Many Christians have a hard time understanding that one can be both a Christian and be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer. But it happens. I go to a church where roughly half of the members and leadership are openly LGBTQ. And they’re Christians and follow Jesus! Ain’t that something? That would probably be confusing for Christians like Kirk Cousins, the homophobic quarterback of the Washington R*dsk*ns.
Now, you’ll notice I used asterisks in the middle of the name of that professional, bajillions-making football team. That is because the name is an anti-Indian slur used to advance historic and current genocide and oppression. This is relevant, and we’ll come back to it in a minute.
What Cousins said is important because although he uses nice words, the context conveys oppression and marginalization.
From a football standpoint, if the guy can help us win, come help us win.
Well, that makes sense. This is pro football and winning is primary. Because winning means money. And the not-for-profit NFL needs money, amirite?
Now, there are a lot of teammates in my locker room right now who may not have a homosexual lifestyle…
RIIIIIIIIPPP! What? “Homosexual lifestyle”? Is that an Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christian term about how homosexuality is an “option” that one shouldn’t be involved in still around? Unfortunately, yes. Yes it is. And using the term in this context makes it seem as if being a homosexual isn’t not just wrong (it’s not, and I shouldn’t have to say that), but a big, cardinal sin. More important than greed or violence – something NFL players don’t have to worry about, right? “Oh, at least they’re not homosexuals…” But he continues with the Nikes in the Mouth.
… but they have sins, too. They’re not perfect.
What’s with this constant “They”? “They have sins. Not my white, straight ass! No, I don’t engage in sinning. That’s for the sinners!”
So I don’t say they can’t help us win. Nobody’s perfect.
They sure ain’t! Not even you.
I want my readers to remember that Cousins is speaking to a room full of high school students in Michigan.
To that degree, we’d welcome him [Ed: a gay player, to be later named] into our locker room and say come help us win…
… and hopefully I can love him like Jesus and hopefully show him what it means to follow Jesus.
What if, though, the gay player shows you what it means to follow Jesus? What if the player rejects your White Homophobic Jesus and shows you a Welcoming Jesus? What if he shows you Queer Jesus? What if he demonstrates what it means to follow an Oppressed Jesus who comes from and speaks for and with oppressed people the world over?
Speaking of oppression and sin. For me, when I blot out parts of the name “R*dsk*ns”, I am drawing attention to the sin of the anti-ethnic, racist slur used to hurt First Nations people in North America. The fact that this is the home team of the capital of the United States is further tragedy. To not acknowledge the slaughter of millions of innocents and the robbing of their land – and the continued marginalization and slow genocide of indigenous people in the US and Canada tacitly endorsed by the name of your football team – is a sin.
And this sin is not something that I hear Kirk Cousins talking about here. He forces conversation on others’ sexual sin (if we can call it sin and I don’t believe we can), but not his own complicity in this institutional sin that causes harm to the marginalized.
Unless someone can point out somewhere where Cousins took Dan Snyder to task over his insistence on appropriating an ethnic slur for profit? I’ll assume that Kirk Cousins can prayerfully use some First Nations and LGBTQ people in his life to show him how to follow Jesus.
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