by Michael Maynard
January 9, 2012
"When I saw him scoring, first of all, I just thought, 'Thank you, Lord.'"
Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow upon seeing his wide receiver running for the winning touchdown in a first round playoff victory over the favored Pittsburgh Steelers.
Unless you’ve been living in a medically induced coma or have been fending off the advances of guys named Abdul in a Turkish prison for the past 4 months, you must be aware of the sports and cultural phenomenon named Tim Tebow and his ever present expression of his Christian beliefs. Adding to Tebow’s religious legend is that he has led his football team to six straight come from behind victories. Yesterday, his team was tied at the end of 4 quarters and scored in overtime to win. Tebowing has become part of the vernacular - “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” (Source: Tebowing.com) However, if Tim Tebow looked the same, said similar things, acted the same, but was Muslim, would there be the same cultural interest? Of course not.
There is no question that Tebow is sincere in his beliefs. He has spent time and money doing good works, such as his planned building of a children’s hospital in the Philippines. He remains calm and unflustered by all criticism of his public displays of faith and frequent questioning about his beliefs. While his overall abilities to become a successful National Football League quarterback long-term remain questionable, his teammates like him, seem energized by his physical style of play and are not bothered by all the media attention he receives. He’s a throwback to the clean-cut image of professional athlete in an era of steroids, sex and illegal payoff scandals. Most people would love for him to be their son or marry their daughter.
Being a Catholic from the Northeast, I am uncomfortable with the public displays and constant expressions of personal faith. Tebow, even though he is also a Christian, doesn’t represent me or my religious beliefs. I believe you show your being a follower of Christ by your actions and deeds, not by your verbal statements. I am even more uncomfortable with the insertion of religion in governmental affairs, especially being used as a criterion for selecting a presidential candidate. The last openly religious president was Jimmy Carter was not a success, even though most of the problems that occurred on his term in office were beyond his control. It wasn’t discussed during his time in office, but I’ve wondered how much of his problems in the Middle East were caused by mistrust of his Christian beliefs by the Islamic mullahs.
The current Republican primaries so far have been influenced less by the policy positions of the candidates and more by the religiosity of the candidates. Former governors Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are considered suspect by the right-wing evangelicals because they are Mormons. Newt Gingrich has tried to reform his image as a ruthless self-promoter and craven womanizer by his conversion to Catholicism. And then there is radical Catholic former senator Rick Santorum.
“I’ve survived the challenges so far by the daily grace that comes from God. . . . I offer a public thanks to God.’’ Rick Santorum after his second place result in the Iowa caucuses.
Santorum, who was soundly defeated in his 2006 campaign to be reelected U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, 58.6% to 41.3% by Democrat Bob Casey, and has not held public office since, has become the favorite of the conservative right wing because of his opposition to “libertarian” social values and programs, especially those regarding woman’s sexuality and reproductive rights. Santorum is against all forms of contraception and abortion, including the use of abortion to save the life of the woman during difficult births or pregnancy as a result of rape or incest, despite his wife’s near death during birth. His views to limit the scope of federal government are so extreme, other Senators called him “Senator Slash”.He also sought to modify the “No Child Left Behind” laws to require intelligent design to be taught in public schools as part of science classes.
It is his views on homosexuals that have caused the most controversy. He has argued that “the extended right to privacy ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut did not exist in the United States Constitution and that laws should exist against polygamy, adultery, sodomy, and other actions "antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family". Santorum said those actions were harmful to society, saying, "Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman.... In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality".Santorum later said that he did not intend to equate homosexuality with incest and pedophilia, but rather as a critique of the specific legal position that the right to privacy prevents the government from regulating consensual acts among adults (such as bigamy, incest, etc.). (Source - Wikipedia “Rick Santorum”).
Since Tebowing is part of the vernacular, so should Santorism - Expressing hateful and ignorant social and political views and beliefs infringing on the lives of others.