SEAN MONCRIEFF: Knockout punch for Katie Taylor commentators

SO Katie Taylor wins a gold medal and thanks God.

I haven’t done much research on this — in fact I haven’t done any — but I think I can declare with some confidence that she was not the only athlete at the Olympic Hames who thanked God in this manner, or made the point that their faith was central to their lives. I’d be willing to bet cash money that some of the American athletes thanked God. Americans, as you’ll know, routinely thank God: when they are winning awards for acting or bombing other countries.

It’s not that much of a big deal.

But what does seem to have become a big deal and the cause of some national trauma was the reaction to Katie’s comments.

Some articles I read related how members of the media squirmed with embarrassment when she mentioned her faith, and even went on to mock her beliefs afterwards. There was lot of decoding of what these hacks ‘really meant’ when they used certain adjectives like ‘simple’ or ‘modest’.

As a fully paid up member of the media and, by extension, part of the mindless legions of secularists, I enjoy nothing more than a good mock of other peoples’ deeply held beliefs. So I went onto the godless Google machine to enjoy some of this cruel hectoring. But could I find any? Strangely, no. There were a few smart comments on Twitter, (‘why don’t athletes curse God when they lose then?’; that sort of thing), and one online columnist in the US who opined that sports and religion shouldn’t be mixed. But other than that, the rest of the coverage was celebratory and almost all of it mentioned Katie’s contention that God was, ahem, in her corner.

If, on the night she won the medal, interviewers didn’t dwell on her religious belief, this was for the completely legitimate reason that it wasn’t that relevant. Yes, her belief may help her attitude and her ability is God-given, but what also got her there was hard work, tactics and intelligence. Sports reporters want to talk about the sporting event that just took place, not the philosophical underpinnings. If Katie Taylor had declared herself a Nihilist, they wouldn’t have asked her about S¿ren Kierkegaard either.

It seems as if a number of commentators have managed to get outraged about something that didn’t happen. They’ve defended Katie from attacks that never took place. But as is often the case in the smoke and daggers world of professional commentary, the source of their ire is society in general, particularly the festering cesspool that is the secular society.

That’s the society that allows us all to believe whatever we want, even if those beliefs contradict each other; which allows us to express any opinion we want, be it pro or anti-religion. And allows professional controversialists to make up crap to get a bit of attention for themselves.


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