I read an interesting editorial this morning at Fox News: What If Tim Tebow Were A Muslim? The author suggests that the frequent mockery he receives would be largely absent if he were a devout Muslim instead of a devout Christian:
Imagine for a second, the Denver Broncos quarterback is a devout follower of Islam, sincere and principled in his beliefs and thus bowed toward Mecca to celebrate touchdowns. Now imagine if Detroit Lions player Stephen Tulluch and Tony Scheffler mockingly bowed toward Mecca, too, after tackling him for a loss or scoring a touchdown, just like what happened in October.
I know what would happen. All hell would break loose.
Stinging indictments issued by sports columnists. At least a few outraged religious leaders chiming in on his behalf. Depending on what else had happened that day, they might have a chance at becoming Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person In The World.
And there would be apologies. Oh, Lord, would there be apologies — by players, by coaches, possibly by ownership with a tiny chance of a statement by NFL commish Roger Goodell.
I certainly do think that Muslims get treated differently than Christians, in part because the pseudo-Christianity that marks our cultural religion is the majority report in our society and Muslims of all stripes get lumped in with the 9/11 hijackers. Mocking Christianity is a popular sport for academics, media types and others. What I wonder is why Christianity is not more reviled by a culture that is antithetical to everything the Gospel stands for.
When I think about this, I also wonder: What if Tim Tebow were Muslim? Would Christians embrace his faith and devotion and defend him from critics?
I doubt it. Nor should we.
So why should we expect the unbelieving world to applaud someone open and devout about a faith that that same world hates? How many times does the Bible assure us that in this life we will have trouble, that we will be blessed when persecuted and reviled, that the world will and should hate us because it hates Him? There are two kingdoms and every human is a subject of one or the other, the kingdom of this world and its infernal ruler or the Kingdom of Christ where He and He alone is King. As subjects and ambassadors of Christ the King, we should expect nothing less than hostility from the world. So let’s stop wringing our hands about the vitriol directed at a famous athlete, an athlete who shows more Christ0like character in responding to those attacks that those who purport to defend him. The same people mocking Tebow are the people we are called to love and take the Gospel to.