Evangelical Leader on Penn State Scandal: May God Help Us, Forgive Us

Focus on the Family CEO Says 'We Must Do Better’

Is evil and wickedness taking a foothold at Penn State?

Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family, believes so, as crimes against children were covered up just to keep a program from collapsing, he recently commented on his ministry’s blog.

“This is not a story about football,” Daly stated. “It’s not even a story about the sad end of a storied coach’s career. This is a story about the danger of making a sport a god – and doing anything and everything we can do in order to protect and lift up that idol.”

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As the Penn State controversy continues to heighten, many Christian leaders like Daly have responded in shock and dismay not only at the years of inaction by head football coach Joe Paterno, but at the public’s angry response.

“When Penn State’s Board of Trustees announced the firing of football coach Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal, an audible gasp was heard throughout the room,” he described. “The news quickly spread across the campus. Riots and swarms of angry protestors flooded the streets. A television truck was pushed over. A chaotic night ensued. Happy Valley it was not.”

Some people are upset and agitated alright, but they’re upset and agitated over the wrong things, the author Finding Home and Stronger shared.

“I understand the affinity, appeal and emotional connection to a coach of five decades,” Daly stated. “I understand the business realities of a multi-million dollar football operation and the important role it plays in the recruitment of students and players. I get it. I played football and loved the game.

“But what has come of us when the dismissal of a coach generates greater shock and anger than the revelation of alleged child molestation? What does it say about the morals and ethics of an organization that is willing to sacrifice the innocence of children to maintain reputation?”

As Daly watched the protests unfold, he was left to wonder who was standing up and expressing outrage on behalf of the innocent boys and their families?

The recent scandal at the university uncovered years of unreported molestation of young boys by former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who allegedly sexually assaulted eight foster care boys. According to a grand jury report, he was introduced to the boys through The Second Mile, a foster home designed to help troubled boys, which he founded. Though Paterno, who was the university’s coach for the last 46 years, and other school officials learned about the abuse in 2002, they failed to report the case to the police.

“The dignity of a person – especially a child – is a precious and fragile thing. It is to be preserved, protected and defended at all costs,” Daly affirmed.

“A pedophile is the one ultimately guilty for his or her behavior. But when a pedophile is identified – and those in the know do nothing or very little to stop it from continuing – the guilt is multiplied.”

Daly believes that the world is now witnessing the effects and impact of such wickedness.

For the sake and protection of children, let the foundations shake wherever and whenever kids are in danger, he stated. Expose the evil. Let in the light.

“Children are our most precious resource. They are a gift from God and their innocence is to be treasured and lifted up. May God help us and forgive us. We must do better.”

“Here at Focus on the Family we remain staunchly and resolutely committed to helping defend the defenseless at every stage and age of life.”

Jim Daly has served as the president of Focus on the Family since 2005 after 16 years with the ministry. He has received numerous recognitions including the 2008 World Children’s Center Humanitarian Award, the 2009 Children’s Hunger Fund Children’s Champion Award and the 2010 HomeWord Family Ministry Award.

He currently resides in Colorado Springs with his wife Jean and his two sons.

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