Friday, November 12, 2010

In Hockey: Talent, Dedication, Teamwork Replace Faith

I'm a big hockey fan.  It's my favorite sport.  I probably like it even more after reading this article which states that hockey is the major professional sport least affected by evangelical Christianity.  The article states that a large percentage of European and Canadian athletes contribute to the lack of outward celebration of Jesus in the sport.  There are more Canadians and Europeans in the NHL than there are Americans, and that seems to be the biggest reason.  Only 20% of Swedes, for example, embrace religion.  But the article itself spirals into stupidity when it recommends that the NHL "market" their Christian athletes better, in order to appeal more to American Christians.  Just what we need, another NFL.  

Football seems to be the sport most consumed with Christianity.  We're all used to hearing football players blab on and thank God for their success, as if they've got a secret deal worked out with him that their competition doesn't.  But are teams crossing a line when they profess their faith using publicly funded stadiums and arenas as their pulpit?  According to Tom Krattenmeyer, Christian author of Onward Christian Athletes (quoted from an interview with Hemant Mehta), they aren't adequately representing the diversity of American faith:

"it’s high time we start asking these questions and holding sports accountable to the public when it comes to religious practices. Nothing against the religious athletes and their faith — I affirm the right of anyone to practice and express their faith — but pro teams have a responsibility to the religiously diverse communities that support these franchises."

I couldn't agree more.  Until then, I'm sticking to hockey, where I can relate to a buch of ginger bearded, atheist swedes quite easily. 

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