A TOUCHDOWN FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION

It wasn’t much of a game, but that doesn’t mean interesting things didn’t happen (full disclosure, I did not watch the game.  I was busy doing something else, but I just can’t remember what it was.)  Apparently the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the New England Patriots 41-14 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  That is the boring part.

Prayers in the end zone
Holy Ground?

Now for the interesting part.  Here is how ABC NEWS (click here for whole story) described it:

Kansas City Chiefs’ safety Husain Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was penalized 15 yards for “unsportsmanlike conduct” after he kneeled in prayer. He had run 39 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter

Was Abdullah penalized for praying?  If so, it would be a terrible double standard, because many athletes make spiritual gestures/prayers/kneel when they score or do something important (for more info, c/f Tebowing).  What we have learned since, is that no, he was not penalized for praying, but was penalized for the slide.  The Washington Post quotes Abdullah:

“For me, I just got a little too excited,” Abdullah said. “I think it was for the slide.” The lesson Abdullah took away? “Stop before you drop.”

Interesting.  Interesting indeed.

Two things should be pointed out in this whole issue.  One, it showed something nice.  Almost instantly people were outraged when they thought he was penalized for praying as a Muslim.  That is a good thing about the United States, and demonstrates religious liberty and tolerance.  Religious liberty for everyone is a historic Baptist doctrine that is often neglected in the culture war salvos made from many pulpits and platforms.  That the knee jerk reaction this morning against what might have been perceived as religious discrimination was so strong that the NFL had to make a special announcement about it demonstrates that the stream of tolerance and freedom flows freely amongst Americans.

The second glaring item is an irony.  In many (all?) majority Muslim nations, any person who might demonstrate faith in Christ in a public way would likely face a far worse penalty than Abdullah received in the game.

image from http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/nfl-kansas-city-chiefs-player-penalized-prayer/story?id=25859886

AN OPINION POLL ABOUT THE HALFTIME SHOW AT THE SUPER BOWL

I’m curious, what did you think of the halftime show for the Super Bowl yesterday?

RED HOT MARS image from businessinsider.com
RED HOT MARS
image from businessinsider.com

 

Yesterday Mrs. Greenbean and I watched the Super Bowl with some new friends from our new church small group.  We had a great time and the food was delish, but we were the only people cheering for the Seahawks.  Of course, I predicted a Seahawk victory in the Super Bowl weeks ago.  The game itself was never in any contest as Seattle literally led from the first play from scrimmage and never looked back.  However, the halftime show was very interesting.  I kind of liked it even though I had never heard of Bruno Mars.  The ode to James Brown and such was fun and of course the Chili Peppers was a throwback to my adolescence so I was digging that.  Not everyone in the room I was in had the same opinion, though.  So I thought today I would conduct a little opinion poll.  Remember, you have to click the “Vote” button on the bottom right corner to record your opinion.  Feel free to leave comments in the comment threads as well and share with your friends so they can vote too and then check back for results.

Go Seahawks.

 

NFL CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Now for something I know very little about—the National Football League.  In principal I believe people have an unhealthy obsession with sports in our culture, but, what are you going to do about it?  So, in an attempt at “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” I thought I would make my predictions for this weekends NFL Conference championship games.  The winners of these two games will represent their conference in the Super Bowl. 

            AFC—Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the New York Jets

            Pittsburgh will probably win this game because the officials love Pittsburgh.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Seattle and Phoenix about their encounters with Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.  It is impossible for Pittsburgh to not win once they make the Playoffs.  For that reason, I tend to want to root for New York.  The Jets have not been to a Super Bowl since Joe Namath and the famous guarantee.  But I can’t stand their coach.  He is such the antithesis of good sportsmanship. 

            NFC—Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers

            This old school battle from the heartland of America feels right.  The Bears have a great defense and they are playing on what might be the worst field turf in the NFL.  This will offset the advantage that Green Bay has on offense.  Green Bay has a smell of Cinderella on it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t come up with the victory, even on the road.  Chicago should win, but that doesn’t mean Chicago will win.

Now, there are several X-factors for me as I think about the games.

  •  X-Factor One:  The Cheese element.  My passion for cheese tells me that I can’t root against a team whose fans are called Cheeseheads.
  •  X-Factor Two:  The NFL wants big market teams in the Super Bowl.  This means New York and Chicago will win. 
  •  X-Factor Three:  The Favre.  New York and Green Bay have ties to Brett Favre.  It would be great if both of his former teams made the Super Bowl in the year he finally retired.  This would then be labeled the “Favre Bowl.”
  •   X-Factor Four:  It all comes down to the beards.  Mark Sanchez has a great beard.  http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/jets/mark_sanchez_beard_love_it_or_hate_OivX9R2D6NNVcHXUO0KpKI  It looked kind of trimmed last week, but the week before that against Indianapolis I saw a shot of him and I had instant admiration for a man who could grow such a beard.  In the end the Fellowship of the Follicle is the deciding factor. 

 

Keep I mind, of course, that I will probably not watch any of it.  I want to finish watching Season Two of the original Star Trek that I got on DVD from my wife for Christmas.  Nevertheless, my Final Prediction—Jets beat Pittsburgh by a hair, Green Bay beats Chicago on a last second field goal that is “Gouda.”

******Update, Monday Morning January 24.  I was 50% accurate with Green Bay beating the Bears, but the Jets did lose to the Steelers.  But, did anyone notice the great beard Roethlisberger was sporting.  I mean, that was pretty amazing.  Let the record reflect that only bearded quarterbacks won yesterday–Aaron Rodgers had a pretty good full beard too.  The Fellowship of the Follicle will always prevail.********