10/02/2014 05:03 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Freedom of Religion Does Not Mean Absence of Religion


While the NFL has had its share of trouble this season, the height of absurdity was reached recently. Monday night, Husain Abdullah, scored a touchdown for the Kansas Chiefs, sliding on his knees into the end zone. When his momentum came to a stop, the 6 points assured, he leaned forward touched his helmet to the ground.

This action was judged to be a "religious display," and a penalty was assessed on the young player. The action was very brief, not overly done and, in my eyes, meaningful to Mr. Abdullah.

My response to the officials is SO WHAT!

Are we trying to eradicate religion altogether? How many times have we seen athletes cross themselves or point to heaven before or after a play, good performance or decidedly difficult or important effort? Is a bow in the traditional Muslim prayer position not the equivalent? Is there something collectively wrong with these strong young people recognizing their maker in a public way -- either enlisting aid or thanking them for success?

Those who criticized his behavior presume that any and all religion is bad or offensive to the rest of us, who might not hold the same beliefs as the athlete making the gesture. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's refreshing in this day and age to see that the thread of humility, devotion and spirituality still runs through an up-and-coming generation of young adults, regardless of their belief system. It gives us hope for the future. Without people of faith, the world would be lost.

How sad that there are forces preoccupied with suppressing the exact reason our nation was founded. Was not freedom of religion one of the cornerstones of the revolution? When did that tenant of American life become a taboo?

Are the critics of Mr. Abdullah operating on the fringes of the extremes and presupposing that there is ill will in such behavior, or are they just so thin skinned that we find everything not of our belief offensive. Well pay attention, nothing could be further from the truth. America is bigger than the extreme views, bigger than harmless actions and even bigger than an occasional slight. We have tolerance, acceptance (to a point) and are inclusive, for the most part, of those who will tolerate us as well. I don't believe that every small action needs to be scrutinized or legislated against or penalized, as in the case of Husain Abdullah and the Kansas City Chiefs.

These intolerant attitudes are driving wedges between whole segments of the populace. For all those that agree with mindless or feigned offense there are multitudes that say "Get over yourself," "Grow up" and "Get a life."

Stop whining America and relax. Go Chiefs!