Bill Maher’s recent tweet denigrating Bronco’s quarterback Tim Tebow raised a stink with many Tebow fans and Christians in general. As the Broncos were getting battered by the Buffalo Bills in last Sunday’s game, Maher tweeted the following:
“Wow, Jesus just f***ed #TimTebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere … Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler “Hey, Buffalo’s killing them,”
I like Maher, despite his frequent displays of arrogance, but such public badgering of the unabashed christian quarterback only heightens Tebow’s popularity and creates a support base that would perhaps not otherwise exist.
It is understandable why Maher, a professed Atheist, would mock the evangelical quarterback who had scripture quotes in his “eye black” during his college days.
The evangelical christian community has seized on Tebow’s public display of his faith and lamely accuses people like Maher who criticize Tebow as evidence of the church’s persecution in this country where nearly 80% of those polled in a Pew survey claim to be Christians. Some might even think this “outrage” is merely another ploy used by the christian right to get their extreme views aired and further promote their litany of wedge issues like same sex marriage and their hysterical claim about the war on Christmas.
But behaving lamely is sometimes the norm for fanatics, be they the religious sort or not. Case in point – a FOX sports report claimed that “[Maher’s] tweet prompted some to call for a boycott of [his] HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
Any casual observer of Maher’s HBO program is fully aware of his popularity with his audience, especially when he goes after “religious crazies” like many of the Muslim hate groups and individuals like Pastor Terry Jones in Gainesville, Florida who wanted to burn Korans or the equally bizarre Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS, who gathers at the funerals of dead service men and women proclaiming that “God Hates Fags”. Tim Tebow’s public prayer hardly poses a threat like these people and so far he has not engaged in attacks on the secular community that I have seen. However, Maher’s attacks on organized religion are a part of his shtick and few are spared his barbed assaults.
Maher learned his lesson with commercial TV when his late night show, “Politically Incorrect” was summarily dismissed from ABC following comments that right-wing zealots found offensive. His criticism of the government following 9/11 didn’t let up unlike his competitors on late night TV and he paid for it when “a conservative talk show host in Houston hosted by Dan Patrick urged listeners to complain to two of the show’s advertisers, Sears and Federal Express, who subsequently dropped their ads”. Maher’s criticism of the government turned out to be the norm for many commentators later when the causes for invading Iraq didn’t pan out as sold by the Bush administration to the public.
Does anyone believe that there are significant numbers that can effect a productive boycott of Maher’s show that airs on non-commercial cable TV? Who watches the show anyway that hasn’t already been offended by Maher’s criticism of religion? Unless you are a fan why would anyone subscribe to Maher’s tweet page? Not that his tweet would empathize with evangelicals but why wouldn’t Maher’s comments evoke a shared sense of how Satan celebrates when humans fail?
Devout beliefs in one category do not necessarily carry over into other domains but far be it for some religious fundamentalists to be deterred in their crusades on the infidels of this world. In this case at least someone has to be earnestly looking for Bill Maher to offend them and then make it more of a public issue than need be.