A high school football player has been penalized for praising God after making a touchdown.
Christian Today reports that 17-year-old Dante Turo ran 73 yards to score a touchdown in a high school football game in New York over the weekend.
After scoring the touchdown, Dante raised one finger to the sky in a gesture of thanks to God for allowing him to make the play.
Immediately after, the referee penalized Dante 15 yards for “taunting” and “excessive celebration.” Dante, his father, and others who watched, were incredulous and did not understand why the referee would penalize Dante’s action so severely for such a simple gesture.
In video replays of the offense, it is clear that Dante raises one finger to the sky only for a couple seconds.
"I talked to the referee and told him I wasn't trying to do anything malicious or arrogant—I was just trying to give praise to God. He [referee] told me, 'don't do it again,’” Dante said.
Dante’s coach argued with the referee, stating that Dante was only praising God and not taunting, but the referee stood by his claim.
Dante’s father also said that his son was not being overly arrogant, but on the contrary, he was taking a moment to give God the glory so he would not become arrogant.
“When you score touchdowns, when you make big plays, it's easy to become proud," Geno stated. "It's easy to take credit for yourself. I didn't want my son to get caught up in that."
In speaking of the referee’s decision, “It troubles me,” Geno said. “I think people have forgotten that we settled in this land to flee religious persecution. We're supposed to have religious freedom here. But it seems like instead of religious freedom we are being persecuted for our beliefs."
Dante has vowed not to let the referee’s warning deter him from giving glory to God. If he scores another touchdown, “Without a doubt I will raise my finger," he said.
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia
Publication date: October 23, 2015