Super Bowl XLVIII may have been a bust as a football game, but it was a blockbuster as a cultural event. The telecast of the event attracted a record 111.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched television event of all-time. That record will most likely be eclipsed by the next Super Bowl, and the trajectory shows no signs of dissipating. America takes its sports seriously, and Americans take football with the most seriousness of them all.
In a real sense, big-time sports represent America’s new civic religion, and football is its central sacrament.
The relationship between sports and religion in America has always been close, and it has often been awkward. The “muscular Christianity” of a century ago has given way to a more recent phenomenon: the massive growth of involvement in sports at the expense of church activities and involvements. About fifteen years ago, the late John Cardinal O’Connor, then the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, lamented the fact that Little League Baseball was taking his altar boys away on Sundays.
“Why is it religion that must always accommodate?” asked the Archbishop. “Why must Little League and soccer league games be scheduled on Sunday mornings? Why create that conflict for kids or for their parents? Sports are generally considered good for kids. Church is good for kids.”
The Archbishop blamed secularization for this invasion of Sunday: “This is the constant erosion, the constant secularization of our culture, that I strongly believe to be a serious mistake.”
Read more at http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/02/04/the-new-american-religion-the-rise-of-sports-and-the-decline-of-the-church/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-new-american-religion-the-rise-of-sports-and-the-decline-of-the-church