God and the Super Bowl

It’s no surprise the National Football League plays its games on Sundays.

Journalist David Gibson offers a fascinating look at the importance of Christianity to the upcoming Super Bowl.  Writing in the pages of Religion News Service, Gibson notes the complicated mish-mash of conservative religion and the religion of big-league sports.

First of all, Gibson notes a recent PRRI survey in which just over a quarter of respondents agreed that God would play a significant role in determining the winner of the big game on Sunday.

But that’s not the whole story.  For this game in particular, as Gibson describes, we see two devout Catholic coaches, one of whom is famous for profane sideline behavior.  We see two superstars loudly proclaiming their evangelical Christian faith, one of whom has fathered six children with four mothers.  We also see leading players speaking publicly about their lack of religion, or about the ways their Christian faith helps them to physically crush their foes.

So Tim Tebow may be far, far out of the running for MVP.  But that does not mean that conservative Christianity will not be a key feature of America’s favorite game.

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