There is no doubt that one of the hottest topics surrounding this NFL season has been Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow. The former Heisman winning Florida Gator star’s streaky, yet inspired performance over the 3 games that he has started this season has seem to have polarized both fans and analysts on the topic of whether he will become an elite QB. Adding fuel to the discussion has been the emergence of a viral photo pose known as Tebowing which honors or mocks (I’m still not sure) Tebow’s trademark prayer stance.
It wasn’t really a controversy until Detroit Lion’s linebacker Stephen Tulloch, mocked Tebow with the pose after sacking him in an October 30th game. This made me begin to consider the general attitude Americans have towards outward expressions of Christian faith. There is no doubt in my mind that there are certain segments of the population that absolutely hate Christianity or any expression of it. They are the types of people who sue a private Catholic University for discriminating against students who are atheists or practice other religions in spite of the fact that no one is forcing anyone to attend that school. Those types of people exist and are entitled to their opinions regardless of how ironic or misdirected they might be. I think the more important segment of the population to consider when looking at the Tebowing phenomenon however, are those that simply remain silent.
Now let me give you a scenario for one moment. Let’s say Tim Tebow was a devote Muslim who instead of taking a knee, regularly rolled out a prayer rug and bowed east towards Mecca during games. Let’s also say that other NFL players began mocking it. Does anyone honestly expect that to fly with the media? the NFL? American society in general? I am 99.9% certain that there would be some massive outcry against it. People would be calling for those players to be suspended and fined. They would surely be labeled as bigots and ethnocentric.
So why is there not the outcry against those who mock Tim Tebow? Why isn’t he receiving more credit for being open about his faith and an example to so many who watch him? Well that may be up to you to decide for yourself, but I think Jesus gave us a pretty strong answer as to why that is in John 15:18-20. 18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.