Jason Collins, Chris Broussard, and Our Cultural Temperature

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In many ways the news serves to be a thermometer of the culture. Today’s headlines give us an indication of the sentiment of the world around us. This sentiment is clearly seen in the story of Jason Collins. As the first major sports professional to admit that they are homosexual, Collins is receiving substantial news attention. And he should, it is, after all, big news. It’s unprecedented. Although Collins did not finish the season with an NBA team he did play nearly half the season in the NBA.

Collins said,

“I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation,” Collins wrote. “I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, ‘I’m different.’ If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”

As ESPN reports, the support has been overwhelmingly positive. As I checked the pulse of the social media, talk radio and print, I was surprised to hear some people lauding him as a “hero”. Whether you agree with this or not, the point is made: people are very supportive of Jason Collins.

With the amount of conversation around the issue you are bound to have someone be less than thrilled. Right?


Enter Chris Broussard. A seasoned and well-respected reporter for the NBA on ESPN, Broussard is also a Christian. When asked about this issue he was respectful towards Collins. However, he was less supportive when put on the spot as to whether he thought it was morally right or wrong to be gay or if it a practicing homosexual could have his life line up with what the Bible teaches.

Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an opnely premarital sex between heterosexuals, if you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.

The news firestorm provides a perfect screenshot of our cultural forecast. We have two professionals who are highly respected in their field and by their peers. They are both commenting on the same issue and boldly making statements about their personal convictions and lifestyle. However, one is being largely labeled a hero and a progressive champion while the other is being labeled a bigot and a conservative caveman. The cultural temperature is clearly seen on the issue of homosexuality.

But why the polemics? Why do the same people who get sore arms from waving the flags of progressive tolerance also go hoarse yelling that anyone who disagrees with them is unacceptable? The answer is simple: in so far as people march according to the cadence of what is popularly sanctioned as culturally “in tune” then they are fine. If they go off script then they are an impediment, a conservative stench amid the parade and pageantry of pluralism.

Collins is embraced because he is a powerful gust of wind into the secularist sails. Broussard is impugned because his statements (regardless of their personal conviction or tact) are a contrary wind at these same sails.

The popular American culture is like the frustrated, overworked, and overmatched Dad driving the family on long road-trip vacation. He wants to have fun and keeps telling everyone to have fun but he flies off the handle and yells at everyone all the time for not keeping in line. We say we are tolerant and accepting but if you don’t line up with popular opinion….well, “Don’t make me pull this car over!”

Everyone is talking about how far we have come as a country. Really? We can’t even have convictions or disagree. This seems like a step back to me.

(Chris Broussard’s Comments)
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4PTUPXdfE0]

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