November 9th, 2011
01:16 PM ET
'Tebowing' prayer stirs debate, but quarterback is OK with it
By Steve Almasy, CNN
(CNN) - Tim Tebow is used to being a lightning rod. While he was the quarterback at the University of Florida, he drew a lot of attention. And we mean a lot.
He won the Heisman Trophy (the only sophomore to ever win the award), and his team won two NCAA football titles. Plus, he was very public about his Christian faith. He wore Bible verses on his eye black. He invoked God frequently at news conferences.
No one doubted that Tebow was a great college quarterback and a good kid. But all the media attention made some people weary of the name. He's good, they said, but he's no messiah.
Being a great college quarterback doesn’t always translate into being a good pro quarterback and, let’s be honest, there are more than a few people taking great glee from the second-year player's recent struggles with the Denver Broncos.
And even some of Tebow's better moments on the field are sowing controversy. During an October 23 contest against the winless Miami Dolphins, the Broncos trailed until a last-minute touchdown and two-point conversion by Tebow tied the score. Denver won in overtime.
Afterward, Jared Kleinstein, a Denver-born Broncos fan who was watching the game from New York, noticed that Tebow had knelt in prayer, alone on the sidelines, while his teammates celebrated on the field.
Kleinstein decided to take a picture outside the New York bar where he had gathered with friends. Six of them knelt on their knees with their balled-up right fists to their faces, Tebow-style.
Kleinstein started a website, www.tebowing.com, defining Tebow as a verb: “To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” His photo was the first one posted.
More photos came in from around the world. People Tebowed from the Philippines, the Vatican, Iraq, even in front of the Great Pyramid. They Tebowed at the airport, at the hospital, even at an "Occupy Chicago" protest. As of Tuesday, Kleinstein had posted more than 600 photos on his site.
Tebow, for his part, approves. “Love it,” he wrote on Twitter.
But did he love it when Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch sacked him in an October 30 game and proceeded to “Tebow?”
“He was celebrating and having fun with his teammates. I don’t take offense to that,” Tebow said during a session with the media last week.
Tebow, who has started three games for the 3-5 Broncos, does not shy away from criticism of his quarterbacking - or of his faith. The son of missionaries, he embraces his spotlight to draw attention to his Christianity. He and his mother appeared in a Focus on the Family anti-abortion ad that appeared during the Super Bowl in February.
That kind of faith-based boldness separates Tebow from other religious sports figures. His more public displays hearten supporters and enrage detractors.
Some commentators, like ESPN.com writer Jemele Hill, think making sport of Tebow's beliefs is offensive. She writes of Tulloch's Tebowing pose:
Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, a Christian, says there is some jealousy of Tebow among other NFL players. But he doubts the Lions were making fun of the quarterback, even though another player Tebowed after scoring a touchdown during the same game against Denver, a 45-10 rout.
“I don’t believe people are saying, 'I am going to mock his faith,'" Dungy said on his website, All Pro Dad.
Former NFL quarterback Phil Simms isn’t surprised that other players want a piece of a player who is new to the league and whom the media obsesses over.
“They want to see you [succeed] on the field first,” Simms said in a video on Sports Illustrated’s website.
Tebow acknowledges that some who have sent their pictures into the Tebowing website are making fun of him and some are mocking religion. But he told the Denver Post he prefers not to judge anyone. He told reporter Lindsay H. Jones:
What do you think? Are people being disrespectful of religion by Tebowing? Was Tebow asking for it?
About this blog
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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
I mean come, Teabow is nothing but a hypocrite. Like God is going to bless him so that the other team losses. Give me a freaking break. There is a place and time for praying. You don't pray to God so that the other team loses. I think God has better things to listen to then such foolishness. What ever happened to "may the best team win"?
All due respect to you how on earth do you know what Tim was praying for??? you don't, I don't. They all do it, mostly in the endzone but they do do it so lets not claim that Tim is the only one who does! I am a girl who loves footlball and watches it every week-end so I do know what I am talking about 🙂
Tina, your crush on Tebow is duly noted.
Tallulah, please duly note my crush on Tina.
Oh, you crazy kids. I hope it works out.
Ha you guys are crazy 🙂
I haven't read every comment posted for this article but this is my opinion. I love Tim Tebow and admire him for his faith. I was not brought up in a religious family but do admire people who can show so much faith to their God. I believe everyone should be able to make their own decisions on how they live their own lives, religion included. I do not preach to others on how to live their lives but I also expect people not to preach to me. In the end, how are we to know which is right anyway? Like I already said I am not a religious person but if there really is a God shouldn't He be more concerned about important things instead of scoring touchdowns. I would think He would be more concerned with kids dying of horrible illnesses or dying of hunger. There is so much suffering in this world than any one of us posting a comment can imagine. Anyway back on subject. I may not agree with professional athletes thanking God or showing it in celebration after scoring but if that is what makes them who they are then so be it. I for one support Tebow in his actions and think he is a good person.
