Before I write this post, I want to thank the holy Tao for inspiring me. There’s nothing of me in what I’m about to say—it’s all Tao. Without you, the everlasting source of my yin-ness and yang-ness, I wouldn’t have been able to blog about God and the Super Bowl.
If you like this sort of praise be! sentimentality, you must have loved how the Indianapolis Colts’ coach and owner brought God into their post-game remarks.
Driving around tonight I heard right-wing talk show host John Gibson ranting about the progressives’ distaste for such God talk. Gibson claimed that the Daily Kos had a post called “God hates the Bears,” but all I could find with this title was a brief comment on a general Super Bowl discussion thread.
Regardless, the guy raises a good question: Does God hate the Bears? One has to assume so, or at least that he loves them less than the Colts, given the way both head coach Tony Dungy and Colts owner Jim Irsay were talking. Irsay said:
“Now there's an awful lot of shining glory, even more than last time up here. But we're giving it all to God again because that's what got us here ... sticking together and believing that we could, and I know God has looked after us on this journey and bonded us into such a tight family.”
Shining glory? For winning a Super Bowl game? How egotistical can you get, even if you claim to be giving all that glory to God? For you’re saying that God got you to the championship victory stand, implying that the poor God-deprived Bears were lacking in the divinity department (along with the quarterback department).
Gibson couldn’t understand why anyone would take issue with all the post-game praising of God. Well, John, you need to get out more.
Like, into the rest of the world. And a good share of the United States too, where people believe that religion is a humble private matter between them and the Almighty—not something to be proudly paraded before the public at every opportunity.
I have some friends who visit Europe regularly. They tell me that there it would be almost inconceivable for a politician to make his or her belief in God a campaign issue. It just doesn’t come up. But here, an admitted unbeliever probably couldn’t be elected to a major office.
This isn’t something the United States should be proud of. It’s a defect, not a virtue. Spirituality concerns the spirit, not believing that God cares who wins the Super Bowl. Or, who wins the war in Iraq.
Many Americans have a strange belief that God is on the side of the United States. Have you ever heard the leader of another country ending speeches with a “May God bless [name of nation]”? It’d sound funny, wouldn’t it? Crazed fundamentalist.
Well, actually I do recall a few others apart from American politicians expressing this sentiment: Islamic terrorists. Which shows that when people believe that God favors them rather than others, bad things often follow.
At the extreme, planes destroying buildings and killing thousands of people. At the least, an us vs. them theology that separates rather than unites. Colts, Bears—I’m pretty sure that the Tao doesn’t look upon them any differently.
There’s already plenty of competition in sports. We don’t need coaches, players, and owners also competing for who God supposedly likes most.