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Afternoon Line

“I think being a Christian in NHL has come a long way. We had a guy [Larry] that led our chapel in Ottawa for years, and he was under so much scrutiny back in the ’80s because he was a believer. He was one of the first believers to kind of tell everyone about his faith and let people know and that was really kind of odd in the hockey world back then which is sad. He got a lot of grief from some of the owners and management. And hockey ministries, HMI, has done really good work and gotten chapels — I think it’s close to half of the teams right now that have optional chapels for guys that can go and learn with the Lord and so that’s exciting. So it has come a long way.”

—Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators, discussing his book “Defending the Faith” coming out in September

Update August 30, 2011: Correction—According to Amazon.com the actual title is “Defender of Faith: The Mike Fisher Story”

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: carrie+underwood, mike+fisher, religion

Comments

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Da lil Guy's avatar

I question whether there’s really any bias against Christianity in hockey, but it wouldn’t shock me to learn that Fisher’s particular brand of evangelical faith - which seems to take a ‘missionary’ attitude towards the locker room - generates resentment.

I’m an atheist myself, but I try not to begrudge anyone their personal faith. However, I don’t think the locker room is any place for prostelytizing. If teams want to have chapels or meditation areas for players use, I think that’s fine. It’s when they start to actively promote a particular brand of religion and dogma that I start to have reservations.

During his time in Ottawa, Fisher seemed always seemed to have that kind of agenda.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 08/30/11 at 12:07 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

@J.J. It wasn’t my plan to start a pissing match with you, which I’m sure you have no interest in either.  I was trying to speak in general tones in offering my opinion and I apologize if you felt it was pointed at you.  I usually wouldn’t even bring the topic up, but it seemed apropos this time.  I just think there is a habit in our culture of eye rolling when people have a gripe whether it is legit or not and I get tired of people like myself being dismissed.  Mr. Fisher’s type tend to encourage that, and I have no doubt there are people in his locker room who often feel more than a little cornered by need for self expression.  Da lil Guy pretty much encapsulates my opinion.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/30/11 at 02:02 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Da lil Guy pretty much encapsulates my opinion.

Well that makes things awkward, because he did a pretty good job of encapsulating mine as well.  wink

I wouldn’t doubt that Fisher is the kind of guy who would corner teammates and try to pressure them into accepting a faith they don’t have. My personal experience with Evangelicals has been similar to that. That’s also something which I find annoying.

My thing is that I have no problem with teams having chapels (or any space where players can go and do whatever kind of worship they choose).  It may be weird in your workplace or in mine, but so would a skate sharpener or a curfew.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/11 at 02:25 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by Muero on 08/29/11 at 10:15 PM ET

But would he be against it?  I bet not.

Those groups in our history understood that you have to continue shouting until others listen.

I bet they also see that there’s a difference between treating everyone with equality and trying to destroy the beliefs of others.

Just keep it yourself please.

Very well put, and you might consider following your own words as well.

I just think it’s annoying when people who are antireligious want to turn every person’s discussion of his own beliefs into an argument as to whether we have to have religion at all.

This.

Posted by Garth on 08/30/11 at 02:45 PM ET

awould's avatar

All I will say is I’ve never had an atheist harangue me about their beliefs while on the subway, at a coffee shop or in my driveway.  But I have had christianity or LDS pushed on me hard on more than a few occasions. The funny thing is, they almost always started the meat of the conversation by insinuating that I am lost or lonely or insecure. Says a lot about their target market.

And this claim by christians to be under constant seige and oppression would be laughable if it weren’t offensive. It is telling that a group that claims to be so oppressed wields enough power to continually oppress others.

Posted by awould on 08/30/11 at 02:53 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

I bet they also see that there’s a difference between treating everyone with equality and trying to destroy the beliefs of others.

Posted by Garth on 08/30/11 at 12:45 PM ET

Garth,

I fail to see anywhere that I have advocated the denial of anyone’s right to their opinion or the destruction of their beliefs, so please don’t accuse me of being a person possessing that kind of hatred.

I think its fair to say that probably 99% of NHLers respect each others’ right to their opinions, and nobody had any problem with Mike Fisher heading off to church on Sunday mornings.  If he felt pushback for making his faith known at work, its because its nobody’s business but his own, and his colleagues wished he kept it that way.  Its uncomfortable for other Christians/Jews/Muslims, etc., and non-believers alike, and I can tell you, because I’ve been both religious and non-religious in my lifetime.  Its going too far when you have to bring your faith to work.  Is that so unreasonable?

You can respond to that with more undeserved contempt if you want, but I’ve said my piece.  I’m retreating back into my Red and White fantasy world.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 08/30/11 at 03:29 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

All I will say is I’ve never had an atheist harangue me about their beliefs while on the subway, at a coffee shop or in my driveway.

What about your internet sites?

I’ve never been on a subway, in a coffee shop, or near your driveway with you, but I’ve been on an internet site with you and it sure seems as though there’s been some atheistic harangutans around here.

