I am all too familiar with organizations changing their names to fulfill the variable whims of the Woke Warriors.
Succumbing to cancel culture merely erases all of the nuances from history — especially from historical figures and institutions whose actions involved both good and evil.
Unfortunately, one Christian university — whose mascot had been the “Crusaders” — appears unwilling to fight any longer.
According to a March 26 media release from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, Interim President Dr. George O. Wood, the university’s board of trustees and the president’s cabinet have all agreed to “retire” the Crusader mascot.
“The world has changed significantly since the 1950s, when the Evangel community, intending to depict strength, honor, and commitment to the faith, first identified a Crusader as the school’s mascot,” Dr. Wood claimed in the statement.
“Today, we recognize that the Crusader often inhibits the ability of students and alumni to proudly represent the university in their areas of global work and ministry.”
Dennis McDonald, Evangel’s athletic director, also supported the change, and he hopes that the university identifies “a new mascot that will serve the university well in the future.”
The public response was a little more variable. Some rightfully accused the university of bowing to cancel culture, while others defended the change:
This is crazy that someone was offended by a crusader. EU IS a Christian university hense the mascot of people that defended the Holly Land. https://t.co/2s7PJbTid2
— jill (@jill42070867) March 26, 2021
Too bad, for a Christian university it sounds like you don’t understand what the crusades were attempting to do. It wasn’t just some random acts of killing. https://t.co/FDbYxAHegq
— Stephanus ☩ (@RubberCityCath) April 1, 2021
Very happy to hear this! Now let’s talk about that lifestyle covenant. Might wanna take a look at your curricula, too. https://t.co/PesCcMXOk4
— Jeremy (@JerArnold) March 28, 2021
This is long overdue. Respect to the leadership for making it happen. Not sure what that means for the Lance and the @EUjavelin ? though.
— Aaron Van Gorp (@iamveeg) March 27, 2021
It is important to recognize that the primary causes of the Crusades were, in the end, political and economic rather than religious.
The Papacy was concerned about what Islamic expansion into Anatolia, the Balkans, Sicily and the Iberian peninsula would mean for its own power, especially with European kingdoms being so divided.
Meanwhile, it wanted to regain the territories in the Levant that Christianity had lost after the Byzantine Empire’s defeat at Manzikert in 1071. For that purpose, the Church’s schism in 1066 was put aside.
Furthermore, there were plenty of second-sons and minor lords who wished to cleanse their sins or expand their economic opportunities. It was in the interests of those in power to keep them occupied, lest there be a civil war or dynastic strife.
As such, both sides had their heroes, and both sides committed unspeakable atrocities.
History — particularly — is messy, and while some are more just in their conduct of war than others (such as Saladin or Baldwin III of Jerusalem), it is intrinsically an uncivilized ordeal.
But, with that in mind, Evangel chose the name “Crusaders” to depict “strength, honor, and commitment.” Those are all good qualities, and all the university had to do was solidify that was the reason the Crusader mascot was chosen.
Evangel claims that “this decision was made because our Christ-centered focus requires it. This is not a cultural response to political correctness, but simply the right thing to do,” but it is clear that, despite their insistence otherwise, that this decision was made because they fear cancellation.
Succumbing to cancel culture has become so common that it is no longer surprising. Much like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” canceling every little thing hampers the occasional need for legitimate reflection on ourselves and our histories.
Hopefully, other institutions won’t follow in Evangel’s footsteps.
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