As we move forward with the decision to change the mascot of our school, let us address a few questions that may arise:
“Why? Why can’t we just keep it the way it is? What’s wrong with the “Crusader” moniker? Has TCA gone “woke” or bowed to political correctness?”
Given the craziness going on in our culture today, we feel it is important to answer these questions. Our prayer is that the information contained below will help you to “hear our heart” behind the decision and allow you to embrace it as a positive change.
Before getting into the specifics, let us first take a minute to introduce the “we” behind this change, they are the “leadership team” of TCA. The leadership of TCA is comprised of two groups of people. First, the Administrative Team, consisting of Pastor Clark (Head of School), Mrs. Dorothy Cernero (Assistant Principal), Mrs. Michelle Guibert (Director of Marketing and Enrollment), Mr. Zack Hickson (Athletic Director), and Mrs. Lexy Warren (Kiddie College Director). This group is joined and supported by a second group, the Board of TCA, consisting of Pastor Clark, Mr. Steve Brown, Mr. Eddie Potter, and Mr. Paul Seltzer. When it comes to this leadership team, one will not find a single person who is “woke” or concerned with being politically correct. What one will find, however, is that each is committed to the excellence of TCA, and, as such, are willing to examine every aspect of our school and ask the question, “Is this the best we can do for the Savior we represent?” When the answer to that question is “no”, we work together to affect positive change. Such is the case when it comes to the mascot of TCA. Collectively, we arrived at a “no” answer (for the reasons outlined below), and we stand united in the decision to change the “no” to a “yes.”
Here are the factors that led to the decision to implement a mascot change for TCA:
- Historical Factor
- A possible objection to the mascot change might be the desire to stay true to the foundation on which the school was built. What one may not be aware of is that the “founding fathers” of TCA did not choose a “Crusader” as the original school mascot. For approximately the first decade of its existence TCA’s moniker was the “Trailblazers”, which our leadership team agrees was a more fitting mascot. Therefore, one of the new mascot names being presented for consideration (Blazers) would represent a return to TCA’s roots.
- A study of the “Crusades” to which the church is connected in history affords us pause regarding the use of such a symbol as best representing our school. That is not to say that the Crusades are devoid of noble cause and holy participants. They are not. However, a careful study would also reveal much for Christians today to distance themselves from. Were there well-meaning participants in the Crusades who abandoned all worldly endeavors to march thousands of miles to Jerusalem in the name of Christ and for the cause of the gospel? But in an effort not to romanticize the truth about the Crusades: the fact is there were also those who participated out of greed or prejudice or the hope of being absolved for a lifetime of sin (promised by Pope Urban II). There was raping and pillaging that took place. There were attacks against the Jews, the very “chosen people” of God. Truth is, there were many things that took place during these “holy wars” that were anything but holy. Is this something we as a school want to be identified with and that we feel aligns with our mission and best represents the God and the gospel we are teaching the next generation to know and declare? No. And this has nothing to do with being “woke” or jumping on the “revisionist history” bandwagon of today. It does, however, have everything to do with an accurate and honest understanding of history and a desire to be the best representation of Christ, His kingdom, and His gospel. Collectively, the leadership of TCA does not feel this is accomplished through a “Crusader” mascot.
The following article links will provide for further reading and help bring a balanced Christian perspective of the Crusades for those who would like to learn more:
- One last “historical” note – The conversation about changing the mascot of TCA is not a recent development. This change was first talked about over four years ago and has been in serious discussion for the past two years. It was in no way influenced by or birthed out of the recent movement to rewrite the history of our nation.
- Marketing Factor
- Many words experience a change over time in how they are understood and received by a culture. This is neither right nor wrong, it just is. For example, words such as tweet, viral, cancelled, and yes, even “woke.” Pastor Clark offers the following in the way of illustration:
My wife’s middle name is “Gay”. Would almost anyone of Christian persuasion consider giving this name to their child today? Probably not. Why? Because whereas it used to mean simply “happy” at the time it was chosen by my wife’s parents, it has come to carry a different meaning in the minds of people today, and not something by which a Christian would want to be represented.
