By Patrick Burke - Funnily enough, it's Torii Hunter who provides us with an answer. His clarification on Twitter is as clean and succinct an expression of Christian doctrine as you'll find. Christians are called to emulate Christ. It's right there in the name. Jesus was a friend to the sinners in his time—the tax collectors, the Samaritans, the publicans, the adulterers. He surrounded himself with the outcasts of society. It was, in fact, one of the most common ways those who opposed him attacked his character. Jesus knew the only way to reach the people who needed him most was to treat them with love, kindness, and respect. Since we are all sinners in our own way, the Bible requires Christians to be a friend to everyone. Even the most superficial reading of the Gospels is proof of that. During his last supper with his apostles, Jesus gave them a new Commandment: "As I have loved you, so you must love one another." Christians are called to support, not tear down, those who need it. To build up, not break down, those around us. To emulate Christ by standing up with a gay teammate and saying, "You are welcome on our team. We will treat you with respect."
...Through You Can Play I've had the opportunity to speak to numerous professional and collegiate athletes, and I always make the same simple, easy request of straight athletes. I don't need you to march in gay pride parades. I don't need you to go to gay bars. I don't care if you have gay friends. I need you to treat gay athletes with respect. I need you to eliminate about 10 homophobic words from your vocabulary. I need you to judge your teammates by what they bring to the team, not by whom they love. That's it. Treat your teammates with respect, regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation. Nothing about that contradicts what Jesus would ask of you.
So, for those confused about how their faith may affect their ability to support a gay teammate, those of us at You Can Play invite you to follow the example of Christ. Preach love, practice tolerance, and work for acceptance. Make sports safe for everyone. We're not asking you to go against your faith—we are asking you to embrace it.
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