Faith on the Football Field?

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After the winning field goal, the quarterback of the Denver Broncos NFL football team dropped down on one knee and said a quick prayer. This act, which quarterback Tim Tebow has repeated in other games, is his way of expressing his faith, in that he believes he should give glory to his God for his accomplishments. Now, “Tebowing”—the act of dropping down on one knee to pray, elbow planted on knee—is widely mimicked both to praise and to mock the young star quarterback’s faith.

Ever since his college days as a Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida, Tim Tebow has been known as a man of strong personal character and religious beliefs. During his college games, he often had “John 3:16” written in the shading under his eyes during the games. Millions saw the scripture, and others copied it with other scriptures on their own faces during games. Now, with Tebow’s public professions of faith making news in the National Football League week after week, controversy is swirling.

It is hard to argue with the young quarterback’s success. Since taking over as starting quarterback of the Broncos, Tebow has had an impressive record of six wins and just one loss. The Broncos had previously won just one of five games this season. The joyful Broncos are now seen as serious contenders for a spot in the playoffs.

However, because of Tebow’s open displays of faith, he is not without his critics. A sports lawyer on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor last Tuesday (December 6, 2011) expressed disapproval of Tebow’s religious gestures, saying that whether or not the young quarterback has the “right” to act so openly expressive of his faith, “it is offensive” that he does so. One way or another, Tebow has been criticized as “a polarizing figure” whose actions have raised a chorus of critics as well as supporters.

Recently, a former Denver quarterback said he “would rather not have to hear” about Tebow’s faith, and that “I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates,” Tebow offered a poignant response: "If you’re married, and you have a wife, and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only tell your wife that you love her on the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and have the opportunity? That’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ."

Some may now find it “offensive” and “polarizing” to see people make expressions of faith in public, but for the first 200 years of U.S. history, public expressions of faith were not only commonplace, they were expected. Today’s secularists, however, twist the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to say that they have a “constitutional right” to a “faith-free” public life. They think religion should be confined to churches and private places, and banned from public display. This view is already public policy in France, and many would like to see it become the law of the land in the United States.

How did such a view gain traction in American public life? This startling change of perspective came about because of the increasing secularization of society and the rejection of God as the definer of right and wrong. For two centuries, the “Judeo-Christian ethic”—principles gleaned from the Old and New Testaments—stood at the foundation of the philosophy and ethic on which most American law was based. In recent years, however, that foundation has been attacked by those who would seek to marginalize the role of biblical values in public life—not only in the U.S., but in Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand as well.

Will public expressions of faith be further marginalized in the future? If so, will this bring any particular consequences on those nations that move farther away from biblical values? Scripture reveals that, near the end of this present age, the U.S. and Britain will lose their once-great national blessings as a result of their rebellion against God. For more on this subject, read our informative booklet, The United States and Great Britain In Prophecy, or request your own printed copy absolutely free.