Bill Press criticism of Tim Tebow . . . Is it a case of friendly fire in God’s army?

Posted on December 17, 2011. Filed under: Christianity in the News, Commentary | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Steeped in Catholicism from an early age . . . he was an altar boy and took vows of obedience, poverty and chastity.  He describes his young self as a “soldier in God’s army” . . . he attended (the Catholic) Niagara University and earned a theology degree from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland . . . Who Am I?

In the spirit of the great American game show To Tell The Truth, in which the contestants included Bill Press and Tim Tebow, the members of the panel charged with guessing the person to whom the above statement belonged might be excused for attributing it to Tebow as opposed to Press, especially given the latter’s comments on his radio show this morning.

For those who don’t follow Press, whose program airs daily between 6 and 9 AM EST, I am of course talking about the controversial host’s admonishment that Tebow should “S-T-F-U” about Jesus.

So how is it that a self-proclaimed “soldier in God’s army” can, with inexplicable hostility, come to criticize a fellow Christian’s open testimony of personal faith?  Surprisingly, the answer is easy because it is in this same spirit that a teacher can send two boys home from school for wearing Santa hats and wishing fellow students Merry Christmas or, where a school district can propose legislation to disqualify both Christmas and Easter as official school holidays.  How about an elected government bantering about the idea of removing any reference to God in the country’s national anthem.

Sadly, and while we seem to show such magnanimous tolerance for other’s rights and freedoms, when it comes to our own values and beliefs we are very quick to dismiss them in a form of self-directed intolerance.  The question is why . . . why are we so readily willing to compromise ourselves while laying down our proverbial coat over the mud puddle for others?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we do an about face and seek to either assimilate or eradicate those whose beliefs differ from ours.  However, and referencing the Abraham Lincoln speech in which he said that a house divided against itself cannot stand (which by the way has its origins in the bible – see Matthew 12:25), it is becoming abundantly clear that America is perhaps morally speaking, more divided today than at any other time in its history with the exception of perhaps the Civil War.

While the clear answers as to the reasons why there is this great divide are varied and complex as highlighted in my March 30th, 2011 post Has America Lost A Sense of it’s Own Greatness or, Why Do Americans Hate Each Other? one thing is certain, we can likely expect to see an ever increasing level of antagonism as the country struggles to find its footing in the 21st Century.

Going back to Press’ comments regarding Tebow giving thanks to Jesus, I cannot help but wonder why the host is so upset.  In my opinion Tebow is genuinely thankful for the opportunity to be where he is and to be given the chance to be part of what is fast becoming the inspirational story of the year.  A story I might add that unlike the global economic crisis and mean spirited campaigning of a pending election is both uplifting and unifying.

Or to put it another way, while Tebow and his Bronco teammates are building bridges, the Press’ of the world are intent upon stoking the flames of discontent and division.  I do not know about you, but I have had my fill of the latter and am ready for a lot more of the former.

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