Friday, February 8, 2013

The Flap over SI and Christians in the NFL

The guys putting out enthusiast magazines, from sports to what the Brits call "lad" magazines, understand that they are second-class citizens.  They do not count in the best circles as much as folks that write for The New York Times.

So there is always a temptation to correct that with a bit of high-toned liberalism, to show that the magazine's editors really could make it at The New York Times.  But hey, someone has to write for the rubes!  Such an effort is the Mark Oppenheimer piece on Christianity in the NFL, "The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth" in Sports Illustrated.

It's a perfect liberal hit piece on the NFL and Christianity.  Did you know that Christian football players were hypocrites?  That they don't turn the other cheek when the refs make a bad call?  That some people in the NFL are opposed to gay marriage, although not as much as they used to?  And did you know that student "athletes on average score lower than the general student population on tests of moral reasoning, and athletes in 'male, revenue-producing contact sports' are the most deficient of that group"?

Oh no!

It's no surprise that, when a liberal Jew writes an article about Christianity and athletics, he serves up all the usual liberal bromides on religion.  Heck, that's probably in his job description.  And it is delightful for conservatives to get all hot under the collar about it, like genre writer Andrew Klavan.  And fun to have radio host Hugh Hewitt eviscerate Mark Oppenheimer in real time.

Look.  Of course athletes would score lower on moral reasoning.  Modern sports is war for young men by other means.  And a jolly good thing too.  Sports celebrities aren't likely to have exquisitely refined views on all the favorite liberal issues like gay marriage.    But hey, how about an article on Christianity in sports as it relates to Max Weber's notions in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.  I would think that a religion that exalts "work as a calling" would go really well with a highly focused activity like top-level professional sports, as bacon goes with eggs.

But who needs that?  Not when you are burnishing your liberal credentials at a sports magazine.  The whole idea is to show that, even though you have to push out the deadly enthusiast stuff week after week, you really long for higher things, just like the chaps and chapettes at The New York Times.

Sorry, I have to close here.  I feel the need to write a long thumb-sucker article about politics and liberal hypocrisy.  How come that liberals, who believe in equality and liberation, are the most snobbish people in America and want to treat everyone as though they were serfs on the liberal manor?

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