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A column on Sports, Gays, and Religion, what could possibly go wrong?

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Yesterday NBA free agent center Jason Collins announced he was gay.

As part of that announcement ESPN decided to have gay basketball writer LZ Granderson and NBA analyst Chris Broussard on to discuss the announcement.

It did not go well.

Primarily because Broussard, speaking for many who share the same view, said he couldn’t support Collins’s decision because he believed being gay was a sin. In particular, Broussard said, “I’m a Christian. I don’t agree with homosexuality. I think it’s a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is.”

Broussard continued, “If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.”

I don’t have an issue with Broussard giving his opinion on homosexuality, but I do have an issue with him couching it in the phrase, “The Bible says…”

Because, let’s be clear, the Bible says all sorts of crazy things that every Christian has agreed not to follow.

Is Broussard aware that the Bible says argument was also used to justify slavery? That slaves were told in church that God wanted to keep them enslaved and that they would go to hell if they rebelled? Because make no mistake, the Bible says slavery is the natural order of things and that slaves should be obedient to their masters.

Presumably Broussard doesn’t agree with those portions of the Bible.

The Bible says tens of thousands of things that are flat out ridiculous, racist, sexist, and impossible to follow in today’s modern society.

Using a single Bible verse to justify an opinion that dehumanizes another individual is the single weakest position available to a person in modern American society. Because you’re using your religious faith as a vehicle to violate the most paramount prescriptions of that faith.

Watch this clip succinctly demonstrate the stupidity of that position.

One of the great cliches of modern American society is that all opinions are deserving of respect. 

No, they aren’t. 

Some opinions are completely and totally stupid and deserve to be outed as such. 

Such is the case with Broussard’s opinion on gay people.  

When people ask me what my favorite Bible verse is, I tell them Ezekiel 23:20. Not familiar with it? This is what it reads: “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”

Yes, that’s in the Bible.

Along with tons of other crazy Bible verses.

I still think the greatest wedding prank of all time would be choosing this as your Bible verse reading.

Can you imagine the reaction?

What about if you played football and put this verse in your eyeblack? Can you imagine Uncle Verne stumbling all over explaining this one on a CBS national broadcast? It might well be the greatest sports prank ever.

Have you read the entire Bible? I have, when I was twelve. (I read everything then because I had the luxury of time.)

That’s when I learned the Bible says some crazy, crazy things and that building your belief system on any one issue around a few Bible verses is completely and totally stupid. 

That same line of thinking is what led the church I was raised in, the Southern Baptists, to say the Bible supported slavery. 

Even one hundred and twenty years after the Civil War, when a five year old me sat in the church pews quietly playing with G.I. Joe and Star Wars action figures while occasionally paying attention to the sermon, my Southern Baptist church was insanely conservative, dogmatic to the extreme. 

In 1984, the summer that I was five years old, we had a collection of Latin American teenagers come to stay with church members. The visitors were Catholic and before they left we baptized them in the church’s baptismal font, the same place I would later be baptized via full submersion. 

Why did we do this?

Because our minister told us they were all going to hell otherwise.

The reason?

As Catholics, they’d been sprinkled instead of being fully submerged underwater.

Even at the age of five that struck me as a bit extreme, that God would distinguish between an eternity spent in heaven and an eternity spent in hell based on whether or not you’d accepted Him as your savior while being dunked underwater. I was troubled by this for a year or more, wrestled with my own private salvation, how was it that God cared so much whether I went underwater or not after saying I believed in Him?

What a peculiar and odd distinction for a supreme being to focus upon.

As a result, the God of my childlike mind was curiously insecure, in constant need of my six or seven year old submission. But this made no sense to me. If God was capable of creating the heavens and the earth in six days and could smote me at any moment, why did he also need me to constantly acknowledge his superiority over me? I hadn’t yet started to like girls but the Southern Baptist God already sounded like the worst girlfriend ever, someone who needed my perpetual validation and everlasting submission.

I spent the entire summer of 1984 trying to figure out the answer to one question: why did God have such low self-esteem?

If He was truly all-powerful, why did the opinion of a five-year old in Goodlettsville, Tennessee with no power at all matter to Him?

The church was full of adults that day we fully immersed the Catholic teenagers, but I never heard anyone question the decision.

“The Bible says,” and all.

As I got older I realized that like all great and powerful books, the Bible could be used to justify many things, and that the scariest people alive were the ones who used a single verse or two in the Bible to justify a worldview.

By 1995, one hundred and thirty years after the Civil War ended, the church of my childhood, the Southern Baptists, finally got around to apologizing for saying the Bible justified slavery.

Which was nice.

By that time, I’d started to read about another minister, one who had a substantially different take on the lessons of the Bible. That summer I finished, “Parting the Waters” by Taylor Branch, the first volume in his outstanding trilogy about the Civil Rights movement. Later I’d come across a quote from Martin Luther King that summarized the Southern Baptist stance on slavery better than any hundred year old apology ever could, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Eventually, that is, we get it right.

If people like Broussard want to focus on gay morality based on the espoused position of a curch, King’s is a quote worth remembering. 

Because odds are a hundred years from now, many churches will finally apologize for their stance on homosexuality, rendering Broussard’s blind faith in their present position completely and totally obsolete. 

Of course none of us reading this today will be here to witness that apology. 

By that point in time, maybe I’ll even be in heaven. Although, truth be told, I really hope it’s not the kind of heaven that Pat Robertson believes in — can you imagine how awful it would be to spend an eternity in heaven if Pat Robertson was actually right about everything he’d ever said? I decided at a young age that I’d rather be in hell with people I like than heaven with people I don’t like.  

Plus, ever since I was a kid I’ve had a real problem with eternity. I don’t want to live forever in heaven, I want to take long rests and every now and then get to open my eyes and see everything that’s happened since I last took a look.

I don’t fear death at all, never really have. 

I just want to know how our story ends.  

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.