In some sports, the sexual orientations of athletes has been a topic for years. Tennis, swimming and other so-called minor sports have had plenty of people come out as gay and lesbian. But in the major American sports – football, baseball, basketball and hockey – everyone has pretended that the men are all heterosexual. Not a gay guy in the bunch, ever. Can that be true? Odds are against.
Players are starting to decide it’s time to stop denying what anyone with a fairly adequate brain can figure out: of the thousands of grown men who have played pro sports in America, their ranks have included gay men.
Now people are wondering how the fans will take it. According to this article, Arizona Cardinal head coach Bruce Arians worries that opposing fans in particular will take a player’s sexuality and use it as a taunt.
Some of the things that are said are over the top and out of control that I can imagine what some fans would say to an openly gay player.
Arians emphasized that when it comes to fellow players, he doesn’t foresee any problems at all. Let’s hope fans soon catch up and cheer on the players no matter what their sexual orientation.
Getting Over It, Looking Past It
Being gay or lesbian is losing its pariah status. Does this demand a response from those of us who belong to Jesus Christ?
I think so. Not only should we not be among those jeering players on opposing teams for their sexuality, we should look to Jesus as our example of how to embrace those players.
Who were among society’s pariahs when Jesus ministered in Israel?
Prostitutes – Jesus allowed one to touch him in ways that shocked the religious leadership.
Gentiles, especially women - Jesus healed the daughter of a woman who kept begging for a miracle until he said yes.
Enemy Soldiers – Jesus declared one Roman officer to have more faith than anyone he’d met in Israel.
In each of these situations, can you imagine how the Jews around Jesus responded? Especially that last one, to hear that Jesus considered a foreigner to have more faith than one of them!
So what should we do when it comes to the ever-increasing visibility of lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and other people who identify as LGBTQIA, a classification that some still consider lesser people, a group that some still want to treat as pariahs?
Let’s do as Jesus showed us. Let’s spend time with people, get to know them, and show them God’s love. After all, it’s not really like we’re going to meet anyone new. Gays and lesbians and others are already among our family, friends and acquaintances. It’s just a matter of now knowing that.
And cheering them on to a relationship with Jesus.
I found this excellent article written by an athlete who knows the issue from the inside. Please take the time to click over and read it.
[Earlier posts on gays and lesbians and Christianity: Boy Scouts, Homosexuals and Jesus – churches shouldn’t run away from gay kids, and My Lesbian and Gay Relationships.]