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Regarding the coincidence of simultaneous big stories on a gay athlete and a Christian athlete

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The fact that pro basketball player Jason Collins came out of the homosexual closet on the same day that pro football player and devout Christian Tim Tebow was released by the New York Jets seems to have fueled the fires of America’s culture war.

If you Google the words “Collins,” “gay,” “Tebow” and “Christian” in the same search field,  you’ll find links to arguments that Collins is the beneficiary of — and Tebow the victim of — a political-correctness conspiracy among the mainstream media. (See HERE, for example.)

But such arguments are mostly nonsense. There have long been lots of devout Christians on pro sports teams — some of them big stars, and some of them relatively unsung journeymen. Few, if any, of these athletes have been ostracized by teammates or the media. But then, few have been as conspicuous as Tim Tebow in displaying their religous fervor.

Still, if Tebow has been chided in certain quarters for what some see as his self-righteous piety, he’s also been widely celebrated for wearing his faith on his sleeve.

But let’s not kid ourselves that any prejudice faced by Tebow for his religious zeal — in the locker room or in society at large — compares with the adversity Jason Collins would have faced if he had come out of the closet when he first played in the NBA 12 years ago.

Just consider this: Virtually nobody in pro sports has even been afraid to openly  profess his Christian faith. But Jason Collins is the first to muster the courage to openly profess his sexual orientation. That’s why he’s making headlines.

Isaac J. Bailey has some other WORTHY THOUGHTS on this matter:

Not long after the first active member of an American men’s professional sports league revealed himself to be gay – a watershed moment in American history no matter one’s personal views – some quickly wanted the story to shift to supposed Christian persecution and media bias against those who hold orthodox, traditional religious views on the subject.

They want us to believe that Evangelical Christians are under attack because they believe homosexuality is a sin.

And they tell themselves that Tim Tebow, who was cut by the New York Jets this week, has been ridiculed for his outspoken Christian faith while Jason Collins, a 12-year-veteran of the National Basketball Association, is celebrated as a hero for telling the world that he is gay.

Never mind that Tebow has graced the cover of just about every newspaper and sports (and other) magazine in this country and earns more from endorsement than players three times as good. That he isn’t celebrated by everyone and his flawed throwing style is the butt of jokes must be because he prays on the field.

Never mind that the recently-retired two-time Super Bowl champion, hall-of-famer in-waiting Ray Lewis has been embraced by just about every major media and sports personality – despite his connection to two killings years ago – because of an outward expression of Christian faith that is just as fervent as Tebow’s.

No, according to them, our sympathies shouldn’t lie with the person who had to hide himself from friends and colleagues – even his twin brother – for fear of being outed.

It shouldn’t be with those who have been discarded from their families because of the way they were born.

It shouldn’t be with those who can be fired in at least 30 states simply for being gay, for those who can be kicked out of housing for being gay, for those who have seen others like them lynched and beaten.

It shouldn’t be with those who can’t even find refuge in the one place – the church – most Americans flee to in times of trouble because inside those walls they are often condemned to Hell by those with smiles on their faces and told an all-loving God believes they are abominations.

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6 Comments

  1. expdoc

    Plus, Tebow stinks as a professional quarterback.

  2. Robert

    I wonder what’s holding Tim Tebow back from getting married, since it’s such a big part of the Christian adult identity?

    I wonder how much of his religious fervor is his own and how much was instilled by fear of his mother and church? He’s supposedly still a virgin from what I’ve read. That’s very unusual for someone his age.

    He just comes off as conflicted to me. At some point he’s going to come to terms with his own identity and not the one he seems to be honoring for his mother’s sake and the religious organizations that have co-opted his image into one of wholesomeness and purity that the religious life supposedly offers.

    I look forward to his self reckoning. What will we learn about Tim Tebow when that happens? He carries a big responsibility (burden) being a poster child of the religious right.

  3. Brian Opsahl

    He will have to find a regular job like the rest of us…he got cut yesterday….plus he’s kinda creepy

  4. Neftali

    One thing Tebow won’t have to do for a while is “find a regular job.” He still probably has plenty of opportunities in football if he wants them. Perhaps not in the NFL, but very possibly in the CFL. His name recognition is off the charts, so he’s guaranteed to help sell tickets wherever he plays. (agreed with Doc that as an actual QB, he’s awful, but that might be overlooked with the right owner)

    Also, because of his popularity, endorsement deals are still very much for the taken, as are speaking engagements. Don’t think for a second that churches across the country wouldn’t pay him top dollar to show up and pray with their congregation.

  5. Brian Opsahl

    That’s right Nef, he is very popular with that crowd,and he will end up doing very well somewhere.

  6. Bill Robinson

    Jason Collins is an impressive guy and an ideal person to take on the challenge of being the first big-time professional athlete to come out. I wish him well, and hope this is the beginning of a respectful dialog.

    I don’t think there is much credence to the argument that Christianity is under attack or that there’s any reason to compare the stories of Collins and Tebow. Certainly, Tebow has nothing to complain about, and it will be interesting to follow his career. I doubt he will emerge as a successful starter at quarterback, and I think he has had his chances with two teams. That’s a lot more than many players get.

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