Friday, February 22, 2013

It's [Not Really] a Miracle!

Occasionally, I go to the AOL website to check on news. Today I found a link to a story on Huffpo, Tim Tebow Officially Puts Evangelical Right on the Sideline.” 

Tebow apparently threw the yellow flag at a Baptist church where he had previously agreed to speak:

In an astonishing turn of events, Tim Tebow has now cancelled his appearance at First Baptist Dallas; and in doing so he has officially placed the political religious right to the far margins of society.Tebow's appearance was meant to be a pretty routine, if flashy event. First Baptist Church invited the football star, more famous for his prayerful pose than his forward passes,

Okay, now that’s just plain mean.

to be part of the reveal of their new church campus, which a press release calls "the largest church building project in modern history."

I’m not sure why a church would want to brag about that, seeing how badly that whole Tower of Babel thing turned out.

Just to be clear, First Baptist Dallas is not an outlier church. It is headed by Pastor Robert Jeffress, a very influential conservative Christian voice, who leads an 11,000 strong congregation connected to the Southern Baptist Convention. The theology and the constituency is squarely within the mainstream of contemporary right-wing Christian thought.But what has changed is that the views of the right-wing Christians are now officially out of step with the growing majority of Americans -- including, apparently, Tim Tebow.

Now out of step?

Dr. Jeffress has never been shy about his opinions

That's a kind way of putting it. Kinder than Jeffress puts his own opinions.

and he offered up some great soundbites in the last election. First he called Mormonism a cult, then changed his mind when Governor Romney (Mormon) was the Republican nominee, and topped it all off on the Sunday before the election by saying that President Obama's reelection would lead to the rise of the anti-Christ.

Exactly when was the last time the idea of a sitting president being the literal anti-Christ was mainstream?

Jeffress has also had a few choice words to say about the gays, namely that "homosexuality is perverse, it represents a degradation of a person's mind;" and Muslims who are following a religion that is a "heresy from the pit of hell."

That’s funny, too, because apparently at least some of those Muslims would agree with him about gays.

So, while it was not surprising that First Baptist Dallas would want one of America's most beloved and celebrated evangelicals to be part of their church opening, it was surprising that a petition began to circulate through urging Tebow to cancel -- and it is positively a miracle that Tebow decided to cancel.

Okay, so Tebow canceled his speaking engagement. I’m not sure it is worth all the hyperbole: “placed the political religious right to the far margins of society”, “positively a miracle that Tebow decided to cancel”, but I can understand that the people who hoped to hear him speak are disappointed. Still, the main focus of the event is surely on the wonderful things God is doing through First Baptist Dallas, what with blessing them with the largest church building project in modern history, so everyone accepted their disappointment with grace, right?

Fast food Christian CEO bullied. Pastor bullied out of praying publicly. Today, athlete bullied out of speaking AT A CHURCH! - Rick Warren

I know it’s just me, but I think “Fast food Christian CEO” sounds hilarious.

It very very sad that Tim Tebow is bowing to the pressure of political correctness and cultural decay in canceling First Baptist Dallas. - Jack Graham

@TimTebow We are very disappointed in your decision to cave to liberal pressure and spurn Christians. - AFA (American Family Association - a lobbying group. Which means they are in the business of applying pressure.)

I think Tim Tebow just damaged his brand by appeasing those who oppose traditional values. - Rick Moore (His “brand”. Well, let’s not worry about anything silly, like his soul.)

I hope Tim Tebow hasn’t been bullied into changing his mind, as opposed to reasoned into changing his mind. I find it interesting that those who think poor Tim has been bullied out of taking the speaking engagement aren’t above trying to bully him back into it.

What do they really expect to happen now? Okay, I think it would be fun if Tebow said, “You know, you guys are right. I would like to speak after all if you still will let me,” and then went on to give a speech about how Jesus sided with the outcasts and not with the church establishment. 

I don’t think it really is going to happen that way. But I think it would serve them right.

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