Linda Chavez

Tim Tebow harms no one when he bends a knee to thank Jesus for giving him the athletic gifts that have served him so well. And he's never said anything publicly about saving anyone's soul. So how is it offensive that his piety inspires others -- even his opponents on the field -- to join him in prayer? In an era when other famous athletes are better known for sexting, criminal assault or even murder, it's a mystery why humility and faith would be viewed negatively.

True tolerance means allowing others to believe what they choose and to express those beliefs, so long as they do not interfere with the liberty of others. Tebow does not insist that his teammates join him in prayer, nor does he interfere with those who choose a different religious -- or non-religious -- expression of joy and gratitude.

But illiberals want religion out of the public square altogether. They want to reinterpret the First Amendment to deny religious freedom, not to protect it. They want to force religious people of all faiths to keep their religion in the closet, while at the same time enforcing the open acceptance -- indeed, encouragement -- of behaviors that conflict with traditional religious tenets. The illiberal religious bigots believe putting a creche on public property is unconstitutional; but displaying a crucifix in a in a tax-supported museum is just fine, just so long as it's stuck in a jar of urine.

Tim Tebow is not the problem. The real problem is our willingness to be bullied into thinking that prejudice masked as tolerance is acceptable.

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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