When I was young, Christians pretty much kept their mouths shut and went to church. Conspicuous Christians were called holy rollers. They went to little funky churches up in the hollars, listened to Oral Roberts, wore long sleeves and had nervous children. No more.
Sometime in the last thirty years holy rollers got into the main stream. They seriously took on the biblical injunction to testify about the word of GOD… otherwise known as marketing. They even discovered there was a great deal of money to be made at it. So the little holy roller churches became mega evangelical churches with marketing departments and their own television stations. You can turn on the TV almost any day and watch well-dressed adults speaking in tongues. The masses got into Jesus and Sara Palin got saved by a voodoo priest.
And now we have Tim Tebow. A soldier in the culture wars who can’t shut up because he was raised in the Evangelical testifying, drop and pray tradition.
Now that’s all well and good. I don’t mind Tim Tebow dropping and praying in the end zone as long as he does not delay the game. I am for Christians standing up and saying whatever they want about their religion. I don’t even mind the sanctimonious superiority I get from people who think that because they have found JESUS they are somehow superior to us secular humanists. I am more than annoyed, however, at the inability of these Christians to stand on their own in the marketplace of ideas while people who don’t agree with them, and who may have been insulted and annoyed by them, shout back.
These days shouting back is called “attacking” Christianity, “muzzeling” Christianity, “denial of first Amendment Rights.” Anything but what it is… normal, everyday discourse.
Tebow, whose recent statements about how God had chosen him for quarterback of the Denver Broncos earned him the sobriquet “Mile High Messiah,” has become a lightning rod for this dispute. Most especially since Bill Maher suggested after Denver lost to Kansas City that “Jesus had just fucked Tim Tebow bad.” Not necessarily an original sentiment. Hundreds of football fans drinking beer at sports bars around the nation likely made the same observation. I know I did.
But Maher is being called anti-religion (which he is) and Tebow is being made into an offended angel for taking these shots. Here is the truth. Tim Tebow has said God put him in Denver for this purpose, and so when he loses, it would seem natural for sports fans and God skeptics to hold either God or Tebow accountable.
What is wrong here is the inability of the religious right to accept the fact that if they raise an issue, someone… likely a smart assed heretic or street corner skeptic… will call them on it. This is not Massachusetts Colony 1630, it’s the USA 2012. If you are going to get into the game, you gotta know there are no rules.