Tim Tebow and the Awkward Double Standard

tebow

So Tim Tebow has become a verb. To “Tebow” is to kneel in prayer in the course of of a football game. I can certainly understand why this has become a huge internet meme and the source of endless questions and sports talk discussion and mockery. After all, no high-profile player has ever done that before:

jackson-touchdown-prayerprayerfootball-prayer

66062147

James Jones Endzone Pray

Okay. So perhaps it’s not all THAT rare. Maybe it just the fact that Tebow is seen praying on the sidelines that’s so unprecedented. Or not:

sideline-prayer

The fact is, although there may be no crying in baseball, but there has always been praying in football. And lot’s of thanking of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Remember how the Minnesota Vikings’ great Cris Carter used to begin every postgame interview with a thirty-second “praise the Lord” before answering the question he was asked. You could almost hear the TV director’s eyes rolling out in the trailer, but I loved it. And to my knowledge, Carter’s expressions of faith–both vocal and visual–were never a source of controversy or high-profile mockery.

Hall of Fame

Cris Carter

For years I watched former OU Sooner tight end Keith Jackson take a knee to thank God after every touchdown–something the six-time Pro Bowler had occasion to do 49 times in his nine stellar seasons in the NFL. And I don’t recall anyone ever having a problem with Jackson’s kneeling. And it certainly wouldn’t have become an internet meme even if there had been such a thing as the internet when he burst on the scene.

And then there was perennial All-Pro defensive lineman Reggie White:

reggies-prayer

White’s faith only became controversial after he committed the unpardonable sin, i.e.,  made some politically incorrect remarks about homosexuality.

So in the light of all this, why is Tim Tebow’s faith suddenly a huge honking deal? Why is Tim “wearing his faith on his sleeve,” and “jamming his Christianity down our throats” as I heard one profanity-spewing ESPN Radio guest describe it a few days ago, while dozens of other NFL players who make the same kinds of statements of and exhibit very similar displays get a pass?

Here’s a hypothesis. Take a look at Tebow and the other pictures above and then play a quick game of “One of the These Things is Not Like the Others.”

Is it possible that the popular culture is much more likely to accept/overlook expressions of faith in God from black folks than from white folks? Is there a double standard in the media? I suspect that’s the case. In fact, this is a phenomenon I first start noticing several years ago in the movie and music business.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled that black artists and actors can openly express a Christian faith without becoming pariahs in Hollywood. I just wish other Christians had the same experience.

Frankly, there is something subtly condescending and patronizing in a “oh, aren’t they adorable” way about the manner in which Hollywood and the media elites ignore or even praise Christian faith in African-American celebrities and athletes even while mocking or condemning it in others.

It doesn’t surprise me when the popular media trains fire hoses of scorn and vicious mockery on politicians who are outspoken about their Christian faith (see: George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, et. al.) I recognize there is an invisible, spiritual component fueling the animus. Nor does surprise me that Tim Tebow, whose John 3:16 face paint became a media meme back when Florida played for the national championship against Oklahoma, comes in for special derision from a fallen culture.

But it would be nice if some of the critics would at least have the decency to recognize that the reason Tim keeps talking about his faith is that he keeps getting asked about it.

Kennedy, Umbrella Man, and My Crackpot Theory of Frozen Moment Anomalies

umbrella-man

Today marked the 48th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Over the last few days you may have seen a few of the documentaries and specials recounting and re-examining the event.

Recent advancements in the sciences of 3-D computer modeling and forensics have pretty much put to rest the major conspiracy theories that have thrived over the last four decades–at least for those who are persuadable. For many, it’s just too psychologically painful to accept the fact that a lone nutburger with cheese can change the course of history.

Here’s a great site that calmly, methodically debunks virtually all of the major conspiratorialist theories.

Of course, any attempt to persuade will invariably be met with a hail storm of cited “anomalies” and “wildly improbable coincidences.”

  • What happened to Kennedy’s brain?
  • What about the three “suspicious” tramps that were rounded up?
  • Why did several people see puffs of steam or smoke rising from behind the fence by “the grassy knoll.”
  • And why was a man standing by the road under an open umbrella on a clear, sunny day at the very spot Kennedy was shot. (see photo above.)

Indeed that last item on the list, the man with the umbrella, has been the source of endless speculation and theorizing. Well, today I came across a wonderful little segment (at the New York Times site, of all places), that reveals the secret of the “Umbrella Man.”

The six-and-a-half-minute piece is a beautiful little piece of film making. And it hits on a line of thought I’ve had regarding other massively culture-shocking events such as the 9/11 attacks. I can’t embed it, so go watch it by clicking the image below, then come back for my deep thoughts:

umbrella-man-video

So Umbrella man was an eccentric protester carrying a beef with Joe Kennedy and Neville Chamberlain. If Oswald had had a flat tire on the way in to work that day, no one would have ever noticed umbrella man and there would not have been 48 years of wild speculation about his connection to the assassination.

This brings me to the point I want to make. For each of us, each moment of each day is almost certainly filled with anomalous or oddly coincidental events. But because these events pass by us in the constant stream of time, we almost never become aware of them. For example . . .

