A friend once asked me a looooooong time ago why I, as a Christian, don't have more Christian friends than I do. I have friends who are Atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, Jewish, Wiccan, all kinds of things (no Scientologists, though. I do have my limits), but a surprisingly small percentage of Christians. Why? My answer was simple -- the other religions aren't trying to jam their theologies down my throat every time I turn around or say something they disagree with.
I express my faith very personally. I view religion as a path to enlightenment and understanding. The vast majority of the world, though, seems to view their religious beliefs as a giant applause sign. There's a thin line between not hiding your light under a basket and SHINING IT INTO THE TAPED-OPEN EYES OF THE WORLD AT LARGE!!! Go on YouTube, and you will find people like Stephan Baldwin and Kathy Ireland making Statements Of Faith, declaring to the world at large that they are Christians (Ireland herself is kind of an odd notion. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit videos used to show her studying the Bible between shoots. I don't know, but there's just something about a woman whose picture is used as currency in men's correctional facilities talking about moralistic living that doesn't quite square with me). I try to be neighborly about my faith, and make an effort not to be obnoxious about it. Lots of people, though, express their faith as, "Look what I believe! Aren't I wonderful? Everyone give me snaps!" It's not religious faith, it's self-aggrandizement, and if Jesus saw them doing it, He'd smack them in the head with a sock full of horse manure.
While there is some backlash against public displays of Christianity, for the most part, most people complaining that they are persecuted for Christian beliefs are spouting hot air. Fact: Christianity is the dominant religion in America, and those outside of it asking for some consideration and recognition are not persecuting you. That, however, doesn't stop Christians with a persecution complex from seizing on anything they can in a desperate attempt to inflate their egos, making it seem like they are fighting some good fight against insurmountable odds.
This takes many odd forms. The Columbine Massacre, for example -- one student, when asked if she was a Christian just before she was shot, said yes. Okay, yes, very touching. But she was suddenly made into a martyr for Christian faith, completely overlooking that Columbine was not an attack on Christianity but two nut cases killing anyone they felt like. I'm quite sure she wasn't the only Christian kid killed, why don't the others get this kind of face time? Carrie Prejean was ambushed at the Miss USA pageant, asked about gay marriage. She said it was against her beliefs. I disagreed with her, but whatever, that's her belief. But then, people turned her into a cottage industry about how Christian values are punished, a cottage industry she eagerly participated in with a ghostwritten biography and a speaking tour. Strangely, in all this talk about Prejean being a good Christian, no one mentioned the sexy pics she posed for, including nudes. I've actually read the Bible, and at no point does it say, "And God said unto them, 'Show me your tits.'"
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in sports. People pray for sports teams all the time. People thank God for giving them the skill to catch a thrown object in an event that doesn't matter all the time. And here we go again with the newest forced meme to explode on the Internet, Tebowing.
For those who came in late (or don't give two shits about any major sports, such as yours truly), this started last Sunday when Tebow's team, the Denver Broncos, played the Miami Dolphins. The game went into overtime with the score tied at 15. Denver had the ball, and decided to try for a field goal from 52 yards, over half of the field, away. As other teammates cheered, Tebow went down on one knee, bowed, and prayed to God for Matt Prater to make the kick. He did, and the Broncos won.
Side note: let's see -- death. War. Disease. Injustice. Hatred. Don't you think God has far more important things to do than help a football team win a game? (This is the reason why, in an upcoming Hannah Singer story, Hannah and St. Michael are at a football game. A player makes a touchdown and praises God for making him a champion. A lightning bolt nearly hits him. Hannah then hears a very pissed off Michael say, "Missed!")
There is now a web site, tebowing.com, that explains Tebowing as "to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different." I suppose the site COULD be satirical, but I doubt it, it seems to be actually promoting Tebowing as an act of faith instead of an act of petty indulgence, and is inviting others to send in pictures of them
Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against people expressing themselves religiously in public as long as they aren't being obnoxious about it. As the immortal Howard The Duck once said while watching a report of a suicide bomber, "As long as they don't take anybody else with them, I have no problem with religious fundamentalists blowing themselves up." Where I have a problem is when people use their religion as an excuse for attention whoring. The only thing worse is the Christians saying this is some great testimonial to populist Christian values, forgetting these are the same morons who were coning, planking, and owling their way across the Internets for a few days before they got bored. Tebowing will last about as long as Rapturing pictures, but with far less entertainment value.
If you want to express your faith, that's fine. If you want to take pride in it, that's fine. But doing it with a bunch of people who made Tay Zonday a star and will forget about you once someone else does something they can seize on isn't the way to do it.