Poor old Tim Tebow has been the topic du' jour among fans and critics alike lately. Apparently he prays before games and stuff.
His critics say he's "shoving religion down people's throats. To prove there's something wrong with praying on the sidelines, the sports and political press have really been working hard to find some sin or other they can pin on him so they can call him a hypocrite - without much luck, yet.
I don't get it.
If Tebow were to don feathers and do a little dance to
the "Great Spirit" or bowed toward Mecca or burned some incense to a little golden Buddha he kept on the sidelines for spiritual comfort, the media would be all over the story. Tim would be bravely practicing his
faith in the face of great persecution. There would be feature articles and interviews aplent. But because Tim's a Christian he's supposed to be "shoving his religion down
This is, of course, preposterous. The fact Tebow's critics
can raise their voices to ridicule and mock Tebow's expression of
personal faith merely proves that their throats are entirely free of any
residue of Tebow's Christianity.
C'mon guys. Check it out. Freedom of religious expression is one of the cornerstones of our way of life here in the United States. If Tebow was a Buddhist or Muslim or Native American shaman, you'd not hear one word of criticism from me. I am allowed to kneel and pray wherever I want to, so I respect the right of others to practice their own religion so long as it does not interfere with my right to not participate. I am allowed to practice my faith despite the fact that I'm in the majority religiously speaking.
If someone held a gun on the fans at Bronco games and made them recite the Lord's Prayer, I'd see what they were complaining about. But they're not. Tebow's periodic take-a-knee thank-you's to God force no one to change their beliefs, their behavior or their religious practices. They threaten no one's safety. They have no influence on the outcome of the game (though if you believe in magic or that God cares about how football games come out, I suppose you could argue that Tebow's prayers do impact whether or not Denver scores or not. In that case, though, all you'd need to do is pray for the other team to neutralize it.
Unless, of course, you think Tebow's more holy than you and therefore a more powerful prayer. In which case you should apply to the NFL commissioner (whoever that is these days) to have the practice outlawed on the grounds that God is cheating for the Denver Broncos.
I'd love to see the commish make a ruling on that one!
And, by the way. Christianity is not contagious. It's a choice and no easy choice at that. You can't become a Christian just by touching one or being near one that is praying. Tebow shouldn't be treated like a leper for being openly Christian any more than you should treat gay people like dirt for being openly gay.
Sometimes I think Tebow's critics have seen one too many Exorcist movies. Perhaps they fear that he's going to start exorcising demons from the NFL next. If he does, expect to see the Detroit Lions burst into flames any day now.
Relax, guys. Tebow's just praying. He's not reporting you to the Sunday School teacher with the boney finger that once told you that you were going to hell for whatever it was you were doing or touching that you weren't supposed to be doing or touching.
I'm just saying,
(c) 2011 by Tom King