December 29th, 2011
05:48 PM ET
Bill Maher takes on Tim Tebow and feels the wrath
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN)– On Christmas Eve the Denver Broncos were getting destroyed by the Buffalo Bills* on the football field and comedian, liberal commentator, and religious provocateur Bill Maher couldn't help but tweet about it.
People quickly responded to Maher on Twitter and called him (in summary) a hell bound atheist piece of trash. Maher's social media jab was picked up by the media too and landed in newspapers, websites and TVs everywhere. Pundits and twitter users called for a boycott of Maher's HBO show Real Time, and threatened to cancel their HBO subscriptions.
The timing could not have been better for Maher. The new season of his show begins next month and the week between Christmas and New Years is a veritable wasteland for actual news. In a world where no publicity is bad publicity, Maher scored big.
Maher has long skewered people of all faiths as part of his act. In 2008, Maher starred in "Religulous" a documentary that poked fun at any and all religions.
For all the fury aimed at Maher for the Tebow crack, the long time atheist received comparatively little heat for his Twitter dig at Jesus the next day on Christmas.
It was insulting Tim Tebow, not Jesus Christ, that drew the ire of a nation.
"[Tebow's] public image is built on goodness and virtue," Patton Dodd said. Dodd is the author of "The Tebow Mystique: The Faith and Fans of Football's Most Polarizing Player" and the managing editor of Patheos.com. "His particular expression of Christianity, or Christian witness, is built on acts of kindness to the poor and needy and to strangers. It's not just taking a knee on the field and thanking Jesus after the games. I think a lot of his fans know that."
Dodd said fans likely felt defensive towards Tebow, but acknowledged an athlete so public about their faith could not viewed as untouchable.
"I think the difference here is what Maher said was particularly crass and crude and I think it's seen as aimed more ... at Tebow's fan base than Tebow," he said.
For those who said Maher crossed an unspoken line with the tweet, comedian Pete Dominick said no way. "Our job is to push the envelope. There is no line for us. We don't have a line. You can make a joke about my kids getting cancer as long as it's funny. It has to be funny. That's the only rule, that it's funny. We're supposed to be controversial we're supposed to be provocative, that's what our job entails."
"He's begging to be made fun of," Dominick said.
Dominick, who is also the host of Stand Up! with Pete Dominick on the POTUS Chanel on SirusXM, said Tebow's outspokeness about his faith makes him a prime target for comedians. "He goes out on TV and talks about his faith, he puts it on his eye black. We're going to choose to make fun of it. Always."
"I think it's the wrong thing to get upset about. It's a tweet. It's a predictable tweet from a guy who says these kinds of things and who has an audience who love him for those kinds of things," Dodd said.
For his part Tebow has not commented on Maher's tweet, keeping true to his formula of not engaging critics. Dodd said part of what makes Tebow such a great athlete is his ability to block out the noise and focus on the game of football. Requests for comment from Maher were not responded to by his publicist but Maher tweeted on Wednesday night:
There Maher goes after Tebow in far more than in the 140 characters Twitter allows per post.
If Tebow and his Bronco teammates can win on Sunday they will make the playoffs.
*An earlier version of this story incorrectly had the Detroit Lions as the Broncos opponent. We regret the error and apologize to Bills fans everywhere. They have suffered enough this season.
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 like the fact Tebow isn't screaming allahu akbar
Unless you work at an abortion clinic
@Lucifer's Evil Twin - hmmmm. Didn't know abortion doctors that are killing the kids are all Christians. I would have pegged most of them as, well, Atheists I guess...
Preacherbot: The path to robot hell is paved with human flesh.
I'm pretty sure he's referring to "Pro Life" terrorists killing said doctors and workers. What's really funny is that the stats on attacks tell that these murderers strike when Democrats are in positions of power. Obviously a hate group. Obviously domestic terrorists.
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
– Seneca, Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD
Thanks Dave. That settles it.
Short and sweet, good quote.
Jesus hated "religion". Religion is man made. Christianity is from God
@Dave - just to be clear, I was being sarcastic. This ranks at least in the top 10 dumbest posts of the night.
