Is being an openly Christian person so deeply stigmatized as to be viewed as deathblow to your career and social standing in America today? From the media response to NFL star Drew Brees’ message to his young fans on being proud of and sharing their faith, this may not be a far-fetched question.
Brees released a short video encouraging young people to share their faith by bringing their Bibles to school on October 3, 2019. The event is an annual celebration designed to encourage personal freedom, religious freedom, and religious pride, and is sponsored by Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian advocacy organization.
The reaction was instantaneous and intensely hostile. Sports commentator Robert Littal tweeted, “Drew Brees Created a PSA Video for an Anti-Gay Religious Cult That Believes in Conversion Therapy & Fights Against Any Anti-Discrimination Laws; Wants Kids to Bring Bible to School to Convert Other Kids.” Out Magazine, an LGBT publication, shamed Brees for associating with Focus on the Family, which they refer to as an “anti-gay extremist group.”
In 2010 Brees made a video for the It Gets Better series, which encourages LGBT youth to push through school bullying. In this video, he says, “If you’re making fun of someone because they are different, then you are no friend of mine.” He also partnered with Ellen DeGeneres to promote an anti-bullying campaign. Thus his work with Focus on the Family’s campaign, Out asserts, demonstrates a fall from grace.
Queerty, another LGBT media site, took it a step a step further with the headline, “NFL star Drew Brees partners with Focus on the Family to promote hate.” The article quotes this line from the video as evidence: “I want to encourage you to live out your faith on Bring Your Bible To School Day and share God’s love with friends.” They conclude, “Even though Brees doesn’t specifically mention LGBTQ people in the video, affiliating himself for nearly a decade with an organization that has such a long and sordid history of homophobia puts him squarely in the same corner.”
To be sure, Focus on the Family is very clear on their support for traditional marriage and concepts of gender and sexuality. They follow a Christian, biblical worldview. Despite the relentless insistence from the modern left, this does not make them bad or “hateful” people.
In what has become an astonishingly controversial position in the last decade or so, preferring to maintain a specific lifestyle surrounding a specific religious worldview is not dangerous or threatening to anyone. The organization simply advocates for their religious beliefs, openly and proudly, and has chosen not to compromise their principles in favor of cultural changes. That’s all.
Regardless of the laundry list of liberal, cultural, offenses those in media cite as validation of Focus’s status as a “hate” group, they do very good work in their community and the world at large. “Anti-gay” has come to be an all-inclusive term for any group or individual who disagrees with the modern LGBT advocacy movement. Instead, Focus on the Family promotes a culture and a tradition in which their members choose to engage and perpetuate. The fact that the left is deeply intolerant of this cultural tradition is not reason enough to dehumanize them or deny them their rights or freedoms.
Brees, a man of conviction and religious faith, should not be held to the moral and social standards of people who choose to express their views through actual, tangible hatred and literal intolerance. Conservative Christians do not deserve public shaming, shunning and baseless accusations simply for promoting their faith to their own community.
Christians in professional and public roles should not have to fear stigma, hatred, discrimination, or slander for living their faith on their own terms. More to the point, demanding the religiously observant violate their core beliefs in order to avoid public harassment and humiliation goes against everything we stand for as a country.
Tolerance is not the public agreement to believe the same things. LGBT Americans are in no way threatened or harmed by the existence of people who view the world differently than they do, exactly what Brees promoted in his It Gets Better video.
The Bring Your Bible to School Day is a campaign, like National Coming Out Day, designed to create a positive environment of personal empowerment and sharing who you are with your peers. Why should Christian students be stigmatized for being themselves at school? The left must learn to be tolerant of those who are different from them.
Despite our difference in religious and social views, I stand with Focus on the Family, the students nationwide who will stand up for their faith on October 3, and Drew Brees staying true to himself and his community. Rather than violating his promise to combat bullying, I see him as honoring his commitment to being a great role model through this campaign.
Is it so difficult to imagine that a man of faith could support kindness and compassion towards LGBT students and encourage Christian students to be proud of their faith and share it with others? Why can’t inclusion and diversity include everyone in their own way? Why does the left insist on targeting only Christians for harassment, hatred, and public shaming?