Readers Write: Tebow should kneel off the field; prophets of hope, not doom

Letters to the Editor for the weekly issue of January 2, 2011: One reader says Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow's displays of faith don't belong in the end zone. Another praises a recent cover story assessing world progress: Why must one be a prophet of doom to be recognized as a prophet?

Tebow should kneel off field

According to my reading of The Monitor's View of Dec. 12 (" 'Tebowed' over"), unsolicited, uninvited public comments about one's faith are not only appropriate but desirable: "openly ... speaking about his Christian faith ... unprecedented devotion to sharing his beliefs in public...."

I find it incongruous when a winning boxer, after beating his opponent to a bloody pulp, performs a Roman Catholic sign of the cross, thanking Jesus for his victory. Would it be appropriate for a minister to interrupt his sermon to perform a "boxing exhibition" on the altar?

When I watch (televised) sporting events, I'm often surprised by the high degree of religiosity tolerated in a public venue. I don't expect to be preached to by my dentist while getting a cavity filled.

In this same line of thought, I would also prefer not to hear the racist ramblings of a Ku Klux Klansman during my kids' softball games. And I don't purchase tickets for a football game to unknowingly go to a prayer session. I simply want to view an athletic event.

Additionally, I don't normally elevate athletes to the status of hero. They are engaged in athletic competition and, through their individual performances, entertain and wow their audience. I usually reserve hero status for a selfless man or woman whose contributions and impact on society carry significant meaning or weight.

Integrity, perseverance, toughness – these are traits I respect in athletes and choose to see when watching someone like Tim Tebow. If Mr. Tebow practiced a little more integrity, he wouldn't be putting on "religious spectacles" in the end zone.

Years ago, my Jesuit educators taught their students to be "gentlemen." In their vision, gentlemen are not prone to grandstanding or exhibiting uninvited public displays that could be construed by an audience as unwanted or inappropriate.

Foisting one's beliefs or opinions on someone else, whether true or not, is not something a civil or gentlemanly man does. And this was taught by "men of the cloth."

Eric J. Mettes

Southfield, Mich.

Prophets of hope, not doom

John Yemma's Dec. 26 UpFront column, "The four-decade view of hope and history," is the best short summary of the world situation and prognosis that I have seen.

All my life I have heard the voices of impending doom that never occurred. Remember The Atlantic magazine article years ago showing the inevitability of chaos in Africa? One must be a prophet of doom to be recognized as a prophet.

Through the lens of Edith Hamilton, Aristophanes said: Come listen now to the good old days when the children, strange to tell,/ Were seen not heard, led a simple life, in short were brought up well.

Lloyd McAulay, Esq.

New York

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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