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Sex, Sin, And The Infield Fly Rule


David von Drehle, a columnist for The Washington Post, started his career as a sports writer. His most recent column proves he should have stuck with sports, and reminds of the sixteen-year-old who was asked by her teacher why she always wrote about sex. “Well,” she replied, “you told me to write about what I know.”

And von Drehle should write about what he knows, which, apparently, is not religion, as his column makes the reader blush at his ignorance.

“Jesus …,” he begins—and you know that a column in The Washington Post that begins with “Jesus” is not likely to turn out well. It doesn’t.

“Jesus invited disciples to put down their fishing nets and start hauling in believers. The catch was a motley crew of outcasts and sinners: tax collectors, prostitutes, cowards and doubters. Yet he was willing to die for them.”

That lesson, he says, “is lost on many of today’s Christian churches.”

The person the lesson is lost on is von Drehle himself, even though his opening paragraph contains the word that’s a key to understanding what’s going on.

What kind of people were in the crowd? Sinners and prostitutes, inter alia. We’ll come back to them.

Von Drehle’s column is really about two separate events: the turmoil in the United Methodist Church, which recently passed a “Traditional Plan” that calls for enforcement of the denomination’s ban against same-sex marriage and gay clergy; and the Archdiocese of Kansas which has blocked a “same-sex couple” from enrolling “their” child (whom we’ll call Heather) at St. Ann’s School in Prairie Village, Kansas. Von Drehle doesn’t agree with either decision.

Von Drehle paraphrases the pastor of the Church of the Resurrection, which he tells us is the world’s largest United Methodist congregation, a church that may have, he says, as many as a hundred same-sex couples: “To single out monogamous, loving homosexual couples for condemnation is cruel,” said the pastor.

And von Drehle mocks the archdiocese’s statement that “same-sex parents cannot model behaviors and attitudes regarding marriage and sexual morality consistent with essential components of the Church’s teaching.”

Von Drehle’s problem, obviously, is that he doesn’t agree that homosexual behavior is wrong, even a sin. (If he did, he wouldn’t be a columnist for The Washington Post.)

Even so, as a sports writer he might understand that—to put it in layman’s terms—organizations have rules. A basketball player cannot double dribble. A tennis player must keep his feet behind the base line when he serves. Players who break those rules are … “sinners,” and if they persist in their behavior they will be removed from the group (i.e., not allowed to play the game).

Are such people evil? Not for committing those acts, though of course they may be for other acts they have committed.

Is it customary to make a rule-breaker the team captain? No. That sends the wrong message to the team, and to the society (sports players) they live in.

And so it is with homosexual acts. In traditional churches—and throughout most of American history (and Western civilization)—homosexual acts are like double dribbling: they are bad behavior and are therefore frowned upon. People who engage in such acts are not made leaders of a group, and if they persist they will be ostracized from their group.

You’d think even a Washington Post writer could figure that out.

It never occurs to von Drehle that the archdiocese may have been thinking of the loneliness the poor child of the “same-sex couple” might have had to endure at St. Ann’s School. What “normal” parents at that school would let their child go home to play with Heather who has two mommies—both of whom are male?

Von Drehle knows, because he says so, that among Jesus’s catch were sinners (i.e., people who do things that are wrong) but clearly he doesn’t think they’re sinners, because the left sees nothing wrong with homosexual acts, and he doesn’t want you to think they’re sinners either. He makes a big deal out of the sinners’ being forgiven (presumably because they are guilty of doing something wrong). Then he praises the pastor who welcomes the homosexuals presumably because they have not done anything wrong. Von Drehle is stealing a base: he wants it both ways.

He should stick to baseball—but what’s he going to say about players who persistently violate the infield fly rule?