There is no God, that should help clear things up for you. You admire Tebow for his faith? Why? Anyone can say they have faith. I do admire him for helping others to a certain extent, but not because of faith. But because he wants to. There is no divine intervention "calling him" to do the Lords work! What am I five years old here? Fuking hell.
I'm not saying either way but what makes you sure there is no God? Even if there is no God I see no reason why you have to make people feel bad and rub it in their faces. This seems to be what all the non-believers are doing on this blog anyway. Every person on here has their own opinion, including both of you. Like I said they are just OPINIONS. It doesn't mean you are right or wrong it is just what you believe. Or don't believe in your case. I admire Tebow for his faith for this very simple reason.... because I do. He has undergone so much scrutiny because of it and he his still holding true to his values, morals and religious beliefs. I never once said he was answering a religious calling. Any good person would do what he has done to help the less fortunate. Notice I said any good person not any good Christian.
Hey bison, as long as people are using religion to advocate discrimination, you don't get a pass on what you believe. Sorry. If people use their god as an excuse to hate, I have no problem pointing out the fact that there is no evidence that any god ever existed.
You can point out anything you want. I can't say I believe either way I just wanted to know how someone can be so sure either way. If you get what I mean by that. I don't see how someone can be so sure there definitely is a God or there definitely isn't a God. It is just a matter of personal opinion.
People pray to win games because god is an extension of their selves. People think that god should be more concerned about hungry children because god is an extension of their selves. God is the same self-extension, in all cases, and the reason it is so contradictory is because humans are contradictory.
bison, people are using their "opinion" to deprive people of their rights. When an opinion is used to discriminate, it's a bad opinion. Also, no proof, ever, of god. Sure, if he shows up I'll believe, but unless he's a better individual than his followers, I won't worship him.
I agree with you Tim. It does not answer the question at hand though. Yes, people may pray and believe those things for those reasons but it still doesn't prove whether there is a God or not. It is a question that no one person can answer including everyone posting in this blog. I respect a believer's opinions just as much as a non-believer's opinions. Like I said earlier though I do not respect either trying to throw their beliefs at others. If someone willingly wants to learn about either side then that is their choice and they should explore it further.
Tallulah, I'm not sure I agree with your statement about using an opinion to discriminate therefore it is a bad opinion. Isn't you thinking it is a bad opinion just an opinion in itself? Or me disagreeing with the statement could be my own bad opinion. "Unless He is better than his followers" seems a little stereotypical. (Once again an opinion) It doesn't matter what anyone says in these blogs because they will always be that persons opinions being posted. If you don't believe now and it takes God showing up at your front door step for you to believe there actually is a God, I respect that. If He ever does show up let me know because He will have to make a stop at my house next, lol.
I agree with you, too, Bison. I can't prove that there isn't an invisible, immaterial hobgoblin sitting on my shoulder, and I can't even prove that there is one. I'll have to go down scratching my head on that one.
The bottom line is what Phil Simms said. The players are going to be hard on another player who people in the media and mainstream society give him a football status sort to speak that he has not earned. All the fanfare and things surrounding would he be a top pick. Well...as good as Tebow played in college – these people acted as if the guy played like Cam Newton? Now if Tebow had played like that in college – then all of the attention would have been warranted. Yes Josh McDaniels picked him in the 1st round. But no other football guy would have done it. Because he did not deserve to be drafted that high. I respect Tebow as a person!!!!!!!!!!!! And like to see him play. But if you would have put guys like Newton, Dixon, Locker & McCoy on that Florida team. Those guys would have played just as good or better. And believe me....championships and Heisman's would have been young. For the record... as long as he has his mobility...he has a chance to have some success in the league.
It is just breakin' balls. Timmy is a big boy, he can deal with it.
I DON'T CARE HOW GOOD HE IS AT PING PONG. HE HASN'T CURED CANCER.
Here is the door nitwit | |
God is dead
IF IT NEVER EXISTED THAT MEANS IT NEVER LIVED AND IT CAN'T BE DEAD IF IT NEVER LIVED.
I think it doesn't matter what I think. His belief is that. His belief.
NO MORE GLOBAL BANKING ELITE PUPPETS! RON PAUL 2012! THE ONLY INTELLIGENT CHOICE FREEDOM AND LIBERTY LOVERS HAS TO MAKE!!
