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A Call for Separation of Church and Sports

Football players leave much to be desired as Christian role models
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2010 12:23 PM CST
A Call for Separation of Church and Sports
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna (3) leading others in prayer following an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Christian evangelicals must be pretty amped up by the high profile of their religion in professional sports, David Gibson writes, but the "cozy coupling" of church and sport has its dark side. First, there’s what commentator Shirl James Hoffman recently called the “cheap grace” of athletic faith. Take the Saints’ locker room talk of their Super Bowl win being God's plan: Didn’t they stop to think He was more concerned with earthquake-ravaged Haiti than their “gridiron performance?”

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Some say Christianity can only improve the modesty of athletes—hey, in the same game, Matt Stover gave grace to God after he missed a field goal—but critics see the relationship poisoning the church. Sports, professional or otherwise, “are so rife with scandal and perfidy that projecting them as models of the Christian life is galling” to Hoffman, Gibson writes on Politics Daily. “Already youth sports are invading Sunday mornings as relentlessly as kudzu, often with the collusion of Christian parents who prefer to watch their kids compete.” (Read more Christianity stories.)

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