Out, but not down

Why was a college so scared of Christian imagery?

Can you imagine an American institution in this day and age removing signs of a person’s religion – from his or her own body – to avoid offending others?

Well, you probably can imagine it, if the religion in question is Christianity. It seems to be the only religion capable of offending people just by being visible!

Officials at Louisiana State University recently did just that, outrageously enough.

In the school’s weekly newsletter, they distributed a photograph of some fervent, body-painted football fans known as the “Painted Posse” – but not before using a computer to digitally remove painted crosses from the students’ bare chests.

“The cross painting is important to me because it represents who I am as a Christ follower,” one of the pictured students said.

“We don’t want to imply we are making any religious or political statements, so we air-brushed it out,” the school explained in a written statement.

What a crock! Can you imagine the school air-brushing out, oh, say, a Muslim woman’s hijab, so as not to offend non-Muslims?

Why is the mere visible presence of a Christian so intimidating and offensive?

The fact is, the effort to blot out Christian imagery is, itself, highly offensive. It’s offensive to Christians, certainly – but it ought to be alarming to anyone with any sort of religious beliefs. It could be you next.

Then again, Christians are such a ripe and docile target for special treatment.

“Heaven forbid someone might be offended by the sign of a cross,” one commenter wrote on a news website, “but let us not worry about offending all the Christians who don’t appreciate the unnecessary removal of the crosses.”

“Once again, Christians are the only ones that can be offended and it is perfectly OK. But we have to be careful and not offend anyone else,” wrote another.

“I guess if the young men were orthodox Jews you would have air brushed their beards and religious head coverings,” wrote yet another.

The school ultimately admitted it was a mistake. But now it says it just wants to avoid using photos with any religious imagery whatsoever. So now they’re basically air brushing the rest of the posse.

That may become more difficult. While the Painted Posse students aren’t holding a grudge at all, supporters are urging fans to wear crosses to the Nov. 3 game against Alabama – which will attract national eyes.

You can airbrush a good man out, but you can’t keep him down.

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