I was ecstatic on receiving my UKCAT scores. I had done well. As the computer displayed my scores, I started to thank God quietly with every breath, but it was not enough. After all, this was my ticket to a medical school interview!
I proceeded to the parking lot of the Pearson Center, and right beside my car, in the privacy of the night, I made a sujud, a prostration of thankfulness to God for His blessings. It turns out that wasn't enough privacy. The center's security patrol car pulled up right beside me and the officer asked with a smile, "Ma'am is everything OK?"
I simply said "Yes, everything is OK," and he smiled and pulled away. As part of his job, I imagined that he continued to monitor me from a distance, wondering if I would do it again. I soon got into my car and left. I secretly wished I had told him exactly what I was doing and satisfy his curiosity, but I was too shy to do that at the time.
I always wonder why people are so afraid of a public display of "religiosity"? I have read a few disturbing comments about Tim Tebow, as if he needed public validation for the public expression of his faith. A cross around someone's neck wouldn't get a second glance. Some may choose to wear things like the hijab, turban or kippa, but that's another story, because somehow headgear bothers a whole lot of people.
Perhaps a necklace with a cross, sacred image, or religious script is the extent of religiosity that many would like to display. It should not bother anyone that some may choose to display more and some less.
Many athletes make some religious sign/gesture or stand in a circle and say a prayer together before a game. It is usually not frowned upon. However, when Tebow decided to go all out, some people cringed. One Time magazine reader commented that Tebow should go worship his God that no one could see where no one would see him. It did not work for me in the Pearson Center's parking lot-someone still saw me. I guess there is nothing really hidden under the sun or, in my case, the moon.
When your boss praises you in front of your colleagues, you immediately thank him, and depending on your comfort level, you might even give him a hug. The way I see it, at those times when Tebow "Tebows," he is just too grateful to simply murmur a silent prayer or wait till half time, he wishes to show appreciation 100 percent. Not that you need it, Tebow, but here is my fatwa: You have the absolute right to do it.
And let's not preach secularism here -- it is simply a false notion. You cannot separate people from their values and how they choose to express it as long as it does not interfere with the well being of others. The point I am getting at is that the ideology of imposed secularism that is quoted in condemnation of something like "Tebowing" in American society is weak. People cannot be separated from whatever it is that shapes their values. The fact that some of us choose to openly express our religiosity should be no indication of our over zealousness or even fanaticism. Something about us, every single one of us, what we say or do and how we say or do it is an expression of the values that we uphold in our daily lives. We are taught from a young age not to be afraid of expressing ourselves. Public display of religious symbolism is an expression of the values that many hold and should not be looked upon as something alien or forced into repression.
Imagine if a friend handed you a "Benjamin" while saying a prayer. Would you worry that it was odd or would you simply take it and hurry to thank him? After all, our dollar bills read "In God We Trust." Is it a silent prayer to ensure that our dollar goes even further or are we simply endorsing a spending habit?