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?