He Got Game

Jesus playing football? How about running on a track?

Is this the image that your deity conjures up? If so, you must have been shopping at Catholicsupply.com, the website that sells the popular, if not disturbing, "Jesus sports statues."

See Jesus bat. See Jesus slide. See Jesus kick, pass, punt, shoot, steal and score. Not to mention my favorite figurine: Track-running Jesus. Thankfully, religious fervor took a back seat to taste and decency in a couple arenas: There are no cheerleading or wrestling Jesuses.

Catholicsupply.com is not a group of hacks--they are a legitimate supplier of many religious items. However, these sports statues go too far--and also recall another strange Jesus.

In the film Dogma, Kevin Smith lampooned the Catholic church's image problem with a phony ad campaign called "Catholicism Wow!" At the center of the campaign was a winking, thumbs-up-giving "Buddy Jesus" statue, easily the funniest visual of the film. Somehow the winking statue angered Catholic groups, but the statue of Jesus handing off a football (just before a small child sacks him) is being promoted by Catholic suppliers. How do you spell Pharisee?

Where is the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights when you need it? The notoriously conservative organization, which usually speaks out against all things demonstrating even the slightest trace of anti-Catholic "bias," has been noticeably mute on this issue. Perhaps they are too busy seeing whose Jesus will rack up the most rushing yards this week.

--Martin Barna


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