Conservative mouthpiece The Blaze ran a story this week asking why Michael Sam is lauded in the press for coming out as gay while other athletes like Tim Tebow are taken to task for coming out as Christian. The Blaze used tweets from DeMarcus Walker, a sophomore defensive end for Florida State, who asked the following rhetorical question:
This seems to be a popular meme amongst the religious right, many of whom joined in the outrage denounce the big bad liberal media’s promotion of gay marriage. Here are some select tweets (curated by The Blaze):
Personally, I’m not a big fan of bashing religion.
Most of the religious people I know are kind and wonderful people, and while there’s much we don’t agree on, there is often common ground if you attempt to see things from their perspective. I’ve found the religious people I know to be mostly interested in being nice to others, and I have no problem with that.
Also, I can certainly understand why some religious folk feel their beliefs are under attack from nonbelievers – and that’s largely because they are.
Scientific progress has taken an axe to basic religious beliefs, undermining its fundamental premise that we are the sole purpose of the universe, and that God created man in his image. From Newtonian physics to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, there isn’t much left to argue about when it comes to understanding the ‘hows’ of creation. Those still clinging on to Bronze Age mythologies as literal truths are bound to come under fire from those grounded in reality — and it can get pretty harsh when people like Richard Dawkins decide to make you a target.
Generally, I feel a little sorry for those relentlessly laughed at by snooty East Coast coffee drinkers, but there’s a key difference when it comes to being mean to Bible-thumpers and gays.
Tim Tebow chooses to be a Christian, while Michael Sam does not choose to be gay.
Equating attacks on overt displays of religiosity with overt displays of homosexuality is akin to comparing discrimination against people with tattoos and racism against African Americans. You choose have a tattoo, while you don’t choose to be black. To believe Jesus Christ died for your sins and that gay marriage is wrong is a conclusion you come to, and a belief you identify with. While some still argue that homosexuality is ‘a choice’, the fact is that it isn’t. No matter how many Psalms you can quote, the science is in, and we now know that gays do not choose to be attracted to members of the same sex.
Tim Tebow seems like a nice enough chap. He canceled a speaking gig at a crazy right-wing church when he found out how homophobic they were, and his version of Christianity appears to be at the worst benign, and at its best, very positive. Being a dick to him because of his religion is, well, a bit dickish.
But as a white Christian male in America, he isn’t exactly in a minority, and he doesn’t risk getting his head kicked in for ‘coming out’.
Michael Sam is the first active NFL player to come out as being gay. He has risked his career, his personal life and his physical safety to do so. The discrimination that gays have experienced throughout history is not a joke. It is horrific beyond belief, and no reasonable person can compare it to a snarky remark from Bill Maher, or a documentary by Richard Dawkins.
Sorry, it’s just not the same thing.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.