Sorry for repeating – it's just comes up so often here:
"People who can only quote other people to make their points are lazy SOB's that are no better at thinking for themselves than the people they criticize, though they fail to recognize that fact" - By me – right now
Don't drop random quotes to sound wise. It's not working.
Agree. With so many religions claiming to be the one and only truth how can all be right?
I agreed with a quote and reposted it. It was meant as a thought. Like this thought 'you sound like an ass'.
@Dave – oh, please. You used a quote from someone else to ridicule another group of people, plain and simple. How are you not an ass for that? Hiding behind an 'enlightened' quote...makes me wonder if you're just a 24 yr old living in your mom's basement.
Bill Maher is repugnant & offends me. He tries to pass himself off as politically astute. I loved it when George will exposed his low I.Q. a while back. You should have seen the dumb look (it's natural for him) on Maher's face. Maher is such a no talent, angry, frustrated atheist. He offers nothing of value (like H. Stern). He thinks he shows courage by practicing bigotry on peaceful Christians. Anyone seen him going after Muslims like this? Didn't think so. His followers are shallow as well. Tim Tebow, although not yet a good quaterback, is a good role model for youngsters. I ask all to boycott Bill Maher.
Maher goes after Muslims on a regular basis – all the religions, in fact. I'm not saying I agree with what he believes, but you shouldn't judge what you don't understand. Religulous would be a good starting point to understand his views.
Are you kidding me? Maher speaks on all religions equally. You hear one line from Maher and think that's the extent of all he speaks on? Gimme a break.
Imagine how much funnier this will all be when it comes out that Tebow is gay
tallulah13, i am a Christian, correct like the other 75 % of this country. You sound like a Maher, atheist wanna be... If you knew much about the Bible, the 10 commandments weren't written to us.
Why do posters mention how many Christians live in a particular country during a particular period in time? Would your belief be any more or less true if only one person knew of it? Sheer volume of believers doesn't make one right. Dig deeper.
Who were they written for? Please tell me. They are only the foundation of Christianity.
There are 628 commandments. You pick and choose.
Jesus is going to roast your balls for misusing his name and teachings, bob.
I am not even a Christian but I am so annoyed how this Zeitgeist crap has infected its BS into the mainstream. The guy who wrote Zeitgeist made up all of those similarities with those deities to Christ.
That's not true – there's ample archaeological evidence that the basic story of Christ existed for thousands of years beforehand in other cultures.
I find it funny how the people who bash Tebow and his religion seem to have no concept of what religion is about and obviously have no clue as to what a person prays for. I'm not a huge Tebow fan but I have been a bronco's fan since the mid 60's he obviously lacks some skills but he lacks nothing in heart and motivation. He seems like a good person and does alot for the community and people which seems like a better trait than some of the other people in our society. I would rather see someone like Tim Tebow on tv professing his religion than someone being arrested for being involved in a drug ring or dog fighting ring or an assault on a spouse or child or whatever else seems to make the news. If athiests are right when we die so what, but if christians are right sucks to be athiest.
Rush says something bordering on 'not nice" about Michelle Obama and all the nets from ABC to CNN to NBC are all abuzz about the most loathsome man in media (to them) and the comments are equally heinous. There is no one defending anything.
Bill Maher insults 80% of America and CNN rights a puff piece saying it's "good publicity" and "great timing"
Bias and Double-standards are all you got.
And don't forget Hank Williams JR. Mention Obama and Hitler in the same sentence and whatch the libs whine and moan.
The stupidity and double standard is amazing.
And don't forget Hank Williams JR. Mention Obama and Hitler in the same sentence and watch the libs whine and moan.
The stupidity and double standard is amazing.
It's almost as if the First Lady, and saying something borderline racist about her, is more important than a Tweet about a quarterback. Weird.
I think the point is that according to CNN one is good, the other is bad, as opposed to both being bad.
I'll leave it to the geniuses to figure out which is which.
So who is the player on the Bills team that Jesus and God love more than Tebow? There has to be someone, since Tebow has been helped by JC for the past 6-8 games and we all know He wins the games for the believers. Those games were much more important than poverty and child abuse.
What does it say about your faith, when your god lets the Bills kick your ass?
