Hut, Hut, Holy Moly!
You're more likely to see a miracle at a football game than at Lourdes. Take the recent string of miracles taking place around the second-year quarterback playing for the Broncos. His "miracle" doesn't change much from game to game.
It goes something like this: A burly center looks back through his legs, then hikes the ball straight to a guy named Tebow who runs with it willy-nilly. Several linemen hit their opponents from the other side hard, knocking them silly. Silly knocking is a plus in football. The referee decides a blocker holding a defensive pass rusher by the shirt isn't a violation. The quarterback slips through an opening and makes a touchdown.
Then Tebow gets on his knees and thanks God.
That's worth a chuckle, but I dare not laugh. Hell . . . uh, heck, I better not even frown. Tebow is busy talking with God. This is a moment for piety, a time for me to recapture that pious look I used to effect at the alter rail at communion.
Most football fans, and all politicians, think football is so important the creator of a universe -- huge beyond description -- has a personal interest in it. They don't want no making fun of the deity, or his herald angels like guys named Tebow.
In America any dissenters from claims of our most favored religion are called heretics. That includes me. Naively I think believing in unsubstantiated claims is imprudent, but my thinking doesn't sway many people. Dissent in things religious is discouraged. In fact if I grumble about it too much I'll become a pariah, and Boy Scouts won't have me.
Tebow, of course, does not have those problems. Belief in things supernatural needs no verification. In fact asking for it is blasphemous, and woe unto the blasphemers.
And providence does indeed seem to be shining down on the young quarterback. He looks All-American, even ecumenical. Although he's a Baptist, his name sounds as if it emanated from Salt Lake City. It is on a par with Moab, Deseret, Lamanite, or Nephi.
He gets superstar type press coverage even though his "miracles" are merely average by NFL standards. Since becoming starting quarterback he has won six and lost one. Only in places like Buffalo would that be considered supernatural.
Claims of his heroism are protected by the true believers. Sean Hannity on Fox news went bonkers over the disrespect for a man who's setting such a good example for the youth of our country. Hannity, of course, loves to juxtapose the saintly demeanor of the shining knight in a Broncos helmet with the sinfulness of bad guys -- dopers and adulterers.
Reid Cherner in the Huffington Post quotes a football fan from Alabama (where else?) , as saying, "We are a nation founded upon religious freedom and expression. We're a melting pot. But instead of respecting and embracing our differences we're becoming more and more intolerant. To me, that's more egregious than anything Tim Tebow has done or will do. It's sad, really."
Could it be more egregious than having my a vice president once say an atheist could not be a citizen or patriotic. Or how about knowing that the majority of citizens would not vote for a dreaded non-believer no matter what their qualifications. Albert Einstein and Mark Twain wouldn't have a chance.
And as for intolerance, the Boy Scouts would only accept me if I claimed a belief in God. Otherwise little kids would be told I didn't have the moral qualities to be a scout.