I got into a brief theological kerfuffle in the Twittersphere today over Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who openly (and for some, obnoxiously) expresses his evangelical Christian faith. After Tebow led the Broncos to a dramatic overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers (and as usual, thanked God for the victory), a friend of mine tweeted:
according to Tebow, God has nothing better to do than help him win football games. Tebow is the Santorum of quarterbacks.
To which I responded:
From a Denver fan pov, it’s not that God wants Tebow to win, it’s that this belief gives him the edge he needs to win games.
My friend then tweeted me back:
Tebow sure doesn’t see it that way. His ostentatious proselytizing is loathsome and contemptible.
Loathsome and contemptible? I dunno, I don’t agree at all with his politics or theology, but those are pretty strong words. I’d sooner use those words to describe roethlisberger’s behavior than tebow’s…
(Ben Roethlisberger, btw, is the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was accused of sexual assault in 2008 and 2010).
My friend responded to this:
if the best you can say about Tebow is that he’s a better man than Roethlesrapist you’ve made my point for me.
never said that was the best I could say about him. Only applied ur words more appropriately.
Another Tweeter chimed in:
I can’t fault Tebow for his faith, but I can fault Roethlisberger for his actions.
Further thoughts welcome…
You are a Philospher King. Thank you for sharing this wise exchange.
Maybe ” contemptible” is a bit of an exaggeration, but there is no question about his proselytizing. He and his mother were the ones who bought those commercials during the 2010 Super Bowl that pointed viewers towards Focus on the Family. On his website, he encourages children to read the comic, “Good New For You” which informs them that the only way they can escape hell is by accepting Jesus, http://www.btea.org/goodnewsforyou.asp.
In college, he wore inspirational verses about Christ on his eye black at every game, and his foundation is essentially a proselytizing mission in the Philippines. The Tebow Foundation “Values” statement includes: “There is salvation in no one except Jesus. Because of His resurrection, He is able to provide eternal life and resurrection for all believers. Jesus is the only Savior who can rescue us from Hell.”
Pretty loathsome to me, but that’s just a personal opinion.
I am glad that you were able to stay present to the real situation and not the one that the situation called up ( in your face religious sanctimony)
I do think that having heart from one’s belief can give an advantage and when that gets thrown out because it is easy to be weary of relentless proselytizing, some thing real is thrown out too. Thanks for modeling a kind of presence that is too easily lost in today’s conversation.
I admire Tebow greatly as an athlete for his tremendous accomplishments – the guy is a winner on the field. But I have monumental issues with his worldview, politics and actions off the field (for many of the reasons Lesley gave). So for me it’s pretty simple: if we’re talking Tebow the athlete, I have a ton of respect. But when it comes to Tebow the person (or at least what I have read about him, never having met him), I’ll pass.
By the way, Dave Zirin (sportswriter at the Nation) has written some great stuff on Tebow recently. If you (or your readers) are interested in hearing from a sports lover with a passion for justice (on a variety of issues at the intersection of sports, politics and justice), he’s a must read.
I’m with you, Brant.
http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/tebow/1374394 – this really says it all for me….
I believe JRC has a deeply entangled relationship with a certain North Side Chicago baseball team and the deep religious implications of fandom and faith therein ……just sayin’……