Tebowing in public

Gary Chew hosts “Chew’s Reviews,” available on KVMR 89.5 FM in Nevada City and online at www.kvmr.org

We must leave it to Fox News for the significant reporting of insignificant items. Recently, four Tim Tebow-ish high-school boys at Riverhead High in Long Island, New York, kneeled in a busy hallway and appeared to be praying. They were suspended from school for a day, after having been cautioned earlier by school officials not to cause more congestion between classes.

As any journalist can tell you, this is a really big story.

A Fox News legal contributor told other cable “talent” that if the young men were actually praying—and not merely mocking the demonstratively religious and prayerful quarterback of the Denver Broncos—then it was OK: No suspensions should have been given. It seems to follow then, taking the Fox contributor’s train of thought, that the only way to ascertain whether the boys deserved those suspensions would be to know what was in their heads when they either prayed—or didn’t.

Perhaps Fox News might be inclined to press for laws to allow the U.S. government to investigate whether these young sportsmen were devout in their performance, and if not, extend the suspensions. I haven’t heard that Fox News has suggested such a “prayer police” option, but having intermittently watched the channel over these many, many, many years, it did come to mind.

Tebow’s penchant for public displays of his personal faith is his business. But think on this: What a person has in financial assets, with whom he or she sleeps, and whether they do or don’t have a religious faith isn’t anybody else’s freaking business.

My guess would be that God isn’t smiling a great deal about this, as Mr. Tebow might appear to some as being a sanctimonious showoff, thereby risking a cheapening of the experience of epiphany. Some epiphanies happen in private and aren’t spawned by the influence of clergymen, a congregation, rowdy fans or attention-seeking high-school students.

In spite of the suggestion, there might be doubt about the star quarterback’s sincerity, I think having “thought police” from a religious institution, the government or—God forbid!—both, checking him out to that end is as ridiculous as getting to the bottom of the younger men’s intent.

It is after all, Tebow’s business, and certainly not the multitude of football lovers who watch him from the stands or their easy chairs.