Time to program your Google alerts

bonds heroThe key search terms are "God" and "Barry Bonds." The truly brazen can add "born again," but it may take a few weeks for that to show up -- other than in sarcastic references in sports-page columns. You may also want to search for "Bonds," "point to the sky."

But the religious language has already started, so I wanted to open this up as a thread for those who see serious stories that raise religious and/or faith issues in the Bonds coverage. Again, we don't want to bash Bonds here. That is not the point. We want to look for signs of religion news and language in the coverage of the case.

You honestly don't think this is coming? I know. Bonds is his own man and his pride is very strong. And, when he points up in the sky after a home run, it means something to him. Maybe several things. Thus, we are starting to see language like this, taken, logically enough, from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Steve Kinney of San Jose, sipping a bourbon and water at the bar in MoMo's, was more charitable. He likes Bonds, he likes baseball and he believes that people, especially Bonds, are innocent until proven guilty and maybe even after.

"Who knows if he did it?" Kinney said. "No one has any proof. This is between Barry Bonds and his God."

Over at The Huffington Post, columnist Tom McNichol has already gone to the logal topic -- in his post "God and Baseball." We will officially arrive when the George Will column on this topic hits the Washington Post Syndicate.

Take it away, McNichol:

On one level, the point-to-the-sky gesture can be seen as a legitimate way of giving thanks to an unseen Creator who has endowed the baseball player with special gifts. The pro athlete's gifts are special indeed; they enable grown men to play a kid's game and become millionaires. If that doesn't deserve thanks, nothing does.

But the God invoked by ballplayers when they point to the sky is quite a peculiar Deity, one whose preferences, desires, and team loyalties seem to track very closely with those of the player doing the pointing. The God that Barry Bonds points to doesn't worry about all the steroid talk -- He just digs the long ball. David Ortiz's Big Papi apparently doesn't care much for American League pitchers in general or the Yankees and Rockies in particular. Reliever Francisco Rodriguez's God doesn't think the save is a cheap stat; it's a great stat! God knows the save should be more generously rewarded than it already is, and with His help, Rodriguez will someday get the contract he deserves.

We tend to fashion God in our own image and likeness.

Does all of this sound very American to you?

Help us watch for the serious articles on this. Please.

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