USA Today on banning evangelical faith from sports

Tom Krattenmaker thinks that religion and sports don’t mix. At least certain kinds of religious conviction shouldn’t be allowed in the realm of athletics.

With the release of his book on the subject, Onward Christian Athletes: Turning Ballparks into Pulpits and Players into Preachers, Krattenmaker looks to extend his peculiar views of religious discrimination to a larger audience.

His recent article in USA Today has has already begun that effort by taking aim particularly at University of Florida’s Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow. Krattenmaker acknowledges the value of having some “moral guidance” infused into sports through religious, particularly Christian, sportsmen. But that good is outweighed by the bad that comes when kind of Christianity being espoused is Tebow’s type–the conservative and evangelical kind.

The problem, as Krattenmaker sees it, is that “civic resource know as ‘our team’–a resource supported by buying, game-watching and tax-paying–is being leveraged b a one-truth evangelical campaign that has little appreciation for the beliefs of the rest of us.” Despite acknowledging that “Jesus-professing athletes are among the best citizens in their sector” who “commit good deeds daily in communities across this country” he is deeply concerned about a “shadow side” of their influence that comes from the exclusivity of their faith.

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Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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