Celebrate Perversity! The cry of many in our society for years has been to celebrate diversity, but that slogan has shifted. It was easy to see this from a mile away. ESPN and other media outlets have been longing for the day when an athlete from one of the four major sports associations (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) would publicly announce that he was a homosexual. When Jason Collins “came out” yesterday, these media outlets promoted it as though Jackie Robinson had just broken the “color barrier.” In the eyes of some people, Jackie Robinson is a perfect comparison (that’s the one the coach of the Boston Celtics Doc Rivers used), yet that analogy is severely flawed as we’ll see.
This is just another instance in a long line of examples of how depraved our culture has become. The United States of America used to be a culture where biblical values were respected and generally kept by a significant majority (even if many people just did it to maintain a cultural morality rather than from a sincere effort to maintain godly standards).
Yet ever since the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s all sorts of sinful behaviors have been increasingly flaunted in our culture. Hollywood, television, and the music industry are not the only culprits, but they are perhaps the easiest to recognize. Their movies, programs, and songs have promoted and glorified all sorts of immorality for decades now: adultery, drug use, fornication, drunkenness, divorce, etc. Regardless of the answer to the question, “Does art imitate life or vice versa?” (the answer is some of both), there is no getting around the fact that the morality displayed by the average American has drastically veered away from biblical standards.
For the past 15–20 years, there has been a significant push from these industries, and even from many public school systems, to “mainstream” homosexuality. Hundreds of examples could be given to demonstrate this point, so there’s no reason to belabor it here. Brittany Griner was the top pick in the WNBA draft and one of the best female college basketball players in history. It was just two weeks ago that she “came out” and ESPN ran an article where the columnist longed for the day when an active player from one of the big four sports leagues would do the same. Well, ESPN didn’t need to wait long to get their wish.
Article after article and commentator after commentator praised Jason Collins for being so brave and for showing so much courage. But here’s one of my questions. How much courage does it take to announce something for which the vast majority of our media and pop culture will hail you as a hero? I understand that if he plays next year he will probably take a little bit of teasing from some players and fans from time to time. But many players have voiced their support for him and a player may risk a fine and mandatory “sensitivity training” if he dares to speak against homosexuality or to even use certain words (just ask Tim Hardaway or Kobe Bryant). Collins knew what kind of response he would receive. He knew he would be praised just like Brittany Griner was praised. He probably didn’t expect to receive a phone call from President Obama praising him for his alleged courage. So just how is it courageous to do something that people will praise you for?
Some people may argue that he’s unaccustomed to being thrown into the limelight so it must have taken courage to make such a move. It’s true that’s he is receiving more attention now than ever before, but this is also a guy who played center for two consecutive years in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. I think he has experienced the limelight and pressure before (can you imagine trying to guard Shaquille O’Neal in his prime in front of millions of viewers?).
Yes, there will be bloggers like me who will say that he needs to repent of his sin. Incidentally, Collins claims to be a Christian, so for someone to tell him what the Bible says about homosexuality shouldn’t offend him—he should repent and be obedient to the God he claims to follow. But let’s take a look at where the real persecution and bigotry lies in this issue.
The person who truly showed some courage yesterday was ESPN’s Chris Broussard. On the Outside the Lines program he was asked for his thoughts on the Jason Collins situation. Broussard’s response has triggered a tremendous backlash against him and even against ESPN for allowing him to say what he did. To their credit, ESPN has sort of defended his right to say what he did (although they offered an apology), but we’ll see if he is still employed there in a few weeks as the public outcry continues.
What was so offensive about Broussard’s comments? Watch for yourself:
Sadly, we are at a point in our society where a person cannot even express his Christian beliefs without people calling for him to lose his job, and some bloggers have called for his head. But this shouldn’t take any Christian by surprise. Jesus said that if they persecuted Him, they would persecute His followers. If they hated Him, they would hate us too (John 15:18–20). That’s exactly what we’re seeing in our culture today.
Besides the absolute hypocrisy of the “tolerant” people who are ranting against Chris Broussard for sharing his beliefs, one of the ironic points in this whole matter is that Jason Collins has an identical twin brother Jarron, who is not a homosexual. Why is that ironic? Well, many people have tried to argue that a person is born as a homosexual, but cases of identical twins where one is straight and the other is homosexual provide a powerful argument against that belief. As far as we know, identical twins have identical DNA, so if one’s genetics determined their “sexual orientation,” both would have to be homosexual or both would have to be straight. While one’s genetics may predispose someone to engage in certain activity, his environment and decisions must also be factored in. Ultimately, a person must choose to engage in certain activities. The fact that there are many ex-homosexuals also speaks against the genetic argument. This is why the Jackie Robinson analogy fails. Jackie Robinson did not make a choice to have dark skin—he certainly was born that way. But Jason Collins has made a decision to lead a homosexual lifestyle.
I could go on and on, and there is much more that could be and has been said on this issue. Chris Broussard said it right, the Bible would not call a person a Christian who is living in open rebellion against God. In fact, I think the best passage of Scripture addressing this topic is found in 1 Corinthians. God’s Word states the following:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–11)
Homosexuality is a sin, and so are drunkenness, idolatry, adultery, lying, stealing, lust, gossip, gluttony, and laziness. And we are all guilty of sinning against the holy Creator. The proper response is not to seek to justify one’s sinful behavior, but to recognize that all sin is offensive to God, turn from that sin and receive His forgiveness.
Verse 11 offers tremendously encouraging words to anyone who has been caught up in these sins. “And such were some of you.” Some of the members of the Corinthian church were former homosexuals, former idolaters, former drunkards, etc. But they had been washed, sanctified, and justified. They had been forgiven of their sins and were living new lives in Christ. That forgiveness is available to anyone who repents of their sin and calls out to Jesus Christ, the risen Lord and Savior, for salvation.