Readers respond to Tom Krattenmaker's article on Reggie White's legacy of Christianity in pro sports, and question the role of God on the playing field.

By Salon Staff

Published January 5, 2005 8:13PM (EST)

[Read "Rushing for Jesus," by Tom Krattenmaker.]

What Reggie White came to understand is that over-the-top outgushings of so-called faith have become little more than marketing directives from the front office. Players are instructed to thank God for this that and the other because it's seen as good business to do so -- especially in this new era of the Disney-ization of everything. God goes right to the bottom line.

-- Stephen Rifkin

What an incredible waste of space Salon's memorial to arch-bigot Reggie White was, and what an affront to your gay subscribers such as myself! When I linked to Salon the other morning, I was outraged and disgusted that you chose to honor this homophobic lowlife.

Let's remember the departed by some of his own words:

"Homosexuality is a decision, it's not a race," White told the Associated Press in 1998. "People from all different ethnic backgrounds live in this lifestyle. But people from all different ethnic backgrounds also are liars and cheaters and malicious and back-stabbing."

He's dead. Hallelujah!

-- Mike Tidmus

I just wanted to applaud your posting of the article "Rushing for Jesus," about Reggie White and Christianity in sports. It was thoughtful, fair and timely. And for those of us of an evangelical vein -- challenging.

-- Rollie Gamble

I read with interest the article on Reggie White and Christianity in sports, but want to point out something Krattenmaker missed: When Barry Bonds is asked why he points to the sky after crossing home plate, he routinely says he is pointing to a friend (presumably the one who gave him the gold cross earring) and now, most likely, his father, too. It's a subtle difference, consistent with a Christian belief of a heaven in the sky but still different. More of a "This one's for you, Dad," and less of a "God hit that homerun, not me."

-- Melissa Graviss

Thanks for your article on Reggie White and his growing understanding of what it means to be a Christian and an athlete. You touched on an interesting point -- that evangelicals all too often use (or "prostitute") high-profile believers. I thoroughly agree. We tend to be so excited when a celebrity makes a statement of faith that we then forget that celebrity Christians need growth just like the rest of us mundane Christians do.

Your comment that his death tragically cut short his fuller understanding makes sense -- but not to Christians. "To live is Christ," the apostle Paul said, "and to die is gain."

As Reggie White was growing closer to Christ by studying the Bible more carefully and diligently, as he was regretting the amount of time he'd spent glorifying himself rather than Christ, as he was discovering the shallowness of so many evangelicals, he certainly was learning that "to die is gain."

So many sports stars who claim Jesus know little about living like a Christian; we see even fewer dying like a Christian. Praise God for Reggie White and his growing understanding of his faith, his role and his Savior.

-- Cathy O'Brien

Salon Staff

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