By now EVERYONE has heard about Jason Collins announcement that he is gay. We have seen the tweets of support from everyone from the President and First Lady to fellow ball players. There has been an overwhelming media support that has over the last few years in particular become broadly more gay friend and has definitely not tolerated gay slurs and innuendos that not long ago would have been accepted or ignored. There are two areas of this story that I find interesting.
The first is, about tolerance. You know we are living in a shifting society when one of the public faces being most critiqued is the Christian brother who has the courage to go on air and have a level of conviction to his faith. Jason has the right to come out to the world, and I believe that anyone that can find a level of peace embracing who they believe themselves to be is a wonderful thing.
However, to embrace the honesty of a player who chooses to publicly announce his sexuality and demean a brother, Chris Broussard, who respectfully stated that his faith informs him that homosexuality is a sin publicly is a tad hypocritical. In the days and times where people of faith are labeled as un-evolved and out of touch, I appreciate a black man that did not demonize Jason, didn’t call him names, and did not single out homosexuality, but spoke to all biblical sexual morality and its opposition to living a Christian life. We can debate if we even as Christians agree with his theology, we can debate if we as humans agree with his approach, but we cannot in the name of political correctness say that everyone has to support Jason Collins announcement.
I long for the day when we CAN disagree without one side or the other being labeled. The question is can we disagree, stating our opinion, whether religious or academic with respect. Real tolerance is not just about accepting one side, but the views no matter how painful of others even as we disagree. I want to celebrate Chris for his holy boldness as much as Jason for his human boldness.
The second area is tolerance. I know I said that already, but roll with me. We are creating a false sense of acceptance in the black community when we believe that public tweets and remarks of support always translate to the way we treat each other when NO cameras or social media is present. There is a double standard even in the media when it comes to sexual orientation.
The world is normally more open to lesbians than gay men. Weather it is a result of sexual fantasy or the perceived softness of women being easier for some to handle than the thought of two men, there is a double standard. Which is why you have yet to see a major player come out. It’s not about how we will treat them on twitter, but how we will or will not embrace them in our community. Even within Christianity we often take the job of judgment from GOD and administer it ourselves.
Real tolerance and love is about embracing our gay brothers and sisters despite how our culture and faith calls us to believe; and letting GOD be the judge. When we do this there will be no hiding, and you might see major stars in masculine defined sports coming out….until then……well. Thanks Jason Collins.