Tim Tebow has caused some controversy in Polk County, Fla. when he was depicted as a wise man in a public nativity scene.
A cardboard representation of the Denver Broncos’ QB was placed beside the wise men in Millennium Park last week, but was removed after complaints on Friday. However, the cardboard Tebow re-appeared on Monday, to the concern of many.
Randy Wilkinson, Former Polk County Commissioner, created the nativity scene that features Tebow as a Wiseman, along with Santa Claus, a snowman and a menorah.
“Tebow was a missionary and has gone all around the world,” Wilkinson said in a Polk County Democrat report. “He’s kind of like a Wise Man to many hanging out there. Today it could be Tebow, Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers.”
Wilkinson’s reasoning for creating the display in the Millennium Park was that the First Baptist Church stopped displaying their nativity scene. The church stopped showcasing their nativity scene after the ACLU, backed by other organizations, sued Polk County for endorsing the religious display.
However, Wilkinson said that the ACLU had no issues with his display in the local park. After speaking with the organization, he decided to Tebow and the display until the new year.
“There is probably some verbosity with the policy, but in consulting with the ACLU and with their blessing their approval is to leave it there this year,” Wilkinson told the Polk County Democrat.
However, admitted offense to the scene.
“I appreciate Tim Tebow and respect how he stands for God, however, by placing a symbol of him at the nativity makes me wonder if some are trying to turn him into a god,” one Facebook user commented. “He is a man who lives what he believes and it is ok to admire that, but we are not to "worship" Tebow and he would be the first one to agree!”
Mianne Nelson, Polk County communications director, recognized the issue in Polk County Democrat reports, but said that the public park also recognized freedom of expression.
“There is some question of whether or not it violates the county policy,” she said. “We recognize all forms of expression on our properties.”