The Civil Rights Movement This Ain't

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
-Alexander Pope

So yesterday was a fairly remarkable day in the world of sports. Outspoken Christian Quarterback Tim Tebow got kicked to the curb by his team through literally no fault of his own, and NBA basketball player Jason Collins was lionized for his bravery and courage by telling the world that he is a practicing homosexual. Oh, and Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey needs to go to Triple-A so he can learn to stop throwing two-seam fastballs to Prince Fielder belt-high and down the middle. I digress.

So Jason Collins's "coming out" was worthy of a phone call from the President of the United States and a congratulatory Tweet from the First Lady. As though Collins is some sort of 21st century Rosa Parks, refusing to sit in the back of the bus. It is difficult for me to see what "barrier" Collins has broken through. Did somebody refuse to let him play NBA basketball for 13 seasons? Pay him less because he likes having sex with other men? Rosa Parks had to sit in the back of the bus. Jackie Robinson and a multitude of black baseball players had to languish in a separate league for a generation or two. But Jason Collins's sexual predilections have cost him exactly...nothing. The Civil Rights movement this ain't.

This has nothing to do with what people do behind closed doors. It has everything to do with what you are allowed to say about it in public. The script is being played out before our very eyes. ESPN analyst Chris Broussard, on a program dedicated to frank, open discussion, committed a likely career-ending faux paux yesterday. He stood up loud and clear about his Christian convictions:

That was respectful. That was uncompromising. And that took a lot more bravery and courage than anything Jason Collins did yesterday. Collins did not risk his job; it is very likely Broussard will lose his.

Immediately ESPN "apologized" for Broussard's comments. That is a disgrace that makes a mockery of the idea of a public square and marketplace of ideas. Inviting Christians to participate in public dialogue is becoming nothing more than a set up. Let these Neanderthals speak, and when they don't bow down before the Golden Calf of sexual autonomy, we'll make sure they never have a job again.

Because it isn't about tolerance. It is about acceptance and approval. Nobody, and I mean nobody, discriminated against Jason Collins. His sexual preferences were presumably known by his teammates for years (Broussard makes that much clear), and still he managed to get paid a handsome salary for playing the game. That's what used to be called "tolerance." But tolerating Jason Collins is not enough. You will accept and approve Jason Collins's lifestyle... or else.

It is not a coincidence that the Apostle Paul's lengthy treatment of sexual autonomy in Romans 1 ends with culture "approving" of such behavior. Approval is going to be demanded and extracted. Which means a very bumpy road ahead for anyone who wants to uphold biblical standards for sex.

Brian Mattson