Sunday, January 31, 2010

What If the Message Was "Death to Infidels"?

Probably the First and only time you'll see me link to a sportswriter -- I'm kind of an "indoor girl" -- but I think he makes some excellent points. The swat at Islam is a bonus.

Tim Tebow: A case of ad nauseam
God, it's about time athletes understand it's a multifaith society
January 29, 2010
BY RICK TELANDER Sun-Times Columnist

You gotta say this about Tim Tebow: The dude doesn't mind being scrutinized. You'd think that if there were more to learn about the former star Florida quarterback -- from his NFL-suspect arm to his proselytizing charm -- than what we have learned in the last four years, it would need to come from the CIA.

But apparently we're getting a Super Bowl TV ad that takes us all the way back to -- cherubim and seraphim here! -- the start of the two-time BCS championship quarterback's life!

Like, literally.

Not sure if a manger is involved, or sonograms, but Tebow and his mother Pam are reportedly going to speak in the commerical -- made by the conservative Christian group, Focus on Family -- about how doctors had recommended that Pam, who was ill during part of her pregnancy with her fifth child, have an abortion. Had she done that, well, we'd have a different 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, for one thing.

Numerous women's rights groups have protested CBS' apparent decision to run the 30-second ad -- we're talking a $2.5 million to $2.8million price tag for the half-minute -- because of its religion-based, anti-abortion, thus-political message.


But in a techno world that gives us Viagra ads, rotting CSI cadavers and Jersey Shore morons around the clock, it seems we could survive this reportedly (by Tebow himself, anyway) tame, if impassioned nonsecular statement about a real-world issue most of us would rather keep private. First Amendment considerations alone tell me that flipping the dial would be better for upset citizens than censorship.

Yet there do need to be rules in this world, ones of enlightenment and compassion and reason and respect for others, even if they're rules that are not written in stone and enforced by government agencies. And I would start with this one: religion should not be part of sport.


I won't even begin with the ceaseless statements by athletes that God (a) wanted them to win; (b) decided they should lose; (c) healed their injuries; (d) told them it was OK to knock the snot out of the enemy ball carrier; (e) left them just before they got in that drunken bar brawl.


Studies have shown that we transform our God, whatever religion we espouse, into a deity with philosophical and moral teachings much like the ones we already hold. God's like me, in other words. And the general assumption in the United States is that God is part of our realm and some kind of Christian, likely a rather conservative Christian. We do have the command ''In God We Trust'' on our money, which, one supposes, is better than Ben Bernanke.

But what if Tebow's procession of biblical verse numbers on his eye patches -- guaranteed instant and massive Google hits, by the way -- were verses from the Koran instead?

What if they said, ''Believe in Morman''? ''Scientology Saves''? ''There Is No God''?

Or think of this: ''Death to Infidels.''

That is certainly not what people who love Tebow's endless God-praising had in mind. Yet this is an open and multifaith society, and if one religion is allowed, others will be, must always be.

How did Tebow's college slogans get out there anyway? The NCAA rule book states that nothing but ''a player's number; a player's name; NCAA Football logo; memorial recognition; the American flag; or institution, conference or game identification ... are permitted on a player's person or tape.'' Is it possible Tebow was cut some slack because people like him and nobody wanted to offend the Christian right? Or that the ''powers that be'' agreed with him?

A quarter of the world's population is Muslim, and if our global terrorism battle against zealots is seen solely as Christians vs. Islam, we would do well to remember that there are Jews, atheists, Buddhists, Hindus and yes, Muslims in the American armed forces, and that as All-American a town as Dearborn, Mich., has 10 mosques, and its public schools close for Muslim holidays.

Somehow we've gotten to the point where big-time sport is overwhelmed by Baseball Chapel, Athletes in Action, Christian ministries, God squads and Bible-thumpers everywhere.

I wonder if that bothers Tebow at all. No, of course it doesn't.

But I wonder how he'd feel if he scored a touchdown before a huge crowd, under the beckoning arms of ''Touchdown Muhammad''?

Think of that when you watch his ad.


revereridesagain said...

Again, I apologize for being a spaz about posting videos, but a friend just emailed me this -- speaking of football games -- and it is a major WOW.

maccusgermanis said...

What article did you read? The one you posted was the common moral equivocational bullshit.

revereridesagain said...

And your point would be?

Anonymous said...

and your point is.....

maccusgermanis said...

The point being that I'm much more accustomed to postings at IBA making fun of such torturous comparisons than celebrating them. "such all-American towns as Dearborn"...-istan? That to be fair, Tebow's eyeblack must be seen as equally offensive as "death to infidels"?

revereridesagain said...

OK, mac, here's why I consider Mr. Tebow's ad to be irresponsible: He is using his mother's birth experience with him to put emotional pressure on women with dangerous pregnancies to ignore the advice of their doctors and instead pray to his god. Congrats to his mother and him that their situation worked out well. But they have no business advising women to go against medical advice in favor of faith healing.

Would you like to argue this point with my mother, mac? She will be a bright and healthy age 90 next month. But at age 26 she was lying semiconscious in a hospital bed having just had a daughter (me) and heard one doctor say to another that they might as well send her home because she was going to die anyway.

Unexpected complication, no choice involved. Had my brother a couple of years later, same thing happened. No further additions were made to our family.

Now, this is none of your business or anyone else's here, and it is certainly none of Tim or Pam Tebow's damn business. It was hard to decide to tell this, but I want everyone to know that I value having my mother here more than any imagined additional sibling that you think your god might want her to risk her life a third time having. It is a right to decide whether or not to risk one's life without interference from other people's supernatural beliefs.

Too bad the Tebows are too busy contemplating their own piety to recognize this.

maccusgermanis said...

Your point being that you'd rather not be here? Fact is you are wearing your beliefs on your sleeve every bit as much as Tebow. And stumbling blindly into posting an article making lazy comparisons between "die infidels" and whatever innocuous reference happens to be smudged by Tebow's tears. -Roll Tide-. Neither your nor Tebow's experience is an excuse for blurring quite important distinctions.

revereridesagain said...

Figured that's the first idiotic thing you'd say. I'm here, genius. It's my imaginary brother/sister that's sitting on a fluffy cloud in heaven whining to the wise old man with the long white beard about how mean we are.

Please, just a little common sense, at least. And try to get a grip on the concept of individual human rights applying to women before you imply that a woman should have no choice about whether to live or die, just obedience to your god.

And since you obviously have not figured it out, the point Telander is making is that if anti-choice Christians can air ads at the Super Bowl, then given the First Amendment the Muslims can air ads urging women to wear hijab and submit to arranged marriages.

Yeah, I wear my convictions on my sleeve. You got a problem with that? Is it only a privilege reserved for dewy-eyed good Christian young men?