Similarly, while the word “crusader” simply means someone who fights for a cause, when one couples it with the image of a medieval knight (a.k.a. TCA mascot), it suddenly takes on a meaning that is not viewed or received favorably in today’s world. Why? Because such a “crusader” is associated with religious violence and war that marked the Crusades of history. Whether any of us feels this is fair or “right” doesn’t change the fact that it “is.” For us to ignore this as we market the school to the families, organizations, and businesses in our community would be foolish. When we ask the question, “Is this word/image and the impression it leaves what we want people to think about when it comes to our school?”, we all agree the answer is “we can do better.”
- TCA is continually looking to expand its partnerships with local colleges, services, and industries for the benefit of our students. These partnerships often involve the use of one another’s “brand” (name, logo, etc.) in marketing and promotional materials. Whether we like it or not, some organizations, out of a concern for possible pushback, would be reluctant to partner with, contribute to, or promote a school with a moniker others might deem offensive. Organizations are, after all, always looking to protect their own “brand” and interests. So, from a purely marketing standpoint and for the sake of opening more doors for our school and its students (educational opportunities, corporate sponsorships, financial contributions, etc.), a change in mascot makes sense because perceptions, be they right or wrong, are reality for most people.
- Mission / Scripture Factor
- Saving the most important factor for last, we say this next statement loud and clear – a change in mascot does not signal a change in mission! The mission of TCA remains the same as it has been for over forty years, “to assist the family and the church in training Christian leaders for tomorrow, equipping them to stand firm in knowledge, insight, and wisdom while empowering them to impact their culture (world) for Christ.” If anything, the move away from the “Crusader” mascot is about better representing why we exist as a school. We are in no way drifting or wavering from the mission upon which TCA was founded. We are, instead, seeking to bring every aspect of our school into alignment with that mission, which remains strong and true.
- Our mission as a Christian school (and as followers of Christ for that matter) is to share His Truth and build His kingdom. The leadership team of TCA is united in the belief that a “Crusader”, while holding some symbolic merit, is not the best representation of who we are as Christians or as a Christian school. Consider this: Where in scripture can we find Jesus or the founding fathers of the church (apostles) advocating for believers to take up arms and fight against the enemies of Christ? Where can we find a command for the church to advance the Kingdom of God through militant or political means (the Crusades featured both)? In fact, we find teaching to the contrary: (all scriptures quoted from the English Standard Version)
- Jesus commanded “…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45)
- Paul taught “we do not fight against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12) and “bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them…Do not repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14, 17-21)
- Peter instructed “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9)
The Crusades of history certainly do not reflect the teachings or heart of Jesus, Paul, Peter, or other NT authors. That is not to sit in judgment on those who participated in them. Had we lived during their day, we very well may have done what they did, but neither does that justify them. When it’s all said and done, the Biblical record is clear – Jesus never intended for His followers to spread the gospel through violence or force. As one writer put it, “the sword is never God’s way to extend Christ’s kingdom.” That being true, why would TCA want to have a mascot that represents that very approach to extending the kingdom of God? We wouldn’t. And we don’t. We can do better. Thus, the mascot change.
We hope you can see from the content of this document that the decision to change the mascot of our school was not one based on a whim or anyone’s personal preference. It is a decision that has been long considered, bathed in prayer, and well-reasoned by a team of leaders who desire to see TCA be the best representation of Christ and His kingdom we can possibly be.
To that end we have approved three alternative mascot names and are asking you to cast your vote for the one you like best. Along with each name we have provided information about its Biblical significance and how we feel it serves to effectively represent TCA. Learn more and vote through April 2nd, 2022 at https://bit.ly/tca-mascot-vote.
We hope this has served to thoroughly and clearly communicate the thought and heart behind the decision to change TCA’s mascot.
The Leadership Team of TCA