Sport and religion need divine intervention

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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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    The Crowd Says (87)

    • January 26th 2012 @ 6:30am
      Charles Hubbard said | January 26th 2012 @ 6:30am | ! Report

      Read what God wants to teach Tim Tebow…

      • January 26th 2012 @ 4:16pm
        CHARLES ROCKEFELLER said | January 26th 2012 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

        this is a terrible and bias article against Christians – why does she dislike and have NO TOLERANCE of Christians – again Christian are vifiled and rediculed for their beliefs – knowing Jesus Christ and following his teachings is the best life style choice I believe one can make and everyone has to make life style choices – and I am so glad I follow Jesus Christ – I have been given an eternal future.Margret Court and Tim Tebow have great veiws and I too love Jesus Christ .

        • January 27th 2012 @ 10:33am
          kovana said | January 27th 2012 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          Most transparent xtian i have come across on the web.

        • January 27th 2012 @ 4:02pm
          Gob Bluth said | January 27th 2012 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

          Stay away from that shellfish Charles, lest you be damned to eternal damnation……

    • January 26th 2012 @ 7:34am
      Andrew said | January 26th 2012 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      Following your logic, it’s not ok for Tim Tebow or Margaret Court to express views about faith, marriage or abortion because they are sporting athletes and should keep their political views silent. You can’t have it both ways. Current or former professional athletes should have the same freedom as anyone else in the public spotlight to express their views. I notice that Wallabies player David Pocock has taken a very public stance backing same sex marriage – should he be silenced too?

      • January 26th 2012 @ 1:21pm
        Brendon said | January 26th 2012 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        Its not like Margaret Court and Tim Tebow are the ONLY Christians in sport. There are plenty of other christians in sport. Difference is they don;t act like complete boobs about it like Tebow and Court do.

      • February 8th 2012 @ 1:39pm
        Matthew Skellett said | February 8th 2012 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

        Well lol Andrew I’m sure there are many ,many ‘bible-believing christians’ who DO actually want to silence Mr Pocock because of his sympathetic views towards gay marriage -christians only believe in free speech when it’s not used to show up their own beliefs for what they are and be blessed 🙂

    • January 26th 2012 @ 7:34am
      Gormon said | January 26th 2012 @ 7:34am | ! Report

      Good luck with this, I hope you don’t open a huge can of worms against these do-gooders. I felt the same way when that Chilean miners thing happened; they each thanked Jesus for helping them, not the people who actually toiled away to do it! But I agree, keep sports and religion separate!

    • Roar Guru

      January 26th 2012 @ 8:37am
      Rabbitz said | January 26th 2012 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      If you feel the need to believe in mythical fairys at the bottom of the garden, or sky beings that is all well and good.

      But keep it to yourself.

      IMHO the right to religious expression does not override the obligation to not be overtly offensive. I, and many others, are offended by obvious and blatant proselytising. Your beliefs are between you and your Deity of choice.

      Besides, if your Deity is responsible for all of you sports skill, may I politely suggest, you give back all the money you have been given as a result of that skill, you are claiming it under false pretenses.

      • Columnist

        January 26th 2012 @ 9:40am
        Ryan O'Connell said | January 26th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        Rabbitz, I read an interesting quote from Ricky Gervais the other day on Twitter: “Offense can only be taken, not given.”

        I think what he was basically saying is that it is an individuals choice if they’re offended by something. Not sure if I 100% agree with him, but it’s an interesting viewpoint nonetheless.

        • Roar Guru

          January 26th 2012 @ 9:59am
          Rabbitz said | January 26th 2012 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          My only collary in agreeing with that assessment is intent.

          If the intent is to offend or intimate superiority then offence can clearly be given. Proselytising is saying “my Deity is better than your Deity”, or “you are a lesser person because you don’t believe in my Deity”.

          Or more closely related to the subject – “I am a better sportsman than everyone else because of my Deity”.

          All these statements are designed to cause discomfort or offence in the listener.

          • January 26th 2012 @ 10:14am
            kovana said | January 26th 2012 @ 10:14am | ! Report

            “I am a better sportsman than everyone else because of my Deity”.

            Really… did he say that? Or are you making up stuff much like how people believe in Sky wizards etc?

            • Roar Guru

              January 26th 2012 @ 10:27am
              Rabbitz said | January 26th 2012 @ 10:27am | ! Report

              Talofa Kovana,

              They are not direct quotes, and were never meant to be.

              Am I not allowed to characterise a mythical being in any form I wish? As restricting this would infringe my right os religious expression. Many Christians believe that man was created in God’s image. Many people believe that they are wizards, therefore God is a Wizard who lives in the sky. Q.E.D.

              For the record I am a Pastafarian who believes in the Flying Spagetti Monster. (look it up)

              Rev. Dr. Rabbitz D.D.
              May you too be touched by His noodly appendage

    • January 26th 2012 @ 9:04am
      Titus said | January 26th 2012 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      Its funny how these two don’t preach messages on the dangers of overpopulation, the depletion of resources, the destruction of the natural environment, the dangers of greed, materialism, corruption and over-consumption and the need for all the people in the world to get together and solve these issues with or without divine assistance.

      • January 26th 2012 @ 9:57am
        BigAl said | January 26th 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Show business people have got this well and truly covered.

        • January 26th 2012 @ 11:09am
          Titus said | January 26th 2012 @ 11:09am | ! Report

          Haha….very true.

    • Roar Guru

      January 26th 2012 @ 9:14am
      Kazama said | January 26th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      I’d have to say sports stars, or celebrities in general, claiming that God is the reason they are successful is one of my biggest pet peeves.

      Firstly, because they are basically discrediting their own abilities, the hard work they have put in to achieve that level of greatness, and the efforts of those who have supported them on their way to the top, solely for the sake of their religious beliefs.

      Secondly, because it follows that underlying Christian idea that if you don’t believe what I believe, then I’m better than you. If you want to be as good as me, then you have to believe.

      Essentially, they are using their status to preach and convert, and while they’re free to believe and say whatever they like, there is a problem there. To me, it’s just bloody annoying, but to others who idolise these people it can have an impact on what they think. And when you bring politics into it, or homophobic views such as Court’s, then there is a big problem.

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