Brad Greenberg, at the Jewish Journal, on Tebow:
Just because Tebow has strong religious beliefs that he has not been shy about sharing publicly does not mean that he poses a threat to members of other religious communities. Tebow certainly sees his performance on the gridiron as an opportunity to glorify God but, like Kurt Warner before him, he’s never been about making this an us (evangelical Christians) versus them (everyone else).
Very interesting sketch of how people of faith(s) in Denver are responding to Tebow.
In Denver, where the Broncos are the closest thing to a universal religion, the faith for football is so fervent that it sometimes supersedes other beliefs—especially since the arrival of Tim Tebow. In catapulting Denver to first place in the AFC West, Tebow has defied his skeptics in ways that might make even the most secular of pigskin purists consider the possibility of divine intervention.
And with the Broncos prospering under Tebow, different religious communities in Denver’s metropolitan area have embraced the starting quarterback, even if their beliefs don’t line up with his. The devout evangelical Christian, who isn’t shy about praying on the football field, has catalyzed such a pervasive conversation about the role of faith in public that some religious figures in Colorado’s Front Range even consider Tebow fodder for the pulpit.
Around 10 p.m. on a recent evening, the rabbi at Denver’s Temple Emanuel was asked if he would ever sermonize about Tebow. Joe Black responded as if he had just chugged an espresso.
“Oh, absolutely!” he said. “Here’s the sermon I would deliver and probably will deliver: Tim Tebow is broadcasting the fact that he believes in God. God is actively involved in his life. We call ourselves people of faith. Is that how we perceive God? And if not, how do we perceive God?”
Another Denver rabbi, Temple Sinai’s Rick Rheins, said he might feel “compelled” to preach about Tebow if the Broncos sneak into the playoffs. Then he reminded himself of this week’s Torah portion. It’s about Jacob wrestling with uncertainties of his own. “He’s not the most accurate thrower in the world, and he obviously has questionable NFL quarterback skills, and yet he doesn’t doubt himself,” said Rheins, who roots for the Bengals, Colts and of course the Broncos.
Tebow’s appeal stretches beyond Denver’s Jewish population. Khaled Hamideh visited the United States from Jordan in 1977 and fell for America’s Team: the Cowboys. He moved permanently in 1985 and still pulls for Dallas and, now, the Broncos. At the Colorado Muslim Society, the mosque where Hamideh is the board’s chairman, the Broncos don’t come up usually in conversation. But Tebow is often a topic for discussion when Hamideh and his friends gather for weekly barbecues and potluck dinners. He counts himself as a Tebow fan mostly because of the quarterback’s winning pedigree.
“I know I’m a Muslim and he’s a Christian, but I admire somebody who thanks God for everything that he gave him,” Hamideh said. “The team has rallied around him not because of his religious beliefs but because they believe this guy has something in him that pushes him the right way.”