The PJ Tatler

D.C. Lobbyist Seeks to Ban Gays from NFL, Southern Baptist Leader Objects

At first blush, this looks like the classic man-bites-dog story.

A Washington lobbyist leads an NFL boycott against teams that draft avowedly homosexual players, but a Southern Baptist leader rebukes him. Jack Burkman (whose last name, oddly enough, has more than three letters and doesn’t start with “A”) is on a one-man campaign he claims is a nationwide movement, to punish teams that draft openly gay players. Enter the presumed baptist bumpkin bigot, who says…

“I’m adamantly opposed to such efforts,” said Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, and former president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission who is also the executive editor of [Christian Post]. “A person’s sexual preference should not be an impediment to their livelihood in the sports industry.

“I think it’s unwarranted, unjustified and unfair to try to intimidate NFL teams from drafting someone because of their sexual orientation.”

Were you surprised?

I wasn’t. Having been a Southern Baptist for a decade or so, I can tell you that Land’s comments aren’t peculiar in the church, even as evangelicals acknowledge what the Bible frankly says about homosexual behavior.

Land’s remarks only sound surprising if you have a caricature of evangelicals cultivated by the media. That’s not to say that haters don’t gotta hate, even in the church. But, in general, we Jesus freaks have little difficulty parsing the world in which we live, where we can recognize sin for what it is, and also love the sinner, who, after all, is just like me.

The guy who wrote the biggest chunk of the New Testament called himself chief of the sinners. Unlike NFL draft picks, there’s no hierarchy of sin. Sin is rebellion against God, missing the mark of God’s holiness, and we all do it. That’s why we needed forgiveness from Jesus, the savior. So a Christian who looks down on sinners is really an oxymoron, or a parody, or a Washington lobbyist who’s found a way to get some facetime.

Burkman and Land have provided a point-counterpoint. Which do you think the media will attribute to the general evangelical populace?