This week, Jason Collins came out in Sports Illustrated with simple words, “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. I’m gay.”
His bold and courageous move was met with encouragement and support from a wide cross-section of America. Athletes like Magic Johnson, Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Kobe Bryant tweeted support. Religious leaders like Father James Martin encouraged others to support Collins. And political leaders like Nancy Pelosi, and even the Clinton and Obama families offered words of support and encouragement.
This outpouring of support was not felt, however, by Chris Broussard, a commentator on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" who was asked for his personal opinion about Collins' coming out. Broussard stated that he was a Christian, and as such, he was compelled to say that being gay was "open rebellion" against God. When asked about the fact that Jason Collins was also a Christian, Broussard stated that one cannot be both gay and Christian.
Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals, if you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals, whatever it may be, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I do not think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.
In a move that was even more troubling , Broussard doubled down by calling into a local radio station to advocate for so-called ‘ex-gay’ programs and assert that people can stop being gay through prayer.
That’s the life of a Christian, you have to fight against temptation, and if you stumble and fall, you get back up and ask God for forgiveness, and you move on.
I think that applies to homosexuals as well. If a person who is a same-sex attractive [sic] and they’re sincerely trying to live for the lord, and they fall into a same-sex relationship…and they repent, and they ask for forgiveness, and they keep trying to serve God, I believe that person is a Christian.
GLAAD had been in communication with ESPN concerning Broussard’s comments. We have called for a meeting to discuss what future steps need to be taken. We are also working with faith leaders to challenge the faulty notion that Christians are compelled to oppose LGBT people, and that one cannot be gay and Christian at the same time. As we take the next steps, we will be keeping you informed of any outcomes.