Jonathon Goldsmith plays The Most Interesting Man in the World in a very popular television commercial. He possesses fascinating traits that capture the attention of the world.. This article is about a man who may not be the most interesting man in the world but he is certainly one of the most polarizing figures in American Culture.
Tim Tebow was the miracle baby of his mother, Pam. In 2010, the Tebows coordinated with Focus On The Family to sponsor a Super Bowl commercial to tell their story. When Pam was pregnant with Tim the doctors told her she should abort her baby to avoid life-threatening complications. She refused and now, like him or not, the world has Tim Tebow.
George Weigel asks why Tim Tebow is so controversial in his article for First Things. Tim Tebow is “more polarizing than trash-talking NBA behemoths; more polarizing than foul-mouthed Serena Williams; more polarizing than NFL all-stars who father numerous children by numerous women, all out of wedlock. Why does Tebow, and Tebow alone, arouse such passions? Why is Tebow the one whom “comedians” say they would like to shoot?”
ESPN ran a Sunday morning special in September of 2011 exploring the divisiveness of Tim Tebow, who started the season as the 3rd string quarterback of the Denver Broncos. Urban Meyer, coach of the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, said he felt cautious when Tebow arrived at the University of Florida. Here is a sensitive, sincere, good looking kid who has exposed his heart to America. Would he set himself up for failure? Would his image come crashing down due to sex or drugs or steroids? Meyer was on a mission to find hypocrisy in Tim Tebow. He came up empty. Tebow was the real deal.
Tim Tebow has become the poster boy of evangelical Christianity. Some love and admire him because he has shown that he has the intestinal fortitude necessary to take a stand for Christ and endure the ridicule that is sure to follow. Others hate him because they interpret his evangelical message as being exclusionary and offensive. No one wants to be told they are wrong or that their names are not written in the Book of Life. Tim Tebow finds himself in the eye of the hurricane because of his biblical beliefs regarding sin. Society is hypersensitive regarding issues such as homosexuality and choosing abortion. Tebow is standing in the crossfire between those people who categorize those issues as sin, deserving of God’s judgment, and those who believe such people to be arrogant and judgmental.
The haters are many and varied. Just google ‘I hate Tim Tebow’ and browse through the nearly 4,000,000 hits to discover just how vehement this hatred is. One commentator mocked Tebow’s Christian testimony and the Bible verses inscribed on his black eye patches. “Hey, look at me! I’m a Christian! I read the Bible! God doesn’t care who wins the game, I know, she told me so” he wrote.
Comedian John Oliver spouted “I hate Tim Tebow” in one of his performances. He explained that if he had Bin Laden and Tim Tebow in the same room and he had a gun with two bullets, he would shoot Tebow first. Bill Maher refers to Tebow as a douche bag. Facebook and Twitter are overloaded with Tebow haters. It doesn’t take a trained psychologist to understand why they are hating on Tebow.
In January of 2005 the Vikings were playing the Packers at Lambeau Field. Randy Moss caught a touchdown pass and then proceeded to entertain millions of fans by simulating the act of mooning in the end zone. The commentators seemed to react differently. Chris Collinsworth tried to muffle a giggle while Joe Buck expressed his outrage, “That’s a disgusting act by Randy Moss and its unfortunate we had it on our air live.” In contrast, Tim Tebow takes one knee and prays to his God. Guess which act stirs outrage around the water cooler on Monday morning?
Tebow’s habit of taking a knee and placing his fist to his forehead has birthed a cultural phenomena called ‘Tebowing’. Visit this website to discover how ‘Tebowing’ has become the recent rage. They are Tebowing in Haiti, in China and at the Vatican. They are doing it in Afghanistan and in Kuwait. Grooms as well as brides are Tebowing before they tie the knot. Small children are Tebowing. Soldiers and airline pilots are Tebowing. A miner in New Zealand Tebows deep under the earth and a mountain climber in Austria Tebows on top of the world.
Some are not so enthused about Tebowing. The administration at Riverhead High School in Long Island suspended four boys for Tebowing in the hallways of the school. One of the suspended was Conner Carroll. When asked on ESPN’s Sports Center if his suspension was worth it he replied, “I did this to show tribute to Tim Tebow. He is a winner, he is a leader, he has great faith, you know, he’s a perfect guy to follow after…he is not a guy doing steroids or drugs or anything like that. He’s an ideal role model. People should look up to him.”
The list of athletes with a criminal record is too long to add to this discussion. Recently, a Chicago Bears player was arrested for setting up a drug distribution ring in the city of Chicago. College coaches (from Penn State and Syracuse) have been accused of sexually molesting minors. Why are so many expending so much energy hating on a man who is one of the few remaining, decent role models for American youth?
Doug Giles expressed this conundrum well in an article he wrote for Townhall: “Let me see if I get this straight: A sex worshipping, multi-tattooed thug with three illegit kids from three different women scores a touchdown and then proceeds to simulate a sex act in the end zone — in front of our children and the millions watching by television — and that’s okay? Why sure it is. Who are we to judge? Matter of fact, let’s give that future inmate a Nike ad and bump his contract up a few mil because he brings spice (and crabs) to the game. Ah … sweet progress.”
Why do they hate on Tebow? It’s not because he is obnoxious, it’s not because he is rude or depraved. It’s not because of his football skills or lack thereof. They hate on him because he is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and because he truly believes it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
Jeffrey Kuhner, in an article for the Washington Times writes: “Christianity is gradually being purged from the public square. Christmas celebrations have become offensive. “Merry Christmas” is now considered to be politically incorrect; the proper greeting is “happy holidays.” The Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in courtrooms or classes. Prayer has been banished from public schools. Christians are regularly mocked in movies and TV.” Kuhner describes this cultural deconstruction of Christianity in our society as Christophobia. He continues, “Christophobia forms the basis of modern liberalism. Leftist progressives are determined to destroy traditional America and its seminal institutions - the Constitution, capitalism, national sovereignty and the family. This is why they have declared war on Christianity.”
If Tim Tebow would leave out the name of Christ he would not be criticized so harshly. There is great power in the name of Christ. True salvation comes to the heart through the name of Jesus Christ. (John 3:18) Christians are baptized in his name, (Acts 8:16-17), they pray in his name (John 14:13-14) and they are granted eternal life in his name. (1 John 5:13) Why do people use the name of Christ in vain but they don’t use the name of Buddha or Mohammed or Allah? It’s because no man is threatened by any other name than that of Jesus Christ. His name has a mysterious power associated with it and they fear that power. Fear spawns hatred.
Why is Tim Tebow hated? He is hated for the same reason Christ was hated. People run from the truth because it is too painful to face it. They hate what they fear. They don’t fear Tim Tebow, they fear the message he bears. His message clearly states that all will be accountable to God for their decisions and their behavior. It was the message of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and they chopped off his head for propagating it. It was the message of Jesus (Matthew 4:17) and they crucified him on the cross for preaching it. It is the message of Tim Tebow and that is why he is being hated on. Jesus Christ predicted it: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18) But Christ also promised eternal life for those who stood firm to the end: “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13)
Stand firm, Tim Tebow. Please don’t disappoint us. Christians will take courage from your witness and our youth are in desperate need a godly role model.