By TED SILLANPAA
It doesn’t concern me at all that Ravens star Ray Lewis seems to be a vocal and devout Christian. In fact, his relationship with his god is between him and his god. When CBS cameras showed him tearfully praising God on the sideline during the national anthem prior to the AFC Championship game, it didn’t bother me at all. And, I didn’t question his faith and gripe that he was putting on a show. I … just … didn’t … care.
Why does it so bother non-Christians when athletes mention or thank God, or praise Him in an interview? How does their expressing their faith prompt so many of us to become outraged that athletes are trying shove God down our throats? I can’t be the only fan on the planet who just lets it go in one ear and out the other.
Admittedly, I believe what Lewis believes. However, I’ve never been prone to public professions and displays of faith. I don’t believe for a moment that God has a rooting interest in the Super Bowl or in any other game. God, literally, knows that it’s not my job to use this space to explain my beliefs. I don’t want you to waste my time telling me I should believe what you believe either. So, I tend to ignore the post-game prayer circles and players who thank God for helping them win.
Why does it bother you?
Seriously. Why? Why do you, or your neighbor, hear some guy offer some form of praise to his or her god, and get angry. Are you that fan who smirks, “Ya’ never hear ‘em thank God after they lose,” or do you manage to just let them talk? (You realize, of course, that the thanks after a loss might come in more private moments.)
Even as I’m trying to avoid any Super Bowl hype, and it’s all hype because there is no news being made right now, I’m hearing a lot about Lewis and his faith-based histrionics. I know of Lewis and his troubled background, his brushes with the law. But, I don’t feel compelled at all to make his show of faith anything but legitimate and his own, his very own.
We’re all free to believe what we believe. I wouldn’t judge somebody who believes very publicly, No need, either, to judge somebody with no belief at all. Free country. I wouldn’t judge somebody who feels like Lewis and other athletes are trying to force God on them.
I just don’t understand why their expressions of faith so anger so many fans.