Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Football players pray because it works

Herbert I. London
Herbert I. London
London Center for Policy Research
Herbert I. London has an elaborate editorial in the hopelessly incoherent Washington Times titled: “Prayer is part of sports because imponderables determine a game's outcome.” I will not quote much of this polemic.
There were five seconds left in the playoff game … the Vikings’ quarterback, threw a pass to Stefon Diggs in the flat. He jumped up and dashed to the end zone. What was a virtually assured Saints’ victory became a Vikings visit to the NFL championship game.

…Mr. Diggs said, “it happened so fast, I didn’t know what was happening.” He went on to note that he owes his success to God. “God made it happen.”
Of course there is always a villain in these stories:
The reason this matter comes up at all is that football coaches across the country receive the wrath of the ACLU when they have asked their teams to pray to God before and after games.
Actually, that is false. What I and others object to is prayer in public schools, including public school athletics. It is settled law that doing so is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court cases include Engel v. Vitale, Wallace v. Jafree, Lee v. Weisman and Santa Fe ISD v. Doe. “The reason that this matter comes up at all” is the insistence of high school football coaches to challenge clearly established law. It has nothing to do with pro football.

Later on:
Prayer is a part of sports because there are so many imponderables that can determine the outcome of the game and they are by no means logical. Why did the sea gull fly in front of a left fielder as he was about the throw out an opposing player at home plate? Why did snowflakes in the middle of a football game alter a team’s passing attack?
I swear that these people intentionally solicit ridicule. What Mr. Diggs and Mr. London are both asserting is that God chooses winners in athletic competitions. What happens, one wonders, when one side is praying for the field goal kicker to put the ball between the goalposts while the other side is praying — with equal vigor and enthusiasm — for the kicker to miss? How does God choose winners and losers I wonder?

If Mr. London is reading this he probably relegates my rhetorical questions to the musings of a smart-ass Jewish queer. That being the case I will close by writing that, if there is a God, s/he needs to attend to much more important matters like famine and world piece. If s/he can determine the outcome of a Superbowl then some attention is required to Burundi where 75% if the country is undernourished and the death of children by starvation is routine. Do those folks need to pray more to get fed?

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