David Beckham is not God.
The News and Observer of Raleigh, N.C., spots a troubling trend: literally idolizing pop stars.

"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.

More articles

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)

  • No place for religion | The issue here is religious freedom, not voting rights or school desegregation, but the principle is the same: If Alabama Chief Justice Moore can decide which federal court opinions he likes, nobody's rights are safe from state officials who don't believe in them (Editorial, The Washington Post)

  • Moore's motives | Why didn't chief justice ask 11th Circuit for stay? (Editorial, The Birmingham News)

  • Justice Moore should obey federal court | The time has come for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore to obey the lawful order of U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson that he remove the Ten Commandments monument from the State Judicial Building rotunda (Editorial, Mobile Register, Ala.)

  • A briar patch for Pryor? | Alabama attorney General Bill Pryor should have little problem meeting a noisy challenge from longtime liberal activist Barry Lynn (Editorial, Mobile Register, Ala.)

Article continues below

Other Ten Commandments battles:

  • U.S. answers to higher law | No matter how many laws we have against murder, how many police we have to catch the culprits, how many courts we have to prosecute and punish them and how many prisons we have to lock them up, only a conscience informed by a law greater than a human law can stop a murder before it happens (Rob Schenck, USA Today)

  • Commandments battles proliferate (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

  • La Crosse mayor vetoes monument appeal | La Crosse Mayor John Medinger on Wednesday vetoed the Common Council's decision to appeal a federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments from Cameron Park. An override is likely (LaCrosse Tribune, Wisc.)

  • Where's Moses? | The ACLU searches for the Ten Commandments in Utah (The Wall Street Journal)

  • City Council votes to appeal Ten Commandments ruling | LaCrosse, Wis., council moves to pursue appeal in 7th Circuit after federal court orders monument's removal from public park (Associated Press)

  • New front in religious battle | Commandments to be protected in spending measure (The Hill, D.C.)

Church and state:

Article continues below


Missionaries murdered in Solomon Islands:


  • Right wing fears being terminated | The Schwarzenegger phenomenon is so disturbing for those who have staked their careers on their unwavering conservative credentials (Diane Carman, The Denver Post)

Article continues below

The Passion:

Church land use debates:

  • Protect our right to worship | Several metro and outlying jurisdictions have tried assorted subterfuges, from impossible zoning to draconian parking rules, to keep modern "megachurches" from disturbing their bucolic tranquility (Editorial, The Denver Post)

  • Church plan splitting Pullman | Two sides battle over a proposal for a massive church-sports complex in the historic area, and race becomes an issue (Chicago Tribune)

  • Weathering a storm of controversy | Plan to change steeple from wood to fiberglass roils town (The Washington Post)

Alabama tax plan:

  • Our better angels | Riley's tax-and-accountability plan uses faith in the right way (Editorial, The Huntsville Times, Ala.)

Article continues below
  • Why the Coalition's stance is import | There's a good reason why the national Christian Coalition's endorsement of Alabama's tax reform proposition was on the front page of newspapers around the state (Editorial, Mobile Register, Ala.)

  • Seeking a moral majority | We felt compelled to bring our message of support to Alabama because nowhere in the country has the issue of taxation and its effect on families been so clearly framed as a moral question for people of faith as it has been in Alabama (Roberta Combs, Mobile Register, Ala.)

  • Moral focus or political? Views vary | The Christian Coalition of Alabama's strong anti-tax stance has sparked questions about the chapter and its leaders (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  • Also: Tax is right, smart, says plan backer | Proposal aids most residents, pushes jobs, GOP is told (The Huntsville Times, Ala.)

  • Conservative groups align against tax rise in Alabama | Family Research Council, Eagle Forum, and other  national conservative organizations have condemned Alabama Gov. Bob Riley's proposal for sharp tax increases (The Washington Times)

  • Also: Anti-tax 'tea party' overflows (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

Church life:

Article continues below

Church leaders:

  • Derided, ignored, and unstoppable | Sydney's most prominent evangelicals, the Jensen brothers (Paul Sheehan, The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • 'I just want everyone to be godly' | Meeting His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, the supreme head of the Indian Orthodox Church (Indian Express)

  • New bishop turns down a big house | Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, the new leader of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, has chosen to live in a small rectory behind the Cathedral of the Holy Cross instead of the large residence that has housed Boston's archbishops for 75 years (The New York Times)

Youth ministry:

  • Some kids just have a mission | For at least a week this summer, hundreds of area teens took a break from their summertime leisure in search of something life-changing (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)

  • In their footsteps | Teens find path to spiritual renewal (Erie Times-News)

  • Back to school | Local church service provides inspiration, along with backpacks and school supplies for needy children (Chronicle-Tribune, Grant County, Ind.)

  • Churches seek new ways to attract young people | Concerts, dance keep teens involved and off streets (The Washington Post)


Internet and technology:

Article continues below

History and artifacts:

Vatican examines genetically modified food:


  • Austin, Minn., police link six youths to church break-ins | Investigators recovered checks from parishioners made out to several churches, bank bags, a computer and software that was stolen from one of the churches (Associated Press)

  • Church divided in wake of scam | As treasurer of Dupont Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in Southeast Washington, secretly invested and then lost $1.3 million of church money (The Washington Post)

  • Three charged with rape to be tried as juveniles | Two factors that played a major role in the decision were that none of the Eastside teens has a criminal history and none was living "an adultlike lifestyle" before the arrests at a Christian youth conference, the judge said (The Seattle Times)

  • Bishop held hostage | The controversial head of the Anglican Church, Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, was yesterday briefly held hostage by parishioners of St Philip's Anglican Church in Harare's New Tafara suburb, who accused him of snubbing them and protecting church leaders who are alleged to be abusing funds (The Daily News, Harare, Zimbabwe)

  • Inquest into U.S. priest's death | An inquest into the death of a controversial American priest opened on Monday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, two years after the FBI said he had died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound (BBC)

Article continues below

Related Elsewhere

Suggest links and stories by sending e-mail to weblog@christianitytoday.com

What is Weblog?

Check out Books & Culture's weblog, Content & Context.

See our past Weblog updates:

August 13 | 12 | 11
August 8 | 7b | 7a | 6 | 5 | 4
July 30 | 29 | 28
July 25 | 24 | 23 | 22 | 21
July 18 | 17 | 16 | 15 | 14
July 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7
July 3 | 2 | 1 | June 30
and more, back to November 1999