Oral Roberts University's basketball team has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen with stunning wins over No. 2 seed Ohio State and No.7 Florida. ORU is only the second 15 seed in NCAA tournament history to get so far.
ORU Coach Paul Mills put things in perspective and brought in the gospel message at the same time.
"In 100 years, none of us will be here. And what our guys need to understand is we're really not that important. And you need to know that," Mills said in a press conference.
"A 120 million people gather every Sunday and a 180 million on Easter gather to celebrate one name, and that is the name of Jesus Christ. So to be at an institution that honors that 'There is no other name under heaven and earth which men must be saved,' to be at an institution that honors that, and we can give them something to celebrate, at the same time we're not that important and our guys need to understand that," the ORU coach continued. "By the same token, we are so thankful for the support and the people. But we want to do this the right way."
— Sean Feucht (@seanfeucht) March 24, 2021
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But as Mills tries to focus his team on eternal truths, USA Today columnist Hemal Jhaveri wants to "cancel" ORU for its biblical beliefs on LGBT issues and is calling for the NCAA to boot ORU from tournament play altogether. Jhaveri calls the school's values and beliefs a "relic of the past," and incompatible with the NCAA's own rules.
"While the school has been soundly mocked on social media for its archaic standards of behavior and code of conduct that bans profanity, "social dancing," and shorts in classrooms, it is the school's discriminatory and hateful anti-LGBTQ+ policy that fans should protest as the Golden Eagles advance in the tournament," Jhaveri wrote.
Jhaveri goes on to call ORU a "hotbed of institutional transphobia, homophobia with regressive, sexist policies," and quotes from the school's Code of Conduct where it expressly forbids homosexual behavior, as well as other conduct the Bible calls sin.
The Code of Conduct reads:
"Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of integrity, honesty, modesty, and morality. Honesty and honor constitute measures of individual worth. Certain behaviors are expressly prohibited in Scripture and therefore should be avoided by members of the University community. They include theft, lying, dishonesty, gossip, slander, backbiting, profanity, vulgarity (including crude language), sexual promiscuity (including adultery, any homosexual behavior, premarital sex), drunkenness, immodesty of dress, and occult practices. The Scriptures further teach that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; it should be treated at all times with utmost respect and care to avoid personal harm. Students may not frequent or work at places of entertainment or other places the nature or reputation of which might bring discredit to the student or University. Students who disobey these University rules are subject to automatic suspension."
Jhaveri writes no matter how many wins ORU racks up on the court, it still "can't obscure the dangerous and hateful ideology of its core institution."
ORU's next game is scheduled for Saturday when they play against No.3 seed Arkansas. If this year's Cinderella team wins this next one, it will advance to a spot in the Elite Eight. Despite attacks from radical critics who think they shouldn't even be allowed to play, many believe ORU was a winner long before making their first basket.
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