Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Rabbi Defends Husain Abdullah's Moment Of Prayer On The Field

In an opinion piece on the New York Observer, orthodox Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has come to the defense of Muslim footballer Husain Abdullah- who was penalized by the NFL for praying during a recent game.

There are far more important things to be concerned with than a footballer kissing the ground in prayer. Now if he was praising ISIS, different story.

The Rabbi, who ran for congress as a Republican in 2012, supports gay marriage, and was pals with Michael Jackson, has some interesting things to say.

With the penalizing of Husain Abdullah of the Kansas City Chiefs for a gesture of Muslim prayer after picking off Tom Brady and scoring a touchdown, the NFL has reached a level of schizophrenia that is truly troubling.

Here is a league being universally condemned for its soft approach to domestic violence and the Ray Rice incident. Here is a league besot by scandal over the Adrian Peterson corporal punishment episode. And here is a league engulfed in controversy over Commissioner Roger Goodell’s response to both.

You’d think that a league which is being accused of looking the other way in order to generate bucket loads of cash would appreciate the morality of players who believe in God, lead religious lives, and offer harmless gestures of faith in a game.

You’d think that a league being accused of amorality would treat religious players like Husain Abdullah as a godsend and celebrate rather than penalizing them.

I have loved football since I was a boy. Growing up with my father thousands of miles away, I actually took myself to Miami Dolphin games on a bus most Sundays during the season from the age of perhaps twelve.

I love the game but I also love the celebrations of faith, which seem unique to the NFL, or at least most pronounced. The beautiful prayer circles that one sees after NFL games where players of opposing teams who moments ago were crushing each other’s bones now kneel together in prayer. Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts winning the Super Bowl and immediately ascribing the glory to God. Tim Tebow wearing his religious convictions on his sleeve and coining a new phrase in his humility before God.

And for those of us who found Tebowing to be inspirational, how dare we employ a double standard and not salute the demonstration of faith by Husain Abdullah?

We in the West who continually reach out to our Muslim brothers and sisters asking them to ensure that extremists not take over their religion should be cheering and applauding special men like Abdullah who are a phenomenal credit to their faith and inspire Americans to give gratitude to God.

What was the officiating team on Monday night thinking when they penalized an absolutely innocent demonstration of worship?

For those who believe that God has no place in the NFL, I ask them, Really? So the only thing that should be allowed are truly dignified displays like women jumping up and down in lycra with pompoms and cleavage, and bare-chested, pot-bellied men with their teams written across their stomachs? Wearing a cheese hat is OK but not a yarmulke?

America is a religious country and sincerely so. Ninety-two percent of the population believes in God, who is even on our money. But for all that, America also loves compartmentalizing religion. Keep it in the Church, not in the schools. Put God in political campaigns but not in the popular culture. Aside from those who pay for their air time like Joel Osteen, notice that you rarely ever see religion on TV.
The rest of the story on New York Observer.

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