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Somewhere Under the Rainbow

We've all seen him. Behind homeplate during the final pitch of the World Series; at center court for the final shot of the NBA Finals; between the goalposts for the game-winning fieldgoal of the Super Bowl. Everywhere and anywhere we have seen his rainbow -- the one on his head, that is. At the same time, or course, we have also seen his shirts and signs, usually with John 3:16 printed in bold letters. But something tells me we won't be seeing much of this self-styled sports evangelist in the near future.

While innocent until proven guilty, forty-six year old Rollen Frederick Steward, better known as the Rainbow Man, has allegedly been running from an arrest warrant issued in southern California for a string of stink bomb attacks. Only recently, however, were police reportedly able to link the Rainbow Man with the attacks.

The break in the case came a few months ago, when police in Richmond County, Georgia detained the Rainbow Man after he apparently set off a remote-controlled siren while Jack Nicklaus was putting on the 16th hole of the Master's tournament in Augusta, Georgia. After tournament officials decided to drop charges, but before he was released, the Rainbow Man drafted a statement that allegedly matched handwritten notes found with several stink bombs recently set off in the southern California area at the offices of the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the Crystal Cathedral, a local Christian bookstore, and other locations.

Then, five days after being released from custody in Georgia, an electronically-activated device coincidentally detonated a package of fireworks at the Foreman-Holyfield championship bout in Atlantic City, only to be followed the next day by a similar contraption found at the site of a televised professional bowlers tournament. Should these antics be attributed to the Rainbow Man, they would be nothing new. As far back as 1989, he was arrested for throwing skunk glands into the crowd of the American Music Awards.

Granted, the skunk glands, fireworks, and stink bombs have not yet injured anyone. But that is not the point. The point is that if the Rainbow Man has perpetrated these self-centered acts, he has endangered life and violated the rights of others without Biblical justification, to say nothing of his run-ins with the law. While he may be ultimately innocent of all charges, his flight from justice only adds insult to injury. Once again, the Christian community is forced to bear the onus of a self-proclaimed zealot who found his way into the public spotlight only to end up shaming the name of Christ.

Tragically, the Rainbow Man appears to have come to the end of his rainbow. After Richmond police detained him, they recovered a sign which confusingly read, "The trumpet and siren mean no rapture...a skunk was released to show you there is no God, no more John 3:16." How sad.


Copyright © by Covenant Community Church of Orange County 1991
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