Religion and Sports
Who is Gaining the Glory?
There is a ongoing debate amongest the members of my church. Are athletes that make public displays of their religion, glorifying God or themselves? My husband and I actually started this debate. We are sports fans, he is a former middle school coach, our three sons all played sports, and we prayed before games.
One night at Bible study, we commented on how great we thought it was to see a team of football players raise their hands to God after a game, and paint Blble verses under their eyes.
Immediately, several people jumped in and disagreed with us. They said that they couldn't stand that type of "showboat" Christianity, and said that they feel this is glory to themselves, rather than glory to God.
What do you think?
A Tennis Player's Testimony
Noted Christian Athletes
Listed below are some outwardly Christian athletes, and how they share their Christianity with the world.
- Tim Tebow: Tim played for the University of Florida Gators football team, then joined the NFL,. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2007. He grew up in a family of five children, raised by missionary parents. On the football field, he paints Bible verses under his eyes, and has been a leader in other players doing the same. He raises his hands after a touchdown, and I believe is sincere in his Christian beliefs. He has been criticized for repeatedly using the word "blessing" when interviewed.
- Kurt Warner: Kurt's professional football career spanned over 15 years. During his professional career, he played for the Iowa Barnstormers, Amsterdam Admirals, St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, and the Arizona Cardinals. He won a "Man of the Year" award in 2008, and 2009. Kurt prays with his team mates after each game. In an interview he will openly speak of his blessings, and say "Thank you, Jesus." He founded a Christian charity in Arizona called the "First Things First Foundation."
- Emmitt Smith: Emmitt played professional football from 1990 until 2004. He played for the Dallas Cowboys, and the Arizona Cardinals. He won numerous awards during his career, and is a 2010 inductee for the "Pro Football Hall of Fame." Smith is more known for quiet prayer, and "Gentle acts of kindness", but even he has been criticized for some comments he has made.
- George Foreman: George is well known as a heavyweight boxing champion, and Olympic gold medalist. His popular "grills" are sold everywhere. He has ten children, five of whom are named George. In 1977 George Foreman became very ill after a fight, he prayed for God's help, and became a born-again Christian. After he retired from boxing, he became an ordained minister. He has worked with many charities, and shared his Christian experiences on television.
- A.C. Green: A.C. played professional basketball for 16 years. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks. He also played college ball for Oregon State. A.C. Green is known for being very religious, and often quoting scripture. He runs youth camps, and promotes abstinence until marriage.
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Jackie is a retired american track and field star. During her career, she won three gold olympic medals, and also silver and bronze medals. She also played basketball and played for U.C.L.A while in college. She founded the charity, "The Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation", and has worked with other charities, too. She has spoke publicly at Christian events.
- Jeff Gordon: Jeff is a well known american professional race car driver. He has competed in Nascar since 1991, and is a USAC Triple Crown Champion. Jeff has talked in interviews about becoming a Christian after going to church with some other drivers in the 1990's. He has a charity, "The Jeff Gordan Foundation" which works with ill children. He tapes scriptures to his steering wheel before a race. Although he is a Christian, he has been in the tabloids in the past for extra marital affairs
- Michael Chang: The tennis player credits his ability to God.
What Do You Think?
Do you believe athletes should publicly display their religion?
FOR - Psalms 7:17 "I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high."
MAYBE - 1 Corinthians 15:57 "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ".
AGAINST - Matthew 6:5 "And when you prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."
Inspirational Sports Website
One Nation Under God
America was founded as "One Nation Under God". As Americans we are so fortunate to live in a country where we have the right to openly display our beliefs. We have the right to go to any church we choose on Sunday. We also have the right to not go, if that is what we please.
Increasingly, the word "God" is being removed from our public buildings. Prayer is being taken out of schools. Christian athletes that openly display their beliefs are doing their thing to try to counteract this trend.
Whatever you feel about these athletes as individuals, I think most of you will agree that the freedom of religion that we have in this country is a "blessing" indeed.
I pray that this freedom is never taken away from us.
- Wikipedia - Online encyclopedia, athlete biographies.
- NBC Sports online post by Mike Florio, "Tim Tebow defends Urban Meyer, breaks record for using the word "blessing", article.
- Dallas News.com sports day, 4/14/2010. "Canton-bound Emmitt Smith continues to make Pensacola proud."
- Learning to Give, Jackie Joyner-Kersee informational paper by LaTasha Chaffin.
- Bleacher Report, Christianity in Football: Providing Role Models and Spreading Truth, by Tyler Rorem