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Associated Press
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Andy Studebaker hold hands to pray following Sunday's game.

The God thing

Look, I don't know if Terrell Suggs believes in God, Buddha or the Geico gekko. What I do know is he's a lot more right than wrong in saying what he said on ESPN's First Take yesterday, even if wasn't exactly mannerly.

What he said was this: Tim Tebow can go right on believing it was God's will that the Denver Broncos made the playoffs, because, well, they did need something like divine intervention to get there. Suggs' Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, got there under their own steam, without any help from the Almighty.

A certain species of Christian, of course, will see this as yet another swipe at Tebow's very public faith, and therefore some form of persecution for said faith. As someone who's both a Christian and lives in the real world, however, I say if it's persecution, it's self-inflicted.

Here's the skinny: When you so consciously make such an ostentatious display of your faith -- or of anything, frankly -- you set yourself up for whatever comes after. If you're going to put something out there in the public square, after all, you can't expect the public not to react to it, both positively and negatively. That's how it works in an open society, and should.

Understand, I've got no problem with Tebow doing what he does, even if the Bible has some rather pointed things to say about it. But it's absurd, in a nation largely controlled and legislated upon by professed Christians, to suggest that any criticism he gets for that amounts to persecution.

Perhaps if those who maintain as much had ever experienced actual persecution for their religious beliefs, it might be possible to take them seriously. Absent that, it's just so much static in a nation already stuffed with it.

This concludes today's sermon.

Ben Smith's blog.