Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MICHAEL SAM: HOW I SEE IT

I applaud Michael Sam.  I don't applaud Micheal Sam because he is gay, but rather for the fact that he has decided to not hide the fact that he is from the world.  Personally I could care less if Sam were gay or not.  I have many family members and friends who will not agree with me on this matter.  The majority of the reasons they won't agree with me is based on religious beliefs.  Others may see a man stating that he is gay through the lens of stereotype of what a gay man is,  I see Michael Sam as one in what is becoming a long line of gay men ripping that stereotype apart.

The typical stereotype from the straight community is that a gay man carries with him some feminine characteristics.  He would be a smaller man with not much interest in playing sports, especially a manly game like football, choosing to be cheerleader instead.  Indeed a male that was a cheerleader would be stereotyped as being gay.  Both of these stereotypes are being torn down as time goes by.  Michael Sam by letting the public know who he is took a huge step towards this.

Sam was a defensive end for the University of Missouri.  He was noticed little during his first three years at Mizzou playing in the shadow of the all-American defensive end Alden Smith.  When Smith went professional, Micheal Sam found himself in the spotlight of Mizzou's strong defense.  He burst onto the SEC scene getting numerous awards for SEC defensive lineman of the week or defensive player of the week for the conference.  He was fast.  He was strong.  He carried with him a never give up playing attitude that helped land him as a first team All-American at defensive end.  He became nationally known as suddenly was a first round draft pick prospect for the NFL.  Michael Sam had arrived and he had no intention of looking back.

A lot of my information is taken from what I have read during the course of the story of Michael Sam unfolding.  Most of his team mates at Mizzou knew Sam was gay.  As far as I can tell, Sam never went to a great effort to hide the fact.  The coaches at Mizzou knew, either directly or indirectly, that Sam was gay.  The fact that he was gay never caused any trouble on the Mizzou squad that would play Auburn in the SEC Championship game and take a trophy from the Cotton Bowl.

I know that there are those who will take the reason that Sam didn't have too much trouble about his homosexuality because he was just so good that it was easy for the players and coaches to look the other way.  I think history shows us that in the recent past it didn't matter how good you were, if you were gay you were shunned and possibly kept from playing for the team.  Personally, I would prefer to think that the players, the coaches and the University are progressive enough to not really care if Michael Sam were gay or not.  Times are changing for the LGBT community and are moving pretty fast, though not fast enough for the LGBT community.

My friends who will look at Michael Sam through religious beliefs will say that he is wrong to live this lifestyle.  I imagine there are those who don't think he should be allowed to play in the NFL.  Many will condemn the University of Missouri for allowing Sam to play knowing that he was gay and that it is another example of the "win at all cost" attitude that permeates college sports these days.  Their are allowed their viewpoints and feelings and I would not be one who would take that right away from them.  I can, however, take exception with their thinking process.

True, there are places and scriptures in the Bible that condemn homosexuality.  There is also scripture which condemns thievery, adultery, dishonesty, and gossiping.  There are also a lot of scripture, particularly in the New Testament,  about judging others.It is a dangerous thing to judge others and pointing fingers at the sins of others.  Actions taken by people who have a deep hatred for the Gay community for some reason can be some of the ugliest things that can happen.  I have seen it.

Fact is, we are all human and being human means not being even close to perfect.  I certainly know that I am not.  There are a few actions that we do that are against Biblical teaching that are easy for others to spot and pass judgement on.  There are many more actions that are against Biblical teaching that are easy to hide in the shadows where no one can see them.  Sometimes they are called "skeletons in your closet".  Bottom line, they are things that we know are wrong and so we hide them away,  We seldom if ever get called on them.  No one is immune from these hidden things, not even preachers.  As long as we can stay away from wrongdoings that are openly in defiance,  we can feel pretty good about ourselves.  Being gay, being openly gay, is one of those things that really gets the spot light cast on it.

How ugly can a group of "Christians" get when dealing with homosexuality?  Well, I was a member of a church once, actually considered a leader in the church.  I was a Deacon and I took my job very seriously.  The church found out that they had a lesbian couple as members of the church.  They convened a big meeting to decide what to do about the situation.  They needn't worry because the two women in question never showed up and never came back.  The meeting went on anyway,  It seemed the church had to somehow get some stress relief from the situation.  During the meeting there were a lot of threats and such and then the one that really hit me hard.  One man got up and said that if those two ladies came back to that church, they would block the doors and not let them in.  That was the last time I set foot in that church.  It was the last time I held a church membership and do not plan on being a member of a church again.  It was ugly.  It was mean spirited.  It was uncalled for.  I was ashamed and I knew why.  It was because I am SO imperfect with so many faults and sins, that I had no business what so ever telling these two ladies how to live their lives.  I can't manage my own life much less worry about how others are living theirs.

I guess what I am saying is that we need to be accepting of everyone.  We don't need to agree with them or their lifestyle but be human to those who believe differently.  Personally I have no problems with the LGBT community.  I have met and made friends with a lot of people who live that lifestyle.  If you didn't know they were gay well, you just wouldn't know it.  Kind of like Michael Sam.  I watched him play his senior year and cheered him on as the season progressed.  I was thrilled to see him make first team All-American.

I still cheer him on.  Play pro ball Mr. Sam.  Knock down some more of those stereotypes.  Knock them down for all of us because the clearer we are able to see each other in this world, the easier it will be for all of us to get along and I, for one, really want to get along with people.

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