I guess the management of the Washington Nationals didn't share my sentiments regarding Sunday's Washington Post feature on the Bible in baseball. Team management particularly didn't like a section of the story in which team chapel leader Jon Moeller nodded when asked if Jewish people are doomed to hell because they don't believe in Jesus Christ. Our own commenter "Michael" first noted this story on the website of the Washington radio network WTOP that Jewish leaders were not pleased with this part of the Post story:
The players not only pray, but they also discuss personal matters -- marital tension, addiction issues, family illnesses, financial stress -- drawing sometimes surprising lessons. Church was concerned because his former girlfriend was Jewish. He turned to Moeller, "I said, like, Jewish people, they don't believe in Jesus. Does that mean they're doomed? Jon nodded, like, that's what it meant. My ex-girlfriend! I was like, man, if they only knew. Other religions don't know any better. It's up to us to spread the word."
A friend and fellow blogger gave me the heads up that Jon Moeller had since been suspended for his comments in the Post (the AP covers Moeller's suspension in this story). Blogger Tim Ellsworth has notified us that he has blogged on the controversy and is promising more tomorrow.
To sum things up, Moeller has been suspended for a nod regarding a controversial subject that has been raging for centuries, the player involved has made an apology in a statement and now the team will receive a dose of negative publicity as it makes a desperate attempt for the playoffs.
But in all seriousness, the comments in the Post do have theological significance, and I wonder if the reporter realized that when he included them in his story. It's also clear why the significance of these comments sailed right over my head. As a Protestant, I am not all that sensitive toward things that would be seen as "bringing hate into the locker room," as one Jewish leader put it.
Whoever said religion didn't matter in sports? The irony of this story is that the original article was based on the premise that bigtime athletes were more open about religion and teams were readily embracing it, some with the hopes that God would somehow favor their team. Now the team chapel leader has been placed on the DL and has angered Jewish leaders in Washington.