If Those Are Christian Values….

Speaking of religion and football, as I did yesterday….the Dallas Cowboys have evidently signed Michael Sams after he was cut from the St. Louis Rams. For people who follow football as much as I do (i.e. not at all), I should explain that Sams is the first openly-gay player to be drafted into the NFL.

This, of course, has driven the homophobes crazy. (Okay–crazier.) According to Raw Story,

“We cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled,” said Jack Burkman, the GOP lobbyist working to keep Sam out of the NFL. “We will do whatever we can to preserve family values in this country.”…

Jerry Jones has betrayed American values, Christian values, and his own city’s values,” Burkman said. “The people of Dallas – and Christians all across this land – are about to make him pay a huge financial price. The Cowboys are no longer America’s team.”

Speaking of driving people crazy–people like Jack Burkman are driving good Christians crazy. Not to mention giving nonbelievers yet another reason to equate religious piety with small-mindedness and bigotry.

I am so tired of people like Jack Burkman (and Mike Pence and Greg Zoeller), people who use religion to justify picking on people who are different.

Football is a game. It’s competitive. The only question an owner should ask when adding someone to a team is: is he a good player who can help us win?

Can you play professional football, Jack? Yeah, I didn’t think so.


  1. Though I support Michael Sam’s (note: Sam, not Sams) bud to play in the NFL, an owner does need to consider off-field behavior. For example, a player with domestic violence problems or gang affiliations may be good on the field but be a liability to the team nevertheless. But something like homosexuality or a player’s politics or religious beliefs shouldn’t ride to the level of the sort of problem that trumps skill & ability.

  2. I am NOT a football fan; but I am now a Dallas Cowboys super fan:) I am also a Christian with high values and morals and an open mind. I am sick of our tax dollars here, paid by thousands who cannot afford a ticket to a Colts game, being used to help support millionaire players and their owners. The decision was made to let Peyton Manning go; look where he is today and where the Colts are in standings. And now the courts have seen fit to allow the drunk driver owner of the Colts to go free after paying a large fine and not being allowed to watch 6 football games. How will this pitiful multi-millionaire survive? $500,000 won’t be missed from his bulging bank accounts and I’m sure he will be told all plays during the games – or, did the judge not ban him from hearing games and he can listen on the radio? This was how earlier generations kept up with sports – and everything else going on around us. I’m only guessing but, I doubt if the majority of those who worship at the shrine of Lucas Oil Stadium have seen the inside of a church for years. Most religious services and major sports action happens on Sundays; an easy choice to be made by football enthusiastics…no contest.

  3. Life would be a lot easier if everyone who ever applied for a job, a volunteer position, an elected position, or even a driver’s license, were required to disclose, under oath every even quasi sexual thing they’d ever done, with names, dates and corroborating evidence thereof, among with a continuing obligation to keep reporting same, as well as any thoughts along those lines they might have had.

  4. Strongly agree with you, Sheila! Christian values are more about inclusion, embracing, caring and love than judging others and a them against us mentality.

  5. I disagree with a lot of Sheila’s views on religion, but as a Christian, I support her views here.

    Even Penn State’s own pedophile rapist coach Jerry Sandusky didn’t prevent Penn State from being a top team. I don’t see what threat a gay player could possibly pose. I wonder if GOP lobbyists threatened College Station and said “Penn State is no longer an American team” because it was coached for years by a rapist.

    That said, smarmy lobbyists do not speak for all Christians. Republican, Democrat, or otherwise. “Lobbyist” and “lying weasel” are synonyms.

  6. Michael, regarding the NFL considering off-field behavior, domestic violence is a crime, and criminal behavior SHOULD be considered. Homosexuality is not a “problem” and the NFL has no business discriminating against these players.

  7. I agree with sjudge. Of course, in addition, nude selfies for everyone. ‘Crept me. To quote an old song, I just don’t look good naked anymore.

    Be that as it may, professional sportsters, just like actors, singers, dancers and strippers, are entertainers. If that’s what people want to spend their (note: not our) money on, it’s a fair exchange in an open market. Nobody has to do anything outside of the market about it.

    BTW, the fascinating interchange that Sheila launched yesterday continues. Feel free to return to yesterday and join in.

    Great topic choices here. The essence of democratic idea tennis.

