Tuesday, January 10, 2012

If You're Famous, Don't Show Your Religion

That is unless, of course, you're Tom Cruise, and then you're allowed to be all about Scientology.  And it's okay to take a knee in the endzone to praise God for the touchdown you just scored . . . unless of course you're Tim Tebow.

I'm not really a Tebow fan, but I find it more than a little aggrivating that people get upset or make fun of him for his devotion to his religion.  I mean, people are acting like this is something new in pro-football.  For as long as I've been alive, the whole kneeling and thanking God in the endzone has been around.  And within the last 10 years at least, whenever a reporter on the field interviews a player, many times the first thing he says is "first off I'd like to thank God."

So what makes it so different and so much more laughable when Tebow does it?  Why do people deride him and not Terrell Owens, or any other player that displays his belief in God on the field?

I honestly don't know, but I'm sure it has a lot to do with double standards.  Yes, Tom Cruise gets made fun of for being a wacky Scientologist, and even criticized, but that still begs the question of why?  I get that religion has to be sepparated from government (to an extent, of course.  Tell me that NO ONE in government makes decisions based on the morality he or she was taught growing up).  Does that mean that religion needs to be struck from the public forum altogether?

I think the answer is a whole-hearted no.  Celebrities are not elected government officials.  Sure, they enjoy a more visible platform than most people, but that doesn't mean they are somehow less deserving to exercise their freedom of speech.

"But Jack, they're so influential, and people might take their messages more seriously than they would if it was a non-celebrity espousing religion!"  So what?  If someone is inspired by celebrity's faith, then it is certainly their prerogative to be so inspired.  If someone finds God, Jesus, religion, or whatever because they saw Tebow take a knee in the endzone, then so be it.

I will agree that religion should be primarily a private matter.  Jesus did instruct his desciples to pray behind closed doors, and to not flaunt their religion, but ultimately that doesn't really matter.  Religion doesn't have to be a private matter for people.  Although I don't particularly like it when some idiot tries to tell me that I'm going to hell because I'm Catholic, they're more than welcome to be vocal about their own hypocrisy and lack of understanding.

Similarly, if someone is so into his faith that he feels the need to express it, then go for it.  Just as someone is free to find it inspiring, you're free to ignore it.  But don't shit allover the guy just because he's gay for Jesus (yes, I said that to be super inflammatory, but I also meant it facetiously). 

People need to stop trying to make religion a taboo subject in the public forum.  It's been a part of the human experience for as long as human history has been recorded, and it will likely never go away.  You can mock Tebow for ignoring Jesus' teaching about humble service to God, but don't get offended for expressing himself, especially when the idea he is expressing is fairly harmless.

If you have to get upset over freedom of speech, then direct your ire at assholes like the KKK or the Westboro Baptists who spread messages of hate and asshattery.


Anonymous said...

I think it's just a way to criticize Tebow. A lot of people dislike him and will go on about how bad of a quarterback he is despite his good record. His religion is simply an easy target.

I'm an atheist, and his actions doesn't bother me, nor does it bother most of the non-Christian people I know. The majority of criticism he takes is from other Christians, so I'm led to believe it's just general jealousy of him as a player.

Jack Camwell said...

Thanks for stopping by anon, and for the perspective.

I hadn't thought that targetting his religion might not actually have anything to do with his religion.

It's kind of like the people who stayed quiet when the Patriot Act was passed, but then got all up in arms recently on some verbage in the National Defense Authorization Act. I think it has more to do with the man than the concept.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Jackie, I agree with the first poster. Tim Tebow is generally mocked for his meager quarterback mechanics. Not that he is really that horrible of a QB, it's just he has always has a really good team, always, and that he gets a free pass on being sloppy.

So when he starts to get results people still want to try and mock him somehow. I agree it's not the way to do it. No one really gave Kurt Warner much shit over his outpouring of religion probably because he was a guy who had proven himself to be incredible at the game.

In a society where you can be publicly mocked for just about anything these days I don't find it surprising at all.

Jersey McJones said...

Boy, how soon we forget...


Tebow brought this on himself. Most people are religious, and so are most people, but most of all these religious people don't shove it down our throats. Tebow projected his religious beliefs on the national stage for political gain. He brought this on himself.


Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: Shove it down your throat? Hardly. It's called free speech, you goosestepping statist. Get over it.

D Charles QC said...

I think people are free to espouse their faith openly, that for me is a right.

However, there are also lines that can be crossed - not in such a bad way but more akin to opening one to criticism. If I am not mistaken (and please confirm to me if this is true or not), Tebow said it was God or Jesus that makes his team win. IF that is true, then I would certainly call that over the top and blast him.

I also assume that his kneeling down and praying (The Tebow) does not interfer with play. There was once in the Spanish Football (Soccer to you philistines) Club of Mallorca a guy who crossed himself so many times that the referee gave him a yellow card.

Jack Camwell said...

True story Damien, "soccer," is a term that was actually invented in Britain. Look it up! I promise it's true!

