Tim Tebow: Cultural Barometer

Team Speed Kills has an interesting post on the recent past and near-future prospects of one Mr. Tim Tebow:

Simply by being who he was — a home-schooled evangelical Christian from one of the more truly Southern cities in Florida — he was going to be a lightning rod as soon as he became a regular player in the NFL. Not because of football; because of everything else. When he began to take the country by storm in the later part of the 2011 season, Tebow was a Rorschach test for not only what you thought about football, but what you thought about America as well. 

Not that football players who are open about their religion are anything new. But many of them provide people who don’t share their faith a way “out” — a wink or a nod for those they want to cheer for, a dollop of hypocrisy for those they want to criticize. It is easy to take someone’s faith less seriously when they can be perceived — rightly or wrongly — as not taking their faith that seriously themselves. 

Tebow provides no such out.

You hear a lot of debate over whether or not America really is a Christian nation, and I think the response to Tebow demonstrates pretty clearly that it’s not.

America is a country that likes religious symbols, and Jesus is one of the most popular. But when it comes down to it, He’s just another symbol, no more significant to most people than any other religious symbol, like a “Coexist” bumper sticker or whatever talisman is worn by those who worship the Kardashians.

But He’s more than a symbol to Tim Tebow. Tebow takes all that Jesus stuff serious, yo. And that makes makes a lot of people seriously uncomfortable.

In a Christian nation, his attitude would be admirable, but unexceptional. The fact that it is exceptional–and controversial–says a lot.