This will all be even funnier when it turns out Tebow is a closet pole smoker. Hahaha...
I practice my religion privately, and when others constantly shove their religious beliefs in my face on national TV, they deserve to be slapped down. Maher's joke may have been crude (and most misinterpreted the joke altogether because Maher does NOT believe in Satan or in the existence of hell) but at least he's one of the few with the balls to take on the mouthy zealots.
So we now take orders from you on how to practice our faith?
Great set of values, keep it to yourself or suffer wrath.
@neverquit – so you're on the internet telling others how to practice their faith?
Get over yourself!
Just because you claim to practice your religion in privacy doesn't mean that no one is ever allowed to show their faith in public. That's complete hogwash!
People insisting that no one should practice their religion in public would throw us back 2000 years when Christians were persecuted by the Romans and had to hide to be able tp practice their faith.
You've been nailed by Team Truth Derp!: "If we can't beat you over the head with our religion, we might wink out of existence!!!"
I'm sure Bill isn't losing any sleep...
He isn't losing any sleep because he is too F$#! st^%$# to realize how idiotic his comments are. The guy's an entertainer and he will say and do anything to turn a buck.
Tebow is an entertainer also, the same business.
Oh, look, Tebow is slaughtering a goat in the end zone! I really support that! Now he's building an altar and burning the flesh of the goat in an ancient Jewish gesture to God! That's so great! I really support that kind of empty religiosity!
Is there a point to your mindless rambling?
Derp don't get it. Derpaderp.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." – Matthew 6:5
Go therefore to all nations and PREACH the gospel and teach them to obey EVErYTHING i have taught you. Matth 28:18-20.
If anyone is ashamed of me (Jesus) and my word I will be ashamed of him on the last day. Luke 9:26
Acts 4:17 – 21
Acts 26:20-21 I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. THAT is why the Hews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. Apostle Paul.
Jesus and all his followers are persecuted and many are imprisoned and killed BECAUSE of public displays and preaching.
Fool. Interpret correctly the meaning behind the scripture you quote.
So a professed follower of Christ calls another person a fool? I will pray for you. Much you have to learn. None of those quotes have anything to do with one I posted. It says nothing of being ashamed or spreading the religion. It specifically admonishes those hypocrites who pray for show in public. Please stay on topic.
Trooth Squad is personally empowered by Jesus to counteract any of his teachings in an argument to win an argument. Better watch out for that kind of power!! WOOT!
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6 : 6
Mahar is pretty damned smart. Not quite as clever as George Carlin, but still a lot deeper thinker that the pope.
I used to be really religious. Then I turned eleven and realized how childish I had been. Thank god I grew up (any god – your choice. I prefer Thor – kickass special effects in his movie.) Please feel free to pray for lightening to strike me if I have offended you, or cast whatever kind of spells you cast in your particular flavor of absolute truth. I'll be waiting.
I hope you turn back to Jesus, is what I pray for u
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA -– Bill Maher a DEEP THINKER! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Every show he does Maher says something that proves how stupid he is.
The guy was almost a sincere cynic when he had the show Politically Correct on ABC. He said true by un-pc things about gays that were negative and got flak for it.
Now he is just like Arianna Huffington, a fake, nasty human being giving a nasty and liberal crowd gruel. The fact that people actually think the depths of vile comments he makes is comedy is beyond reason.
i think the sheep thing is more fitting for you buddy... lol Must get lonely wherever you are and so I guess them sheep come in handy.
What should we expect from a Zionist? They still want a messiah who will be violent and preach violence like Mohammed did. They want earthly force, not spiritual peace. Resist the urge to be and do violence, it is the way you get fooled by the devil to do his bidding while you think you're following your own wishes.
You're equating Maher with Zionism, and Judaism with Islam? Are you in the Klan?
Blah, blah, blah... and your point?
Derp's rote retort: Your point? You're mindlessly rambling. Nevermind that I can't comprehend or address the point. What's your point? You're dumber than a box of turds, Derp.
Like others said, say something about Islam Bill, make a joke about Muhammad. Go ahead. Of course, he won't – Christianity is fair game but the show won't step foot into areas it knows would easily get it in trouble. Say one word about Jews or Israel, a serious slam, and watch the ADL go after them. Say one word about Islam, watch how many enraged muslims, not just here, but around the world, react. Howard Stern was the real deal and truly did go after everyone. This guy however is a poser.
