The Separation of Church and Sports

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry is breaking all kinds of records, but not everybody is happy about the way he’s doing it.

Curry is leading the Golden State Warriors into NBA history as they bagged their 72nd win, a feat only achieved once before—by Jordan’s Bulls in their 1995-96 season. On Wednesday, the Warriors have a chance to surpass it. His jersey has become the most popular in the NBA, and kids across the country watch and try to emulate his style. One 4th grade coach wrote, “…all they want to do is shoot extra-long shots (and, when they make them, tap their heart and point up).” The move is a Curry signature—a way of publicly thanking God. But that’s not the only way he proclaims his faith; he has a verse inscribed on his shoe and a Hebrew tattoo on his wrist, meaning “Love never fails,” from 1 Corinthians 13:8. (Tablet Magazine called it “Not so Jewy, but still Hebrew!”)

Curry made the reason for all this very clear: “I do it every time I step on the floor as a reminder of who I’m playing for. People should know who I represent and why I am who I am, and that’s because of my Lord and Savior.”

I recently heard a Jewish man explain that guys like Curry bothered him. He just wanted to enjoy a game, and suddenly sports players are pointing to the sky or kneeling in the end zone. He felt that religion was being pushed in his face. And he’s not the only one who has felt this way.

But Curry isn’t the only one preaching a message. He joins the ranks of other players, actors, comedians, and musicians who have used their platforms to proclaim their passions. Leonardo DiCaprio raised his concerns over the environment during his Academy Award acceptance speech. George Clooney was arrested outside the Sudanese Embassy while protesting the conditions in Sudan. Matt Damon, Bono, Oprah—everyone has a cause.

Are we having these messages shoved down our throats? Should we be separating the game/movie/song from the cause?

Nope. Here’s why: one of the most beautiful aspects of our country is that we can share our beliefs and passions freely. Whether we agree or disagree with one another is besides the point. We have the right to speak up about what we think matters most—be it the environment, stem cell research, or our love for God. Sure, it could be argued that there are appropriate times and places to promote our views, but doesn’t that diversity of perspectives make for a more interesting, colorful, and thought-provoking world? We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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