Thursday, May 15, 2014

MICHAEL SAM - TAKING SIDES

I don't write in this blog as much as I use to.  It is a semi-retired blog.  There are occasions when I feel the need that an issue needs to be addressed from my point of view and when that happens I put a little something in it.  The Michael Sam "controversy" is such an occasion.

What triggered my need to address this was a post on facebook by a good friend and pastor of mine concerning another blog attacking Sam for coming out as gay and the hoopla that accompanied his announcement.  The blog was the Matt Walsh Blog that proclaimed "absolute truths" ( http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/05/12/homophobic-rant-michael-sam/2/  ).

In the blog, Mr. Walsh bribgs up the point of Tim Tebow of Florida taking shots for praising God.  It seems that there was nothing positive out of Tim Tebow's actions but only attempts to make Tebow stop what he was doing.  To make it an "absolute truth" it should be included that hundreds, if not more, college players and high school players took from Tebow the ability to praise God for their abilities as well.  It was not all negative on the Tebow front.  Taking it a step further, how many times have we heard post game interviews with players thanking God for allowing them to win.  No one questions that even though it kind of suggests that God didn't care to much for the other team.  How many times have we seen a player drop to one knee and bow his head and cross himself after scoring a touchdown?  No one questions that that I remember.

Mr. Walsh also claims that Sam was a fringe player that probably had no chance of being drafted had he not come out as gay.  Let's look at the absolute truth.  This is what Sports Illustrated wrote about Michael Sam before the draft:

Michael Sam is known principally as a fierce and ferocious 260-pound Missouri defensive end, the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a potential high-round pick in May's NFL draft. From the draftnik's notebooks: He holds the point of attack. He has a good motor. He can play 4-3 or 3-4. True, Sam played unremarkably at the Senior Bowl last month, but he was stationed for the first time at outside linebacker. His maturity -- he's already 24 -- and work ethic reside on the extreme edge of the bell curve.

Now to me that does not sound like a player that had much to worry about when it came to the draft.  He was often awarded the SEC defensive player of the week, the SEC defensive lineman of the week, as well as the SEC player of the week during his senior year.  The SEC mind you, is the toughest conference in collegiate football.  Michael Sam was a definite draft pick.  The fact that he wasn't picked until the seventh round by a team in Missouri, makes Mr. Walsh's argument on that null and void.  If you are going to proclaim to write the absolute truth, it might be wise to check what it is before you write it.

Okay, that is all I wanted to say about Mr. Walsh's "absolute truths".  Let's move on to what the issue is really about.  I don't pretend to speak for anyone other than myself so what follows are my observations and my personal thoughts.  Most of you will not agree with them and that is fine, I expect people to carry their own thoughts and opinions.  If everyone agreed on everything, no doubt civilization would be far behind where we find ourselves now.

I was a member of a church many years ago.  There was a lady who was a member there.  she was married and had kids.  Eventually, she divorced her husband but continued coming to church and retained her membership in the church.  A few months later, a friend of hers that had been coming to church with her joined the church.  She was welcomed with open arms and was given a membership to the church.  A few months later, the first lady's husband came to the church and informed the pastor that his former wife and this other lady were living together ... as lesbians.  It seemed the whole of the church turned on them.  They were not made to feel welcome and were shunned for the most part.

To the church's credit, they did the Biblical thing and sent some leaders of the church out to talk to them about their situation and their relationship to the church.  They had to change their lifestyle or they would lose their membership.  They refused to change their lifestyle and a big special business meeting was called to decide whether to "church" the ladies or not. 

Now, I do believe that each church has the right to decide who can be members or not depending on the dogma that they adhere to.  In this church, homosexual lifestyle disqualified membership within the church.  Fair enough.  The business meeting however, quickly got out of control in my mind.  The ladies did not attend probably from fear.  There were speeches made about how they were not welcome in the church at all.  Not even their kids were welcome in the church because they had been indoctrinated in a sinful lifestyle.  There were threats that men would block the doors if they tried to enter the church.  They would not be allowed to even stray onto the church property.

That was the last time I was at that church.  It was the last time I would be a member of a church of any kind.  It was embarrassing and shameful.  To think that  God would approve of turning anyone away from attending a worship service went against my deep beliefs.  God welcomes everyone into his house of worship to hear the Word.  I have never seen or heard of any person being blocked from attending a house of worship.  At that point, the church was taking it upon themselves to damn these women to hell instead of letting God do the judging.

I do agree that when celebrities come out as gay, the press goes a bit overboard in celebrating the "courage" that they have shown.  However, a gay couple have years of history of being discriminated against because of the way they feel on the inside.  They have suffered beatings, killings, and general non socialization if they are open in their sexuality.  It really isn't much different than what the African Americans went through except the fact that a black person finds it difficult to hide his race.

Hetero sexual couples have always felt free to show public forms of affection.  Holding hands, kissing, even walking with hands on each others behinds are readily exceptable and not given much thought.  But a gay couple even today draws looks and judgement from those who don't know them or understand them.

It was illegal for interracial couples to marry until the late 1960's.  The case for gay marriage is still being argued and discussed.  The gay community, by making these announcements, are only trying to make a case for their right to believe what they feel is right.

Personally, I feel that marriage itself is unconstitutional.  Civil unions should be the standard for all Americans.  The marriage ceremony should be just that ... a ceremony.  A member of the clergy should not be signing any official papers issued by the state.  The joining of a couple in a legal contract should be left to the State.  Again, my opinion.


Bottom line is that I really don't care if Michael Sam is gay or not.  He has shown over the years at Mizzou that he is a good person.  He is a reliable person.  He is a very good football player.  I also don't really feel like it is any of my business if my friends Rick and Dan are gay or not.  They are good people and I like them.  My friend Craig in Seattle is lesbian.  Lovely person with a huge heart and a very caring person.  Should I throw that friendship with this wonderful person away because she doesn't believe the way I think she should?

I believe that God wants us to accept all people, to offer help and Christian love no matter what they may or may not believe.  "Love your neighbor as yourself" pretty much sums it up.  Perhaps by accepting people who believe differently than you will help to open communication to try to share our beliefs and those that we disagree with may just learn something.  Be careful though, because if you open that communication up, you may just learn something from them as well.

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