Warning: what you are about to read would be considered highly offensive in several enclaves today, especially college campuses turned indoctrination centers like the religious studies department at Iowa State University. Those of you that pride yourselves on being more "tolerant" and more "enlightened" than you fellow upright vat of primordial ooze should stop reading now, or face the implosion of your frontal lobe. Those of you who lazily refuse to acknowledge anything could be more important than sports and spew bile every time someone brings up a non-sports subject should also stop reading for fear that someone might actually consider you a grown up for a change if you continue. The author doesn't particularly care about either group, and even less about what they think, and he's only warning them in order to save himself the trouble of banning them from our message boards and deleting their whiny emails. Everyone else – those of you best described as "normal" – should feel free to read on.
I typically only post my private thoughts on matters related to Iowa State sports on our premium board for our Cyclone Nation subscribers. However, given the subject matter we're going to be addressing this week, I thought it best to make it available to as many residents of Cyclone Nation as possible.
This week's Deace Blog seeks to answer one, and only one, question. That question is simply this: who is really in charge at Iowa State University? Seriously, who is the chief of the Cyclone tribe? I know that officially Dr. Gregory Geoffroy, nice chap by the way, is listed on the roster as university president. However, I'm beginning to think that the most powerful man on the ISU campus is actually Dr. Hector Avalos.
And if you've been following the news lately, you've probably come away with that conclusion, too.
Who is Dr. Avalos? Dr. Avalos is the militant and activist atheist professor within ISU's religious studies department. That's right. ISU has a militant and activist atheist teaching in its religious studies department. Better yet, if you're a taxpayer here in the state of Iowa you're actually paying for it. Congratulations on participating in the fleecing of America.
I know what you're thinking, cause it's the same thing I was thinking when I first heard about this. You're thinking, "Dude, why would an angry atheist (and is there any other kind) want to be teaching in the religious studies department? What interest in religion does he have if he doesn't believe in God?"
Now, that's an obvious question to have, especially if – like me – you're from a little place we Earthlings like to call normal. So go ahead and answer your own question. Why would an atheist, and an activist one at that, want to teach in the religious studies department?
For the same reason a rooster wants into the hen house.
It's tempting to say that Dr. Avalos, considering what he says and writes outside the classroom, is using our tax money to proselytize atheism to college students. But I'm sure a Harvard grad is too smart to be caught doing so overtly, and that he instead uses sledgehammer-like subtlety to debunk and demagogue belief in God to what he views as gullible college students.
Besides, the truth is that in today's paganized and relativistic culture there is a taxpayer-subsidized Hector Avalos somewhere and to some degree on almost every college campus of consequence in the country. With sadly too very few exceptions nowadays they're called the faculty.
Normally this isn't territory we cover here on this website, instead its fodder for my daily radio show on 1040-WHO, and that's because normally sports provide some semblance of a haven from America's ongoing culture war. But that haven is eroding, as recent developments at ISU would attest.
See, Mr. Potter…err…I mean Mr. Avalos, is a man with a warped worldview living in a sad denial of reality. He is the embodiment of what St. Paul once said about educated scoffers: "While professing themselves to be wise they became utter fools."
Mr. Avalos is trying to live his life contrary to what the owner's manual says about how it works. He's trying to suppress the truth about the owner's manual, or even that there is an owner altogether. He wants his life to be all his own, to do with what he wants. He may desire that, but somewhere in the back of his mind he suspects he could be wrong, it's just that his pride won't let him admit it. His heart has been hardened. People in this condition have a tendency to get increasingly bitter and pretentious over time, and they try and take everyone down with them as they plunge into spiritual oblivion. I used to get mad at people like this…now I pity them.
People like Mr. Avalos describe victory as getting a few fellow fools in black robes or on mindless public school boards to go along with the scam. And that seemingly works for a little while. Heck, they've even convinced an entire generation of Americans that the words "separation of church and state" are actually written in the Constitution. They're not, but the Constitution does end with the words, "…in the year of our Lord."
Nevertheless, they sustain this charade that they're their own God to the bitter end. For reasons known only to Him, God allows it. However, this strategy is short-term at best because it carries with it a fatal flaw in the long run.
The last time I checked the death rates worldwide they were still hovering at right around 100%. Yep, we are all going to take the dirt nap at some point—no exceptions. And since eternity is a long time, we're all also going to be dead a lot longer than we were ever alive.
The new man in charge of Iowa State football strives to live his life with eternity in mind. Gene Chizik is a man with a strong Christian faith and Judeo-Christian value system, which puts him squarely at odds with Mr. Avalos. He didn't pick this fight, he didn't even want to. But living out your Christian faith has a tendency to attract folks like Hector Avalos in this world, like a dog returns to its own vomit.
And unlike today's modern politically correct nonsense that "faith is a private thing," Coach Chizik kicks it old school when it comes to the absolute truth that defines who he is as a man. He believes it should be the foundational principle that shapes who he is as a husband, father, and yes even a football coach.
For some of these young men, Coach Chizik will be the closest thing to a father they've ever had up until this point. As a leader of young men, Coach Chizik takes seriously his role as mentor for a generation of football players that will go on to become our neighbors, fathers to the next generation of our children, and members of our community someday soon. Getting there as a young man is often a sloppy process, I know it was for me.