Wow, right on topic. Just the response an intelligent person would post on this story.
I always thought that prayer took place in church, or your home. The whole idea was to feel closer to god. I think Tebow craves the attention & is using his praying to gain attention. A true Christian wouldn' t need to display their faith in public.
He wears his religion like a cheap baseball hat.
There is a Bible verse that says we are to "pray without ceasing". Unless we live our lives confined in a church or our house, we're going to be praying in public. I think Tebow uses his platform to show people that it's okay to have an active faith outside of your home and church. And there are many people that are inspired by his faith. Those who choose to disdain his actions are not his target audience anyway.
IF YOU PRAY WITHOUT CEASING THEN YOU'LL NEVER FIND A JOB.
Right on TRUTH, I love that. Perfect.
You are mistaken about Christianity. Christians are under God's command to share their faith everywhere they go, always.
The word "Church" comes from the greek 'ecclesia which means "The called out".
Some how the word church has morphed into being a building which of course pleases those who like to keep God confined to a building or keep those "nuts" they despise confined in a building.
So, prayer in "church" is quite appropriate, meaning anywhere you are.
Jim, if that is true please book me a rocket to another planet pin head.
Well a true Christian does display he beliefs without holding back. He is not ashamed to display his beliefs and I admire him for that. Yes I am a gator fan and I love Tim Tebow and he does not crave attention and never has craved it all he wants to do is play football.
Like I said their are more atheist in CNN's religion blog than anyone else. Think I'll move on.
God, if you're there, thank you for sane atheists!
Of course they are being disrespectful. And of course Tebow is asking for it. Such is the human species.
FUNNY ARTICLE. I HATE BASEBALL OR WHATEVER IT IS THIS GUY PLAYS WHEN HE SCORES A HOLE IN ONE.
The kid who was Tebowing while chemoing obviously wasn't Tebowing enough.
GREAT WAY TO MAKE FUN OF CANCER KIDS. GLAD THEY MAKE FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL AMUSEMENT.
I saw a website featuring "Tebowing". It was pretty funny, but I think I prefer "Leisure Diving".
I might not feel the same as a muslim or buddhist or pagan but I won't openly mock or say that they can't give a prayer or whatever the desire to do. We have freedom in our country and this should never be taken away. It isn't forcing others around to join in. If you don't want to join, look away, but don't mock or insult that person for their beliefs.
The only religion I mock is the Atheist religion. But that's because they are always arguing with a God they supposedly don't believe in. Which I find most do believe in God, they are just angry with him for something their daddy did to them a long time ago.
Why not? It is the Christian way. What is good for goose is good for the gander right?
ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION. IT'S THE OPPOSITE OF RELIGION. I DON'T ARGUE WITH A GOD BECAUSE THERE ISN'T ONE TO ARGUE WITH. EAT THAT!
I love these articles. Atheist are so obsessed wit God. How pathetic yet amusing. Atheis talk more about God than preachers. So funny.
And we spell better, too.
Ooh nice comeback. That must have required both brain cells.
You must have used spell-check this time. It's looking better.
Nah, sometimes I don't feel like fighting with iPad tomget the word right.
Because Athiests know far more about religiion than Christians. That is our curse. Teaching religious people their own religions.
LOOK WHO'S OBSESSED
I post from my ipad sometimes. Even though it takes longer, I always try to make sure my spelling is correct. I agree it's a pain, though.
On 11/9/2011 HeavenSent said the following to me:
He skated around the question because he knows I've got him figured out. Anywho, he probably deserved what happened to him.
She was referring to the fact that I was se xually molested by a pedophile when I was 12 years old.
I bring this to your attention because at one time, I thought HeavenSent was just a harmless old hag mad at the world. Now I realize she is far stranger. Perhaps dangerous.
No sane or decent person would make that kind of statement. I encourage you not to engage HeavenSent in conversation. In my opinion, she has clearly crossed the line. She is IN FACT a nut case.
My opinion only, but that is exactly what she said and that is really creepy. You be the judge.
HS is beyond a doubt an evil person. Anyone who thinks a child deserves to be molested is simply vile. If she is an example of a christian, then christianity is repugnant, and the god they worship is pure evil. Why would anyone wish to spend eternity with HS's god? Why would anyone want to spend even a second with a repulsive being who would reward such behavior? Eternal torment would be a pleasure, compared to that.
AO, I'm not sure if that was her or her imposter, but no matter, it was vile.
Take heart though, she also bet her life that you were molested by a priest - so she's toast now anyway.
Best to you...
