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Why is Tim Tebow a 'polarizing' figure?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jun 11, 2013

Here in New England, the big news on the sports pages is the Patriots’ signing of Tim Tebow. I have now read umpteen times that Tebow is a “polarizing” figure in the football world. Why?

Is it because football analysts have sharply differing assessments on Tebow’s value as a quarterback? If so, fine. That sort of argument is fun. But I’m afraid there’s more to it than that.

Tebow is characterized as a “polarizing” figure because he is a Christian. More than that: a devout, unapologetic—you might even say flamboyant—Christian. That’s a problem, we’re being told. Quiet Christianity is still socially acceptable, but this guy brings his faith out into public view. Some people might find that offensive. So Tebow is seen as divisive. Especially in cynical, secularized New England, where the single largest religious bloc is made up of lapsed Catholics, uneasy with any faith but especially with muscular Protestant Christianity.

Welcome to town, Tim. You’ll make life here more interesting. If you really do polarize people, don’t worry about it. You’ll be in good company.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Defender - Jun. 11, 2013 5:00 PM ET USA

    Just think, a couple of decades ago there wouldn't have been any comment at all. We sure have come far (from the beaten path).