During Thursday’s debate in Iowa Rick Perry, apparently seizing on Tebow’s well-attested and very sincere form of Christianity, said he is “the Tim Tebow of the Iowa Caucuses.” Oh dear. Ricky has been watching too much television. Or possibly his handlers saw an opportunity to do some name-dropping. As with Palin, it is difficult to determine how much guidance Perry’s handlers are able to offer. From his numerous gaffes it would b temping to say none at all.
Doubtless the recent fundie attempt to turn Tebow into a martyr for the faith makes him a tempting target of association as well for a candidate who has already attempted to created that claim for himself. The obvious problem is that while Rick Perry can name drop but using Tebow’s name, that does not make the Texas grifter a sincere Christian. But apparently Perry had a lot to get off his chest and he did it in his usual rambling fashion. At least he didn’t look like he had chewed a special brownie, though one gets the impression he and Bush did little else during their time together in Texas.
Watch the video from Mediaite:
“I want to share something with you, as each one of these debates — I’m kind of getting where I like these debates! As a matter of fact, I hope Obama and I debate a lot. I’ll get there early! And we will get it on and we will talk about our differences which are great. I’ll talk about what we have done in the state of Texas and talk about passing a balanced budget amendment to the United States Congress. I’ll talk about having, the type of part-time Congress that I think Americans are ready for. You know, there are a lot of people out there, I understand it. There are a lot of folks that said Tim Tebow wasn’t going to be a very good NFL quarterback. There are people that stood up and said, ‘well, he doesn’t have the right throwing mechanisms, or he doesn’t — you know, he is not playing the game right.’ You know, he won two national championships and that looked pretty good. We’re the national champions in job creation back in Texas. But am I ready for the next level? Let me tell you, I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses!”
It’s not surprising that a politician trying to get the fundamentalist vote would name-drop Tebow. Tebow is popular, after all. His name is all over the news and generally in a positive light these days. And nobody is going to blame Tebow for losing to New England. Tebow has certain statistically proven accomplishments both in college and at the pro level. Perry’s alleged accomplishments exist only in his own mind. The statistics do not bear him out.
It’s not like Tebow forgot the name of an opponent. It’s not like Tebow capers in front of cameras like he’s high: Tebow may play a mile high but Perry acts like he is a mile high. Sure Tebow says things that don’t make him popular with every demographic. As I noted here before, even another conservative Christian, analyst and former QB Kurt Warner, thinks Tebow ought to cut back on the public witnessing of his faith.
I agree with Warner. I like him as a QB and am a fan football-wise. But when Tim Tebow or any other Christian says “only devout Christians will go to heaven” the surly old Heathen part of me says, “good riddance!” I mean, what is it to me if he thinks this? At least they’re not going to Valhalla, you know? I might not be going to Valhalla either – I’m no great warrior, and fight my battles more as a skald with my words than with a sword, though there is little courtly or poetic in my writing. But heaven – or “helheim” as a devout Heathen might think of it – is not something Heathens concern themselves with.
The White Christ, as our ancestors called Jesus, is nothing to Heathens, any more than is any afterlife associated with belief in him. Heathens, like other Pagans, don’t devote a lot of attention to afterlives of any kind; it is this life we are living that is the life that matters, not some nebulous afterlife. This is where we make our mark; this is where we have the opportunity for deeds to be remembered, to be admired by our descendents, to honor our ancestors and to be examples to those who come after us.
Paying too much attention to what might be as opposed to what is distinguishes the Pagan outlook from the Christian. Part of the reason might be that the Christian god is seen as “outside” of the earth while the gods of polytheism are “of” the earth. It’s wrong to say Pagans worship rocks and trees but we do reverence them, just as we reverence all things of this world so despised in Christian theology where “Of the world” is one of the worst insults that can be uttered. Ask Perry and his friends.
The idea that “God” will take care of this and take care of that, that simple “faith” or devotion to Scripture will resolve all our problems leads to an abrogation of personal responsibility. I can think of many examples of this: the Bible says God will not destroy the world through flood again, therefore global warming cannot exist – scientific evidence violates the sanctity of Scripture, or the idea that God and not economic principles control gas prices (when Obama isn’t accused of doing so) or that all America’s problems can be resolved through prayer but not through sound policy decision-making.
Here’s the thing though: Tebow has the good sense to say he does not believe God takes a hand in the outcome of football games. Who knows what he thinks about droughts and gas prices. Perry, obviously, at least publicly thinks Jesus takes a hand in all sorts of activities, including droughts and gas prices and it’s a fair assumption that if saying football games would get him votes, he’d say that too.
Perry says people don’t want a robot and he certainly is not one: a robot would not make the mistakes he has made. A robot would not draw such an outrageous comparison between a calculating politician playing to the conservative Christian vote and a seemingly sincere conservative Christian who happens to be very popular where the politician is not. A robot would be better with facts and unless programmed to do so, would not lie.
Perry is right that he is not a robot, but he is also not Tim Tebow. And he should be ashamed for suggesting otherwise. But then, Perry has a lot to be ashamed of.