The Tebow Effect: the current magnet for religious bigotry
By: Robert E. Meyer
Tim Tebow is simply the latest super magnet for attracting the sentiments of religious bigotry. There has already been discussion Ad Naseum pertaining to a liberal Rabbi from New England, whose despicable comments about a hypothetical Tebow Super bowl victory, make any inappropriate blurbs from Pat Robertson seem like a Boy Scout’s oath by comparison. Chalk it up as just another secularized clergyman preaching the “enlightened” template of humanism under a religious flag. For quite a while, there have been sports reporter critiques of Tebow’s quarterback mechanics, interlaced with complains that his overt displays of thanksgiving gestures on the football field are totally inappropriate. At least occasionally, one suspects that the former criticism cloaks the latter one. It’s as if athletes and demonstrable celebrations are a new phenomenon in sports.
In addition, there has been much discussion about a recent article from the November issue of Atlantic Monthly magazine, which enumerated Tim Tebow on the ledger among the top 15 Most Divisive Athletes in Recent History. He was there along side of Michael Vick, Barry Bonds, Dennis Rodman, Pete Rose and O.J. Simpson. that list includes various offenses such as cruelty to animals, obstruction of justice, being banned from the Hall of Fame for wagering money on baseball games, standing trial for the murder of his ex-wife, and a history outrageous behavior. So why is Tim Tebow considered to be so divisive? Putting Tebow in that category isn’t merely a mistake, it’s a pervasive, ugly bias, that hasn’t been deterred by the indignation reserved for other forms of bigotry. In reality, he is about as controversial as Mother Theresa. People hate someone who is genuinely squeaky-clean, partly because they don’t look good by comparison. People generally don’t hide, or refrain from talking to others about the things that really excite them. So why should Tebow hide the light of his enthusiasm in his closet?
But for everyone who takes their spiritual convictions seriously, a microcosmic version of Tebow’s saga is par for the course. There are more pejorative canards that revolve around devout religious people, than those that orbit any other issue. Over the years, I have catalogued scores of irreverent and hateful responses to pieces I have written. The one below is part of one of the more memorable examples.
“..what you need to know is that all atheists see you as a delusional, intellectually inferior, weak-willed, gullible sucker who’s incapable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and we laugh at you because of it. I would never hire an evangelical Christian. They believe in nonsense and as such can’t be trusted with things of importance. If I were a customer prospect, I’d never buy a thing from you. (I wouldn’t trust your ability to support your customers in an effective and intelligent manner.) If I were a loan officer, I’d never put a dime in your hand. (I wouldn’t trust your ability to manage your finances or maintain a job through which you could repay me.) If you were a daycare owner, I’d never leave my child with you. (If I couldn’t trust you with money, how could I possibly trust you with my child?) In fact, I wouldn’t even trust you for the time of day if I had to catch a plane. Your intellect, and that of people like you, is sorely compromised, and I’d never allow your kind to affect me personally in any way shape or form…”
What’s interesting is that the person sending this is an atheist, yet his response pertains to my analysis of a scriptural passage which is one of the most abused texts in the Bible. Imagine, an atheist who gets indignant about a theology perspective, of which he claims to lack a belief in to begin with! Rational thinker? Not even in his dreams.
The point here is obvious. The anti-religion cabal is always running around praising their rationality and self-enlightenment. I have heard them yakking tirelessly about the actualization of their own iteration of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Yet, when we observe their behaviors, what do we see but caricatures, of the types of ignorance, arrogance and intolerance, that they falsely condemn people of faith for having. Some of these people are so obnoxious as a nominal minority, that I shutter to think of hostility that would exist if their numbers grow to a small majority.
If you are looking for genuine examples of destructive hatred, focus your sights on those condemning people like Tim Tebow.