So I just got around to reading a tweet from Mark Oppenheimer, religion columnist for The New York Times.
He was offended by my February 3 post taking issue with a cover story he wrote for Sports Illustrated, “In the Fields of the Lord,” which appeared in the magazine’s Super Bowl issue.
Oppenheimer’s article dissed NFL players who “point to heaven after the big sack, cross themselves after a touchdown and give thanks to Jesus in the post-game interviews.” His hit piece – which, at one point, jokes about pro footballers attempting to “Christianize the strip club” – suggests that the faith of Christian athletes is unworthy of being taken seriously.
Had a Christ follower authored such an article, I would have disagreed, but I wouldn’t have wondered what secret animus he might bear toward Christianity.
But Oppenheimer is Jewish, as I noted in my post. And I couldn’t shake the suspicion that the cynical tone of his SI essay was attributable, at least in part, to a conceit that his faith is superior to the Christian faith.
Oppenheimer is skeptical of Christianity.
He doesn’t believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah foretold by the book of Isaiah. That He was born of a virgin. That He performed the miraculous. That He was crucified and rose from the dead three days thereafter. That he was seen by men after His resurrection. And that He sits now at the right hand of God.
In my view, a writer that rejects the divinity of Jesus – be he (or she) Jewish, like Oppenheimer, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or Scientologist or whatever – simply cannot write a fair and balanced article on the Christian faith.
Even when that article explores the seemingly innocuous subject of pro football and Christian athletes.
Oppenheimer didn’t see it this way. The guy who spent nearly 3,500 words mocking gridiron Christians threw a hissy fit because I had the temerity to report that he is Jewish.
“cheers, Christian Diarist,” Oppenheimer tweeted, “to anti-Semitism in attack on my Sports Ill piece abt Christianity + NFL.”
And The New York Times/Sports Illustrated religion writer got a tweet of support from Rebecca Ruquist, one of his twitter sycophants.
“oy veyyyy,” she sympathized. “The ‘yes,’ (confirming your suspicion) is esp unsavory.”
Well oy veyyyy, indeed, Miss Ruquist. My post anticipated that readers would want to know the religious faith of the author of the Sports Ill piece (for the very germaine reasons I mentioned above). So, I answered in advance: “yes, he’s Jewish.”
Maybe, in Ruquist’s mind, that made my post “unsavory.” Maybe, to Oppenheimer’s way of thinking, that somehow made my post anti-Semitic.
But Oppenheimer protests too much, me thinks. By playing the anti-Semitic card, he clearly is attempting to deflect attention from his SI article, which is artfully written and deviously anti-Christian.