Sport and religion need divine intervention

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Tim Tebow - 3:16 had a certain relevance in his game for the Broncos (NFL)

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What do Tim Tebow and Margaret Court have in common? Using their ‘sport hero’ status, they both feel an obligation to preach to those that don’t follow their belief system, and both have also shared their irrational insecurities about their athletic ability.

Separately these characteristics are tolerable but for me when they are combined they are the most frustrating thing in the sporting world.

Note: Before I get into the nitty gritty, I’d like to say that I am not writing this with the intention of offending anyone. I am simply stating my opinion on an issue which has been on my mind for some time. I will try to do so in the most respectful way possible.

Tim Tebow. NFL quarterback for the Denver Broncos and the man behind the popular ‘Tebowing’ craze .

Along with his footballing duties, Tebow takes every opportunity to pray, talk about Jesus, preach and talk about Jesus some more, much like his pastor father.

When Denver wins Tebow doesn’t put that down to his own ability, his hours of training and dedication to learning the ins and outs of the sport. He doesn’t put it down to the hard work of his teammates and coaching staff around him.

No, he puts it all down to Jesus, first and foremost.

Jesus, to Tebow is basically dishing out favours like he’s got a catalogue of I.O.Us from a poker night gone wrong.

He just calls it “being blessed”.

Tebow has made it very clear that his priorities in life put God first. Not family or friends, not his career, not contributing to the world, but God.

Though I think it’s mad to put family second to anything, that part of Tebow’s faith alone is fine.

In fact he’s not the only sportsperson to have voiced this sort of thanks and devotion to their god or their “lord and saviour Jesus Christ”. It’s quite common actually. If it gives them greater self-belief then power to them.

But here’s what I really don’t like.

In the past, Tebow and his faith led him to put his face to a controversial anti-abortion Superbowl advertisement. But more on that stuff later.

Like Tebow, here in Australia our very own Australian tennis legend of the 60s and 70s Margaret Court was involved in another controversial talking point with her passionate contribution to the Herald Sun yesterday.

Expanding on comments she first made during the ALP conference earlier this month Court, now an evangelistic preacher, listed her pet hates about society today.

This included lying politicians, political correctness, the decline of Christian values and the sanctity of marriage, and the inability of gay people to “work” harder at being straight. Her words, not mine.

Court also revealed her insecurity over her outstanding achievements.

Winning 62 Grand Slam titles during her seventeen-year career, she believes that if she had “accepted Jesus Christ, and believed that he came to earth as the son of god, to die for our sins” she “could have won six Wimbledons, not three.”

Just like Tebow, Court believes that she could have cashed in on some sort of points system where more faith equates to more trophies. What a deal!

Don’t you think it’s sad that these two have such little faith in their own ability?

But back to the religiously fuelled, backward political stance Tebow and Court indulge in.

I truly can’t stand when sportspeople and religion get tangled up in politics. It’s never, ever a good look. As the average sports fan all I’m hearing is, “I’m a big successful sport star, listen to me”. Pure arrogance.

Court and Tebow are fine people. They certainly seem polite and law-abiding. It is true that everyone is entitled to their opinion and should be free to practice their religion.

But when you impose that religion on others, use to it to degrade yourself and those around you, while also spreading outdated, oppressive views, you are pushing your luck.

Anyway, my point in it all is this – separate the two vices. In the sporting arena Tebow and Court are/were marvellous.

Just keep your religion and it’s associated political stances private, and let your sporting gift be public. That’s how it should be.

After all, if my brief stint in the Catholic education system taught me anything (besides how to run a Melbourne Cup sweep), it’s that Jesus was all about humility. Or something.

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