I’m not a fan of American football so am no expert on the merits or demerits of Tim Tebow as an athlete. As an atheist, I have no problem with public expressions of faith as long as they do not infringe on me by forcing my participation in religious ritual . I do think to publicly praise a god or higher power after winning a sporting event is a bit of a FU to the other opponent or team of opponents. Like saying God likes me best. Poor sportsmanship!
I do believe that Tim Tebow’s popularity as a public figure is based on his knowing when to keep his mouth shut. I have read that his publicity/PR people are savvy in this regard and have advised him of that very thing.
Why would Tim Tebow speaking publicly from the heart about his beliefs necessarily be a bad thing?
Because he would turn off many people (women, gay Americans, those religious people who are not Christians).
How do I know this would happen?
Well Tim Tebow has strongly associated himself with the anti-abortion anti-gay Focus on the Family. He has appeared in a pro-life ad put together by them and other events. He has strong connections to Focus on the Family and other evangelical right-wing Christian organizations.
If he voiced support for Focus on the Family in a public setting and spoke out more on these issues, I think we’d see his beliefs are very scary. In addition to being against abortion and gay right/marriage, Focus also believes in “traditional” roles for women meaning women shouldn’t work and just stay home and have kids. Focus on the Family is basically a hate group founded partly on religious intolerance and partly on the vision of an America that never really existed-some sort of regressive Ozzie and Harriet fantasyland where everyone is white and Christian and only men work and women don’t fret their pretty little heads about anything.
It did seem like the mask slightly fell away on Easter weekend when Tebow addressed a Christian event and said “America was one nation under God”. Here, I should also point out that Focus on the Family does not believe in the separation of church and state and they also subscribe to and help promote many of the wacky bigoted theories about Islam that are currently the Lingua Franca of the tea party right wing.
So Tebow keeps quiet and the endorsements will keep coming in and the fans will still like him. However, after football, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run for political office as a Tea Party Republican and it wouldn’t also be surprise to see him get caught up in some sex scandal (caught in a public restroom?) as is often the case with the right-wing social police.
By the way, there is some question about the veracity of Tebow’s mother’s story about him almost being aborted, that the story may not be true….A good discussion of both sides here