A writer for the New York Post asked a few observers — including Your Humble Blogger — whether Tim Tebow was a bad fit for a city like New York:
Pundits couldn’t contain themselves over the news that quarterback Tim Tebow is joining the Jets — and I don’t mean sportswriters worried about Mark Sanchez’s confidence. Many just don’t think Tebow’s evangelical religiosity is the right fit for Sin City.
The Borowitz Report posted: “BREAKING: Tebow Looking Forward to Meeting First Jew.” For comic relief, nothing topped the tweet: “Tebow traded for our sins.”
More serious was Robert Schlesinger on USNews.com: “To put it in crude, political terms, Tim Tebow is a ‘red state’ phenomenon who will suddenly be in a ‘blue state’ spotlight . . . If you thought that Tebow was a nationally polarizing figure already, wait until he becomes the symbol of small town versus big city, real America versus Gomorrah, and so forth.”
They don’t know the real Big Apple. “New York gets a bum rap,” says Greg Kandra, a deacon in the Diocese of Brooklyn. “This city’s churches are packed with very observant people of all denominations. . . There’s a deep vein of spirituality and morality that goes through New York. There are a lot of people crowded into a small space and we have to look out for one another. It’s a city with a conscience.”
Kandra echoes the sentiments of his boss, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who in Rome last month told reporters, “New York seems to have an innate interest and respect for religion and I’m going to bring that up because I don’t like that caricature that New York is some neo-Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Rabbi Motti Seligson agrees with the cardinal (on this one). He says that his Chabad-Lubavitch, an Orthodox Jewish group, is seeing a “spiritual boom in New York City”; it’s in a “struggleto keep up with demand, to provide enough space and educational opportunities toaccommodatethe many people” who come “seeking spirituality and studying Torah.”
Catholics and Jews can seem to make up the bulk of New York’s religious landscape, but Tony Carnes says there are “several thousand evangelical churches in New York City.” In fact, Carnes — the editor and publisher of A Journey Through NYC Religions — says New York is “the hot place for planting new churches” because “this is where young people want to be.”