Sometimes it feels like there is no opinion I hold that is socially acceptable. I know this is not true, but I often find myself profoundly at odds with many of the people in my life, especially those who hew close to the mainstream. My opinion on Tim Tebow is perhaps the one that is, at the moment, causing me the most stress to my jaw as I grind my teeth.
"But Jess! You do not give a shit about football, or celebrities. Why does Tim Tebow even enter into your consciousness?"
Because I'm a grad student at the University of Florida, is why, and have been since forever. I was here for his entire football career and I have personally witnessed dozens of my friends (and tens of thousands of people) become Denver Broncos fans overnight because he went there after he graduated from UF. Tebow was a superstar quarterback for UF, as I'm sure you already know (if you didn't already know that, we're probably BFFs, or we should be).
Here are two other facts about Tebow:
1. He was a missionary in the Philippines, Thailand, and Croatia. He continues to embrace missionary work through his foundation.
As a friend said on my Facebook wall:
The missionary work he is so beloved for (not that he likes to talk about it) always feels like borderline colonization to me. Here starving child, if you believe in Jesus you can have this yummy food. I mean it works (both in feeding the needy and as a recruiting tactic for extremist and/or terrorist group), and feeding the poor is great but talking to missionaries (including those in my family), oftentimes their help feels conditional and self-congratulatory. That, to me, feels like colonialism.Another friend pointed out that "it feels like colonialism because it ABSOLUTELY IS." I agree with both of these folks. The missionary work skeeves me out.
2. He works with Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family is a Southern Poverty Law Center-classified hate group. The people they hate the most seem to be queer people (though they reserve quite a bit of ire for people who've had abortions). As I said on Facebook, his work with FOTF means that I can never like the dude as long as he's not actively recanting and working against whatever contribution he has made to a known hate group consisting of homophobes who want me incarcerated/
Since beginning writing this post, I've been de-friended by someone to whom I expressed, in a way I believe was polite and respectful, the feelings I articulated above about Tebow's work with Focus on the Family. I said to her almost exactly what I said here. People feel intensely strongly about this dude, and I can't even begin to relate to that. There are apparently people in the world who would rather cut off contact with someone than re-evaluate their feelings about a football player they don't even know personally. She didn't even argue with me. I'm not offended, but I'm really confused! What kind of cult of personality issues are going on here?
Anyway. I await the day that Tim Tebow gets over his bigotry and I can like him, too. Until then, I'll be persistent in pointing out that he's homophobic. And don't give me any of that, "I'm sure he doesn't hate gay people himself" thing. He could disassociate from a group that was classified as a hate group because of its work against queer people. He doesn't have to have said the words. His actions speak for themselves.
Tim, we are not speaking.