Who Is In Heaven, Joe Paterno Or Sally Ride?

The obituary of Sally Ride, the first woman in space, included the revelation she was a lesbian.  I wondered how the public would compare her with the recently departed football coach, Joe Paterno, of Penn State.

Although Joe Paterno’s teams won lots of football games, apparently he was aware of child abuse by his staff and did not make certain it stopped. I’m sure he, like many of the high ranking clergy in the Catholic church, did not want his program to receive bad publicity.

Unlike Paterno, Ride lived what was reported to be an exemplary life with no such black marks.  She started and ran a nonprofit which encouraged young women to enter the sciences.  She did not ruin lives.

Nevertheless, if one polled the public after Ride’s lesbian disclosure, I would guess Paterno’s career in the testosterone game of football would cause a majority of the public to see him, not lesbian Ride, as the one who sits with the Almighty today.  Such is on the street theology in the U. S.

What would change the minds of people who would judge a person’s entire character by their sexual preference?  I would guess there is nothing but the sands of time.

While young people who see the exemplary life of Sally Ride as evidence she is a person to be admired, an older generation judges her as a sinful person and sees Joe Paternal as the something above reproach, “a leader”.

I don’t believe either is in heaven.  So far as we know, it does not exist.


12 Responses

  1. Today I spent some time wondering how Sally Ride’s death would be addressed, if at all, by any conservative religious organizations. For all practical purposes, she was a heroine and exemplary role model.

    Will that change with her revelation?

    Joe Paterno, on the other hand will have his place in eternity guaranteed. In fundie world, if you don’t acknowledge it, it doesn’t exist.

    That’s why the Jimmy Swagarts, Ted Haggards, Jim Bakkers et al of the world can do what they do: it’s only sin if you get busted. Sandusky wasn’t convicted until after Paterno had brunch with God.

    He’ll be fine.

  2. Henry

    Jon 7/25/12 : “I don’t believe either is in heaven. It does not exist.”

    That sounds like Jon is stating a fact based on knowledge.

    Jon 3/23/11: “In my view, neither you nor I KNOW it was either a creator or created by itself.” http://redriverfreethinkers.areavoices.com/2011/03/19/philosopher-bertrand-russells-famous-teapot/#comment-2938

    That sounds like Jon doesn’t know if God created the earth (and presumably heaven).

    Whatever is convenient and can make your argument, Jon.


  3. Ride was out and unapologetic feminist and unfailing advocate for science education, disqualifications for many versions of heaven, regardless of her orientation.

  4. For a Christian view on going to heaven or not going to heaven: it matters not at all what your actions in life have been. The only way to Heaven is through trusting the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation….only through HIM. Baptism does not save anyone, good works mean nothing..other than as a result of your trusting Christ . It is a free gift and all one has to do is accept what the Lord says….Trust in ME only…I died for your sins and you just have to accept the free gift I give you.
    That is the Christian Gospel message pure and simple.

    “Jesus said to him. I am the way the truth and the life, No man comes to the Father except through me.” words of Jesus recorded in John 14.6
    Any other “way” is a false way.

    1. That’s a lovely sentiment. But also a dangerous one.

      So dangerous that no religion claiming to represent it actually operates by it.

      Dangerous enough to get a person crucified.

  5. Doubtful

    Jon, you are the only person I can find who is even implying that Sally Ride was not a good role model. I suppose there is someone somewhere saying that but google does not find it for me. Paterno did much more than win games. He was a very positive role model and influence on many young people. To have one instance in his life where he decided in hind sight that he should have bucked his bosses and the DA who had previously declined to press charges and gone public with charges that he could not substantiate is not really the black mark that many are painting it as. You know as well as I do that NDSU and every other university does this as standard operating procedure. The only thing that is different is the nature of the offense they covered up. This whole article is garbage based on your supposition and nothing else.

    1. I don’t see any implication from Jon that Sally Ride was not a good role model. Just the opposite.

      “One instance where Paterno decided in hind sight that he should have bucked his bosses”???? Joe Paterno was the boss. The President of the University tried to fire him 7 years ago and it didn’t take. Paterno was the most powerful man on the Penn State campus. No one was a close second.

      The fact the college athletics is a cesspit of sham amatureism that systematically exploits young people is not an excuse for not reporting child abuse.

      1. Doubtful

        Jon very clearly claims that “an older generation judges her as a sinful person and sees Joe Paternal as the something above reproach, “a leader”.” I can find no indication that an older generation or anyone else feels that way about Sally Ride. Paterno clearly had a boss although he was powerful. He was not powerful enough to survive this witch hunt. You are wrong to limit this to college athletics. Universities do this same thing when a tenured professor plagiarizes or sells porn or anything else. It is the Universities, not just the athletic programs.

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