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Aaron Rodgers on Tim Tebow religion controversy: ‘I believe in letting my actions speak about the kind of character I have’

Nov 30, 2011, 12:15 PM EDT

aaronrodgers Getty Images

I’m assuming that there are many people who don’t know that Aaron Rodgers is a devout Christian. I’m assuming that because the Packers QB doesn’t talk about it much, doesn’t point to the sky after TD passes, and there isn’t a web site devoted to his prayer technique. So what does he think about the recent controversy over Tim Tebow wearing his religious beliefs on his sleeve? Rodgers, on his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio segment with Jason Wilde on Tuesday:

“Well I started playing before Tim, so these are things I’ve thought about for a long time, and I think one thing that I try to look at when I was a younger player, and I mean, in high school, junior college, and Division one, I was always interested in seeing how guys talked in their interviews, talked about their faith, or didn’t talk about their faith. And then the reactions. I know Bob Costas at one point was critical about a player thanking Jesus Christ after a win, questioning what would happen if that player had lost, or do you really think God cares about winning and losing.

“I feel like my stance and my desire has always been to follow a quote from St. Francis of Assisi, who said, ‘Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.’ So basically, I’m not an over-the-top, or an in-your-face kind of guy with my faith. I would rather people have questions about why I act the way I act, whether they view it as positive or not, and ask questions, and then given an opportunity at some point, then you can talk about your faith a little bit. I firmly believe, just personally, what works for me, and what I enjoy doing is letting my actions speak about the kind of character that I want to have, and following that quote from St. Francis.”

Audio here.

So put Rodgers in the camp, I guess, that says Tebow should probably tone down all the God talk.

The interesting things about those quotes is that the part about St. Francis is almost word for word the same quote he gave in this Athletes in Action article in Oct., 2010:

“When it comes to talking to others about his faith, Rodgers is not one who preaches or pushes his faith on others. “I like the saying from St. Francis of Assisi, ‘Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words.’ I try to live my life in a way that reflects my faith in the Lord,” Rodgers says. “I don’t like to get in peoples’ faces. The best way for me is: Let your actions talk about your beliefs, start a relationship with others, then finally there is a chance for questions.”

According to the Athletes In Action piece, Rodgers decided to “dedicate his life to living for Christ” when he was 16.

“[Church youth group leader] Matt Hock was the first person who showed me how much fun and how cool it can be to be a Christian,” Rodgers says. Through “Young Life” Rogers got involved in service mission projects and camp experiences, and built relationships that encouraged his and others’ Christian faith to grow. He went on to be involved with Athletes in Action during his two years at the University of California, Berkeley.

“I grew up knowing what a stable relationship was by my parents’ example and how it centered on Christ,” Rodgers says, “When our family had its ups and downs, I knew my parents relied on God for everything and He always got us through those rough spots.”

And while we’re on the subject of God and the devil and such, here’s Rodgers on the Lions’ Kyle Vanden Bosch:

“I mean, he’s crazy on the field. And if you watch the game, you see he wears those red contacts. He has a crazy motor. He wears red contacts on game day, I think he enjoys that perception that he’s a little bit off.”

Aaron Rodgers says there isn’t a recipe to beat the Packers [Sports Radio Interviews]

  1. Bryce - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Didn’t Jesus say something in the Bible about not being like the Pharisees and worshiping “to be seen of man”?

    • shalom69 - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:00 PM

      If you’re really interested why don’t you pick up a Bible and read for yourself? Instead of relying on heresay from biased Internet sources.

      Who am I kidding. You’re an American lol. So I’ll short hand it.

      The passage you’re referring is a rather pointed attack on the hypocrisy of the elite Hebrew religious class, who would feast publicly at banquets while they betrayed Israel to the Romans and the poor starved in the streets. Jesus is talking about hypocrisy of only being pious in public for the eyes of men while they were sinful in private in the eyes of God. If you read the entire thing it’s very clear what the meaning is. Obviously the portion quoted by Internet zombies won’t do that.

      As for Rodgers, if Aaron has a point that it’s sufficient to “let your actions do the talking” then it’s hypocritical for him to give his opinion about Tebow’s actions.

      I mean Tebow would see Aaron’s example and follow it (or not follow it depending on his choice) if things really work in the real world the way Rodgers say they work.

      What Aaron’s statement shows is that it’s really NOT sufficient to just walk the walk. People evolved language for a reason… talking about something, making a explicit explanation for what you do is many times more effective than just showing it.

      Bottom line is that Aaron has internalized the idea that thanking the troops or thanking the Constitution is fine in everyday life but the specific area of Christianity is verboten.

      That’s fine. If that’s what he believes (and to be honest we all have our hypocrisies regardless of religion or no religion when we’re being all self-righteous about other people) however, in America not everyone thinks as he does.

      For the record, I’m Jewish, mom was Catholic so I went to Catholic school so I am familiar with the doctrine.

  2. nightwalker43 - Nov 30, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    I don’t think anyone questions Tebow’s devotion to his faith through action. Here’s a kid who was born in the Philippines by missionary parents, spent his summers in the Philippines, while probably a lot of his contemporaries were having fun in the sun. He also would go to prisons to share his testimony with inmates. No one hasn’t said Tim Tebow isn’t the real deal. I respect Rodgers and his devotion and how he chooses to conduct his life. I don’t feel everyone is called to witness on a large scale using a very public platform. I personally believe for myself in going the way in which Mr. Rodgers lives his faith. But I certainly can see Tebow’s way as well. I don’t think his way trivializes Christianity. It’s not like a rapper saying things about women, violence and drugs in songs and than winning an award and giving praise to Jesus. I think the way he lives his life compliments his convictions.