Some of them have also started the meat of their conversation by speaking down to the target audience they would have as converts…

Of course, I personally have never been a victim or either religious or antireligious oppression nor have I personally known anybody in my lifetime who has… I have merely been annoyed by the rhetoric and counter-rhetoric by two sides which are more alike than they’d like to admit.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/11 at 04:06 PM ET

awould's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/11 at 02:06 PM ET

I should have said “All I will say is I’ve never had an atheist harangue me about their beliefs while on the subway, at a coffee shop or in my driveway with no provocation.”

People’s posts on this site are a conversation specifically started by this thread’s topic. I don’t believe people expressing their opinion on this particular internet thread, where the topic is specifically about a man pushing his religion and his belief that it’s been somehow oppressed, meets the same condition as a person approaching me on the subway out of the blue to tell me about how Christ can save me. Or the mormon who walks onto my property to teach me how I can avoid going to hell. If you believe these are the same thing, then any conversation about it between us is pointless.

As for being a victim of religious oppression, any person you know that is homosexual is a victim of religious oppression. I have many gay friends and some family members. I take personal offense at their oppression, which is nearly exclusively grounded in religion. I believe in fairness and letting others live as they wish without pushing my agenda on them. Most atheists only care that others believe in God to the extent that they push that God onto others through our laws and schools. Keep it in your church and home. A person proselytizing their beliefs and telling you to live by their rule is not the same thing as a person asking them to stop telling everyone how to live.

Posted by awould on 08/30/11 at 04:35 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

A person proselytizing their beliefs and telling you to live by their rule is not the same thing as a person asking them to stop telling everyone how to live.

To tell somebody to stop telling you how to live is to tell them how to live.  Regardless, that’s not what has gone on here. What I’ve seen come through a select few responses in this topic has been outright bigotry.

I’m sorry if a Mormon walking onto your property to sell you on the way he thinks you can avoid going to hell is so bothersome.  It’s as bothersome to me as a vacuum cleaner salesman showing up at my door telling me how much cleaner my carpets can be in that it’s a mild inconvenience to be easily dismissed to me rather than a charge that something has to be done about these roving collectives of people who like to imply that my house is dirty.

I also have gay friends and during our conversations, none of them have ever stated that they feel oppressed by religion. Maybe it’s just because my particular gay friends aren’t horribly interested in marriage.  Of course, I would easily submit to the idea that outlawing gay marriage is absolutely a case of religious oppression.

Most atheists only care that others believe in God to the extent that they push that God onto others through our laws and schools.

Yeah, and I don’t have a problem with MOST atheists.  Most Christians/Muslims/Jews/Hindus/Buddhists/Whatever don’t particularly care what atheists believe until they start acting like assholes either. 

It sounds to me like you’re saying atheists should be treated as individual cases and to not judge them all based on experiences with only a select few of them while it’s perfectly to say the opposite about those who have religion.

Or perhaps you’re saying that some atheists only act like assholes because the christians “started it”?

Let’s just cut through the bullshit and say that assholes are the real problem here, regardless of what they believe/don’t believe.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/11 at 05:05 PM ET

Avatar

I fail to see anywhere that I have advocated the denial of anyone’s right to their opinion or the destruction of their beliefs, so please don’t accuse me of being a person possessing that kind of hatred.

Really?  So you don’t see atheists who are “abrasive” (your word) in their anti-religion stance as being against freedom of religion?

The point is, if you’re being “abrasive” in your anti-religious views then you have no right to complain about religious people who are abrasive about their views.

It just doesn’t fail to amaze me every time an atheist friend complains about someone doing the sign of the cross in public and follows it up with a rant about how religion is for the weak and stupid and we should be celebrating freedom from religion, mannnnnnn.

My apoogies if I offended you, I was just responding to what I personally saw as an inconsistent view.

Posted by Garth on 08/30/11 at 05:07 PM ET

awould's avatar

I would easily submit to the idea that outlawing gay marriage is absolutely a case of religious oppression.

That it isn’t life or death is probably why a lot of people affected really don’t care, because they’re not into marriage, or it doesn’t affect them directly or they aren’t prone to being outraged on principle. The fact remains, they are not afforded the same rights because of somebody else’s religion and that is wrong, as you seem to agree. It’s as wrong as not allowing blacks to use the same water fountain in 1950. It’s less barbaric, so less obvious, but in principle it is just as wrong.

And this is what I mean by religious people telling us how to live. Not the mormon showing up at my door so much, though that is a small part of it. It’s the larger issues that are part and parcel of it. On a large scale, we have religious forces, mostly Christian, pushing their agenda on our nation as a whole. Gays can’t marry, stem cells can’t be researched, there is a constant battle to keep Adam & Eve out of school textbooks.

