSU's Dobbins: Running Back for Life

Tony Perkins · Dec. 3, 2019

“When my dad was alive, he would tell me, ‘No matter what, have a smile on your face. No matter how you’re feeling, you’re living, and you should be able to smile.’” These days, Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins has a lot to smile about. He just moved into second place on the Buckeyes’ all-time rushing list. He racked up four touchdowns against rival Michigan over the weekend. He’s a contender for the Heisman Trophy. But things haven’t always been easy. J.K. had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get where he is — including, Americans found out Saturday, just being born.

One of the first things people notice about Mya Dobbins’s son is his grin. Despite watching his single mom struggle to go to school and provide, despite seeing his father — the man he was closest to in the world — die of a stroke in the Bartlett State Jail, and despite an ankle injury almost costing him a future in football, J.K. stays upbeat. “I have a positive outlook on life, because I’m still living,” he said last year. No one knew how close the college junior came to not living until last weekend, when Fox sportscaster Gus Johnson explained that the world wouldn’t be watching this incredible talent if Mya hadn’t chosen life.

Late in the fourth quarter, after more than eight million viewers had watched Dobbins spring into the end zone, another commentator shook his head in amazement. “What does this kid not do?” While J.K. was on the sidelines being congratulated, Johnson started sharing the powerful story of a teenage mom, who was one clinic visit away from making Dobbins a name this country had never heard of. “[J.K.‘s] mom, Mya, became pregnant when she was 18 years old,” he started. “She went to the doctor because she was thinking about aborting the baby — but changed her mind. That baby turned out to be that young man, J.K. Dobbins,” he added, “who she calls her 'miracle baby.’”

The idea that the sports world might never have witnessed his gift for the game was overwhelming to Johnson — and everyone else — in that moment. It crystallized, in one half-minute of television, what the abortion debate is all about. Maybe that’s why liberals are so upset. When the clip went viral, social media lit up with angry posts about how “inappropriate,” “unnecessary,” and “stigmatizing” the testimony was. Others even called it “disgusting,” demanding that Johnson apologize. For what, most people wanted to know? For rejoicing that a world-class talent wasn’t destroyed in the womb? “Think about how backwards this is,” RedState argued. “[Liberals] think it’s ‘disgusting’ to talk about not aborting someone.”

That’s because, in their minds, abortion is a social good. Something to be celebrated, cheered, and plastered in pink lights across the New York City skyline. “We didn’t need to know all that,” one woman tweeted about the OSU junior. In other words, don’t put a face on it. Don’t remind us what abortion costs us. “Dobbins is a talented player,” one woman agreed, “but let’s just let him be talented… We can’t take choice away from Ohio’s women because of one feel good story about a football player.”

But that’s the problem. It isn’t just one feel good story. The world will never know how many millions of stories there would have been if more moms had been told the truth: that their babies had value and purpose and potential — not because of what they could do, but because of who their Creator made them to be. J.K. Dobbins isn’t special because he plays football, he’s special because he was created in the image of God, and He had a plan for his life. Just like He had a plan for Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Tim Tebow, Pope John Paul II, Steve Jobs, and so many other survivors we can’t imagine the world without.

“Focus on the game,” one abortion activist insisted. But the problem is, you can’t focus on the game without seeing the players. J.K. was fortunate. But for every baby like him, there are so many others whose lives are ended before they begin. Theirs are the 60 million voices we’ll never hear, performances we’ll never see, and Heisman winners we’ll never meet because of abortion. If Mya’s story can save just one of them, those 24 seconds of live television will mean more than any football legacy ever could.

Originally published here.

Succumb, All Ye Faithful

The turkeys may be gone, but some liberals are back to carving up something else: free speech. Now that it’s December, the Left wants to make it clear that Santa Claus isn’t the only thing coming to town — so is censorship. And Brooklyn Benzel, an 8th grade homeschooler from California, seems to be the holiday’s first target.

‘Tis the season for intolerance, at least where education officials are concerned. And no one is more surprised than Julianne Benzel, who mistakenly thought teaching her daughter at home would protect her from politics like South Sutter Charter School’s. “We are tired and extremely weary of our Christian faith being attacked in this country,” she said. “You’d think homeschooling would be the safest arena for conservatives.” Turns out, even homeschoolers aren’t immune from the PC garbage of the local district.

For her December piano assignment, Brooklyn ran her song, “Joy to the World,” past South Sutter officials for approval. She never got it. An education specialist insisted it “would not be acceptable” because the lyrics included words like “savior” and “heaven.” Although, Brooklyn isn’t sure why the lyrics should matter, since she was playing the song instrumentally. And even if there were words involved, she and every other student would be completely and constitutionally justified in singing them. Federal courts have upheld the freedom to perform Christmas carols like that one in “music, art, or drama” for years.

When Julianne saw the email that her daughter’s song had been rejected, she decided right then and there that she would fight. “There’s no way I’m going to relent,” she told radio host Todd Starnes. “I could have easily submitted a new song, but the next thing you know the First Amendment is dead.” She contacted the attorneys at Pacific Justice Institute and asked them to intervene. In the meantime, school officials were pushing “Jingle Bells” as a more culturally appropriate choice. “That won’t be 'construed as religious,’” the Benzels were told.

This is exactly the kind of toxic environment Attorney General William Barr warned about in his Notre Dame speech on freedom. “Ground zero for these attacks on religion are the schools. To me, this is the most serious challenge to religious liberty.”

“Education is not vocational training. It is leading our children to the recognition that there is truth and helping them develop the faculties to discern and love the truth and the discipline to live by it. We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor. The times are hostile to this. Public agencies, including public schools, are becoming secularized and increasingly are actively promoting moral relativism. If ever there was a need for a resurgence of Catholic education — and more generally religiously-affiliated schools — it is today.”

To all the of the naysayers out there, who argue that these attacks aren’t happening, ask parents like Julianne — who are calling attorneys just so their children can play Christmas carols at school. “Thank God for Pacific Justice Institute,” she said. “It’s a sad day when you have to invoke them but that’s why I’m so grateful for them.” Within hours of receiving the letter of intent from PJI, the school reconsidered, determining — in the words of spokesperson Cynthia Rachel — that the song was “an acceptable” choice.

“At South Sutter Charter School,” she insisted, “… [w]e recognize and value our students’ First Amendment freedoms… South Sutter will continue to serve its students consistent with the law and its charter.” Thanks to the Trump administration, people are less and less afraid of being politically incorrect. They’re standing up and refusing to let a vocal minority take away their God-given freedom. But we still have a long way to go. It will take a lot more Juliannes speaking out before our classrooms are the kind of place where heaven and earth can sing. Do your part. Maybe then, we can celebrate a silent night for censorship!

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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