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.