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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: Montserrat - Feb. 02, 2018 4:46 PM ET USA

    Has anyone with medical credentials suggested that the Pope may be suffering from symptoms of dementia (or senility) which include signs of poor judgment, and growing irritability or agitation. The Holy Father's preaching quite often sounds like grumpy complaining that is not really suitable at the pontiff level. He seems to have control issues in the Vatican, from what we read, and examples of poor judgment are copious. Those close to him would know about possible memory loss. Just a thought.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Feb. 02, 2018 8:45 AM ET USA

    "Francis just flat-out knows what’s going on." Indeed. And he knew exactly what he was doing when he allowed the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to cease to exist. Or when he fired all the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life and re-wrote its statutes. Or in his new appointments to the Pontifical Academy of Science. Or his handling of the Knights of Malta, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Apostolic Signatura, the Argentine Bishops' response to Al, etc.

  • 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).