By Bob Avakian
Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Denver Broncos in the National Football League, is being widely, and seemingly endlessly, promoted—as an icon not only in the realm of sports but much more broadly. I have followed sports, including football, for many decades now, and I cannot recall ever witnessing anything like this. In a highly orchestrated and concentrated campaign, Tebow is being held up as a “worker of miracles” on the football field but, more than that, as a “role model” and moral standard-bearer.
This hype around Tebow is completely and strikingly out of proportion to any demonstrated ability or actual accomplishments on Tebow’s part, in terms of performance as a professional football quarterback. If you have been paying attention not only to the arena of sports but to things more broadly in this society and the world, you should be able to quickly guess why this is: Tim Tebow is a religious fanatic—of the Christian fundamentalist variety—who aggressively promotes his medieval views and values in a way that is obviously considered useful by significant sections of the powers-that-be in the U.S. Among other things, during the Super Bowl (the American professional football championship) a couple of years ago, Tebow was the centerpiece of an ad whose purpose was to oppose the right of women to reproductive freedom, in particular abortion. The ad was sponsored by a right-wing Christian organization which aggressively opposes the right of women to abortion (it is also a fact, and highly revealing, that as a general rule the reactionary Christian fundamentalist forces that oppose a woman’s right to abortion also want to ban birth control).
This promotion of what is in reality a fascist outlook and program, in the form of fundamentalist Christianity, is aided by the notion—aggressively championed by some, and far too often unchallenged by others—that there is a direct connection between how religious someone is and how “moral” he or she is. Which avoids the critical question: What is the content of this morality? More specifically: What, in fact, is being promoted through the propagation of religious fundamentalism, including the kind of “Biblical literalism”—insisting that the Bible is the word of God which must be accepted as absolutely true, and as the standard for behavior, in every respect—with which Tim Tebow is associated? In reality, it is irrational, anti-rational ignorance and superstition—which denies well-established scientific fact, such as evolution, and is opposed to the scientific method and approach in general—as well as the insistence upon all kinds of reactionary, extremely oppressive and literally murderous values, social relations, and actions. And this is not something that should somehow be overlooked, excused, or minimized because Tebow works hard at being a quarterback (has a “good work ethic”) and supports religious charities (something reactionary religious fundamentalists often do).
Since one of the main ways in which Tim Tebow in particular propagandizes and proselytizes for his religious fundamentalism is through continual and prominent citation of verses from the Bible, I am offering the following tips for Tim Tebow, in terms of passages from the Bible he should cite and call attention to, in order to bring to light what is the actual content—the fundamental worldview, relations, values and morals—which are promoted, and indeed insisted upon, in the Bible.
Deuteronomy, Chapter 7; Exodus, Chapter 32; Numbers 31 (especially v. 13-18 and 31-35). These are just some of the passages in the Bible in which the God of this Bible insists that people who practice another religion, or who oppose or stand in the way of this God’s will, must be slaughtered and utterly destroyed—or, in the case of virgin women, raped and enslaved—without mercy.
Exodus 20:1-17 (this contains the Ten Commandments, with Commandment 10 of particular relevance); 1 Timothy 6:1-6; Ephesians 6:5-6; Colossians 3:22-24. Again, these are just some passages—among many which could be cited—from the New Testament as well as the Old Testament of the Bible, where slavery is upheld and treated as legitimate.
Deuteronomy 22:13-21 (in particular v. 20 and 21). Here is it said that women who are not virgins when they marry must be put to death.
Exodus 22:18 Women who are accused of being witches (sorcerers) must be put to death as well.
Leviticus 21:9 A priest’s daughter who becomes a prostitute, and thereby profanes her father, must be put to death.
Exodus 20:1-17, the Ten Commandments Commandment 10 (Exodus 20:17) treats wives (as well as slaves) as part of the property of a man (“thy neighbor”) which must not be coveted.
