Question: What is more cringe-inducing than a celebrity funeral? Answer: Two back-to-back celebrity funerals. The ghoulish twin spectacles last week memorializing Aretha Franklin and John McCain brought out the worst in family, friends and frenemies. No matter your partisan affiliation, these vulgar exercises in self-indulgence should serve as object lessons on how not to depart with dignity.

During the first centuries of Christianity, Christians were thrown to lions in arenas to be jeered by mocking crowds. Today, Christian athletes face the taunts of a media strongly opposed to their faith.

No Christian athlete draws more media catcalls than New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. writer Dan Bernstein dismissed Tebow as “little more than an affable simpleton” and slammed his fans as “lunatic-fringe cultists.” Columnist Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of The Jewish Week expressed his desire that Tebow’s Broncos would lose a playoff game because a Broncos victory would “buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.” Radio host Craig Carton was the latest to jump on the anti-Tebow bandwagon, calling him a “fraud” and complaining that he “clearly thinks he is Jesus” on his August 14 radio show.

Rick Reilly's wide world of sports, apparently, has little use for conservative evangelical Christians and their convictions. Last year he mocked a teenage Christian wrestler who defaulted rather than wrestle a girl. Now the ESPN columnist has set his sights on Nebraska assistant football coach Ron Brown, who has been politically active in local government debates about expanding anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation. [Related item: ESPN Columnist Agitates for Coach's Firing for Proclaiming His Religious Beliefs]

"Like to meet one of the doomed sinners who has Ron Brown so inflamed?" Reilly asked rhetorically before introducing readers to one Brett Major who "thanks to Ron Brown himself" became a Christian:

ESPN columnist Gene Wojciechowski wouldn't mind seeing Nebraska Cornhuskers assistant coach Ron Brown sacked, but for a reason that has nothing to do with his performance coaching from the sidelines and everything to do with Brown's religious faith.

In his April 27 column, Wojciechowski managed both to demonize and misrepresent Brown's religious convictions on homosexuality,  by saying that Brown believes God "loves gays less than women or African-Americans" [h/t Creative Minority Report]:

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer went out of his way to point out the apparent lack of diversity in the leadership of the Republican Party during a panel discussion on Friday’s Situation Room. Just minutes earlier, Michael Steele had been elected the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Blitzer brought up the race of many of those who had voted for him with Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez: “Take a look at the audience, though -- and I want to show our viewers a picture of the audience. Michael Steele, the first African-American leader of the RNC -- Leslie, I don’t see a whole lot of black people, at least in that group over there.” He went on to say, “It’s encouraging. I’m sure you’re encouraged that all these white people basically elected an African-American to be their leader.”

The anchor’s comment came during the CNN program’s regular “Strategy Session” discussion. Besides Sanchez, Blitzer hosted Democratic strategist Donna Brazile during the segment. He brought up Steele’s election as the first topic. After getting both women to respond to the news, Blitzer made his comment about the seeming lack of black people. Sanchez responded by conceding to his observation, in terms of the top RNC members, but then pointed out that “if you walked around that room, there’s so much diversity there. There was so much excitement for Michael Steele.”