Yesterday our President announced he was sending two openly gay delegates to the Olympics to be our representatives at Sochi. It was a clear shot back at the Russians who have been clear about their feelings on homosexuality – they have continually passed anti-gay legislation as the Olympics approach. This legislation has barely made news in most countries but France and the United States seem to be the most vocal about their outrage against this legislation.
Putting my own beliefs on the issue aside for just a moment, don’t you have to start with the observation that if you ever find yourself on the same side of an issue as France… I mean, since when has the US and the rest of the world seen eye to eye on any issue with France??
At any rate, as Germany, France and the EU presidents are planning to boycott the Olympics to communicate their displeasure at the Russian’s position on homosexuality. I find the whole exercise a complete joke and quite frankly insulting. And it’s probably not for the reasons you think.
I’m a pastor. My own beliefs on homosexuality are clear. I do believe it is a sin. I also believe that it may very well be possible to be born that way. My theology holds that we are all born sinners and apart from God so being born a certain way doesn’t in the least make it justifiable. Some people are born with other issues they have to deal with all their life – addiction, etc. But I also believe this – just because some one is a homosexual, they are still made in God’s image and that alone means they are worthy of respect and fair treatment. There is no room for hate crimes or cruel names or bullying.
Having said that – none of that is why I have a problem with the decision to send two gay delegates to Sochi.
If the point is to send someone who represents our country, this doesn’t. We are anything but unified on the issue of homosexuality. Nor are we remotely getting close to any kind of resolution on the matter. Neither is France or Germany for that matter. Their legislation and politicians are just as divided on the issue as we are – they just happen to have pro-homosexual politicians in power right now. For the United States, it is perhaps the most polarizing issue in our country and it is the most volatile as well.
The call from the international gay community to boycott the Soshi Olympics to show how other countries will not tolerate such “cruel” treatment towards gays is laughable when looked at on a global scale. Have any of these people researched as to what is going on in China and Brazil in terms of the sex trade and persecution of religious groups? Have they seen the executions and jailing of civil rights leaders in these countries? China’s persecution of religious groups and democracy in general is the stuff of tyranny but there was no outcry for boycotts. We are hearing nothing about the drug cartel, sex trafficking in Brazil either.
What’s the difference? I have no idea. Maybe it’s because Soshi doesn’t make anything that we want or need – like cheap electronics or sweatshirts. Maybe it’s because we have people in office that are more focused on making money for re-election at the expense of everything else.
While our media and those in the gay community will call this decision “brave” to send two gay delegates to represent the US at the Olympics – it isn’t. It’s politics.
A brave decision is canceling a fundraiser to send troops in to protect our citizens at a foreign embassy. A brave decision is to call the sex trafficking or religious persecution that is going on in China or the “-Stan” countries even if it means some economic damage. A brave decision is to call on the governments in these oil-rich countries to release pastors and humanitarian workers who have been imprisoned.
Sending two gay delegates on an all-expense paid trip to the Olympics? Not so brave. It does send a message – and a wrong one at that. It says – as the President I have an agenda and I love being in politics.
A better decision? Send a gay AND a straight delegate to Soshi. Model to Soshi and the world what we SAY we are trying to do – find a way to get two polar opposites to treat each other with dignity and respect. I know there would be parties on both sides that wouldn’t be happy with that. One side would still be upset that a gay person is representing the US, the other side would be upset that Obama had “caved in” to the religious right in sending a straight person.
That would have been a braver decision – still not necessarily brave, but braver. And the message would have been clear – we are sending American athletes to the Olympics. We don’t see them as gay or straight, or white or black, or Christian or Jew or Muslim or atheist. We see them as Americans first, athletes second. They represent us – all of us. A country that is a melting pot, that promises freedom. A country that is trying to figure out how to live with each other with respect and dignity but we will not compromise freedom to do so. We have often made mistakes in this process and will probably continue to do so. But we stand together and will continue to try.
That is what the games are supposed to be about anyway – learning how to live with people different than us. Finding out along the way that maybe…maybe we aren’t so different after all.
By sending two gay delegates we will instead be force-fed stories on the homosexual issue and how atrocious homosexuals have it in Russia. This whole scenario – boycotting and sending gay delegates – ignores and cheapens the real problems that our happening around the world. Hunger, sex trafficking, religious persecution, tyranny against democracy seem to be issues our media and our athletes and our politicians want nothing to do with. It may cost too much to do so – both politically and economically.
I’m not going to lose a lot of sleep that two homosexuals are going to the Olympics to represent our President. I don’t have to like it, just don’t sell me that it’s a brave decision or that it really even matters. It’s window dressing at best and more confirmation of what is wrong with our politicians in general. They’ve lost their perspective. And that is what is really unbecoming.
/end of rant