"Fans of European soccer star David Beckham show their appreciation by filling the Internet with 'Becks is God' posts," writes Matt Ehlers.
Some replica jerseys have replaced the name "Beckham" on the back with "God." St. Louis Cardinals phenom Albert Pujols has been praised with an "Albert is God" sign at the ballpark. A check of recent news stories finds similar references to Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, with "Lance is God" signs held aloft along the race route; a connoisseur who described a particular Belgian beer as "God in a bottle"; and an article from South Africa in which Nelson Mandela is referred to by a supporter as "the second Jesus."
Russell Bush, academic vice president at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, disapproves. "It's not something to play around with," he tells the paper. "The Bible says we shouldn't take God's name in vain. People should be cautious about using the name of God for something that's purely secular."
Kristine L. Fitch, an associate professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, suggests that the trend is, in Ehlers's words, "a form of subtle resistance to the increasing fundamentalism" in American culture.
Or, of course, it may be a sign that the Judeo-Christian ethic that says you don't go around blaspheming at the drop of a hat is diminishing in American culture.
Fight over Roy Moore's Ten Commandment monument:
- Judge Roy Moore's lawless battle | The Alabama chief justice can spare the nation a divisive constitutional showdown by announcing that he will stop ignoring the separation of church and state (Editorial, The New York Times)
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