The first of these spectacles, a July 27 “Faith Day with the Braves” at Turner Field in Atlanta, included Braves ace pitcher John Smoltz sharing how his life changed by believing in Christ. It also featured Christian Rock, led by Aaron Shust, who, according to promotional materials, is the voice behind the “hit single ‘My Savior My God.'”

In a piece for The Nation, Dave Zirin argues that “Faith Days” represent “the ugliest edge of right-wing evangelism and its advancing influence.” One of the organizations behind Faith Days and Nights is Focus on the Family. Zirin writes:

“According to People for the American Way, [Focus on the Family] is ‘anti-choice, anti-gay, and against sex education curricula that are not strictly abstinence-only…. FOF also focuses on religion in public schools, encouraging Christian teachers to establish prayer groups in schools. FOF supports student-led prayer in public schools, although it points out that it doesn’t support teacher-led prayer for fear that a teacher would encourage Christian students “to pray to Allah, Buddha or the goddess Sophia against the wishes of the parents and/or students.”‘ It is also perhaps the leading proponent of ‘reparative therapy’ for homosexuality, and its leaders agitate against the adoption of children by gay couples. Their obsession with what they call ‘the homosexual agenda’ is shared by Smoltz, who in 2004 likened gay marriage to ‘marrying an animal.'”

In addition to the preaching of intolerance, let’s not forget that there’s also a taxpayer and consumer issue here. In stadiums and arenas with the expenses of team owners payed for by taxpayers (publicly funded stadiums & arenas, free land, tax breaks) as well as by fans (tickets, concessions, parking), do people have the right — or at least the expectation — not to see their home team advance a specific form of religion at games?


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