Apr 30, 2013

The One With The Christian vs. Gay Double Standard



Ever since NBA player Jason Collins came out yesterday in a Sports Illustrated column, declaring that he was a gay man, there has been mostly positive responses from those in the sports world, with a few glaring exceptions.  Most of the criticism is coming from the ones you'd most expect it to come from, but there's also a lot of criticism on social media, where people are able to hide behind their anonymity.

In a strangely related story, the New York Jets finally released Tim Tebow after having misused him for the past year, and pretty much destroying his brand by the way they have handled the situation. There are conspiracy theorists out there who are ridiculously claiming that Tebow's faith is the reason he was kicked out of New York.  Not because he had problems throwing the ball, not because the team just drafted Geno Smith, bringing the total QB's on the roster to 6.  No, the reason he was released was because he was an avowed Christian.  Whatever.

Doing a quick google search, these are the following athletes that are avowed Christians, and yet were not discriminated against because of it, and had or are having very successful careers.

MORE AFTER THE BREAK



BOXERS

Chris Byrd
George Foreman (also ordained minister)

COACHES

Tony Dungy
Joe Gibbs
Mike Singletary (also ordained minister)

NBA PLAYERS

AC Green (was a virgin while playing, because of his faith and not believing in pre-marital sex)
David Robinson

NFL PLAYERS

The late Reggie White (Also an ordained minister)
Kurt Warner
Shaun Alexander (who used to point to the sky everytime he scored a touchdown)

MLB Players

John Smoltz
Albert Pujols
Mariano Rivera (often seen reading Bible verses before games)
Curt Schilling (who after his "Bloody Sock" game declared at a press conference that it was "God's Work" on the mound.

There are many many more out there, but that was found with less than two minutes of google searching.  

The reason that Tebow's release and Collins' coming out is related, is because on the same day that the was released, Jason Collins' article came out, garnering wide spread acclaim at his bravery in coming out and doing so historically.

While there have been openly gay athletes in the past, such as Tennis legend Martina Navratilova and most recently college superstar and WNBA #1 pick Brittany Griner, there has never been an openly gay male athlete in the four major sports (Baseball, Football, Basketball and Hockey).

For years we've heard conflicting information on how well received someone would be, if they came out as gay.  You have a lot of people expressing support saying they'd welcome a gay athlete into their locker rooms, and you have others adamantly expressing that they were having none of that.

It seems that whenever an athlete in those big four did come out as gay, it was after they'd already retired.  They'd made their money in endorsements and salary, and were no longer in a position where they really had anything to lose career wise.   That's what makes what Jason did yesterday special.

Naysayers who point to his low career totals are missing the point.  Whether or not the athlete is a super star is not the point.  I wrote yesterday that I think that while this is a great step forward, that the true test for a lot of people will be when a superstar comes out.  When someone that you already have an invested interest in, who you've spent your life rooting for, whose jersey you have worn, whose name you have chanted in the stadiums while they were performing.  When THAT person comes out, I think we will see a huge seismic shift from the one that Jason has initiated.

The fact that Jason isn't a superstar doesn't mean that the impact won't be felt.   What he did will have reverberations throughout sports, particularly where it applies to young athletes who are coming up in Jr. High, High School and College.  When they get to the point where they can look at what Collins did, see the reaction that they are getting, which is overwhelmingly positive, and say "I'm not going to hide anymore.  I'm not going to be ashamed of who I am, I'm not going to allow bigots and homophobes to tell me that I should shut up and keep my life private, when they aren't asking straight athletes to do the same."

THAT is going to be the true measurement of what Jason Collins did yesterday.  And I don't think it's one that we will be able to fully realize until we see numerous athletes coming out and just decimating this antiquated views of gay athletes and athletic ability, not to mention the idea that locker rooms are not going to be able to survive this.

So when people ridicule the idea of Jason being a hero, that tends to be because their straight privilege won't allow them to see it.  They've never had to worry about whether someone knew they liked people of the opposite sex.  No one ever told them "shut up and keep that shit to yourself".

Which makes this ridiculous meme that I've seen going around even more ridiculous.



This meme has been retweeted over 20,000 times.  Which is quite sad and depressing if I'm honest with you.  The reason I say that is because, as a man who was raised Christian and still consider myself as such, even if I don't really identify with much of what passes for Christianity these days, it really bothers me when people try to act like Christians are some poor persecuted entity here in this country.

Christians are in power.  Christians run shit around here, if you haven't been able to tell.  Is there anyone anywhere in the country that could run as a Christian and be told "Yeah, sorry, we're not going to allow you to run for office here.  We don't allow Christians to represent the people."?  Don't think too hard, it's an easy answer.  That place does not exist.

However there are currently 7 states in these United States where an atheist is prohibited from running for office.  This despite the Constitution of the United States that declares there shall be no religious litmus test for public office.

Can anyone point to anyone who has been kicked out of their homes for being Christian?  Can anyone point to brutal merciless bullying that has led to suicides by a bevy of Christian youth?   Has anyone ever beat and tortured a Christian and then left them hanging on a fence to die, in this country explicitly because they were Christian? Has any Christian's parents sent them off to a camp to be "de-Christianed"? Forced to go through shock therapy to rid themselves of their Christian behavior?

