sign of the cross

First Amendment question from tmatt: What happens if Dallas Cowboys offer visible prayers?

First Amendment question from tmatt: What happens if Dallas Cowboys offer visible prayers?

We will open this religion-beat NFL update with a confession, a comment and then a question.

The confession: I grew up in Texas in the 1960s and '70s as a loyal Dallas Cowboys fan, in the era of Coach Tom Landry and the great Roger Staubach. I now cheer against the Cowboys and consider the current owner to be the younger brother of the Antichrist. So there.

A comment: I understand that NFL owners consider their stadiums to be professional "workplace" environments. Thus, they argue that they have the right to create rules governing the behavior of their employees. However, some of us First Amendment liberals would like to note that significant chunks of the funds used to build many, maybe most, of these structures came from local and state governments. Are we talking about public or private buildings?

The question: I realize that many NFL big shots, and the journalists who cover them, have a problem with demonstrations of religious faith. However, shouldn't reporters be including the word "pray" in their reports about the national anthem wars, as well as the word "protest"?

What happens if, during the upcoming season, one or more players: (a) Kneel and bow their heads in prayer? (b) Prostrate, face down, assuming a prayer position common in many Eastern faiths? (c) Stand, but raise their hands in a "charismatic" prayer gesture, with their lips moving in silent speech? (d) What if players make the sign of the cross and combine this with (a), (b) or (c)?

Protest or prayer? Maybe reporters need to ask if the correct answer is "both"?

The spark for this GetReligion meditation is, of course, the back-and-forth shots by Donald Trump and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Here is the top of the latest report from The New York Times.

The Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, no stranger to speaking his mind and creating controversy, on Wednesday added fuel to an already confusing and rancorous debate about how the N.F.L. plans to handle players who demonstrate during the playing of the national anthem this season.

At the opening of the Cowboys’ training camp in Oxnard, Calif., Jones said that all his team’s players would be required to stand on the field for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” They would not be able to stay in the team’s locker room, something allowed under the league’s revised policy on the anthem.

“Our policy is you stand during the anthem, toe the line,” Jones told reporters.

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Why do Catholics and Orthodox Christians make the sign of the cross differently?

Why do Catholics and Orthodox Christians make the sign of the cross differently?

GAIL’S QUESTION:

Why don’t the Orthodox and Roman Catholics cross themselves the same way?

THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER:

Catholic and Orthodox parishioners make the “sign of the cross” before personal prayers, upon entering a church, at various points during worship, and otherwise. Priests make the sign not only during the sacraments but use it to impart blessings on people or objects. Not to mention the familiar sight of superstitious athletes doing so before free throws or penalty kicks.

Lately, Communist overlords in China have attacked hundreds of churches to demolish exterior crosses considered too prominent, which demonstrates how powerful the symbol has always been, and remains.

Consider for a moment how remarkable all this is. Until the birth of Christianity, the cross was a terrifying reminder of Rome’s imperial power and the humiliation and degradation that awaited troublemakers. As we see in the New Testament, the Christians immediately transformed it into the emblem of God’s love and self-sacrifice in Jesus Christ that leads to salvation and spiritual triumph.

Gail refers to the fact that Roman Catholics make the sign by touching in turn the forehead, breast, left shoulder, and right shoulder. Those Anglicans and Protestants who observe this custom do the same.

The Eastern Orthodox, and also the “Eastern Rite” jurisdictions within Catholicism, touch the right shoulder before the left. The Guy found no totally agreed-upon reason for this, but here’s some of what we do know:

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