Tue Apr 10th, 2007 at 03:20:18 AM EST
There is a majority of America that I think is very difficult for Europe to understand. It's very visible in America, and was highlighted on our TV screens in of all places, one of golf's shrines, the Masters. Forget the coaching manuals -- now the Bible is all you need, as reported by an obviously sceptical London Times (sorry, I don't know how to do that pink Murdoch alert thing):
Back at home, in an increasingly secular nation, there were probably groans aplenty. Another American winner, another sermon. "He was with me every step of the way," Zach Johnson told the CBS reporter within minutes of becoming Masters champion. And then a little later: "Being Easter Sunday, I felt like there was certainly another power that was walking with me and guiding me." Johnson would also talk about the ball-markers that his wife, Kim, had specially made for him. On one is inscribed two verses from Matthew vi, on the other is a passage from Proverbs about the Lord "making your paths straight". There is no advice about how to keep your drives straight.
"Regardless of what happened today," Johnson said later, "my responsibility was to glorify God and hopefully He thinks I did." For many, such benediction is exhausting and an almighty turn-off. For others it is an inspiration. Here in the United States, though, it is so commonplace, it barely merits a reaction. Christianity has a huge influence within professional sport, and possibly none more so than on the American golf tour.
My sense is that most Europeans can't understand or relate to this at all. IMO, it is one of the great cultural divides between the US and Europe. Not a cultural divide that we see on this website, btw, as this side of America is barely represented here.