  8. BTW 2. Jerry Sandusky broke the law. He was appropriately punished for it. That has nothing to do with entertainment, his field of endeavor.

    Hopefully we can all agree that compliance with our laws is a prerequisite for full freedom.

  9. It’s such a sad world. Seems like there is so much anger and fear rather than love and compassion. It doesn’t matter what color you are, what faith you believe in, if you are LGBT…..what matters is being non-judgmental, open-minded, accepting and compassionate towards others and having respect for ourselves. To be our higher selves. OK- so I sound like a flower child, but this world is going down the drain and I’ll be ready when it’s time to leave. I am sick of hearing about money, greed, hatred and judgment. I have listened to this BS all my life. I am not politically savvy, but I do see and have experienced so much hypocrisy and hatred. For what? We are only here on earth for a very short time-a bleep in geologic time. SERIOUSLY???????????????? Thank you Sheila, for writing such a wonderful article.

  10. Michael Sam is God’s child…we all are! As with us, Michael was put on this Earth for a reason. He struggles as we all do. He is a superior athlete who is just liable to give the Dallas defense something to be proud of once again. He deserves the chance to prove himself at the professional level of football. Furthermore, Michael is no more interested in Jack Burkman’s private life than Burkman should be in Michael’s private life. Burkman, Pence, and Zoeller need to mind their own business, get off their saintly high-horse, and leave Michael Sam alone.

  11. I’m non-partisan, with views that could go either way as far as Left/Right politics goes. But the more I think about this decision from the St. Louis Rams, the angrier I get.

    If gays aren’t allowed to be on an NFL team because that’s against American values, I ask the pseudo-conservatives who say stuff like that: what kind of work, exactly, do you think is fitting for gays and lesbians to do? Is it un-American for banks to hire gays as tellers? Should grocery stores not hire gay employees? Would you have a problem with Ray’s Trash Service hiring gays to collect your garbage? Would you let a gay Coast Guardsman save you from drowning?

    But football. Well, we can’t have gays in football.

    How is football even remotely an exemplar of America’s ethical values, anyway?

    Sadly, this mentality reminds me of the woman in North Carolina (my former home) who, in an Anderson Cooper interview, thought we could solve the “gay problem” by rounding gays up and “not letting them reproduce.”

  12. Stephen: right on! Democracy is about staying out of each other’s lives unless what I do impairs or restricts or compromises your life. Only then will everybody’s potential be in teach.

  13. The Rams certainly had the right to cut Sam, if he was not qualified. Dallas has the right to pick him up. He needs to evaluated as a player, not because he is Gay.

    That said the Rabid US Christian Right can always be counted on to find some “SIN” to arouse their followers. I checked Jack Burkman on WIKI, not any useful history on him. From the Hill J M Burkman & Associates signed 70 new clients last year, the most of any K Street firm.
    Read more: http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/196401-lobby-firms-sweep-up-new-clients#ixzz3CkW2KsKI

    Coming from Chicago Politics scene in my younger days – the basic formula to advance was – Who is your Sponsor?? The Sponsor is the person who makes it possible for you to Connect. The Sponsor has the connections. I doubt if Mr. Burkman just hung out a shingle in DC as a Lobbyist and became a sudden success.

    “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
    ― Anne Lamott

  14. Margaretha: You miss my point. I agree that homosexuality should not be disqualifying. I was (sorta) disagreeing with Sheila’s point that only on field skill & performance should matter. Obviously criminal conduct must be considered. So should legal conduct that is detrimental to the team. But private life issues that are perfectly legal should have no bearing.

  15. Polygamy in New York city? Sounds like trouble to me. Single folks have always been problematic. Why would we want to increase their number? Although, on the other hand, fewer babies is a necessary step now that we’ve overrun the planet.

    One other observation. Cultural inhibitions are never arbitrary. The cultural constraint on polygamy is based on protecting parenthood, the most important historical job of mankind. It’s still the most important job but now qualitatively not quantitatively. If everyone has an heir and a spare we run out of resources.

    Then, of course, there is the practical. Who wants multiple spouses? In parallel rather than series. I just celebrated 50 years with one and I’m happy about that. And our kids are ecstatic.

    One and done except for mistakes in judgment or death.

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