Thursday, May 02, 2013

Apples and Oranges

Several of my dear friends have been posting lately about Tim Tebow and Jason Collins. For those of you living under a rock, Tim Tebow plays football and he's openly Christian. Jason Collins plays basketball and recently he's come out as gay. Many of you feel it was inappropriate for Obama to recognize Jason Collins' coming out but say nothing about Tim Tebow being a Christian. Since I'm both openly Christian and gay, I feel like I have a perspective on this that my friends don't have.

First and foremost, there's no reason both athletes can't be appreciated. Putting one person down doesn't lift the other one up. I know that's a weakness in political elections. You have two choices. Comparisons will arise. But in this case, you aren't voting for anyone. If you don't like Jason Collins' decision, then let it go. Like my mom (and yours probably) said, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." And really, what WOULD Jesus do?

Second, being a Christian is a choice. It is a religious and spiritual decision to follow Christ. It's not always easy and many times feels unnatural because it goes against our own ego and desires. But it's a choice and I hardly think anyone will be arguing with that point.
Now some people think that being gay is also a choice. It's not. It's not because I am and I know what I'm talking about. Now I'd agree it's a choice to be honest and open about how God created you or to spend your life pretending otherwise and hurting people in the process. (And if you really cared about the sanctity of marriage, wouldn't you WANT gay people to stop marrying straight people?) But really, what WOULD Jesus do? (hint: Jesus wasn't a big fan of hypocrisy.)

Finally, both are simply not oppressed in the same way. Children and young adults don't frequently commit suicide because of being bullied about being Christian. And while Christians are persecuted all over the world (as are gay people), religious freedom is protected in the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Tim Tebow doesn't get fired or let go because he's Christian. It's because of his performance on the field, not in the church. Jason Collins isn't protected in the same way. Furthermore, Tim Tebow is hardly alone among Christian athletes (FCA anyone?), whereas Jason Collins is the first to "raise his hand." (If there were gay athletic support groups in high school or university, I didn't hear about them.) And in sports, are you more likely to hear homophobic slurs or anti-Christian comments?

I don't need to defend Obama's support of Collins' coming out, but you certainly don't need to get all upset about it either. Again, what WOULD Jesus do? Memory serves that Jesus didn't hang out with the religious (that loudly shouted to the world how religiously pure they were). Instead, Jesus chose to spend time with the outcasts, the oppressed. Perhaps Jason Collins would have gotten an invite to sit at the table along with Zacchaeus and Mary Magdalene? Just a thought.