  3. wholearmor61018 - Nov 30, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    Aaron Rodgers said, “I firmly believe, just personally, what works for me, and what I enjoy doing is letting my actions speak about the kind of character that I want to have…”

    Well, before reading this article, I had no idea that Aaron Rodgers was a devout Christian, but I certainly knew Tim Tebow was. So Aaron’s “letting his action speak” doesn’t really work for those who will never meet him in person or happen to read an article like this one.

    Personally, I don’t get the questioning of Tim Tebow’s thanking Jesus Christ before his interviews and his “Tebowing.” Why does it bother people so much? Where’s the tolerance and inclusiveness? He can’t help how he is. He was born that way. If a homo thanked his partner after every game, no one would think twice about it.

    @ Bryce: Here is the verse you’re referring to: “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”

    Bryce, that is aimed at hypocrites; those who say one thing and do another. They prayed in public like they were genuine men of God when they were no such thing. It’s about the heart and God knows the heart. Tim Tebow is a genuine man of God, not a hypocrite.

  4. fatfreddystubbs - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    I don’t know if Tebow talks too much about religion or not, but I do know that people talk about being bothered by Tim Tebow talking about religion too much about a bazillion times more than Tebow talks about religion.

    Seriously, I’d be willing to bet that about half of the people on message boards and in the media screaming “TEBOW NEEDS TO SHUT UP ABOUT THE GOD STUFF” are just sheep jumping on a bandwagon and have never heard him talk about religion. Drop down to a knee, yes, but talk about it, no.

  5. mella21 - Dec 1, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    I understand what Rodgers & Warner are saying, and logically in today’s world that makes the most sense. It would also be a LOT easier for Tebow if he was less vocal, he’d receive less scrutiny and probably play better without all those added eyes.

    But I also feel like different people are called to different things, if you will. You’re supposed to be an ambassador for Christ, you’re supposed to tell others about that good news. Some people do that on a personal, quiet one-on-one basis when they have established a relationship with someone over time and feel comfortable. FINE.

    But others are just bold, they are totally sold out for Christ and will take the repercussions as they come. I think Tebow is that second example, and I *have* to say that seeing a young, good looking 21 year old answer without embarrassment that he was a virgin and planned to remain that way until marriage ABSOLUTELY makes an impact. We need some of that in this world, because 99% of every other image we see either totally discredits that, or just doesn’t even mention it.

    I’m not discrediting what Rodgers or others are saying, but I honestly would have never known Aaron Rodgers was a Christian, or that he was any different from any other QB. Maybe if I knew him personally…but I admire Tebow for his fearlessness, because the arrows have certainly come at him, and if he never does anything else in his life, he really reminded me that you can’t be ashamed of the gospel. Not sure that would have happened if he had ‘toned it down’.

  6. alisonnixon - Dec 1, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Once again, someone who has no business judging Tebow’s religious practice cadoes so anyway. Plummer, Warner, Rodgers. People need to extend to Tebow the same courtesy he gives them–he doesn’t tell them either subtly or otherwise how to live their faith. I don’t even get what Rodgers is saying. Is he claiming that the Bible tells people of faith to privilege “doing” over speaking? That’s bizarre. What does he think Jesus did? He spread the good news first, and performed miracles second. It’s made clear that it takes more courage to risk disapproval by acknowledging God publicly than to keep quiet. I’m not calling Rodgers a coward, of course. He’s free to make his own choices. But he’s perpetuating something disturbing and wholly inaccurate, which is the idea that Tebow is doing something “inappropriate” or “excessive.” So few people actually research Tebow’s statements for themselves so they never recognize that he doesn’t “talk about Jesus” all the time. All he does is preface his responses to some questions about how he succeeded yet again in a game with a thank you to Jesus. And that’s it. He doesn”t “preach.” But when reporters confront him with a question related to his faith, he doesn’t shy away from an honest answer. Why would anyone who doesn’t have questionable motives or some unnatural resentment of him, or religion itself, be bothered by that? And even if they are, why is that Tebow’s problem? How people practice and express their religion shouldn’t be open for debate unless it’s causing actual harm or involves church/state issues. If you wouldn’t debate the way people express anything that’s fundamental about them like their race, gender or sexuality, then treat their religious practice the same way. It’s telling that it”s become socially acceptable to do otherwise.

  7. micahcrandon - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    I have no problem with Tebow saying whatever on earth he wants to say. It’s not Tebow that bothers me. It’s everyone else. I’m not crazy about this whole “God is on Tebow’s side!” thing. As if whether or not faith is genuine hinges on the outcome of a football game. I think everyone else needs to tone it down, not Tebow. Tebow can be the bestest Christian ever and still suck at football.

  8. gbearc - Apr 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Anyone who has ever watched him play knows he’s religious since every time he scores and before the game, he points to the sky, thanking god. So, he’s being disingenuous when he says ‘I let my actions…blah blah blah’. Rodgers thanks god during a game as much as Tebow does.

  9. gbearc - Apr 12, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    ‘the Packers QB doesn’t talk about it much, doesn’t point to the sky after TD passes’

    Wth? YES HE DOES! Rodgers almost always points to the sky on TD’s and good plays. And before games. Has this article’s writer ever watched Rodgers play?