Siegel: Liberalism has taken on a religious aspect. It’s a belief system, and not a system that represents political interests. Liberalism is seen as a source of grace, in religious terms. It is hard to talk to people, when you are effectively suggesting they are not among the blessed (or, to use Thomas Sowell’s phrase, the ‘anointed’), that they are in fact mistaken. Trump is wrong about many things, but you can argue with Trumpism. But it is very hard to argue with contemporary liberalism, especially in its West Coast incarnation.
Just prior to the Super Bowl, the Washington Post wrote on football as Tom Brady’s religion. This is nothing new. The Aztecs played a purposefully religious: “The Aztec ball game had a lot of ritual significance. It was mean to mirror the ball court of the heavens, this being the ball court of the underworld where the sun passed each night.” The games of the ancient Greeks were religious affairs such as the Olympics or Isthmian Games.
Sporting events as religious ceremony has been noted many times:
As Wann and collaborators note, various scholars discuss sport in terms of “natural religion,” “humanistic religion,” and “primitive polytheism” pointing out that “spectators worship other human beings, their achievements, and the groups to which they belong.” And that sports stadiums and arenas resemble “cathedrals where followers gather to worship their heroes and pray for their successes” (1, p. 200). Meanwhile, fans wear the team colors, and bear its flags, icons, and mascots whilst literally singing its praises.