Monday, May 12, 2014

Michael Sam, Jason Collins, and Christians Getting Over Ourselves

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post here entitled "Some Thoughts on Jason Collins and What it Means to be a Man."  The main thesis of the post was this: I wonder if some folks are having problems with openly gay athletes not just because of opposition to gay rights or general homophobia, but also because a gay athlete in the macho, masculine world of professional sports throws out the derogatory fairy/pansy stereotype of gay men that still exists in our culture and vernacular.  However, I also digressed into this particular tangent:

What I still sometimes hear, in reference to gay men, is a sentiment something along the lines of: "I don't care what you do in private, just don't rub it in my face." 

But we Christian men are perfectly fine rubbing our heterosexism in the world's face on Twitter, Facebook...wherever social media allows us to basically act like a drunken King Xerxes in the first chapter of Esther, demanding that his smoking hot wife and queen, Vashti, be brought out in her crown so that his similarly drunken entourage (who probably wouldn't stand a chance today with Dotcom and Grizz) could ogle her. 

So let's be honest: we're perfectly fine rubbing what we do in private in one another's faces...just as long as it doesn't gross us out.

This past weekend, in the twilight of the NFL draft, the openly gay SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam (and let it be known that he is the first product of Mizzou athletics that this Jayhawker unabashedly will support) was drafted by the neighboring St. Louis Rams.  ESPN captured the moment when Sam was told over the phone that he had  been picked, and Sam celebrates with a brief but emotional kiss with his boyfriend.

And, to bastardize Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight: We depict massive amounts of sexual interaction between heterosexual couples in film and television fiction all the time, and we are perfectly happy to tolerate the celebratory kiss of a husband and wife upon any auspicious occasion with little fuss.  But the first openly gay pro football player kisses his boyfriend on national television, and everybody loses their minds.

To my fellow Christians who are having a conniption over this kiss: Please, get over yourselves.  Paul encourages "holy kissing" as a greeting.  David kissed Jonathan.  Judas kissed Jesus.  And if you want to talk about graphic sexual content, the Bible is a strong R, if not an X, rated story.  I'm all for eliminating gratuitous obscenity in our culture, but a celebratory kiss between two men who love each other hardly comes close to rising to that level.

And to others who are having a conniption over this kiss: Please, get over yourselves and stop thinking that this is somehow icky or gross.  Don't do what former pro Derrick Ward did in pulling one of the lamest "Think of the children!" excuses ever.  If you follow football and want to think of your children, then have your children play a sport that isn't as apt to cause chronic injuries and concussions.

I am a lifelong Christian.  I am an ordained pastor.  I believe in the inspiration and sufficiency of the Bible, I believe in the divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I believe in life after death.

I also believe in rightness of Michael Sam breaking down this barrier.  I believe in the courage that he has shown throughout this saga.  And I pray that his courage will continue to be met with kindness and compassion from us all in the name of a God who calls us to (you guessed it) kindness and compassion.

Yours in Christ,

No comments:

Post a Comment