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Race, religion and classic rock

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"We generally find the braying antics of over-religious people to be tiresome, obnoxious and best kept the confines of churches. But when a black guy does it? It’s "just what they do" and in the minds of most Rush Limbaugh listeners, if the black guys are praising Jesus, they won’t be stealing car stereos and raping white women."

Normally I would never agree with anything Rick Lewis has to say. Lewis, the long time host of the Lewis and Floorwax show, which has inexplicably been on the airwaves in Denver for what seems like 100 years, is a colossal blowhard with a penchant for the predictable and obvious trappings of conservative politics. In short, he’s a total conservo-douche who once said he’d “vote for any party over Obama.” To which I asked him via Twitter, “Nazi party?” He didn’t reply because his answer, based on his absurd neo-con ramblings, might have bummed out even the most brain dead of morons who lap up the classic rock and tired shtick Lewis has bestowed on the public for over 20 years.

Lewis is a classic conservative bully and really kind of a bitter jerk based on his Twitter feed. He retweets Ted Nugent (sans irony) and he’s the kind of guy Fox News can’t believe is out there promoting their brand of half-witted logic for free. So it pains me to actually agree with him. Last week, The Fan’s Darren Mckee (@dmac1043) retweeted a Lewis (@1RickLewis) missive that grabbed my attention:

“Tebow caught alot of heat for praising God and praying after games. Nobody says a word about Ray Lewis or BDawk last year. Why?”

Well, I’m going to do Mr. Lewis a favor and tell everyone why, but first it needs to be pointed out that he already knows the answer. It’s a classic rhetorical coward move when you know the answer, but are too chicken shit to say it. He wants other people to say it for him. And I’m sure Lewis had dozens of fine examples of his fans tell him via Twitter what he already knew: Everyone griped about Tebow and no one checked Ray Lewis on his God bullshit, simply because one is black and one is white.

The surprisingly resilient radio dinosaur Lewis won’t go there because he’s supposed to be the good time, rock n roll guy. One listen to his awesome band, the Groove Hawgs and his crazy Harley riding personality will tell you that. But bringing up race - coupled with religion - could put an end to his long and unexplainable career peddling clichéd music from 40 years ago. Lewis won’t go there, but I will.

Racism is racism and it should be opposed in all forms - even when it manifests itself in the guise of the hilariously named “reverse racism.” And this is where Rick Lewis may be crying foul. But it doesn’t matter to me who’s shooting their mouth off about Jesus. White or black, I’m ready to criticize because whether you believe in God or not, you must know that praising and thanking him (or her) for winning you a football game is just about the most ignorant thing you can do.
But the simple fact that Ray Lewis didn’t get the business by a whole lot of people for his over the top and unseemly Jesus talk is because he’s black. Ok, he’s also huge and scary and may have covered up the stabbing deaths of two men but otherwise, no one calls Lewis and other black athletes on their religious nuttery simply because of their skin color. And this in of itself is racist.

Letting Ray Lewis yammer on and on about his invisible buddy while we pound Tim Tebow for the same thing is racist on several levels. We’re allowing one person of a certain skin color to freely embarrass himself because we “don’t want to upset THEM.” I can just hear white people all across America saying “they’re a superstitious people aren’t they?” as Lewis and other black athletes act like they received a Holy Spirit enema shortly after the game. While when Tebow does it, it’s either “God bless that white Christian warrior” or “shut up dude, don't want to hear it.” For me it’s the latter. But the difference being, I don't want to hear it from anyone, no matter their race. We generally find the braying antics of over-religious people to be tiresome, obnoxious and best kept the confines of churches. But when a black guy does it? It’s "just what they do" and in the minds of most Rush Limbaugh listeners, if the black guys are praising Jesus, they won’t be stealing car stereos and raping white women.

Tim Tebow is chastised for what appears to be just as large a mental illness toward religion that Ray Lewis displays, but we think he should snap out of it. Ray Lewis on the other hand can just keep dancing and praying while the rest of the lily-white world breathes a sigh of relief because his attention is turned toward Jesus and not them.

So to answer Rick Lewis’s question about Ray Lewis (no relation) that he already knows the answer to: it’s racism. But where Lewis (Rick not Ray) will take the obvious route and blame liberal assholes who perpetuate white guilt, we need to better understand why this is an issue at all and see racism in ALL of its forms. Ray Lewis’s weekly slobbering on the knob of Jesus shouldn’t be problematic because he’s black but because of what a creep he is. And all athletes who go overboard with the religious crap when they win should be called out – regardless of skin color – because while the praising of Jesus supposes humility, it displays self-promotion and an utter lack of understanding of the simple tenets of religious belief.

So while I agree with Rick Lewis, it’s for a different reason. He seems to want white, Christian men to still be able to enjoy their lofty pre-1960’s status and I just want everyone to be treated the same way. Ray Lewis gets a pass by – let’s face it - a large amount of white people in the media who are scared to seem like they are being racist. But by not calling him out, it’s just about the most racist thing they can do.

John Reidy

I never really liked sports until I had a religious conversion when the Broncos lost to the 49ers in that one Super Bowl. Now I'm obsessed with all aspects of the Denver pro sports world. Oh yeah, hate college football. And I used to write a column for AV Club Denver but now am a full time contributor to this here site.

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