Isn't Friday a perfect day for some shameless self-promotion? I think so.
A while back, I blogged about my "Religion and Sports" course and mentioned Tim Tebow--the quintessential "Sportian" and "superhuman" cult of personality. Somehow this caught the eye of Sean Gregory, a sportswriter at Time. So the other evening we had a delightful conversation, and here's the result...
Before the 2010 Super Bowl, Tebow threw himself, headlong, into one of the country’s most divisive and deeply personal debates — abortion — by appearing in a pro-life Super Bowl ad for Focus on the Family, the prominent Evangelical organization. (One touchstone of Tebow lore: his mother, Pam, suffered from pregnancy complications with Tim, and a doctor told her that an abortion might save her life. The devout Pam gave birth to Tim anyway, and many of Tebow’s supporters view his success as a message from God.)
Tebow seems to have crossed a line that most athletes have respected. They’ll celebrate their own faith, but won’t challenge yours. “This is a sticking point,” says Arthur Remillard, a religious studies professor at St. Francis College in Loretto, Pa., who teaches a course on sports and religion, and starts it off with a Tebow discussion. “It’s one thing for an athlete to say 'Thank you, Jesus,' on a Sunday afternoon. It’s another for him to make what amounts to a declaration that ‘I am morally superior to you.’ There’s a segment of the fan base that’s not too keen on hearing that.” Continue . . .