She was right. With the way you act around here, it was pre-karma.
I feel certain it was her. Anyway, I am just saying she REALLY crossed the line today. Sick sick sick.
Can someone tell me who the fuk "raka" is and why it thinks it knows me?
Raka, Yeah, we know what your name means, you putz face...
The 'Tebowing' prayer is in direct contradiction to Christ's words in Mt 6: 5-7, and Tim Tebow's whole look-at-me Chrisitianity is clearly forbidden in a number of nearby passages, as well as elsewhere in the New Testament.
Acting self-important and sanctimonious in the name of Christ is contradictory, and that's exactly how Mr Tebow comes off.
Ahh, the self righteous and atheist living in harmony. It's a beautiful thing.
"It's wrong because my book said so!" - Come on, this is the argument of every member of every religion in the history of the planet.
Good job taking the text out of context. Why is it that people, to try to prove their point, use factually incorrect information and actually prove themselves wrong. The verse you are speaking about is talking about people who pray solely for the purpose of having others see them so they can get accolades from them, ie so people think they are holy or spiritual. If the verses were meant to be literal we should never pray in public, then why would church be necessary, that would be against what God wants for us. Rather, it's not the praying that is the problem, but the intent. As for Tebow, I don't know his intent, and I'm would venture to say you do not either, so why bash him, at least until you have any credible facts about why he does it.
@ Josh – Thank you for freely admitting that the bible should not be taken literally! Moderate Christians, OK. Fundamentalists, not so much!
RAKA, IF I WERE GOD, I WOULD MAKE YOU A SPACESHIP SO YOU COULD FLY TO THE MOON. AND THEN WHEN YOU LANDED ON THE MOON, I WOULD TAKE THE MOON AND THROW IT INTO THE SUN.
Duce – you missed Josh's point. The verses were quoted out of context.
There are metaphors, parables, poems and many other tools for conveying ideas more completely in the Bible. Some parts are literal and historical, some parts are illustrations to explain difficult concepts. Perhaps you should read it with a scholar before you make such blind generalizations.
You're welcome. Don't get me wrong parts of the Bible are to be taken literally, but others are obviously allegorical. For instance, Jesus says "if your right hand causes you to sin you should cut it off and throw it away", now it may just be for me, but If I were to take that verse literally I would have no hands :). Instead He is making the case that making poor moral choices (sinning) can be so harmful that it can overcome parts of your life, and the best remedy to stop, if you are really serious, before you get in over your head, is to stop the action immediately, even if it hurts. It will be better for you in the long run. At the same time, when Jesus died and rose again after three days the Biblical account of it is taken literally. How can you tell the difference? Read what the early Christians believed, read what the church for 2000 years has taught, and most importantly if you are willing, go to a quiet room close your eyes and ask God to talk to you. If you do it with an open mind for five minutes, I will promise you, the effect will be profound, but you must have an open mind and be willing to hear from God.
@ Jim – I am a scholar, but I wouldn't waste my time with the bible. Apologies but sometimes education cannot make up for a lack of natural intelligence.
@ Josh – Fundamentalists are holding the world back on a mass scale! I am a Political Science and History major and I have seen the ill effects of religion on the people of the world. It may do good on a small scale but, globally it is the greatest cause of ill will, torture, exploitation, genocide, etc.
It's interesting that his faith is so scrutinized, when there isn't a week that goes by when I see a football player score, then look up to the sky and point. Unless all of these players are looking at the planes flying by, it would seem to me that many people look to God in these situations for whatever reason. Why aren't they being scrutinized as well?
A quick 'Thanks, God' or 'This is for You' is far different than the elaborate touchdown dance that Mr Tebow has created.
America offers freedom of religion, not the right to have it respected. Come on, these people pray to a being from outer space whose life story sounds a lot like Horace. I was cracking up when that guy Tebowed, Tebow. Your a christian, great, keep it to yourself and just play football.
Your an athiest, so take your own advice and keep it to yourself.
Don't watch Tebow and don't read any articles about him. Your choice to do either, no one is forcing anything.
So how many of you are in this "Squad"? Do you all just sit around the same computer, making comments by committee? Don't any of you have anything better to do?
I have never been a Tebow fan or supporter but I can't knock a young athlete that stands for what he believes regardless of what others think. Especially in professional football. Most would go with the flow and try to be like others. Not him. He takes criticism and negative comments from reporters and writers and seems to keep focus on being a better player. I can't say anything other than I hope he succeeds as a quarterback and continues to promote his beliefs. That is why this is a great country,
ME NEITHER. I HATE SOCCER. AND RELIGION.
Soccer is the worst.