December 21st, 2011
11:23 AM ET
By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – When “Saturday Night Live” parodied Tim Tebow’s relationship with Jesus last weekend, not everyone was laughing.
Televangelist Pat Robertson called the sketch, in which the Denver Broncos quarterback is met in a locker room by Jason Sudeikis playing Jesus, an example of “anti-Christian bigotry that is just disgusting.”
Speaking on the Christian Broadcast Network on Monday, Robertson wondered aloud about how other religions would have reacted to a similar parody.
“If this had been a Muslim country and they had done that and had Mohammed doing that stuff, you would have found bombs being thrown off and bodies on the street,” Robertson said.
The SNL sketch had Jesus meeting Tebow after the Broncos come-from-behind win against the Chicago Bears the previous Sunday. In it,
“First of all, you are welcome – yes, I, Jesus Christ, are the reason you have won your past 6 football games,” says Sudeikis.
The skit and the controversy continues a narrative that combines religion, sport, and seemingly miraculous come-from-behind victories and that is turning Heisman-trophy-winning Tebow into a cultural icon.
From Rick Perry comparing himself to Tebow in a recent Republican presidential debate to Sarah Palin describing herself as “pro-Tebow” in an interview on Sunday, Tebow is gaining public admiration far outside of the world of football.
“I am so pro-Tebow,” Palin, the former vice presidential nominee, said on Fox News. “He is so unashamed of his savior, Jesus of Nazareth. He knows that Jesus is going to rock your world when you give it all over to him. He knows that the son of God should be honored a praised and Tebow does that and I respect it.”
Tebow’s on-field calling card has become his habit of getting down on one knee to pray while everyone else on the team celebrates, an act known as “Tebowing.” The gesture had been mocked by Tebow opponents and has led to high school students being suspended but has also spurred a Tebowing website and has been adopted by some other NFLers.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Tebowed during a Monday night game.
Tebow has remained mostly silent about all the drama around him and his faith. An avid Twitter user with over 700,000 followers, Tebow hasn’t commented on the SNL skit or Roberterson’s or Palin’s recent comments.
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero.