Sports, Homosexuality and Real Courage

courageWith the NFL combine underway, there has been a somewhat unusual focus this year, not so much on who’ll go quickly in the first round, but on Michael Sam—a defensive end from the University of Missouri—who used the pre-draft spotlight to announce his homosexuality.

It’s not the first time media outlets have bombarded us with the celebratory message of homosexuality, and it’s not the first time an athlete has used the spotlight to “come out.”

And, not surprisingly, writers like Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post have pounced on the Sam story with glee, tying it to a local story about a high school coach in Colorado who publicly announced his homosexuality last year.

“It’s so important that Michael Sam came out because it sends a message to young people that it’s OK to be homosexual, and it’s not abnormal,” the Denver high school coach told the Post.

Hochman used the article to applaud athletes—and the coach—who have publicized their homosexuality. Courageous, in fact, is how he described them.

Meanwhile, another Denver sports icon lent his praise to Sam.

“I applaud Michael Sam and wish him the very best as he continues the pursuit of his NFL dream,” Denver Broncos executive John Elway said. “As we look toward the combine and draft, we will evaluate Michael just like any other draft prospect—on the basis of his ability, character and NFL potential. His announcement will have no effect on how we see him as a football player.”

Elway is a self-proclaimed Catholic, so I can only imagine his comments came in an attempt to appease and cower before the intolerant agenda of the pro-homosexual movement in America. The backlash he’d have received if he echoed the orthodox position of his church when asked about Sam would certainly have been substantial.

The truth is, there’s nothing to celebrate or applaud about Sam’s decision, or the decision of the Colorado high school coach, Micah Porter. At one point in time Porter was my high school teacher. Among other subjects, he taught religion, and he was also a family friend whom I deeply respected (oddly enough, D’Evelyn high school still allows Porter to teach history and religion, as well as to mentor its students).

It’s hard for me to understand how his story can be celebrated. As the article details, Porter had a “mid-life crisis,” divorced his wife and left his two kids behind to pursue a relationship with a college-aged student nearly half his age. He also left the faith he once held as a Lutheran. And now he’s being celebrated as a role model for high school students across the state and nation.

It seems like everyone has something positive to say about Porter and Sam and all the others—or at least those are the only voices being broadcast ad nauseam. Carter Prescott, a senior at Porter’s high school, had this to say: “I really admire coach Porter for his courage to be true to himself. He is an incredible role model.”

Since current students are allowed their opinion on the matter, I think it’s only fair that a former student gets to offer his. I would only add that my take on the matter is not ultimately “my take” at all—it’s God’s. I am, however, more than willing to stand behind what I write.

I’m not proud of coach Porter; I’m disappointed and deeply sorrowful over the choices he’s made with his life. I’m sad for the family he abandoned and the wife he left. Not only has he chosen rebellion against the God who made him and sustains his breath even now, he’s openly encouraged others to destroy themselves—in this life and in the life to come. There’s nothing commendable about that.

“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law” (Ps. 119:136).

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

You know what’s courageous in our day and age?

Standing up for the truth of God. It doesn’t take courage to say you’re a homosexual or support the immoral practice; the world gladly accepts that. What takes courage is standing before the ravenous media watchdogs of our society—the ones who’ll call you a homophobe and a bigot and deny you free speech on the ground that it’s “hate speech”—to say what’s true: God clearly calls homosexuality a sin, a moral evil and crime worthy of capital punishment (Leviticus 20:13).

I don’t hate Porter or Sam or anyone else who practices homosexuality, close family members included. I weep and pray for them. But I also love them enough to speak the same truth God does: They’re living in open rebellion against Him and need to repent. If they don’t, they face ruin in this life and in eternity to come. But if they do repent, Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and restoration.

Is Porter a role model? Absolutely not. His practices are criminal, and for them God decrees death (Leviticus 20:13). Under no circumstance should anyone allow him to continue teaching and mentoring youth, since students will become like their teachers (Luke 6:40). Not only is he guilty, but so is everyone who approves of his deeds (Romans 1:32).

The assertion made by Elway that homosexuality is not a damaging statement about a person’s character is 100 percent unbiblical and untrue. If you hold that opinion, it is in rejection of the God who made you; in that case, you also need to repent.

Porter has grievously abandoned his family, shirked godly responsibility and chosen to be ruled by his lusts. In acting against his nature, he has chosen perpetual ruin, ultimate selfishness and death. He is acting in support of the death of family and societal order as ordained by God, and therefore there truly is nothing to celebrate.

Rejecting God is not courage—it’s insanity. Courage, on the other hand, is the willingness to be called insane because you won’t stop standing, in love, for the Truth.

Courage is what the church father Athanasius displayed when he was told that the whole world stood against him and the teaching of the Bible he supported. Upon hearing that the entire world was against him, Athanasius replied, “Then I am against the world.”

May we live with such courage in times like these.

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