Tim Tebow and Camilla Belle: Star-Crossed Lovers?

Three years ago, while writing at Vox Nova, I noted the fierce anti-Catholicism of Tim Tebow’s father, Bob Tebow, especially in his mission to the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines. I concluded that post leaving the question of Tim Tebow’s personal sentiments about Catholics open.

Today I might have found an answer in the form of Tebow’s girlfriend, Camilla Belle: a Brazilian-American actress raised in a devout Catholic home.

At the time of my original post, Tebow was a college quarterback and my antipathy for him was all about football. He was winning while my teams were not. Simple. When he arrived to the NFL, I was skeptical but curious. Last year’s wild early-playoff ride with the Broncos was really something though. I found myself rooting for him with gusto. I noted then, in a follow-up, that it makes sense to root against someone who thinks you’re damned to hell. But, again, my fascination with him was as a football player; although I could understand others not liking him for different, soteriological reasons.

Like or dislike him, Tim Tebow is an enigmatic athlete, long before his religious views come into play. Furthermore, those who watch sports regularly know that — as I noted before the Notre Dame vs. BYU game — the rituals of sporting events are already deeply religious on their own. But let’s also be fair: there are countless athletes — especially Latino baseball and Black football and basketball players — who are very outspoken about their faith. The sign of the Cross is an ordinary thing to see. “I just wanna give God all the glory” or “First I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” abound in interviews after big wins. Roman Catholicism and the Black Church are very well represented across the spectrum of sport cultures.

Tim Tebow, some might argue, takes religious outspokenness to a different dimension, but this has also been caused by the fact that everyone asks him about it. All the time. Constantly. Relative to his own ethno-religious culture, he is actually a vocal minority on the subject within sports culture.

I don’t have general answers to give on that subject, but I am again fascinated with Tebow this time for reason unrelated to a pigskin. How will a White Southern Baptist get along with a Catholic Latina? Are they doomed? Will Bob approve? With Tebow Sr. try to convert her?

Or — and here’s my Catholic hope and prayer — will she convert him?

How wonderful would it be to see Tebow married in a Catholic ceremony! Would his family attend?

Tests like these show the truth about religious convictions. When love meets religion, the outcome purifies the result and reveals it’s honest face, for better and, many times, for worse. I hope they’re not star-crossed lovers and that their relationship will perhaps show Bob Tebow that Jack Chick isn’t an authority on the Catholic Church. (In other news, check out this awesome post by that combines profane allusions, Jack Chick, and Dia de los Muertos!)

But let’s be honest: the best argument for Tebow becoming a Roman Catholic is that he’ll get to genuflect a TON. Tebowing would return to its rightfully Catholic origins.

  • http://sarahchristinejackson.blogspot.com/ Sarah Jackson

    I’m curious, have you found anything to substantiate Tebow’s relationship with Camilla? Or are you relying on the gossip sites? I think I’m a little reticent to announce they’re dating without information beyond celebrity gossip site tmz.com. . .

    • srocha

      I think I’m a little reticent to ask this question without doing a proper Google search. Try their last names as keywords. If they are not dating, then one would have to question Tebow’s character based on the widely-reported observations of the two in public — which seems highly ungenerous to Tebow and Belle.

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  • JimmieK

    “….that it makes sense to root against someone who thinks you’re damned to hell. ”
    Didn’t the Catholic Church in the Council of Trent in 1545 curse to hell anyone who didn’t obey the Pope, believe Catholic doctrine, and basically wasn’t a Catholic? I believe there were 100 anathemas that to date haven’t been rescinded…so maybe this is a Pot and Kettle thing….But Catholics did it first.
    Oh wait does this make me a Catholic basher?

    • srocha

      Bash away, Jimmie, bash away…

  • Rachel

    A month ago Tebow went bowling with a group of people, and Belle was in the group. That’s all we’re certain of– everything else (including those “widely-reported observations of the two in public”) comes from gossip sites citing nothing but anonymous sources. The only named source is a smarmy guy named Jonathan Jaxson who makes a habit of pretending to have the inside info on famous people’s romantic lives. As Tebow once remarked when asked about all the famous women he’s been linked with: “It’s funny because half the rumors, I’ve never even met the person!”

    That’s my boring disclaimer, but in any case this is a very interesting post to me, probably because I’m also a Catholic who roots for Tim with gusto. You nailed it that “tests like these show the truth about religious convictions”. There are a ton of things I’d like to say, but I’ll just stick to one point: As a very fanatical Catholic, I’d be extremely disappointed in Tim if he dated a Catholic woman because the differences didn’t matter to him. I think he’s better than that.

    I believe that it is not acceptable to be anything but Catholic. All other faiths are false insofar as they disagree with the Catholic faith. And Tim, if he really believes his own faith, would have to say that it is not acceptable to be anything but Evangelical, and the Catholic faith is false insofar as it disagrees with the Evangelical faith. That’s what believing *anything* necessarily involves– you believe that whatever contradicts it is false.

    And when you’re talking about religion, you’re talking about the most important truths mankind can know: what God is like, what He wants of us, our eternal destiny. It’s way more important to get *that* right than it is to find love for a few decades here on earth. And Catholic and Evangelicals can’t both be right. Does God require us to confess our sins to a priest, or is confession an empty show that displeases Him? Must we receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist to have eternal life, or is it blasphemous to believe in the Real Presence and worship a consecrated Host? The two faiths are incompatible. That’s why any time you see a Catholic married to a Protestant, you know that one or both of them either doesn’t believe his faith, or doesn’t care.

    But I think Tim would be one of the few to care more about following God than about getting married if it went against his faith. That’s what I admire about him, and why I feel closer to him, religiously speaking, than I am to most Catholics. The first step is believing that Truth matters, and being willing to make sacrifices to find it out and follow it. If you’re only Catholic because you were raised on it, but you have no intention of letting that faith change your plans– well, I’ll take Tim Tebow any day.

    Thanks for letting me rant in your combox– and for pointing out that Catholics were Tebowing before it was cool. :)