Perhaps at a stoplight here in Dallas today, the person in the car behind me was born in the same Oklahoma City hospital as I, and delivered by the same doctor. That would certainly be an odd coincidence. But it’s a coincidence that would never come to light. I turned right. Driver #2 went straight. And the stream of time flowed on.

We all probably miss dozens of such odd coincidences each day.

On dozens of occasions in my life I have missed a flight or changed my flight plans at the last minute. On each occasion, I booked another flight and continued to my destination and didn’t give it another thought. But what if one of those missed flights had subsequently crashed on takeoff? Suddenly my missed flight would take on massive cosmic significance in my mind and in the minds of everyone who knows me. Also, each factor in that day that led to my having to miss the flight would take on tremendous meaning.

Now extend these phenomena across a large area involving a large number of people. This is precisely what a momentous event like the Kennedy Assassination or large scale terrorist events like 9/11 do.

These events freeze the river of time. They create a frozen moment which survivors can subsequently examine, explore and study–for days, years, even decades. And this study invariably results in exposure of many anomolies and “wildly improbable coincidences.”

Take my hypothetical stoplight above, for example. If a bomb were to have gone off in that intersection taking me and that other driver at the light into the next life, some enterprising researcher might have discovered that odd birthplace link between me and Driver #2. With enough study, other commonalities would likely emerge. Perhaps the doctor that delivered us committed suicide several years later (though some in the family always wondered if it hadn’t really been a murder.) All this would certainly lead to speculation and armchair theorizing about motives, plots and something “bigger” going on.

The more people affected by an event, the more “frozen moment anomalies” there are to uncover. And the more sensational the event, the more people there will be spending time, money and energy searching for them.

Did you know that Lincoln’s personal secretary had the last name “Kennedy.” And that Kennedy’s personal secretary was named “Lincoln.” Coincidence?

Why yes. An odd one. But just a coincidence.

Occupying Autumn

arrow_1949_linesman_11

Well the old calendar on the wall says its time for my quarterly blog post.

I miss writing in this space on a regular basis but, for various reasons, a couple of short Twitter outbursts per day is about all I can manage these days.

As I write, the ridiculous “Occupy _________ ” (fill in the blank with the smelly, disease-ridden location of your choice) hippie nostalgia flea circus is still underway and rapidly devolving into little Lord of the Flies reenactments scattered across the country. And they’re finally getting the over-reactions from local police they’ve been craving.

“Come See the Violence Inherent in the System!”


Early on, the “Occupy Wall Street” participants were merely the usual enviro-Marxist rabble who can be counted on to show up and protest any major capitalist event–G12 summits , WTO meetings, NATO conferences, etc.. But once it became clear to the broader Left-wing sphere that TV cameras were going to remain pointed at the Wall Street protests for an extended period of time, the unions and other core constituencies of the Democrat’s base quickly rushed in to “help.”

The robust news attention can be attributed the desperation felt by the liberal media industrial complex to find a grassroots liberal corollary to the Tea Party movement. The fact that many in the media and on the Left actually view the anarchist, know-nothing OWS-ers as reciprocal to the silver-haired Tea Party conventioneers from flyover country speaks volumes about how out of touch they are.

Let’s take a closer look at the “Occupy” movement’s simultaneously hilarious and offensive core narrative–the 99% vs 1%.

99-percent-class

No. No you’re not. If you’re spending day after day camping in Zuccotti park wearing a Guy Fawkes mask advocating the abolition of private property, an end to the free enterprise system, and government control of virtually all aspects of economic life,  you don’t speak for the 99% of Americans who earn less than $1.2 million per year (which is the economic border between the so-called 1% and the rest of us.)

This contrived and arbitrary distinction is nonsense at many levels. First of all the narrative is built around the antiquated, FDR-era notion that Republicans and conservatives are the rich and the ranks of liberal Democrats are filled by the poor. It’s the article of blind faith encapsulated by this popular OWS sign/T-shirt:

99I say “blind” faith because one has to be willfully ignorant of a mountain of facts to still cling to this narrative. The Obama administration is filled with former principals at Goldman Sachs and advised by the very people that who turned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the primary trigger of the debt/liquidity crisis of 2008.

The donor lists of the DNC are a who’s who of the mega-rich and famous. And for every one wealthy conservative trust like that of the Koch Brothers, one can point to 30 left-leaning ones funded by liberal billionaires.

Here’s actress Anne Hathaway marching with the OWS the other day.

one-percenter-hathaway

One of her co-marchers was asked about her views. The reply was, “We’re demanding free higher education.”

And there you have it. The ingredients of this noxious stew are as follows:

  • A gigantic sense of entitlement.
  • Resentment of the successful
  • A double standard that embraces those who make millions singing, writing, or pretending to be other people in front of a camera.
  • Disdain for entrepreneurs, a.k.a., the money-grubbing bourgeois merchants seeking their filthy “profits.”
  • Utter cluelessness about economic realities or the science of energy production.
  • A cheery determination to adopt all of the policies that have the economic wheels coming off in Europe.

Obama, many congressional Democrats, and the media are eating it up.

Update: OWS has lost Jon Stewart! Check out this brilliant piece of reporting from Zuccotti Park. Watch for the delicious statement from one of the occupiers when asked why he won’t share his iPad: “I’m against private property, but not personal property.”