Comedian Bill Maher suggested Republicans nominate Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow for president because he is a devout Christian, marking a consistent pattern of faith-based jabs aimed at the evangelical athlete.
“Since all Republican voters want in a candidate is a devout Christian …they should just go ahead and nominate Tim Tebow,” said Maher. "Tim Tebow is so cuckoo for Christianity that he used to write Bible verses in the charcoal under his eyes. Creepy to some, but for redneck America, they couldn't love this guy more if he was sculpted out of bacon.”
Maher, who drew criticism for comments he made on his show, attempted to justify his statements with comparisons between Tebow’s performance on the football field and the primary race.
“That's right, take Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, the fan favored Christian who's in over his head on the football field, and put him somewhere where fan favored Christians who are in over their head are welcome: the Republican presidential race,” Maher said.
The remarks differ from game-day jabs that Tebow said were all part of the sport.
Two weeks ago, Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch mocked Tebow’s prayer pose, which became an Internet meme known as Tebowing, after sacking the quarterback in the second quarter.
Other Lions’ players followed suit throughout the game.
"He was just celebrating, having fun with his teammates and I don't take offense to that," said Tebow to the Associated Press.
Some Christian leaders called the faith-based remarks inappropriate.
"I think the linebacker for the Lions was attempting to not mock God, but to mock Tebow and have fun with it," said Gordon Thiessen, the director for training and resources for the Nebraska Fellowship of Christian Athletes, to ESPN. "But it was still in bad taste and inappropriate, at best."
Last week, Oakland Raider’s fans held signs that read “welcome to hell,” directed at Tebow during the pre-game warm-ups before Sunday’s NFL match-up in Oakland, according to Mercury News.
Maher’s comments, however, drew the football player away from the field and into the political arena based on his faith – using it to comment on the Republican primary race.
"And there's nothing they (Republicans) hate more than secular eggheads trying to fix problems like poverty and health care. Honestly, doesn't a lot of the Tea Party philosophy boil down to "Who needs the government when you have Jesus?" Maher added.
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