Sometimes You Just Have To Scratch Your Head And Say “Isn’t That Interesting?”

Veteran professional basketball player, and from what I read all-around good guy, Jason Collins has come out and announced to the world that he is gay. He is the first active athlete in any of the four major team sports to do so.

Isn't that interestingAnd I’ve been fascinated by the reaction.

There has been an outpouring of support. Collins said in an interview that he has received commending calls from many, including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. He did not say that he had heard from the other three living former presidents.

I thought to myself, isn’t that interesting?

On the other hand, I’ve read comments online from people with names like SCROTIE McBUGGERBALLS and JORDAN THE GOAT that were, shall we say, less supportive. Actually, they were ignorant, bigoted and hateful.

And I thought to myself, isn’t that interesting?

So far, the only public person that I have heard being critical of Jason Collins is ESPN NBA analyst Chris Broussard. On a television show where he was supposed to comment about the effect of being openly gay in the NBA, Broussard volunteered that “I’m Christian and I don’t agree with homosexuality.”

I wondered what inside him compelled Broussard to volunteer his religious views and why being a Christian made him unable to “agree” with homosexuality.

And I thought to myself, isn’t that interesting?

As I understand it, people with that view are relying on Leviticus 18:22, a Christian Bible provision which some Christians interpret to prohibit male homosexual acts.

I also understand that the Christian Bible forbids tattoos (Leviticus 19:28), consultation with psychics (Leviticus 19:31), gossiping (Leviticus 19:16), cursing your parents, for which the death penalty is prescribed (Exodus 21:17), getting remarried after getting divorced (Mark 10:11-12), working on the Sabbath, for which the death penalty is prescribed (Exodus 31:14-15), eating shrimp, lobster and other shellfish (Leviticus 11:9-12), and even polyester (Leviticus 19:19), among others.

So far, I haven’t heard Broussard volunteer that he doesn’t “agree” with those who violate these or any of a host of other unusual prohibitions of his religion. I wondered what makes this one prohibition so important to him? And why does it trump his religion’s admonishments to “do good; seek justice, correct oppression?” (Isaiah 1:17).

And I thought to myself, isn’t that interesting?

Because I find this all so, you know, interesting, I recently – pre-Jason Collins – engaged in an online conversation with an acquaintance who shares the Broussard point of view.

My friend had posted something on Facebook supporting an organization that exists to “defend marriage.”

Not understanding why marriage needs to be “defended” and being concerned that the philosophical notion that it does has an adverse effect on real, living LGBT people, I sent a response to my friend:

“Are you aware that same-sex couples and their families are denied access to the more than 1,138 federal rights, protections and responsibilities which are automatically granted to married heterosexual couples? These include the right to make decisions on a partner’s behalf in a medical emergency, the right to receive family-related Social security benefits, income and estate tax benefits, disability benefits and family-related military and veterans benefits.”

I asked: “Why would any fair-minded person encourage that kind of discrimination?”

She replied that she didn’t care about “human law,” that her beliefs were controlled by “Moral law.” Revealing a bit of a martyr complex and an us-versus-them, “two worlds” view, she stated that “I realize that this philosophy will largely be misunderstood, even rejected, perhaps hated by the secular world.”

I wanted to understand what she meant by “Moral law” and how something called moral could sanction discrimination and maltreatment of people simply because of a characteristic with which they were born.

Strange as it seems to most of us, I am aware that some people believe that homosexuality is a choice and that it is an immoral and sinful choice so I went straight there. I asked her if she believed that.

To her credit, and to my surprise, she said she didn’t.

So I replied: “We apparently agree that homosexuality is not a choice, and that homosexuals are not ‘sinful,’ yet you believe they should be treated differently by the law simply because they are homosexuals, that same-sex couples should be denied more than 1,000 rights and benefits that heterosexual couples have. If they have not made an immoral choice and homosexuals are not ‘sinful,’ there is no basis for opposing fair treatment for them on moral grounds.”

Her reply: “As I previously stated, the homosexual inclination is not a choice nor is it intrinsically sinful. However, actively living an unchaste life is disobedience against the Moral law of God and is therefore sinful behavior.”

By this point, I think she had realized that by acknowledging that homosexuality is neither a choice nor sinful, she had put herself in an indefensible position. So she simply redefined homosexuality as an “unchaste life.”

Next, I questioned my friend about the fact that many others of her religion disagree with her.

I said: “It is obvious that [your Moral law] must be ambiguous, at least on this subject. I know that because I have friends who are also ‘rooted in Judeo-Christian teachings’ and disagree completely with your views. And, from what I can tell, not just friends of mine, but most people ‘rooted in Judeo-Christian teachings’ disagree with your position. Perhaps they recognize that homophobic notions are not merely unfair, they are dangerous. They lead to discrimination, bias and even violence.” I invited her to “look up the figures on the number of hate crimes that are perpetrated against LGBT people.”

My friend was unimpressed by the realities of discrimination and even violence that homosexuals experience. And she was not deterred by the fact that others of her own religion disagree. She remained adamant: “Scripture and Church teaching is very clear on this matter. . . I cannot explain the views of your Judeo-Christian friends. Perhaps they are confused or uneducated in the matter of sexual morality or perhaps they are just plain arrogant or defiant.”

As our conversation closed with that, I thought to myself, isn’t that interesting?

Shortly after this conversation, which occurred in private messages, not in public, my friend “unfriended” me on Facebook.

I thought to myself, now isn’t that REALLY interesting?

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