Jaco's message: Fair or foul?

2008-09-04 23:43

Cape Town - Should Jaco van der Westhuyzen have displayed his Christianity so unashamedly after the Super 14 match?

A number of Beeld readers responded by e-mail on Sunday that they believed it was not suitable for Van der Westhuyzen to have worn his 'Jesus is King' T-shirt at the post-match celebrations.

Some of the complaints were that Van der Westhuyzen was forcing his religion on others, that he claimed God's help as if God was not also with the Sharks and that he would estrange non-Christians by doing so.

The Reverend Darius Botha, a former Springbok wing and brother of Bok legend Naas, said he didn't believe Christian rugby existed, but that he had played rugby as a Christian. He therefore wanted to honour God by his success.

Some people did the same by wearing 'What would Jesus do'-bracelets and others by wearing T-shirts stating that 'Jesus is King'.

He believed nobody could claim Jesus for himself, but could testify about the source of his power, inspiration and talent.

The Pakistan cricket team did so after winning the 1992 World Cup, and the Bulls can certainly do so in 2007.

Everybody is free to testify where and how they please. For a sportsman the playing field is the best place, as the businessworld would be the best place for a businessmen.

According to Botha, God didn't choose sides.

He is bigger than rugby. He believed God enjoyed it when athletes played their hearts out and honoured Him, who held time and opportunity in his hand, whether they won or lost.

Dr Isak Burger, president of the AGS, said he would have been uncomfortable if people claimed God had helped them as if there were no believers in the other team.

He believed Christians shouldn't be unnecessarily afraid of creating an uproar when it came to honouring God.

Burger said it was well-known that the Bulls spontaneously testified about their faith, and Van der Westhuyzen's action was not altogether unexpected.

In addition, Van der Westhuyzen also had a constitutitional right to freedom of religion and speech.

Burger said it was difficult to determine whether it was the right time and place for such a testimony.

The answer to that lay in the motives in the hearts of people who testified and in those who reacted upon it.

It was not for him, other church leaders or fellow-citizens to decide. The Bulls as a team had to decide how they wanted to testify.