Washington, D.C.—In a first for American professional team sports, an active athlete has come out as homosexual. NBA free agent Jason Collins announced this week that he’s gay, leading to overwhelming support from fellow players, media, and even President Obama.
Collins, a 34-year-old center, averaged only 1.1 points for the Washington Wizards this year, so league insiders aren’t convinced that another team will pick him up. But several general managers said the player’s sexuality wouldn’t be an issue; they’ll only ask if he can help a team win.
In a Sports Illustrated cover article, Collins said he dealt with many emotions before finally accepting his sexuality. “There’s nothing more beautiful than just allowing yourself to really be happy and be comfortable in your own skin,” he said. Collins also emphasized the importance of his Christian faith, saying, “I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding.”
Meanwhile, people who offered opposing views on homosexuality were subjected to attack. When ESPN reporter Chris Broussard, a Christian, was asked for his opinion, he said Collins’ actions were inconsistent with the Bible. “If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality…I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God,” Broussard said.
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who’s openly gay, tweeted that she was “appalled” by Broussard’s comments. “His hateful remarks have no place in our society,” she said.
Of the flap, evangelist Pat Robertson said, “If you don’t want to be a Christian, that’s your business…but don’t tell somebody he can’t speak specifically about what the Christian faith says about certain conduct.”
Cultural apologist Jim Denison offered this perspective: “If a player can make headlines for announcing that he’s gay, how will we make headlines for Christ?”
Sources: si.com, christianpost.com, espn.com
- How do you feel about Collins’ announcement—and about the various reactions to it? How do you expect this revelation to affect his future career? his relationships with teammates? How might you treat or view a classmate who shared that he or she was gay?
- What pros and cons do you see in society’s recent embrace of homosexuality? If you disagree with this lifestyle, to what degree are you comfortable saying so—and to whom?
- How important to you is your own happiness and comfort, despite what other people might think of you? In light of our sinful nature, how comfortable can anyone ever be in his or her own skin?
- Is it inconsistent for a professed Christianity to embrace an openly gay lifestyle? Why or why not? What are some ways you’ve openly rebelled against God, despite claiming to have faith in him?
- As a Christian, is it any of your business how other believers are living their lives? Why or why not? How responsible do you feel for the conduct of fellow Christians? What does your behavior say about your faith? your Savior?
- In your opinion, how “tolerant” was Jesus? What was his attitude toward sinners, no matter their sin? What’s the best way to rebuke or correct people who are sinning, without seeming holier than they are?
- How much tolerance and understanding would you say Christians are receiving these days? Do you consider it an honor to be criticized or discriminated against because of your faith? Why or why not? How might you be able to “make headlines for Christ”?
Scripture links: Proverbs 25:26; John 8:1-11; Romans 14:1-4; Colossians 1:28-29; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; and James 5:19-20.