After the Broncos lost to the Bills, the talk show host tweeted: “Wow, Jesus just F***** #Tim Tebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler ‘Hey, Buffalo’s killing them.’ ”
The Washington Post reported on the incident:
Maher is hardly known for his reverence for religious belief, but a profanity-laced tweet about Tim Tebow’s faith has him in particularly hot water. Maher’s tweet led some to call for a boycott of HBO and is the latest — and perhaps most crude — in a stream of criticsm about the religious quarterback.
Maher has been an outspoken critic of Christianity, even lashing out against the Bible on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor last October, stating that faith is ultimately the “purposeful suspension of critical thinking.”
Tebow and his faith have been the subject of some fierce criticism over the course of this football season.
On Saturday, December 17, Saturday Night Live mocked fun at the notion that Tebow’s spirituality has anything to do with his victories. The SNL skit featured Jason Sudeikis as Jesus Christ, who appears to Tim Tebow in the locker room after a Broncos’ win. As Tebow, played by Taran Killam, prayed and thanked “the most important person in my life, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” as Tebow often says during press conferences, Jesus appears.
"First of all, you're welcome. Yes, I Jesus Christ, am indeed the reason you've won your past six football games," He says. "Here's the thing: If we're going to keep doing this, you guys gotta meet me halfway out there. Let's face it: It's not a good week if every week, I have to come in, drop everything, and bail out the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter. I'm a busy guy."
In the skit, Tebow is awestruck by the presence of his Savior, who offers Tebow a few words of advice, which include stretching before the game, reading the playbook, and taking his displays of faith “down a notch.”
Likewise, Tim Tebow has been taunted by fans on a number of occasions for his Christianity. Fans of opposing teams have held signs reading “Welcome to Hell,” directed at Tim Tebow. Even players have gotten into the fray, targeting the Bronco quarterback's faith. While playing against the Detroit Lions, Lions’ linebacker Stephen Tullock openly copied Tebow’s prayer pose, dubbed “Tebowing,” after he sacked Tebow in the second quarter. Later in that same game, other Lions’ players followed suit.
But according to Fox News’ Andy Levy, Christians are making too much of Maher’s tweet. Levy said, “Bill Maher tweeted this for one reason and one reason only: to get a rise out of people. Why give him the satisfaction?” Levy argued, according to Mediaite. He’s a comedian. People need to stop being outraged by what comedians say. Part of their job is to say things that are outrageous.”
He added, “He's not a politician, he’s not running for office, he’s got a show on HBO and he’s a comedian — who cares?”
Other Fox News commentators were offended by the tweet, however, including Eric Bolling, who tweeted “Bill Maher is disgusting vile trash. I can’t even repeat what he just tweeted about Tebow . . . on Christmas Eve. #straighttohellBill.”
As usual, Tebow maintained his composure and his godly demeanor, tweeting on Christmas Eve,“Tough game today but what’s most important is being able to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas everyone GB².”
Tebow-haters seem particularly incensed by the notion that Tebow’s success is somehow a result of his godliness and reverence. But Wayne Hanson of Summit Church outside of Denver said of Tebow’s victories, “It’s not luck. Luck isn’t winning six games in a row. It’s favor. God’s favor…God has blessed his hard work.”
The writer for the Washington Post seems to think there is possibly some truth to that belief, and has come to Tebow’s defense, asserting that it is possible that Tebow has been blessed with God’s grace:
Before anyone knew it, the football phenomenon — who openly prayed on the field — had led the team to win six out of seven games. It was only last weekend that the Broncos finally lost to the New England Patriots. Even so, Tebow had scored a touchdown in the first quarter.
According to that same writer, Tebow’s fans contend that Tebow is a Christlike figure:
People are wearing jerseys with his number and “Jesus” on the back. They are calling him “The Chosen One.” They say that if Christ is to return to Earth, a well known sports figure might be the perfect incarnation. Not to mention that Tebow himself is a Christlike figure in his morals, values, and the way he lives his everyday life. Son of missionaries, he says he is a virgin. He and his parents started an orphanage in the Philippines, which he visits frequently.
Tebow seems a rarity in professional sports, as most media attention is given to those players who publicly misbehave, whether that sort of behavior involves adultery, drunkenness, violence, drug use, dog fighting, the list goes on. Tebow somehow draws the same type of negative attention, only this time, it’s for praying publicly, remaining a virgin until marriage, and painting Bible verses under his eyes. It is for that reason that he is drawing a large fan base, even earning the support of those who are not necessarily Broncos fans. An unofficial survey launched by TMZ asked readers who they believed was a more influential Christian, the Pope or Tim Tebow. The response was 55 percent for the Pope, and an astounding 45 percent for Tebow.