Ephesians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; Here Paul insists that women must be subordinate to their husbands, and in fact must be silent and subordinate in the churches. In 1 Timothy 2:11-15, Paul says that the subordination of women is because of the role of woman (Eve) in original sin, and that child-bearing and the pain associated with it is a punishment women must endure because of the sin of Eve in succumbing to Satan in the garden of Eden and seducing Adam into eating the apple (see also Genesis chapter 3, in particular v. 16). In these passages, as well as many others throughout the Bible, suffocating and brutal oppression of women is insisted upon and sanctified. And, as we see in Numbers chapter 31, as well as many other places in the Bible (such as Isaiah, chapters 10-14, and Psalm 137), the mass raping of women, and the murder of babies and little children, is not only justified but said to be righteous, if it is carried out on behalf of the supposed one true God.
Leviticus 20:13; Here it is said not only that homosexuality is an abomination but that homosexuals must be killed.
Proverbs 23:13-14; Exodus 21:17; Deuteronomy 21:18-21; Romans 1:30 In these passages—again, from the New Testament as well as the Old Testament—we are not only told that children must be beaten in order to keep them on the right path (“spare the rod and spoil the child”) but that children who are rebellious against their parents must be put to death.
Leviticus 24:11-16; Deuteronomy 13:5 Anyone who curses the God of the Bible—or who “blasphemes the name of the Lord”—is to be executed, as is any prophet who calls on people to rebel against God.
The book of Numbers—once again, particularly Numbers 31:13-18 and 31-35 In Numbers, perhaps even more than other books of the Bible, the maniacal and merciless bloodthirstiness of the one true God of the Bible is graphically shown, in his insistence on slaughter, plunder, rapine and rape. In Numbers 31, especially verses 13-18, Moses, the messenger and enforcer for this God, becomes furious with his followers because, in attacking the Midianites, they only killed the adult men and stole some of their property: go back again, commands Moses, speaking in God’s name, and massacre all the males, children as well as grown men, and kill also all the females who are not virgins—but as for the females who are virgins, carry them off as sex slaves (concubines) for yourselves.
Matthew 17:14-20 (also Luke 8:26-39) Here we see that Jesus is ignorant about epilepsy and seizures—he treats this as a matter of demon possession, as opposed to the true, scientifically established understanding that epilepsy has to do with chemical and electrical processes in the nervous system and the brain—and in voicing and acting on this ignorance, Jesus afflicts people with the cruel notion that their sickness is their own fault, a result of their own sinful conduct.
John 14:6 and John 15:6 Here we are told, by Jesus himself, that he is the only way to salvation. Those who don’t follow him will be condemned to eternal damnation, that is, endless torture: burning in hell, excruciating physical as well as mental pain, torment and anguish. (See also Luke 19:1-27, especially v. 27.)
The above are only some passages from the Bible—and many, many more could be cited—which clearly illustrate the truth that (as I put it in the book, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World) the Bible, taken literally, is a horror. (I would be happy to provide Tim Tebow with a copy of this book.)
If Tim Tebow wants to truly inform people about what the Bible represents, let him cite the above verses of the Bible and acknowledge what they actually advocate. If he wants to claim that he does not insist on taking the Bible as the literal and absolute word of the one true God, then let him say that openly and without equivocation—and admit that the Bible is not a divine work, but rather the work of human beings, which is full of ignorance and superstition as well as the advocacy of all kinds of truly horrendous values, relations, and actions. If he wants to say that he does not uphold what is put forward in what has been cited here, then let him disavow not only these particular Biblical passages but indeed the Bible as a whole, for the words spoken in these passages are not presented in the Bible as deviations from the righteous path, advocated by enemies of the one true God. No, these are said to be the words of the Biblical God himself, or of those identified, in the Bible itself, as the most worthy messengers, prophets, and apostles of this God—such as Moses, Isaiah, and Paul—as well as the supposed son of this God, Jesus.
Meanwhile, enough with the incessant campaign to not only portray Tim Tebow as a far greater football player than he actually is, but also to portray him as a nearly god-like icon, serving as a moral example and compass. Enough of the morality, and all that is bound up with the morality, that Tim Tebow stands for and aggressively shoves in everyone’s face.
Bob Avakian is the Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA