As Kazzy has noted over at the main page, NBA center Jason Collins has come out as gay. (I feel vaguely fraudulent typing that sentence, as it implies I knew that he was a center, or even what a “center” is in basketball.) As many have noted in the comments there, this is a really big deal. I am delighted by this development, and wish Mr. Collins well.
The overwhelming majority of responses to this announcement have been very positive. I am obviously delighted by that, as well. However, not everyone’s reaction has been so glowing.
…ESPN sportscaster Chris Broussard on Monday criticized Jason Collins for coming out, the first male athlete in a major league to do so.
“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals,” Broussard said on ESPN’s Outside The Lines. “If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.”
I do not know how much notice Mr. Broussard’s comments will receive. Hell, I don’t even know how prominent Mr. Broussard is. Perhaps I am worried about something that will never come to pass because nobody will pay any attention at all.
However, I feel compelled to send out a request to everyone who (like me) disagrees strongly with Mr. Broussard — please do not demand an apology. Please.
First of all, he has a right to his beliefs. I may think they are wrong, but people are entitled to not only believe what they want, they are also entitled to express those beliefs. Silence from our opponents is not the same thing as victory for our ideas, and demanding the former gets us no closer to the latter.
Further, I have stated my opposition to forced fake apologies before. Assuming Mr. Broussard provokes the kind of shimmering outrage I predict, and assuming he is eventually pressured to offer some kind of mealy-mouthed non-apology apology that has become de rigueur in such circumstances, we can all rest assured that he will still in his heart believe it is impossible for people like me to be real Christians. Does anyone doubt for a second that this is true? What would an apology even signal except that people can sometimes be forced to say things they don’t really mean if public pressure and their job security demand it?
No. I do not want an apology from Mr. Broussard. I hope nobody asks for one. I hope people who share my beliefs can display enough confidence in them that a dissenting view can be uttered by someone without an immediate outcry that he take it back. I hope that I am worried about something that never comes to pass.
After all, I didn’t come out of one closet for the sake of building them for other people to get into.