David Briggs: The Final Four, Travel Teams and Empty Pews: Who Is Winning the Competition Between Sports and Religion?

Chris —  April 5, 2013

David Briggs considers the growing tension between church and sports:

The Rev. Stephen Fichter understood just how dominant a role sports has assumed in the culture when a family told him they would be out of town Good Friday to Easter Sunday to attend their child’s volleyball tournament.

“It’s truly sports that has become like the religion” for many people, said Fichter, a researcher and the pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Haworth, N.J.

From youth travel teams to big-time national festivals such as the Final Four, sports have been making increasing inroads in the busy lives of many Americans. Some scholars even trace the evolution of sports from pastime to a form of civil religion to now having become almost a folk religion.

And it is having an impact on religious groups, which report increasing difficulty convincing families that are willing to spend half a day traveling to a 9-year-old’s softball or soccer game to make time for worship services.

Read the rest here.

HT: David Murray

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