June 2, 2006


Sports and Salvation on Faith Night at the Stadium (WARREN ST. JOHN, June 2, 2006, NY Times)

It has long been noted that in certain parts of the United States, a fine line separates sports from religion. But at a minor league indoor football game last month in Birmingham, Ala., fans may have witnessed as transparent an attempt to merge football and church as had ever been tried.

Before kickoff, a Christian band called Audio Adrenaline entertained the crowd. Promoters gave away thousands of Bibles and bobblehead dolls depicting biblical characters like Daniel, Noah and Moses. And when the home team, the Birmingham Steeldogs, took the field, they wore specially made jerseys with the book and number of bible verses printed on the back.

Donnie Rhodes, a children's minister at Gardendale's First Baptist Church near Birmingham, took 47 sixth graders to the game by bus and said it was the perfect outing. "It was affordable, safe and spiritual," he said. "And the kids just thought it was the coolest thing."

Mr. Rhodes and his students were at the latest in ballpark promotions: Faith Nights, a spiritual twist on Frisbee Nights and Bat Days.

...at the World Cup they're giving away Horst Wessel bobblehead dolls.....

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 2, 2006 12:18 PM

This sort of merging of sport and spirituality isn't that unusual, though not normally that blatant. But it's especially common in football, which is a much more spiritual game than baseball.

Posted by: Brandon at June 2, 2006 12:38 PM


It's natural to get spiritual when 300-pound men are trying to kill you.

Posted by: Mike Earl at June 2, 2006 2:13 PM

So when the quarterback bends over and stuffs his hands up the center's buttcrack, that's spiritual, eh? Sounds like Brandon goes to one of them newfangled churches.

Posted by: joe shropshire at June 2, 2006 2:42 PM

Weren't you ever a choirboy?

Posted by: oj at June 2, 2006 2:45 PM

Mike understands, Joe doesn't. And if you're asking me, not I was never a choirboy.

Posted by: Brandon at June 2, 2006 4:05 PM

Locally, our West Michigan Whitecaps have an "all faiths night" every Monday night with discounted prices for anyone bringing a church bulletin to the ballpark.

Posted by: Dave W at June 2, 2006 11:51 PM