What are we to make of the almost universal condemnation by the liberal media of the Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow?

Tebow, an underperforming young NFL player who had previously failed to live up to his lofty college reputation, was recently pressed into the starting role as quarterback for the Broncos. He has responded by leading the Broncos on an extended winning streak, with several of the games being won in improbable fashion with last-minute rallies.

After each victory, Tebow gives thanks to G-d with an obvious, unashamed on-field display of reverence.

Such public displays of religiosity and faith have led to unrestricted criticism and mocking by the liberal media. Negative articles have been written. Commentary by announcers has been sarcastic and condescending.

The question, of course, is why? Why do the liberal media feel so offended or threatened or simply put out by Tebow’s actions?

One of the first things a committed liberal says is that religion has no place in the public square and that there must always be that wall between “church and state.” The Constitution mandates that, they say, citing the First Amendment’s famous clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”

What these selective Constitutional scholars conspicuously fail to quote is the next segment of the very same Amendment, which goes, “….or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” Reasoned people would argue that Tebow is merely availing himself of that right to free exercise.

And how, exactly, is Tebow’s on-field behavior different than when David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz hits a home run and looks skyward and points upward with his two forefingers as he crosses home plate? What is he doing—paying homage to the Delta Airlines flight passing overhead? After recording the final out of a winning game, superstar pitcher Randy Johnson would point to the sky from the pitcher’s mound, “…in tribute to my Dad.” Where did he think his Dad was—in the top row of the bleachers? More importantly, where did the media think Johnson was pointing and why? Why are Ortiz’ and Johnson’s (and many other athletes’) overtly religious gestures towards “heaven” somehow less controversial and offensive to the liberal media than Tebow’s actions?

There is an undercurrent of thought among many liberals that this country was not founded on religious principles and any display or even the slightest implication of a public religious gesture should be forbidden, lest someone of a different (or no) faith be “offended.”

From an historical, factual standpoint, that thought is incorrect. The United States was indeed founded on Judeo-Christian values, and specific, unequivocal religious references abound in both our founding documents and in today’s day-to-day society. The famous phrase in the Declaration of Independence, “….that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights….” would have to have a wildly imaginative interpretation for the word “Creator” not to mean G-d.

Our money says, “In G-d we trust. Court proceedings are begun with, “…so help you G-d.” A display of The Ten Commandments resides in the Supreme Court. The public examples are numerous and overwhelming as to the religious underpinning on which our society is founded.

The question is not whether we are a country that was founded on religious principles. We are, quite factually and provably.

The question in the minds of secular-progressives is whether we should continue to be such.

That is an entirely different issue than whether we are a religiously-founded country. Any well-spoken, articulate secular-progressive can logically and clearly speak as to why the religious foundation that shaped the Founding Fathers’ outlook and governing philosophy is no longer relevant, helpful, or valuable in today’s complex, diverse, multi-faceted world. Similarly, today, a thoughtful, intellectual religious person can make a convincing presentation as to why belief in the tenants and guidelines of a faith-based lifestyle strengthen—not hinder or distract from—the ability to lead a productive, ethical, compassionate life. A spirited, intelligent, unemotional discussion between the two sides would be quite illuminating.

Would the liberal media take such enthusiastic, critical note of a public display of, say, Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or even Jewish religious expression? Likely not. Do the media take note when the display is “toned down” a bit (such as a quick Ortiz heavenward point) vs. Tebow’s overt Christian display?

No, the media do not take note of or mention Ortiz’ quick gesture. It’s easy to figure out why.

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