SNL Tim Tebow controversy continues debate over quarterback's faith
A "Saturday Night Live" sketch imagined a meeting between Tim Tebow and Jesus.
December 21st, 2011
11:23 AM ET

SNL Tim Tebow controversy continues debate over quarterback's faith

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,
Sudeikis jokes that instead of reading the Bible, Tebow might want to read the playbook so that he (Jesus) doesn’t have to intervene in the 4th quarter.

“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.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Christianity • Sports • TV

soundoff (553 Responses)
  1. dOUG

    I can see so vividly the drool dripping down Pat Robertson's mouth when he dreams of himself being the one who can "have...bombs being thrown off and bodies on the street” over any joke that he perceives to be "anti-Christian." Can't you just feel his envy when he talks about the "Muslim countries" who supposedly have such power?

    That's the thing with religious fundamentalists, they all crave the same totalitarian political power.

    January 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  2. Danny O

    Hey Pat your an Idiot. that's why we live in this Counrty So WE can say what we want without fear of Bombs and dead bodies.. go to those countries and preach your form of preaching and they would string you up and pull off your arms and legs

    January 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Average American

      I'm free to say what I want and that gives me all reason I need to say it! Even if it does offend millions of people! That's the American way! Since I've never stepped foot in a church I am glad these comical actors are on the TV giving me the scoop on this whole religion thing...they're making fun of it and my friends are making fun of it, so I don't think I need to devote any extra effort to seeing what the Chrisitian Church are all about. Man, thank goodness I have the TV and ignorant friends to learn from or else I wouldn't know what choices to make in life...well, except for what beer to drink and which women to lay down. Oh wait, I guess TV and ignorant friends influence that too...wait, that would make me, oh no I'M A TOOL TO POP CULTURE!

      January 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Eddie O.

      Did Pat Robertson get plastic surgery to create those "Yoda" ears? Can just imagine Jan Crouch tugging on those!

      January 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  3. AZ Wildcat

    If there was anyone who knows disgusting bigotry, it is Pat Robertson.

    January 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  4. E

    How can some Christians be in everyone's face about their choice of religion then be mad when it is chewed up by popular culture and spit back at them. If you are going to contribute to the lexicon of pop culture with your annoying (and PERSONAL) choice, accept that not everyone feels the way you do (and never will) and they are going to (respectfully) have their way with it. There was nothing wrong with the skit, it was funny and exactly what the other 80% of us think about religious zealotry.

    January 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  5. Russ

    Real Christians don't "Tebow" over a football game. Thanking God for victory or praying for victory in a football game is as superficial and selfserving as it gets. As if God or the Lord really care who wins, rather it should be more about real life and issues with substance, life and death, physically and spirtially. The Lord says to "go into your closet to pray' not to show yourself before the masses as a pious person but to 'do it in secret' and God will reward you openly. Tim Tebow is wrong to "Tebow" and is being disobediant to the teachings of Jesus. He is putting on a show, the Lord knows his heart and would not approve.

    January 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  6. Joe

    Jesus would frown on this outrageous and flamboyant display of "faith". This isn't displaying faith, this is seeking attention. Real believers do not need or desire attention. I think there's a phrase in Matthew 6:5 that has something to say about these people. Ah yes, there it is. Jesus did frown upon this.

    January 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • joco

      Tebow is to flamboyant and evidence of his faith is not by what he says but by what he DOES. Jesus also said...who do YOU say that I am? Jesus does not want someone lukewarm afraid to say that he is the savior and the only way to GOD. Just keep shinning the light of Christ Mr. Tebow, well done.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  7. denverjoe

    best part of the skit is at the end... "Mormonism.. its all true, every word!" 🙂

    January 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  8. Michael

    Pat Robertson complains that the SNL skit of Tebow is "anit-Christian bigotry that is just disgusting." yet she's ok to make her comments about Muslims with no reprimand? I think the comment below is far more disgusting than anything I saw in the SNL skit.

    “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.

    January 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Dano973

      You do know that Pat Robertson is a 'he' and not a 'she', right?

      January 8, 2012 at 2:50 am |
  9. FL Jimmy

    I'm trying to figure out why god doesn't have any feelings for the team that he causes to lose so his team, the Broncos can win. Why is there no mercy or compassion for the losing players since their future salaries depend on their record ? Seems pretty harsh to say the least to punish a player's family just so your own team and chosen special player Tebow can win a football game.

