JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Bigotry

god-hates-fags-kids

By definition, bigotry means “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.” Which, to some, seems to mean I’m a bigot for my post on Tim Tebow. However, I don’t see it that way. I am tolerant of the form of Christianity that teaches the love and beauty of lessons of Jesus Christ. Jesus, in and of himself, sets a wonderful example on how to live. The selflessness, and dying for others. Who can argue?

That said, in this country there is a very powerful genre of Christianity that crosses the line. It’s Tim Tebow’s brand—the “Believe what I say, or you’re doomed!” guide to living. It’s the brand that condemns gays to hell; that convinces people they are deviants for being, well, human; that makes sex this awful, guilt-ridden exercise and that places men in positions of power that women can never attain. It’s the brand that storms a hospital to protect a brain-dead Terry Schiavo and applauds the murder of George Tiller. The Bible is a fascinating book, and I understand people who follow its teachings. But I also strongly question those who take every … written … word … literally. Are there Orthodox Jews and Islamic Americans who act and think the same way? Certainly. But in sports, and in the general population, you rarely see it. We Jews aren’t exactly burning up the professional leagues, and the last Islamic athlete to make any sort of social/religious statement was Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. And he was flogged.

To be clear: What offends me about Tim Tebow isn’t his Christianity. It’s the lack of any reasonable doubt in the message. Whether he’s willing to admit it or not, Tim Tebow cannot know for a fact that Jesus Christ is the messiah and that an afterlife awaits. Hell, in many faiths doubt is not just accepted, but encouraged—ask questions; debate; argue; learn. But Tebow has no doubt. And he and his ilk then storm into developing countries and peddle something as fact, without the facts. They sell that Jesus will save; that your life will be happy and whole with Him; that He will provide. It’s a sales job, and an oft-convincing one. But, sadly, those being preyed upon (and make no mistake—many missionaries (and I’m not saying ALL missionaries, but many) prey on the downcast; the poor; the needy. I’ve been to multiple Third World nations; walked atop the dirt floors and inside the gnat-infested bathrooms. If someone came to your house and said, “I have the answer for all your problems—and it won’t cost a thing,” you’d buy, too.

But, at age 22, can Tim Tebow truly have the answer?

Can anyone?

PS: To be clear, this blog is my place to vent. Please don’t feel compelled to comment if you don’t want to. Someone suggested I write these things to get a response. Nothing could be further from the truth. I write because it’s a forum to do so, and I enjoy it.

PPS: The above photo was the first Google reply when I typed in “bigotry.” Frightening.