Has there been any athletes in high school or college that are afraid to admit that they are Christian out of fear that their teammates won't accept them, or their friends would suddenly not be their friends anymore if they knew?   Not even close.  In fact there's an organization specifically for Christian athletes in high schools.

And that brings me to the most ridiculous aspect of this whole thing.  The idea that Gay and Christian cannot be one and the same.  There are a lot of Christians that do not believe that you can be openly Gay and Christian.  You can be Christian if you stuff that shit down inside you.  If you abandon any sense of honesty, if you lie to others about who you are (I believe that's against the Bible Code, by the way), if you refuse to have sex and you just suffer and suffer, so that all the straight people can be comfortable with who they are and not have their bigotry questioned, THEN you can maybe be considered a Christian.

Well, quite frankly, that's bullshit.   There's a great quote that I love that says "You can be sure that you've created God in your own image, when He hates all the same people that you do.".  Meaning that too many Christians twist Bible verses and read them out of context in order to validate their already held beliefs.

"I hate gay people...let's see here....*turning pages*...ah HA! Here's a verse that I think sounds like God's saying gay people are abominations! Perfect!"  And then they parade that around to say "I'M not the asshole here, I'm simply relaying what God says.  If you have a problem with it, then you must be some evil fag Jesus hater then"

Well I refuse to believe that.  And if that means I'm not a Christian in your eyes, then so be it.  I'd never want to be considered anything like a bigoted person who uses a faith that I grew up in to hate and denigrate and discriminate against those that they disagree with.

 

As for the Tebow/Collins thing.  The reason this is so ridiculous on it's face, is because it's a false comparison.  It's not a double standard at all. Tim Tebow is not being told to "shut up" or "keep it to yourself" because he's a Christian.  There ARE those who don't like him because he's Christian, and those people are jackasses.  But there's also a LOT of people who are upset because, get ready for a HUGE irony alert, the MEDIA trumpeted him coming out of college like he was some superman.  Oh look, he's so Christian, and he's such a good man, and oh he's so different from these other athletes (you know the kind, right? nudge nudge, wink wink), and he wore Bible verses on his eye black, would you look at that good God fearing man right there?  He's such a great role model.

Meanwhile, his quarterback game was not really up to snuff.  I was a big supporter of his until he turned out to be just another right wing asshole who was catering to the vile bigoted church in Texas that I won't name.  Cancelled a speech there when news got out that the Pastor claimed, falsely, that 70% of gay people have AIDS and most assaults on children were done by homosexuals.  He also claimed that President Obama was setting us on the path of the Anti-Christ.

Tebow backed out after controversy got up, but told the Pastor, according to the Pastor, that he'd love to come back sometime when the attention died down.  I would call him a hypocrite, but he seems like that's his audience, so hey.. whatever works for him I suppose.

So while Tebow may be facing backlash NOW from people who are tired of him answering every second or third question with a reference to his faith, that was not how it was when he first came on to the scene.  His attention overwhelmingly was positive by virtually every news outlet out there.  Tim Tebow was the greatest thing to ever come around.

His video of him crying after a loss assuring that he'd never allow that to happen again, was played ad nauseum everytime  there was a piece on him.  In the run up to the Heisman that video was played over and over.  His mother's story about how she refused to have an abortion when she was told her son would not survive, and then she gave birth to Tebow was played over and over and over.  That inspirational video of him firing up his teammates was played repeatedly.


 

He was celebrated like nothing we've ever seen before.  And hey, credit to the guy, he's an inspirational cat.  Those are great videos there, and I take nothing away from him on that.  But those things were played over and over and over.  He was made to be something that had never come around before, when in fact there were many African American quarterbacks who had come through who were just as much about their faith in God, and whatnot, and were the exact same type of quarterbacks, but did not get that same type of attention.

So by the time he got to the NFL, the media had grown tired of pumping this kid up and as the media tends to do, they've built him up, now time to tear him down.  So some of that has to do with his faith, but a lot has to do with him being over-hyped and having some people make excuses after excuses for him when he fails.  That's not all his fault, but it's the truth.

Jason Collins JUST came out.  So the attention, much like it was with Tebow, is almost universally positive.   You can't compare these two situations because they are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as it relates to time.  Now if this was five years down the road, and people are still feverishly touting Jason Collins, whatever, you can at least broach that subject.

But these assholes forwarding that around are completely missing the point and are simply indulging in this Christ complex that they have.  They just want to play victim.  The Christian Martyr, oh so forsaken in this cruel evil country that just so happens to be like 90% Christian.

So Christians, please for the love of everything Holy, shut the hell up about how marginalized and how persecuted you are.  You're not.  You haven't been for a very very very long time in history.  You are the majority.  You are in power around the country.  In fact if someone is not a Christian they get slammed as immoral and whatnot.  Most of the times by people like you.

So stop this nonsense, get down off your cross and realize that you have been on the wrong side of history on this topic.  Much like people who fought tooth and nail to keep slavery legal (by citing the Bible, mind you!) and to keep interracial marriage illegal (by citing the Bible, mind you!), you are going to be exposed as being the ignorant bigots that you are when all is said and done.

Although if you have it in your mind that you're doing "God's work", then I suppose nothing else matters.  Which is the most dangerous thing of all.

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