The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: The RP’s Closing Argument

The RP‘s Closing Argument

[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response; Michael Steele’s Rebuttal #6; The RP’s First Defense; David Host’s Rebuttal #7; Zack Adams’ Rebuttal #8; Artur Davis’ Second Response; Rod Jetton’s First Response; Ron Crandall’s Rebuttal #9; Jason Grill’s Rebuttal #10]

In the long, storied history of the RP Great Debates (OK, it’s only been three weeks…), we’ve never had so many participants and so many opinions. There is something about Tim Tebow that certainly strikes a chord in so many Americans.

But to conclude where I began, the civility and positivity that Tim Tebow has added to the public dialogue is remarkable, particularly considering the hostility of some of his supporters and his detractors.  And what’s even more remarkable is that the kid is only 24 years old!  To be the idol of of millions and the devil to others, and to still retain such a modicum of humility is truly admirable.

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The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: The RP’s Closing Argument

The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Jason Grill Rebuts

Jason Grill: Rebuttal #10

[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response; Michael Steele’s Rebuttal #6; The RP’s First Defense; David Host’s Rebuttal #7; Zack Adams’ Rebuttal #8; Artur Davis’ Second Response; Rod Jetton’s First Response; Ron Crandall’s Rebuttal #9]

Looks like this issue has almost been completely hashed out. Interesting responses and creativity throughout this entire debate on the RP.

Now, since I am charged with the late two-minute drill, let’s talk football:

Is it Tebow Time?

The Facts…

The GreatCareer College Passing: 661 Cmp, 995 Att, 9285 Yds, 88 TD. Career College Rushing: 692 Att, 2947 Yds, 4.3 Avg, 57 TD, Heisman Award Winner (2007), BCS National Championship Winner (2007, 2009), 1st round NFL draft pick.

The Good: 8-6 as an NFL starting QB and 1-1 in the NFL playoffs.

The Bad: 18th QB scoring in Fantasy Football in 2011 (This is important to millions including me), ranked 32nd QB in passing yards (1,729), ranked 28th QB in overall rating (72.9), and ranked 34th QB in completion % (46.5) in 2011.

Tim Tebow is one of the best college QB’s of all time, but he is a below average NFL QB. Tebow will only continue to have a winning record in the NFL if his team’s running game and defense are great. In 2011, Denver finished 4th in the NFL in rushing and 6th in total defense.

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The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Jason Grill Rebuts

The RPs Debate TIm Tebow: Ron Crandall Rebuts

Ron Crandall: Rebuttal #9
[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response; Michael Steele’s Rebuttal #6; The RP’s First Defense; David Host’s Rebuttal #7; Zack Adams’ Rebuttal #8; Artur Davis’ Second Response; Rod Jetton’s First Response]
The author is the Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary
Thanks for the word on Tim Tebow (nice pose by the way–keep it up).
I think one of the things that people misunderstand about the John 3:16 scripture is the meaning of “eternal life.”
The tendency is to see it as something that starts when we die.  Rather, Jesus clarifies it in John 17:3 when praying for us he says, “And this is eternal life, that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
Tim has already discovered that life, as have others of us.  It’s now.  God’s desire for us all is not just to get us into heaven, but to get heaven into us.

The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Rod Jetton Responds

Rod Jetton’s First Response

[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response; Michael Steele’s Rebuttal #6; The RP’s First Defense; David Host’s Rebuttal #7; Zack Adams’ Rebuttal #8; Artur Davis’ Second Response]

Congressman Davis is right in the closing statement of his last comments. Abortion views are changing particularly with young women.
While Jonathan is right that we can’t say with certainty when a fetus is a life, science is finding out that a fetus is viable at a younger and younger date with each new medical advance.
I had a very good progressive female friend who was strongly pro-choice and would debate the subject with me vigorously. After she was married and decided to have children she had a sonogram.
She had a photo of a hardly recognizable fetus and she pointed it’s heart out to me. She stopped drinking, took extra vitamins and lived the healthiest lifestyle I had ever seen her live.
I didn’t bring it up, but she told me the whole pregnancy experience had made her think about abortion in a whole new way. She still believed a women had a right to control her own body, but the thought that that fetus might be a living person who could survive caused her to re-evaluate her position. 

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The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Rod Jetton Responds

The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Artur Davis Responds

Artur Davis‘ Second Response

[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response; Michael Steele’s Rebuttal #6; The RP’s First Defense; David Host’s Rebuttal #7; Zack Adams’ Rebuttal #8]

A few observations re Jonathan’s comments on abortion.
He underscores why Tebow’s brand of religiosity has lasting political relevance. The Focus on the Family ad is so effective because it attacks the pro-choice movement in one of its strongest places–abortions related to medical risks for the mother or fetus. Typically, the pro-life cause has dodged this line of attack in favor of a focus on abortions as a fallback when birth control fails, or abortions deep in the third trimester.
That the ad works so well, that it did not even strike many of its viewers as intensely political or even anti-choice, is an adman’s dream. And that’s no slight to Tebow or his mother; its actually a nod to the power of their testimony. But as Zack Adams appreciates, the ad is an argument for restricting or even criminalizing a different choice than Mrs. Tebow made. It’s not a plea for compromise; its a plea for codifying the value of unborn life even in the most morally complex, scientifically ambiguous context.  With respect to Jonathan, calling it something less than that probably understates what the Tebows and Focus on the Family meant to say.

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The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Artur Davis Responds

The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Zack Adams Rebuts

Zack Adams: Rebuttal #8

[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response; Michael Steele’s Rebuttal #6; The RP’s First Defense; David Host’s Rebuttal #7]

As a liberal with no religion, how I feel about Tebow’s existence in popular culture mirrors how I feel about, let’s say, Justin Beiber. What they do is somewhat annoying to me, but what is far more bothersome is the level of coverage they are given and how much I have to hear about their antics. Of course, I fully respect Tim’s rights to practice his religious beliefs and honestly, he seems like one of the nicest guys in the world. However, like Robert, I find his personal brand of Christianity to be a turn-off.

