Signs and Wonders
Bethany Hamilton arrives at the ESPY awards.
Associated Press/Photo by Dan Steinberg
Bethany Hamilton arrives at the ESPY awards.

Signs and Wonders: Soul Surfer finds soul mate

Newsworthy

Bethany Hamilton engaged. The “soul surfer” is no longer solo. Bethany Hamilton, who survived a shark attack when she was 13 years old, announced this week she plans to get married. Adam Dirks proposed on April 9, 2012, and Hamilton wrote on her blog that the couple have been preparing for marriage with counseling and prayer. “Adam and I have been taking steps to prepare for a healthy, beautiful marriage,” Hamilton wrote. “We take marriage seriously. Right now things are lovey-dovey and it’s fun and beautiful, but we want our love to remain through thick and thin. When we have hard times, we can rely on Christ and grow closer and stronger in our love and relationship. We know we can only prepare so much, but look forward to learning and growing together as we share life—to love beyond just a feeling.” Hamilton’s book Soul Surfer was a best-seller and spawned a 2011 motion picture starring Carrie Underwood, AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, and Dennis Quaid.

John Kasay retires. One of the truly outstanding Christian gentlemen of professional sports has officially hung up his cleats. Placekicker John Kasay had a 21-year professional career, most of it with the Carolina Panthers, where he holds a number of team records. What did not make it into the record books is the story of Kasay’s humility, accessibility, and involvement. He was on the board of directors of the Charlotte Eagles, a professional soccer team made entirely of Christians. (Kasay was an outstanding soccer player in his youth, and retained a soft spot in his heart for the sport.) He was active in his church, regularly shared his Christian testimony with church and other groups, and he coached youth athletic teams in Charlotte, even after he became an NFL star. Kasay was also a strong leader and mentor to younger players, including a likely Hall of Famer, Steve Smith. Smith credits Kasay with keeping him on track when fame and money threatened to derail his life and career. In a move widely criticized in Charlotte, the Panthers traded Kasay to the New Orleans Saints, where he played the 2011 season, one of the best of his career. But the Panthers did right by him on Tuesday, signing him to a one-day contract so he could officially retire as a Carolina Panther. The Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn’t have a lot of placekickers, but Kasay is on the all-time top 10 list in a number of kicking categories. He deserves consideration when his time comes.

Standing for marriage. Patrick Brady, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party resigned his position yesterday. He told CNN, “I lost the support of the state Central Committee because of my position on gay marriage.” Earlier this year, Brady endorsed same-sex marriage. He was one of a very few high-profile Republican leaders to make a similar move. However, according to the Washington Post, 68 percent of Republicans still oppose same-sex marriage. The Post goes on to say, “While we’ve seen national Republican politicians move to support gay marriage in recent years the party base hasn’t really moved with them all that much.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said, “After the recent rush of a few national Republicans to embrace same-sex marriage, reality is beginning to sink in.” He added, “Abandoning natural marriage is unlikely to bring a ground-swell of social liberals” into the Republican Party. On the other hand, “it may give social conservatives, who vote Republican, motivation to sit out the elections—or move them to create a third party. Either option puts Republicans on the path to a permanent minority. Marriage is and will continue to be a non-negotiable issue for evangelicals and social conservatives.”

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Harrassment chief harrassing others. Police arrested Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, Va., on Sunday morning. According to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, “He’s accused of approaching a woman in a parking lot and grabbing her breasts and buttocks.” This conduct would be reprehensible under any circumstances, but add to this the fact that Col. Krusinski is the man in charge of the Air Force’s sexual harassment prevention and response efforts, and you have a genuine scandal on your hands. The Air Force immediately removed Krusinski from this position. In a call Monday evening with Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “expressed outrage and disgust over the troubling allegations,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement. Hagel “emphasized that this matter will be dealt with swiftly and decisively.” The Air Force has been troubled by sexual harassment scandals recently. Most prominently, according to Stars and Stripes: “Seventeen training instructors at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, the Air Force’s basic training facility, have been convicted of misconduct with trainees, from fraternization to sexual assault. More cases are still under investigation.”

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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