South Park also goes after anyone.
"Believe nothing, no matter who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and own common sense." –Buddha.
If you believe "nothing" then why would you believe your own sense of reason and common sense? Should be careful quoting absolutes without qualifications.
"People who can only quote other people to make their points are lazy SOB's that are no better at thinking for themselves than the people they criticize, though they fail to recognize that fact"
By me - right now
For someone with the screen name "obvious" you sure flew right past it didn't ya?
The quote of Buddah doesn't say "believe nothing". It says believe nothing that is told to you unless it makes sense.
There you go! Quote a big fat guy.
@Really? I don't you think you understand the basic groundwork for philosophical arguments. If you had understood my comment regarding stating absolutes with first qualifying them, you wouldn't have made an ignorant comment of your own. What you just did was qualify Kevin's "quote." he used the quote as an absolute.
Now your definition of The quote is to believe nothing unless it makes sense to you. I have a question. How do you define sense? Is it an inherent belief that is unique to every individual? If so, then by that definition, everyone, including yourself have no sense.
By the way it's Buddha not Buddah
Bill Maher rocks.
The guy's a ret#@!
"Thou shalt go forth and call those who disagree with you in the highways and biways retards. Do this in my name." Derp 4:23
Jesus commanded "christians" to NEVER, EVER do this kind of ceremonial aggrandized bolshoi in public. The prayers are nullified and should be scoffed at as they fail the very leader they are supposed to support. So many stupid people view ceremonial, empty religiosity with complete ignorance. F@#% you, Tebow and you Tebowing Tebowers. We need to counter this ridiculous hyperbole with some other empty expression. Perhaps a ritual sacrifice in the end zone.
Yeah, Andy hypocrite, Jesus also taught not to be full of hate like you. Get that PLANK out of your eye before you worry about Tebow or anyone else's spec in their eye.
Total Failure of understanding.
According to the liberal Jesus says you can tell a Christian by the fact that he never acts like a Christian in public. Great Logic.
"According to the liberal" You ignorant ass. You're bringing political partisanship into religion? Do you even know the verse I'm referring to? Your "logic" doesn't even include the foundational principle, presumably from Jesus' lips, that speaks directly against this behavior. It just shows what an empty husk American Evangelicals have become to bring politics into this discussion. But that makes sense, you've all become tools of the GOP instead of Jesus.
Liberal interpretation of scripture. It's a common term applied to many things, not just politics but you just outed yourself as a blind partisan.
If you can't see that Tebow is the real deal, I feel bad for you and your faith.
Andrew what a great debater you are, you must really convert allot of people with your "Clanging Cymbal" rhetoric.
Jesus was crucified for PUBLIC displays of faith. ALL persecution comes from PUBLIC displays of faith.
Try thinking of what Jesus is actually talking about instead of blindly trying to apply a scripture in legalistic fashion. Jesus admonished the Pharisees because they weren't able to interpret the scriptures in a loving and meaningful way.
They were all for show, Tebow is all about action. When Tebow's days of Football are over he will still be serving in Phillippines and servicing, praising and loving God.
Never mind actual scripture, "Trooth Squad". Never mind that he said to pray in PRIVATE, not in PUBLIC or the prayer is nullified and an empty gesture. Let alone equating GOD or JESUS' will with some idiotic sporting event. Just push on with whatever you wish to extract and use out of context. What a tool. A typical, ignorant, umerikun conservative, empty tool, flailing and throwing pulpit-driven sound bytes and understanding nothing. "Oh, look, I ate my baconator! God must have really wanted that! I think I'll Tebow here on the tile in Burger King!" Banal and sick.
Given a choice between Tebow's prayers and the ridiculous antics of other players when they do something positive on the field I chose the prayers.
The actions by the other players are designed to do nothing but ridicule, degrade and otherwise humiliate the players on the opposing team. Where is that better than some guy praying?
Except the Christian god is very unlikely to exist. And Jesus was a myth.
They played against the Bills not the Lions