Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thank God for athletes like Tim Tebow who unashamedly practice their faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and shame on all the beer drinking, porno loving, football fanatic, scumbag bozos who criticize him for being a good person and a caring and genuine Christian - Pastor Max Solbrekken

Tim Tebow And Christophobia

I'm not much of a football fan, but I know who Tim Tebow is. He's known to me as the player who, with his mother, made a Super Bowl commercial for Focus on the Family.

It's hard to forget because of all the controversy it generated. Women's groups demanded that CBS not use it, claiming that to air an anti-abortion commercial would be divisive.

As it turned out, the ad wasn't a hard-sell against abortion, or pro-abortionists. The words "abortion" and "pro-life" weren't even used. Tim's mom simply talked about how happy she was that Tim survived what was a difficult pregnancy.

She didn't even mention the fact that because of an illness, she was advised to have an abortion but chose not to. The commercial ended with these words appearing on the screen: "Celebrate family. Celebrate life."

Doesn't sound very controversial, does it? Nonetheless, controversy continues to follow Tim Tebow.

George Weigel, a renowned Catholic intellectual and author of Witness to Hope (a biography of Pope John Paul II), recently wrote a piece for The Arlington Catholic Herald called "Tim Tebow and Christophobia." George Weigel writing about Tim Tebow was enough to spark my curiosity.

First, some basics. Tebow, now in his second year in the NFL, began the season as the third-string quarterback for the Denver Broncos, but has started under center the last two games.

While he was a college player, he won the Heisman trophy leading the University of Florida to two national collegiate championships. Some sports commentators have called Tebow the greatest college football player ever.

Others, however, have questioned his ability to succeed playing pro football. All in all, there's been a lot of hype and some squawking that Tebow wasn't living up to it. But that's not the controversy I'm talking about.

It turns out that last month, ESPN aired one of its "Outside the Lines" specials on the subject of why Tim Tebow had become such a contentious figure in sports. Here's a line from the special that sums it up: "Despite his popularity, Tim Tebow's outspokenness about his conservative Christian beliefs has made him a polarizing figure."

As Weigel rightly points out, there are plenty of sports figures out there who might be deserving of controversy, but it's Tim Tebow who's "more polarizing than trash-talking NBA behemoths; more polarizing than foul-mouthed Serena Williams; more polarizing than NFL all-stars who father numerous children by numerous women, all out of wedlock."

It's Tim Tebow who arouses the ire of so many because of his Christian faith.

The ESPN special went so far as to say that Tebow has a "seething army of detractors." There's a Facebook page called "I Hate Tim Tebow," and another named "Tim Tebow Crying," with over 14,000 "likes." There's a website called

Comedian Matt Besser has said that hating Tim Tebow is one of his favorite hobbies. One of his jokes, obviously written before the Navy Seals' successful operation in Pakistan, goes something like this: If he had a gun with one bullet and Osama bin Laden and Tim Tebow were in the room, he'd obviously shoot bin Laden.

But if he had two bullets, he'd shoot Tim Tebow first. Besser offers this explanation to ESPN of his antipathy to Tebow: "We don't need our athletes telling us how to behave religiously or politically."

Reporter Jeff Darlington wrote a piece for about the vitriol directed against Tebow. As part of his research, he conducted a survey using Twitter, asking people this: "A question for anyone who dislikes Tebow for reasons other than his ability as a QB: What is it about him that bothers you?"

Here are some sample responses: "The God thing for one. He just seems like a phony." Others referred to Tebow's "holier than thou crap," and to the fact that he "brings his Bible thumping nonsense anywhere he goes." Another said he dislikes Tebow because he "wears his religion on his sleeve too much."

The fact is that many sports figures are open about their faith, getting down on one knee or pointing to the sky after a touchdown. Many athletes openly thank God during post-game press conferences and pray together before games.

Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner relates to Tebow. "Like me," he told Darlington, "Tim wears his faith on his sleeve. I felt like there were always people who said football should be over here and faith should be over there. But that drove me. And I think it drives him."

Warner may be right about people always objecting to open displays of faith by athletes, but with Tebow it seems extreme. Tom Krottenmaker, who writes on religion and public life for USA Today, says that Tebow "has become the poster boy for evangelical Christianity in the sports arena which places [him] at the epicenter of a cultural storm that divides our nation." And I think that sums it up perfectly.

This is about the culture wars, and more specifically about growing anti-Christian sentiment in this country.

Tim Tebow visits sick children in hospitals. He spends time working at his father's mission in the Philippines. He has openly stated that he believes in saving sex for marriage.

And, as George Weigel points out, "There is not the slightest evidence that Tebow has ever forced himself and his convictions on his teammates or on an unsuspecting public."

Tebow is open about his faith, no question about it. He famously wore Bible verses on his eye-black strips while playing college football. When Tebow wrote "John 3:16" on those strips during a championship game, 92 million people reportedly searched it on Google.

For this he is derided and called "holier than thou." For being an openly faithful Christian, Tim Tebow is hated. Christophobia is real and getting stronger.