I believe Tebow could use his immense popularity to do something more worthwhile than appear in a 30 second Super Bowl spot going all anti-abortion for Focus on the Family, an organization that I plenty of problems with already. Sure, it was a cute commercial with Tebow and his mom, but the bottom line is that they were advocating a position that strips women of their reproductive rights. Mr. Davis put this far better than I could, I’ll just say I’m with him.

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The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Zack Adams Rebuts

The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: David Host Rebuts

David Host’s Rebuttal #7

[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response; Michael Steele’s Rebuttal #6]; The RP’s First Defense]

It seems like the overwhelming consensus of the previous posts is that Tim Tebow is a decent, compassionate person who has the right to share what appear to be genuinely held religious beliefs.

In his thoughtful lead-off piece, Jonathan Miller ventured significantly further, suggesting that Tebow’s example might offer a bridge between evangelical Christianity and other faiths.

Notwithstanding the constructive and enlightening commentary that has characterized this debate, I wonder about the identity of the central question we are discussing.  From a public policy and sociological perspective, which is more important – Tim Tebow’s personal character or his right to celebrate his faith when and where he chooses?  I remain concerned that in focusing so much upon the former, we risk unintentionally imposing “reasonableness” criteria and/or a “sincerity test” upon matters of conscience.
To be clear, I am not implying that anyone has proposed banning or even curtailing individual religious expression at sporting events (though some of the measures that schools have taken to enforce the “separation of church and state” seem to come perilously close).
Nevertheless, the biting and often mocking criticism Tebow has endured in the media seems like it could produce a chilling effect – certainly not upon Tebow himself, but instead upon those who come after him.  As other athletes contemplate whether (and how) to express their faith, do we really want them to worry about whether their personal lives can withstand a media probe for hypocrisy?

The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: The RP Defends

The RP‘s First Defense

[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response; Michael Steele’s Rebuttal #6]

This debate has sparked so many wonderfully different tangents. (That, or I am just high in the moment of Tom Brady moving up my list of Pretty Boys I Begrudgingly Admire.  And no, it wasn’t for leading my beloved Pats to the Super Bowl, but rather for admitting before 40 million Americans that “I sucked today, but our defense saved us.”)

I want to unfurl one of the threads here; and of course, in the spirit of my political recovery mission to grab onto any third rail issue I can, I want to address an subject alluded to by both Michael Steele and Rod Jetton:

Abortion.

Despite my own über-feminism — the product of the extraordinary influences of brilliant women from my mom to my sis to Mrs. RP to the RPettes — I’ve always been quite conflicted on the issue.  Yes, ultimately, I believe that the woman should have the right to make the awful decision, but I’ve never viewed it as an expression of empowerment, or even “reproductive freedom.” I’ve simply concluded that if abortion were illegal, women would still have them, and too many girls and poor women would die or suffer serious injury at the hands of illegal abortionists.

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The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: The RP Defends

The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Michael Steele Rebuts

Michael Steele: Rebuttal #6

[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5; Artur Davis’ First Response]

I’ve always been fascinated by the symmetry between football and faith.

Every great football saga ever told (or at least made for TV) has this underlying storyline about faith: faith in one’s self, faith in God, faith in your team.

So I find it particularly curious and somewhat appealing that Tim Tebow has been able to bring this connection into focus better than any other football player in recent memory.

But of course, folks act like this is something new. Players have been “giving thanks to God” and “taking a knee” in prayer long before Tebow stepped on the field or made a commercial.

So what’s different?

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The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Michael Steele Rebuts

The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Artur Davis Responds

Artur Davis: Response #1

[The RP’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #2; John Y. Brown, III’s Rebuttal #3; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #4; Robert Kahne’s Rebuttal #5]

A couple of observations based on what others have said:
Rod Jetton and Ron Granieri ask the plausible question why Tim Tebow has engendered so much buzz when religiosity and good works in the sportsworld are pretty common; Dirk Meneffee at CBS’ NFL Today asked a similar question on air, in response to Terry Bradshaw’s rave about how Tebow is providing inspiration to a hero starved culture.  It’s a sore subject, by the way, in some sectors of the African American community, who recall Reggie White and a host of other black athletes who aided young people and celebrated their faith every bit as enthusiastically as Tebow without the fame or the credit.
We’ll save for another day a foray into the differences in how black and white athletes are covered by the media (Robert Kahne sort of goes there in his observations about the lack of acclaim for Cam Newton, whose rookie season only produced more passing yards than any rookie QB in NFL history, and who is a superior quarterback and athlete to Tebow, but has received a fraction of the attention that Tebow has garnered–then again, Tebow wins games, and in improbable, breathtaking ways, a characteristic that has eluded Newton at the professional level).

I do think, however, that Tebow’s faith has garnered more interest than his predecessors because it seems to have a larger worldview around it than just sports. As Rod Jetton recalls, Reggie White was unabashed about his faith, even practiced as an associate minister, but if memory serves, Reggie White never ventured into the secular realm of public policy. Similarly, when Kevin Durant, the single best player in the NBA today, opens his post game interviews by thanking God for giving him the opportunity, it seems heart-felt, and often touching, but it is as apolitical as it could be. Tebow follows a bolder path–he made an ad promoting the pro-life cause; he endorses abstinence; and he comfortably appears in conservative forums like Mike Huckabee’s and Sean Hannity’s programs on Fox News. 

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The RPs Debate Tim Tebow: Artur Davis Responds

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