US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Does God belong at the Super Bowl?

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Between the ads and some exciting football, I completely missed the religious undertones of the Super Bowl last night. On the “On Faith” blog, Kathy Orton complains that athletes hawking Jesus is no different than what they do with shoes:

“But [Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt] Warner is using his platform to sell Christianity to the millions of people watching him. If he said the shoes he wears made him the quarterback he is, would the writers be so eager to give the manufacturer of those shoes the same free advertising they are giving God?” 

I think it’s good to be skeptical of invoking the name of God in sports, but I’d much rather hear someone credit their abilities to God than a pair of shoes.

Orton’s question of whether the media should lap up athlete’s God talk as readily as they do is a good one though. In my opinion, journalists ought to question athletes when they credit God for their success and wins. Instead of a token quote about God, I’d rather see how athletes are living out their faith. Check out Catholic Athletes for Christ for some athletes who try to live out their faith on and off the field. Also, Warner has a foundation based on his Christian values.

But athletes are merely human (and young/dumb, as we saw this weekend with the Michael Phelps debacle). We already make them into role models as well as entertainers. Should we be looking to athletes to lead us in faith, too?

(The picture is from the Catholic Shopper, part of their collection of inspirational sports statues. Jesus plays football, runs, dances, heals the sick, and golfs!)