I do know a little about religion in America, and these days a young man named Tim Tebow is center stage. For those of you not in the U.S. or who have "irritation induced amnesia" from 2006, Tim Tebow is a quarterback who plays (American) football for the Denver Broncos.
He's very good. And he prays. Like, all the time.
They call it "the Tebow." Tim will silently kneel on one knee at various points in the game and pray for a favorable outcome. He prays when he's winning as well as when things aren't going well. He talks to God a lot. Which is, let's admit, most Americans find sort of creepy.
I'm not phased in the least by Tim Tebow's praying because Muslims pray, like, all the time. Technically, five times a day, but way more if you count little prayers.
If I see a Muslim friend, I say, "May the Peace of God be upon you." A prayer.
Than that Muslim friend says, "May the Peace of God be upon you as well as his mercy and his blessings." Another prayer.
When I ask that friend how they're doing they reply, "All praise is due to God" and continue with their sentence. I mean, it hasn't been two minutes and we've already prayed three times.
Oops, I sneezed, so I say "Praise God." We're up to four times.
So the person I'm talking to says, "And may his Mercy be upon you." Five.
My friend gives me a tissue and I say, "May God reward you with goodness." Six.
They tell me they just god a new job and, I say, "As God Wills." Seven gets you to heaven, baby.
And before I do most anything, get in the car, start writing something, lose my temper, start cooking, I say, "I seek refuge from Satan and his evil, and begin in the name of God." I don't know, that happens anywhere from ten to fifteen times a day? And I will not even begin to count how many times I ask for forgiveness.
So, I pray a lot. Which means I don't think Tim Tebow is off putting for praying. And before you go, "Well, you're not kneeling on the floor and..." Yes. Yes, I am, for at least five of those thirty or more times times, I am kneeling.
You know who is off putting these days?
Many of you know, Bill Maher does not pray because he's an atheist. WHICH IS FINE. Great. And good for him!
That's not the annoying part. The annoying thing is that Bill Maher thinks ridiculing Tim Tebow and other religious people is some sort of activist thing. I know he has a right to say what he likes, but I have a right to dislike him for what he says and take his methodology to task, too.
I'm not even remotely suggesting laws be passed or boycotts or anything of the like.
Bill Maher is just oblivious to the fact that he employs the same kind of "blinders on" thinking that he suggests are the source of all of our problems in the first place. News flash, Mr. Maher, you can be a fundamentalist and not believe in God. god. Whatever. Ridiculing Tim Tebow makes him look good. In fact, the third most googled term last week was "Tim Tebow 3:16."
Maher and other people who think this is all so very hilarious actually take the focus off of a very important fact: Tim Tebow ascribes to a paradigm that promotes the meshing of public policy and conservative Christian values that seek to limit the civil rights of American citizens to marry and women's reproductive rights. Furthermore, his popularity is either rooted in implicit support for this paradigm or is aimed at garnering support for it.
Now that would be a cause for concern for me if I weren't so annoyed with Bill Maher making fun of the fact the the kid prays so much.
Last week on on Hey! That's My Hummus!, Mike and I discussed Tim Tebow as well as how Jamaican nationalism is affecting a recent translation of the Bible. You can download from iTunes or listen at the main site. We're on Facebook and Twitter, too.