At any rate, thanks for all the comments. It's not really surprising to me that he's mocked for his religion, but it kind of bugs me, the double standard that is. Are players okay to express their religion so long as they're good?

As for him saying that God helped him win, or whatever, in my mind that's no different than thanking God for the win, or for a touchdown. By thanking God, it's like you're saying that he either A. Allowed it to happen, or B. Willed it to happen.

I happen to think that God doesn't give a shit about football. But perhaps that's just me.

And Jersey, what troubles me is not people mocking his content, but those who are saying he shouldn't express his beliefs at all.

D Charles QC said...


I was actually aware of the term. It was used to distinguish between what at the time was Rugby Football. Because "Rugby" was the common term, football became the name and stuck.

My views are similar, people are free as long as it does not impede the game in an way and if they want to be overt then be prepared to "wear it" in more ways then one.

LD Jackson said...

Much ado about nothing is what it is, Jack. Those who are throwing a temper tantrum about Tim Tebow need to find something else to get mad about. They have absolutely no reason to be all up in the air.

As for his sloppy play, did you see the 80 TD pass he threw on the first play of OT against the Steelers? That ball couldn't have been thrown much better, in spite of his poor throwing mechanics. It was right on target.

Kind of reminds me of Billy Kilmer for the Washington Redskins, back in the 70s. His throws wobbled all over the place, all the way down the field, and right on target. I don't think the man threw a perfect spiral in his entire career, but he won a lot of games. So much for good throwing mechanics.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, you sob, you know what I mean. Tebow put out a commercial during the friggin' Super Bowl about abortion, of all friggin' things, and for Christ's sake, during a fuckin' Super Bowl!!!

That's like putting up a 25,000 mile sign in the sky, man!

So, yeah. He brings it on himself.

But hey - good for him! If it means all that much to him, and he's the kinda guy he seems to be, then he can deal with the consequences of his actions. It's not like he's some superhero alien from Pluto who gets a pass from our common social norms.


Harrison said...

Nobody likes a show off... particularly me.

Silverfiddle said...

Silver, you sob, you know what I mean. Tebow put out a commercial during the friggin' Super Bowl about abortion, of all friggin' things, and for Christ's sake, during a fuckin' Super Bowl!!!

Oh no! Free speech! During the Super Bowl!!!

Yeah. He's got a right to say it, and other have a right to whine about it...

Welcome to America!

KP said...

Jack, what do you think of this?


"Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus // Spoken Word"

Jack Camwell said...

Very interesting KP. I think I share a lot of the same angst and animosity that this guy has, but the difference between him and I would be if you replaced "religion," with "people," in his rant.

Religion is not inherently screwed up, it's the people that practice and interpret it.

Yes, religion is a human construct, and yes it's used to justify awful behavior, but that's because it has largely been twisted.

KP said...

We agree, nearly completely. As well, I don't think Jesus intednded to dismantle religion.

Still, a moving spoken word. I have been drawn back to it again and again, for the good spiritual messages to human beings and the message against hypocrisy.

KP said...

There has been quite a bit of discussion about this video. Here is some of what I have picked up, paraphrased, and, quotes from the Man:

Jesusd said the opposite of doing away with religion: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

Christ also commanded that we have ritual.

He established a priesthood in the Apostles. Meaning he gave certain men distinct roles. He gave them the power to forgive sins: ”If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” (John 20:23)

He gave men power to make decisions concerning doctrine: ”I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18)

He built a Church: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

He called men to the sacrament of Baptism.

So knowing that Christ established a Church, with rituals, with priests, and with sacraments it makes you wonder about question whether He wanted to do away with religion.

Jack Camwell said...

I think the purpose of Jesus' ministry was primarily for reform of rather than destruction of religion.

I don't think Jesus wanted to even start a new religion, he simply wanted to make Judaism better. He was a Jew, afterall. I mean hello, last supper? Passover seder.

I've been thinking a lot about baptism lately, so it's kind of neat that you brought it up. When you think about it, John the Baptist was already baptizing people even before Jesus told everyone to.

So it would seem to me that baptism was a pre-christianity cultural practice.

KP said...

I was batized at birth. My youngest daughter decided to be batized at age 18. My eldest daughter will be baptized in May at age 24. It had been fascinating to watch them comes to these conclusions as adults. They give me pause. Perhaps I need to make that choice as an adult.

Jack Camwell said...

I'm Catholic, so I was baptized at birth.

I had my children baptized more out of a sense of tradition than salvation, to be honest.

Although I think the symbology is nice, and the willful acceptance of one's faith is a good thing, but as far as having any real significance I'm not so sure.

A lot of what Jesus did was geared towards an uneducated, disenfranchized audience. That's why he preached in parables and such, because had he gone off on long discourses about the efficacy of spirtuality, ethics, and morality, people would have tuned him out.

So symbolic things like baptism, at least the notion that you can't get to heaven without being baptized, seem antiquated to me.