    January 6, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • par4doc

      And the Bible says "life is fair"....where?
      If life was fair, we would all go to Hell. My recommendation for you, in all disciplines in life, is to first throw away the notion that life is fair.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  10. FrankC

    Our national moto is still, "In God We Trust." What has America come to when 50,000 people openly worshipping mere mortals for hours is called normal while one man openly worshipping God for a few seconds is considered weird, offensive, and unacceptable?

    January 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • dionysus

      Oh stop being such a drama queen. Christians aren't persecuted, they're in the majority. And besides, this is SNL so it's just a joke. Get that twist out of your panties and enjoy life. I bet if your God really existed he'd have a sense of humor and not be complaining about a comedy show.

      January 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • FrankC

      Actually, if he existed he'd show his love for us by coming into the world we've made wretched in order to save us, and people like you and me would mock him while we crucify him. Oh wait, that IS what he did.

      January 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • @dinoysus

      Let's be real. Christianity, simply by self-affiliation and name only are the majority of Americans. People such as Tebow, who by Christian definition, are saved and living out the faith described in the bible are few and far between. And I'm not talking about just doing good works either. Thousands of Americans fall under the category of people who do good works.

      January 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  11. Tim Tebow

    Jesus is my gay lover.

    January 5, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Joe

      LOL!!! omg i spit out my coffee. warn us next time!!

      January 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  12. steveinmass

    Abortion: Pam Tebow was told to abort Tim in the Philippines

    “We went to see a doctor in the town we lived in and she said it wasn’t a baby at all,” Pam recalled. “[She said] he was a mass of fetal tissue and that I needed to abort him immediately if I was going to save my life.

    Pam and Bob, who heads the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, both describe it as a “God story.”

    The Tebows already had four children. But in 1986 as Bob was preaching in the Philippines he weeped over the loss of millions of babies in America who were aborted and never given a chance. He then prayed, "God, if you want another preacher in this world, you give me Timmy."

    “I’ll raise him to be a preacher,” he vowed.

    The next day he shared with his family his prayer and then Pam, Bob and their four children together started to pray for “Timmy” by name to be conceived. Pam later became pregnant.

    Finish reading this at: http://www.christianpost.com/news/tebow-super-bowl-ad-leads-viewers-to-god-story-43666/


    Over 14 million precious American babies have had their skulls and/or bones crushed or their bodies poisoned by so called 'doctors'. Read more about this scourge on America known as 'Abortion' here:

    January 2, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Dr Bip

      I am not pro-choice either. I am pro-abortion. Thank god my relatives founded this country where I am free to make sound and rational decisions regarding my body and my life. My abortions were right for me. Go ahead and stew over them all you want. But what the heck kind of weird diversion from reality is that for you anyway? God bless (my) America that allows opinionated people like you to sound off freely. Go right ahead. And I will go ahead and fight to protect abortion.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Mark


      Help me out. Why is Mr Tebow in the Phillipines? It's already 95% Catholic after being converted to Chrisianity by the Spanish a long time ago.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Iconoclast

      Sounds like a concocted story to me. Kinda like the bible.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Joe

      Over 30,000 people worldwide die every single day due to hunger and starvation, but i don't see your panties in a knot over that. In fact, you and your kind are all but silent on the awful atrocities of this world brought on by capitalism, the pursuit of the almighty buck, and greed. You are all silent. You pick out abortion as an issue to fight on, yet turn a blind eye to far greater evils right in front of you. Why? Are you all stupid? brainwashed? ignorant? No, you're just LAZY. MORALLY LAZY. And there will be no place for the morally lazy in heaven.

      January 8, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  13. Leland Williams Jr.

    SNL is antichrist. Tebow is a man of dignity. Lorn Michaels is a liberal democrat. Shock is what Michaels pedals. An antichrist .... did he learn it in NY from Choemsky? http://www.endtimesurvivalguide.com

    January 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Pedals? Is "shock" a bicycle?

      January 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • JohnR

      From who?

      January 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Iconoclast

      Noam Chomsky rocks! He PEDDLES logic and reason. You peddle fea,r hatred and avarice, and prey upon the ignorant. End times my A$$, xians need to quit trying to start WW III and realize this is the one planet we've got.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  14. jbs

    bobby: (You said every time somebody professes there faith in public they are made fun of).