Atheists and agnostics (non-religious folks in general) have no powerful club (or church) to push their agenda to be left free from religion. This whole thing trickles down to the individual level by making it acceptable for two kids in bicycle helmets to knock on my door and ask me if my soul needs saving. This is an organized effort on a large scale, not limited to the ‘assholes’. The atheists/non-believers who will accost some christian dude minding his own business and harangue him about his religion are, indeed, assholes. But at least they don’t go out in force to knock on thousands of doors pushing their beliefs into your living room.  And there is no organized group of atheists working to enact laws that take away rights from people they believe to be sinners or otherwise disagree with.

So yeah, I do think there is a big difference between Religious Guy telling us we must live this way and Atheist Guy telling Religious Guy to mind his own business. One attempts to restrict how you live and typically results in limiting your freedom in some way, based on their beliefs regardless of what you think, while the other just says to lay off. Religous Guy says gays can’t marry because his beliefs dictate it. Atheist Guy says they can because it isn’t his right to make that judgment. We will disagree on this apparently.

Posted by awould on 08/30/11 at 08:10 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Just a note about the post. I accidentally credited Mike Fisher’s book with the wrong title. According the Amazon.com, the actual title is “Defender of Faith: The Mike Fisher Story”

My apologies for the error.

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 08/30/11 at 08:24 PM ET

Avatar

Let’s just cut through the bullshit and say that assholes are the real problem here, regardless of what they believe/don’t believe.

No, it’s definitely religion.

Religion is not like race or ethnicity…about which you have no say. It’s a consciously arrived at state of mind. So why then, as a critical thinking human being, SHOULDN’T I question and criticize this outlandish and legitimately dangerous ideology?  I have a responsibility to. Any responsible member of our civilization does. I don’t make apologies for using reason and empirical evidence as the basis for my beliefs, and I never will.

Posted by godblender on 08/30/11 at 08:47 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Atheists and agnostics (non-religious folks in general) have no powerful club (or church) to push their agenda to be left free from religion.

Well, we have the Constitution, but that’s skewing the point a bit (especially if it’s not going to be used properly).

But, as far as the politics of the situation goes, I really don’t want to jump down that rabbit hole farther than saying that I think there are just as many aggregate secular issues which are problematic as there are religious ones.

The thing is that I don’t think two kids in bicycle helmets knocking on my door and asking if I feel I need to be saved are necessarily “assholes”.  Now if one of them says to me that I look lost or pulls that patronizing “we’ll pray for you” after being turned away (you know that specific tone they get when they think you’re beneath them), then they’re assholes. Until that point though, they’re just salesmen.  Heck, as far as I’m concerned, they’re slightly better than salesmen because those kids are well-meaning, even if I can’t trust that the people who told them to show up at my house in the first place have their intentions aimed quite so high.

So the other side doesn’t have funding and doesn’t have quite the draw to get children to come to my house and try to sell me on a message. I don’t think that makes them any better. 

If people want to buy what those salesmen are selling, then it’s still not my place to judge them for it and it’s certainly not going to help anything to try to become the exact opposite of something with which I disagree. That’s giving much more power to people I don’t like than I’m comfortable giving.

Either way, to borrow a line from Voltaire that isn’t full of spite, I must cultivate my garden.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/11 at 09:21 PM ET

awould's avatar

Either way, to borrow a line from Voltaire that isn’t full of spite, I must cultivate my garden.

godspeed   rolleyes

Posted by awould on 08/30/11 at 09:25 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Religion is not like race or ethnicity…about which you have no say. It’s a consciously arrived at state of mind.

So too is the decision of those who choose to be assholes.

I don’t make apologies for using reason and empirical evidence as the basis for my beliefs, and I never will.

Good for you. It’s not proper to make apologies about the desire for religious holocaust.  That would make you seem weak.

I’m just glad that you have the courage to stand up and say that you would choose the annihilation of half of the species in order to save society.  History has shown that only the greatest and wisest of men hold beliefs such as this.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/11 at 09:30 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

godspeed   rolleyes

Posted by awould on 08/30/11 at 07:25 PM ET

Aww, that’s not fair. There’s not an emoticon to come back from that.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/30/11 at 09:38 PM ET

awould's avatar

Is that a scene from Wet Hot American Summer?! I saw that in the theater and nearly pissed my pants.

Posted by awould on 08/31/11 at 12:45 AM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

Alanah -

Looking at Amazon, I think it’s also important to point out that the book is about Fisher. He did not write it.

It’s written by former ‘focus on the family’ scribe Kim Washburn.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 08/31/11 at 06:37 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Da lil Guy - Thanks. Good catch.  Looking back at the original article, Fisher was asked “why he wrote Defender of the Faith”. I got a bit sidetracked there, and didn’t look closer.  My fault, though… I should’ve looked for myself.

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 08/31/11 at 06:48 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

It’s written by former ‘focus on the family’ scribe Kim Washburn.

Is that James Dobson’s Focus on the Family organization?
Because that group is full of crazies, including Dobson.

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 08/31/11 at 07:51 PM ET

awould's avatar

Because that group is full of crazies, including Dobson.

It’s spelled c-h-r-i-s-t-i-a-n-s. Common mistake.  ha ha

Posted by awould on 08/31/11 at 07:53 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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