The Penn State Scandal, Joe Paterno and Mental Health

The news is official, Penn State University is cleaning house because of the sex scandal and cover up that has rocked not only Penn State but also the entire nation.  Why has this captured the attention of the nation?  Because it is challenging a collective problem in our culture, which is the idolatry of organizations, institutions or corporate systems over the dignity of the individual.  Whether it is a church, a business, a university, a football team or a corporation, when people are taught to place too much belief in any of these organizations, individuals get victimized.

The sexual crimes on children and ensuing covers ups have appalled people of every level of society, yet how did this happen at Penn State, involving one of the most respected coaches in the history of football?  It happened because the football organization was deified to an exalted position by fans, administration, coaches and players.  When an organization is exalted to a high place beyond reproach, it is a set up for scandal.  We can point fingers at the President of Penn State, Joe Paterno or any other person involved in the scandal, yet my challenge if for each person to point the finger in the mirror.  Ask yourself, “Which organization do I exalt to a high level that is beyond reproach?”  God is the only being beyond reproach, and everything and everybody else needs to abide by the standards that preserve the dignity of individuals.  My hope is that the victims of this scandal receive the care and healing that they deserve, and everyone else learn to give to man what belongs to man, and give to God what belongs to God.

Dean Sunseri, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Baton Rouge, LA.  He also specializes in Sports Performance Counseling.

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