10:41 PM EDT, May 4, 2013
Who knew there were so many biblical scholars and theology experts among us?
Ever since earlier this week when NBA player Jason Collins became the first active professional athlete in a major American team sport to publicly acknowledge he's gay, some of my fellow Christians have opened their Bibles and told us what an unrepentant sinner Collins is.
"If you're openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says, 'You know them by their fruits.' It says that that's a sin," ESPN analyst Chris Broussard said earlier this week. "And if you're openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality — adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals — I believe that's walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ, so I would not characterize that person as a Christian."
Broussard has every right to his opinion and he, at least, had the decency to lump all sin together, but why did he find it necessary to make a huge issue about sin on the historic day of Collins' announcement? Broussard, after all, covers the NBA, where countless unmarried players have had countless illegitimate children by a countless multitude of different women to whom they are not married.
Shouldn't this be a more troubling issue for a Christian-minded NBA commentator than a single gay player in 2013? I don't seem to recall ESPN's special "Outside the Lines" edition on the years-long epidemic of illegitimate children in the NBA and Broussard's over-the-air comments singling out all of those NBA players who are walking in open rebellion to God.
"I've never seen Chris Broussard on air say anything about what has to be 80 percent of the league who are having premarital sex," says former Magic player John Amaechi, who came out and affirmed he is gay after he retired. "… Where is his outrage and commentary on that? I'm tired of people criticizing me and Jason Collins and other gay people for one or two sections of the Old Testament when they don't live by the other sections of the Old Testament."
Give that man a standing ovation for calling out the cafeteria Christians who go through the line, picking and choosing the parts of the Bible they want to believe and enforce. It's so convenient and easy for these hypocritical holier-than-thou Christians to single out homosexuals by reciting Leviticus 20:13: "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."
But how many of these same Christians would single out their own daughters to be stoned to death for not being virgins when they are married? Deuteronomy 22:20-21: "(The) girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel, by playing the harlot in her father's house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you."
How many Christian men out there are divorced and remarried? If so, you are living in unrepentant sin. Luke 16:18: "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery."
How many Christians will boot up your laptops on Sunday and do some work you couldn't quite get to on Friday? If so, Chris Broussard probably doesn't characterize you as a Christian. Exodus 31:15: "Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death."
And I wonder if Broussard has any female bosses at ESPN or ever had any female professors while in college? If so, he is walking in open rebellion to God. Timothy 2:11: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet."
"A lot of people pick which of God's commandments and instructions in the Bible are the most important," says former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "So a person who is homosexual, according to Chris Broussard, is living in open rebellion to God, but I guess people who don't tithe and give 10 percent of their income to the church … that one we can just brush aside. It always makes me laugh that being a homosexual is the worst thing in the world, but everything else in the Bible — about how you're supposed to treat other people and tithing and not lying and cheating — those things are not as important."
The bottom line is this: It's not my place, your place, Chris Broussard's place or the place of cafeteria Christians to arbitrarily determine the worthiness of other Christians. It is ultimately only God's place. James 4:12: "There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, He who is able to save and to destroy. But you — who are you to judge your neighbor?"
We are all sinners, and Jesus himself said sinners should not cast stones at other sinners. And you know the other thing about Jesus? He knew that all of the confusing, archaic chapters and verses written in the Bible might dilute his overall message. That's why he essentially boiled it down to two important edicts.
Here's what he said in Matthew 22:37-40: "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
If only Jesus were the host of SportsCenter, the world would be a lot better place.
email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BianchiWrites. Listen to his radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on 740 AM.
Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel