The Tim Tebow debate took a bizarre turn this week when a Connecticut Rabbi wrote a scathing, Onion-like article for Jewish Week, a newspaper serving the Jewish community in New York City.
The piece, which was written by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman and seems more like a parody than a literal proclamation from a religious leader, claims that a Tebow Super Bowl win would lead to total and utter Christian-led chaos. And we’re not just talking angry football fans engaging in verbal outbursts — we’re talking mosque-burning hatred (among other purported antics).
Hammerman, the head spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in Connecticut, leads the article by writing, “I’ve got a Tim Tebow problem.” After setting the 24-year-old football player up as “a poster boy of the Christian right,” Hammerman says, “Now tiny Tim has grown and is on track to possibly appear in this season’s Super Bowl – on the field – and that is what scares me.”
As the rabbi continues, he claims that the game of football is more popular than even God here in America (a point that many Americans would likely debate). His semi-lighthearted words quickly devolve. “When you combine the religion that is football with the religion that is religion, the mix can be dangerously flammable,” he writes.
Of course, he manages to slip in some leftist statements about Republican presidential candidates as well. He writes:
When supposedly well-educated candidates publicly question overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change and evolution and then gain electoral traction by fabricating conspiracies about a war on Christmas, these are not rational times.
Here’s where a bizarre turn is made. Hammerman writes that, should Tebow win the Super Bowl, the faithful (i.e. Christians) will “do insane things.” The rabbi goes on to explain that a win would “buoy [Tebow's] faithful” and lead to mosque burnings, gay bashing and the banishment of immigrants.
Yes, that’s correct: A legitimate religious leader contends that Tebow’s open faith and a subsequent Super Bowl win would lead to violence and discrimination. Here were his exact words:
If Tebow wins the Super Bowl, against all odds, it will buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants. While America has become more inclusive since Jerry Falwell’s first political forays, a Tebow triumph could set those efforts back considerably.
This commentary was so startling that the Blaze decided to hold off on writing about Hammerman’s article until we could speak with him further to verify his views. Unfortunately, he was unresponsive to e-mail and phone messages.
On Human Events, JWF writes, “It appears this Hammerman is merely a far-left crank who happens to be a rabbi. He diminishes the good work of non-political rabbis and pretty much anyone of faith. He should be ashamed.” Many on the right, it seems, agree.
Even Fox News’ Bob Beckel, hardly a conservative, slammed Hammerman’s views:
Ironically, Hammerman writes a column for Jewish Week entitled “Hammerman on Ethics.” Yes, ethics. As of Thursday morning, it appeared as though Jewish Week had removed the offensive piece.
On his blog, the rabbi confirmed that the article was removed, writing, “The piece has been taken down and I apologize to all those whom it has offended. Some additional reflections will be forthcoming. Thank you.”
We’ll be looking forward to seeing what these “reflections” will include.