The times as we know it are changing. Lifestyle choices are changing and the acceptance of those lifestyle choices are growing. It’s not just an American dilemma, but the one debate that the world is struggling to adapt as acceptable in today’s times.
The issue of gay marriage, and being open about living a homosexual lifestyle gained wings Monday, April 29th when Jason Collins became the first active professional basketball player to come out the closet. Collins released a 1st person account of his decision to come out, wanting to march for gay rights and equality.
Collin’s words are now etched in memory, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay. I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.
After the media pounced on the story, people at the highest levels of society praised his boldness and scorned those with views seen as intolerant. The direction of homosexual rights and tolerance is now making Christians the ones in the closet. Choosing their words carefully as their faith walks on pins and needles.
One prominent bold Christian, ESPN’s Chris Broussard spoke up in defense of his faith when asked LIVE on ESPN’s mid-day show Outside the Lines. Broussard’s comments paralleled Collin’s comments on most major broadcasts, as the debate hit fever-ish levels quickly.
Broussard, 44, voiced his opinion alongside openly gay ESPN staff member LZ Granderson to discuss the topic of tolerance.
Broussard boldly stated, “Personally I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that’s a sin,”
Broussard said on ESPN Monday. “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, pre-marital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be. I think that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ.”
The analyst went on to question Collins’ Christianity amid the debate. “I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian,” Broussard said.
While Broussard’s comments we’re debated, rebuked or celebrated, support for Collins was overwhelming.
Famous names like Michelle Obama, President Obama, and former president Bill Clinton, celebrated Collin’s boldness. NBA alums Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Kevin Durant voiced their support on the air. Kobe Bryant and comedian Ellen DeGeneres were some people that took to twitter to attack the 44-year-old Christian sports analyst after learning about his comments.
Both Jason Collins and Broussard remain trending topics on twitter a day later, with harsh criticism of Broussard dominating the blogosphere. Collins continues to get a heroic level of love and support.
Although there’s a lion share of support for Broussard standing up for his faith, you will likely never hear of it on television. Stations have chosen to cover Broussard’s comments but not to make the issue look like the 50/50 issue the polls frequently suggest. The media consensus is that this is Collin’s day, his week, and we hope to push the needle to pro-choice, his rights.
I disagree; I don’t feel that Christians should be made out to be the oppressors for standing by clearly interpreted guides given in the bible.
The issue is one that has even split Christians apart on the issue. For instance I believe that Broussard pushed his comments just a tad too far when he stated “I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.” One could interpret that as Collins won’t go to heaven, even after accepting Jesus Christ. A judgment best left for God.
The totality of Broussard’s comments were met with praise on many social networks.
Top Christian rapper Lecrae weighed in on twitter, “So you ask @Chris_Broussard for his thoughts and you’re attacking him because you disagree with them,” Lecrae questioned on Twitter. “And he’s the intolerant one?”
At a time when companies are making policies on homosexual tolerance and defining what that means, Broussard took a risk. A bold stance that he must have known would pin him up against the ropes.
ESPN separated it’s self from Broussard quickly stating, “We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from today’s news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins’ announcement,” ESPN’s statement reads.
Broussard responded to supporters and critics by releasing the following statement a few hours later on twitter.
“Today on OTL, as part of a larger, wide-ranging discussion on today’s news, I offered my personal opinion as it relates to Christianity, a point of view that I have expressed publicly before. I realize that some people disagree with my opinion and I accept and respect that,” Broussard tweeted. “As has been the case in the past, my beliefs have not and will not impact my ability to report on the NBA. I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA.”
Many media outlets are influenced to not debate this topic fairly, scared of the boycotts and backlash that comes with looking intolerant. Some outlets, companies and communities, feel we’re fighting a losing battle for the faith. We frequently hear that we’re on the wrong side of history, or it’s inevitable that gay marriage will become legal. Christians are being painted as stubborn, and unwilling to change with the times.
I don’t believe any group of people should oppresses another, and we should all love one another as Christ loves us. BUT I don’t feel that God changes with the times.
To that I’ll leave you with this. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8
Stay out the closet Christians.