Chris Broussard: Unknowing bigot or theological outlier?

Yesterday on ESPN, reacting to Jason Collins coming out as the first gay NBA player, analyst and columnist Chris Broussard avoided the cultural and athletic angle and went straight for the theological.
Some called him courageous for his comments. Some demanded his suspension. I don’t think Broussard should be either reprimanded or applauded for his comments. In terms of personal offensiveness, they were pretty tame. However, there are huge theological implications of what he said.

“Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle, or an openly, like, 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, you know, that that’s a sin. And 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, so I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian.”

That’s quite a statement. To summarize, anyone living in unrepentant sin can’t be Christian. If that’s true (essentially a theological No True Scotsman fallacy), then based on the statistics about marital infidelity, premarital sex, and other “fornication”, there must not be very many Christians left. Does this also mean that serial liars like politicians, pundits, and car salesmen also can’t be Christian? What about people who openly flaunt their clothing made of mixed fabrics or taste for catfish?

But really, what would prompt a sports writer to go on television and cast rhetorical stones by literally judging the status of someone else’s faith based on his perceived sins? It seems to me that, despite Broussard’s many protestations to the contrary, someone who casts judgment on a person and their faith based on their own interpretation and opinion is quite literally the definition of a bigot. Being nice to that person to their face while judging them behind their back (or on national television) doesn’t make that any less so.

But no, I don’t think he should be suspended. I think bigots should be free to air their opinions as loudly as possible so that we may know them and shame them as necessary.


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