Until recently my life didn't make sense, despite the fact that from the outside looking in people probably thought I was pretty well off. By the age of 28 I had a daily radio show, regularly appeared on television, was married to a loyal wife, and had a beautiful baby daughter. I had some money (when I wasn't getting fired). I had some notoriety. I had some stuff. I wasn't even 30. But still something huge was missing. It all still seemed so meaningless.
Coach Chizik understands that the only way to ultimately live a meaningful life, and there's nothing a man craves more than a legacy, is to have a healthy relationship with the Maker. It's when we don't that we have a tendency to make bad decisions, the sorts of decisions that can irreparably damage our lives and the lives of those around us. I know that I am a far different father, husband, and man in the years since I got to know my Father than I was when I was a spiritual orphan. I'm certainly not perfect, but I'm no longer a lost soul, either.
That's why Coach Chizik has helped to bring in and promote the "In the Zone" event coming to Ames on June 23rd, which he'll be speaking at. It's also why Coach Chizik wants a team chaplain to be a full-time staff position within the football program.
Hector Avalos' ignores his Maker, and instead worships the idols of science and reason. They can be useful tools that shouldn't be dismissed, but all they can tell us about this life is how. They certainly can't tell us why. Mr. Avalos doesn't want to know why, because if he acknowledges the answer to why it will have repercussions for the choices he makes in his life right on down the line. And when you're asphyxiating on pride you don't even consider the why for a second.
So Mr. Avalos and his band of 99 other reprobate minds have circulated a petition on campus, urging Dr. Geoffroy to deny Coach Chizik's request – which is supported by athletics director Jamie Pollard – for a team chaplain. Predictably, you're hearing all the high-minded talk of tolerance and pluralism; how the taxpayers shouldn't be paying for a "religious office."
Some of these gutless tactics even made it into a recent sports column in the Des Moines Register. Why do I say gutless? Because they're covering up their real motives. They don't have the testicular fortitude to just come out and really say what they don't like about it. So I'll do it for them.
This isn't about the separation of church and state, and this isn't about tolerance. This is about one thing and one thing only—the separation of Christ and state.
Jesus Christ is unique among all other figures in history, and that's why over two millennia later a boy born in a barn is still making folks like Mr. Avalos nervous. He asserted absolutes, and said that if you weren't for him you were against him. He leaves no middle ground about who he is, and doesn't provide you the escape hatch of a good moral teacher. That's because billions of people across the globe worship him every day as the embodiment of the only true God. A good moral teacher doesn't lie about who he is.
Other religions, like Islam, bastardize him. Other religions dismiss him. Other religions try to downplay him by including him in a pantheon of other gods. But nobody – and I do mean nobody – ignores him.
He's the greatest phenomena that ever crossed the horizon of this world. He's the centerpiece of western civilization. He's unique…he's unparalleled…he's unprecedented. For folks like Mr. Avalos, try as the might they can't get him out of their minds, and they can't outlive him nor can they live without him.
What Mr. Avalos, and others like him, really fear is that Coach Chizik's plan for a team chaplain may inspire a generation of young men wearing the Cyclone uniform to reconsider their eternal destiny, which will cause them to reconsider how to live their temporal lives on this planet. If they do that they may not vote the way folks like Mr. Avalos prefer, nor will they likely live the way folks like Mr. Avalos do. And when you're of the mindset of a Mr. Avalos and are convinced that this life is all there is, you will fight to the grave for it.
That's why Mr. Avalos and his same gang of 99 are trying to derail giving tenure to Guillermo Gonzalez, even though Professor Gonzalez doesn't teach intelligent design in his ISU classes the way an atheist like Dr. Avalos teaches religion. Professor Gonzalez' beliefs are not any different than Francis Collins' are, and he's the man that runs the human genome project, probably the most important scientific initiative of the age.
Would ISU deny tenure to Dr. Collins, who is a Christian that believes in theistic evolution (in other words, he believes that God steered the evolutionary process and it wasn't random chance like Darwin asserted)? Is ISU suddenly too enlightened to give tenure to the head of the human genome project? I would think not, even though his views on the origin of life are essentially the same as Gonzalez's. Except he doesn't have a militant atheist religious studies professor stalking him the way Guillermo does.
That's funny. I thought religion wasn't supposed to interfere with the scientific process? But at ISU the Scopes Monkey Trial has come full circle. Now an atheist in the religious studies department gets to decide who gets tenured in the science department, and he gets to decide whether our football coach who is responsible for one of the university's biggest revenue streams gets a component that he believes is vital to its long-term success.
At ISU, the atheists have become the theocrats, it's just that their god is their stomachs. As the great prophet Roger Daltry once sang: "Meet the new boss…same as the old boss."
So now it's time for us to come full circle as well in this column and again ask the question we posed at the outset: who is really in charge at Iowa State University?
Dr. Geoffroy, if you're reading this, here's your chance to prove it's really you.
(Steve Deace founded Cyclone Nation in 2002. He hosts "Deace in the Afternoon" each weekday from 4-7 p.m. central time on 1040-WHO in Des Moines, one of the most powerful radio stations in the United States.)