    Than i suggest you go to Iran, or any Islamic country and professe your faith in public!!!!. NO CLUE

    January 1, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  15. Barry G.

    I stopped watching SNL over 10 years ago, when I realized that I may have laughed (or lightly chuckled) once the entire night.
    Who cares about SNL and what it thinks.

    December 31, 2011 at 4:49 am |
    • Mirosal

      Regardless of how much they try, the writers will never, EVER be able to duplicate the success of the original "Not Ready for Prime-time Players" 1975-1979. Now THAT was comedy writing and timing at its best!!

      December 31, 2011 at 4:54 am |
    • JohnR

      The year they had Billy Crystal and Martin Short was a lot better than the originals. But that's ancient history, too, by now.

      January 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  16. Bill

    This is an unfortunate setback for all faiths; this guy may be a skilled football player but his religiosity has no place in all this. Playing football and being a "missionary" don't mix when it goes to this extreme and the religious extremists are the very people who are doing a lot of damage in our country right now. He's giving people of faith, believers, a bad name by his antics!

    December 30, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Haime52

      Sorry, but true religion permeates one's WHOLE life. It is not a cloak to be put on or taken off, when it is convenient or inconvenient for others. His display of faith is his own and none of our business or that of that media. I do not see that he is trying to ram his faith down anyones throat, but he is making a very public statement that many are fearful to make, for the very reason of unwarranted and unwanted commentary. For that, his act of courage should be commended!
      Are there any real Americans who would deny their country, when on only slightly hostile territory?
      Would you think less of one who denied America when face to face with someone hostile to the U.S.? Probably! Is religion and allegiance to your God of such less import? Something only to be spoken of or on display in private, or in consenting company? Do none of us have any convictions that we feel are worth dying for? If a conviction is held so loosely, that it is not worth dying for, it becomes a mere opinion and NOT a conviction. Convictions may be right or wrong, but they are the only things worth dying for. Even went all have forsaken, a real human will stand up for his/her convictions, even in the face of death. That is what makes us human and why we have survived thus far, in a wicked and treacherous world, we believe and are convicted of something(whatever that may be) that is bigger and more important than we, ourselves.

      December 30, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Balls McGhee

      Haime, if you say it is none of our business, than why is it that Tebow is making it our business by being in anti-abortion commercials, and converting non-believers and other antics to publicly announce his faith? he should make it none of our business. there are thousands of other religious players that dont make the headlines because they keep it to themselves.

      January 1, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  17. Anonymous Coward

    A guy named Jesus had something to say about this. You can read it in Matthew 6:5.

    December 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Haime52

      Maybe anonymous, but no coward!

      December 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Xavier120

      haha, how dare you point out a clear and concise portion of the bible that proves "tebowing" is clearly an insult to Jesus. too bad none of these religious fanatics ever actually read the bible or follow its true practices. Tim Tebow is the anti-christ.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:24 am |
  18. achepotle

    Pat Robertson? Didn't that kook "Rapture Up" last March with the other kooks?

    December 29, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • Eddie O.

      I think he was thinking about doing a cover of Blondies' "Rapture"!

      January 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  19. timb

    “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.

    Now Pat I think your advocating a course of action that some might consider UnAmerican. I don't think that murder and mayhem are covered in humility, charity, or faith. You better settle down and take your medication before someone pulls your plug and shuts you up.

    December 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • qqqqqjim

      Spot on!! I've only listened to Robertson once, several years ago, and only because the TV was on that station and Iwas busy, but caught just enough of this buffoon. I couldn't believe the garbage this hate monger was spewing out of his s0-called Christian mouth. He is downright dangerous and should be shut up. Please, someone pull the plug on this nut job.

      December 29, 2011 at 10:02 am |
  20. bobby

    every time somebody professes there faith in public they are made fun of. it is not new. keep it up tim, i hope some day you win a super bowl.

    December 28, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • rrpostal

      Awww, look, it's the poor, persecuted majority. They just can't catch a break in this country.

      December 30, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Haime52

      rrpostal = Some feel privileged to be so persecuted! "Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for so presecuted they the prophets, which were before you..."

      December 30, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
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