Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Playmaker" goes deep

NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin (nicknamed The Playmaker during his 12-year NFL career, all with the Dallas Cowboys) has grabbed the attention of many this week with his appearing on the cover of the gay men's magazine Out. No, Irvin himself is not a homosexual. Rather he is the subject of an article where he discussed his passion regarding equality issues for gays. The catalyst for said passion was Irvin's gay brother Vaughn, who died of cancer approximately five years ago.

In the article, Irvin describes how his brother's sexual orientation contributed to his own issues.

He says that he found out his brother was gay in the late 1970s, when he found Vaughn wearing women's clothing. Michael Irvin was rattled by the experience and has figured out since that it contributed to his own womanizing behavior. Working with a Dallas area bishop, T.D. Jakes, Irvin looked at the past.

"And through it all we realized maybe some of the issues I've had with so many women, just bringing women around so everybody can see, maybe that's the residual of the fear I had that if my brother is wearing ladies' clothes, am I going to be doing that? Is it genetic?" Irvin said to Out. "I'm certainly not making excuses for my bad decisions. But I had to dive inside of me to find out why am I making these decisions, and that came up."

Certainly womanizing amongst professional athletes is hardly a novel concept. But given what Irvin is saying in the article, it does make me wonder how many philandering athletes are actually self-loathing in that same manner.

But what really struck me about this story was the next paragraph (emphasis mine).

Irvin says that his father, Walter, helped him learn a tolerant form of Christianity because the elder Irvin accepted his gay son and encouraged him to love his brother unconditionally.

The very essence of Christianity is unconditional love and acceptance, which goes far beyond tolerance. However, when gay advocates and supporters preach (or demand) "tolerance", they essentially say that people (especially Christians) should deny that homosexual activity is a sin. For me, it's no different than any other sin which people choose to commit yet do not seek forgiveness. At one point in my life I knew for a fact that a relative of mine was committing adultery. Did I still love that family member unconditionally? Absolutely. But I would not (and did not) approve of that behavior regardless of the circumstances which supposedly led this person to stray from his/her wedding vows. As such, I prayed this dear family member could overcome the consummation of that extra-marital affair.

Now I'm not insinuating that gays try to "cleanse their minds" of their homosexual tendencies. In fact, I'll even grant you that some people may be predisposed to be attracted to only those of the same gender (not that there's ever been irrefutable evidence to suggest such a thing). But the decision to act on that predisposition sexually is of their own accord. Again it's no different then me, as a heterosexual male, walking by attractive women on a daily basis. Since I made a covenant with the Lord that I would forsake all others and be true to Jennifer, I choose not to act on any impulse I may have to "hook up" with another gal.

Irvin now believes the African-American community should support marriage equality.

"I don't see how any African-American, with any inkling of history, can say that you don't have the right to live your life how you want to live your life," he said, according to the magazine. "No one should be telling you who you should love, no one should be telling you who you should be spending the rest of your life with. When we start talking about equality, and everybody being treated equally, I don't want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn't deserve equality."

I will definitely be curious to see what kind of response (if any) comes from some of the prominent black leaders. The gay lobby has received significant push-back from the black community whenever they attempt to morally equate their struggle with what blacks endured in the civil rights era. Again, while there is debate over whether homosexuality is genetic or a choice, there is zero dispute over the color of one's skin upon birth. It's definitely an interesting dynamic here with the African-American Irvin implying that the homosexuals' struggle for "equality" is on the level with what his own ancestors endured for over a century. And as far as Irvin wanting the African-American community to support marriage equally? The recent legalization of "gay marriage" in New York shows that a fair number of citizens are beginning to accept the idea of such a union. I'd venture to say that interracial marriage in the early to mid 20th century was not met with nearly that level of approval.

Whether or not you agree with Irvin's mindset on the gay issue, one definitely has to admire the courage and compassion with which he approaches this new found purpose for his life.


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