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Tampa Bay Rays Players are Proudly Homophobic, But Say They Love and Respect LGBTQ People

christians attack lgbt people

Deadline reports:

The Tampa Bay Rays’ 16th “Pride Night” was held Saturday, the Florida club’s annual show of support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Most Major League Baseball teams acknowledge Pride Month in some way, with the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays including drag queens as part of their celebrations.

Tampa Bay was more muted, simply having its players wear rainbow logos on caps and sleeves for its game against the Chicago White Sox. However, several players opted out of participation, citing religious reasons.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs, and Ryan Thompson were among those who didn’t wear the logos of support.

Jason Adam, a pitcher who only tosses one way, released a statement on behalf of his fellow Jesus-loving, LGBTQ-hating homophobes:

A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision. So it’s a hard decision. Because, ultimately, we all said what we want is them to know that all are welcome and loved here.

But when we put it on our bodies, I think a lot of guys decided that it’s just a lifestyle that maybe — not that they look down on anybody or think differently — it’s just that maybe we don’t want to encourage it if we believe in Jesus, who’s encouraged us to live a lifestyle that would abstain from that behavior. Just like (Jesus) encourages me as a heterosexual male to abstain from sex outside of the confines of marriage. It’s no different.

It’s not judgmental. It’s not looking down. It’s just what we believe the lifestyle he’s encouraged us to live, for our good, not to withhold. But, again, we love these men and women, we care about them and we want them to feel safe and welcome here.

Adam would have us believe that they are not being judgmental; that he and his fellow Christian bigots love and respect LGBTQ people. Adams reveals his ignorance of LGBTQ people by saying that there is something morally wrong with their chosen gender, who they love, and who they fuck. Using Adam’s logic, I could just as easily say that he and his fellow teammates aren’t really Christians; that every time they play a game on Sunday they are violating the Ten Commandments. Talk about hypocrites, demanding unbelievers keep their peculiar interpretation of the law of God while they don’t do the same. And does anyone think that these players are virgins or were virgins when they married? It’s possible, I suppose, but I doubt it. Besides, I suspect Adam and his virile friends have looked at women or two with lust in their hearts; lust Jesus called adultery. And the Bible is clear, no adulterer shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Think of all the fornicating that goes on among professional baseball players. Why hasn’t Adam taken a public stand on this issue? Or, is this really all about heterosexual men who think same-sex anything is “yucky”? Don’t they know Jesus was gay? After all, his disciples were all men. Just saying . . .

The players could have quietly not worn the logos. Instead, they decided to run onto the field, sans jock straps, letting their hateful, perverse religion hang out. Personally, I am not a fan of the meaningless, performative shows of support for LGBTQ people sports teams are fond of doing these days. Do we really think rainbow logos, signs, and flags at stadiums will make one bit of difference? Of course not. I suspect LGBTQ people are tired of shallow shows of support from businesses and sports teams that cause no meaningful difference in their lives.

The refusal to wear the logos is being framed as a freedom of religion issue. It’s not. Players are expected to wear all sorts of garb on game days. Players often wear pro-military uniforms and logos. Imagine what the outrage level would be if some players refused to wear these things, voicing their disapproval of the flag-waving nationalism that is so prominent at baseball games these days. Yet, because this is being framed as a religious issue, we are expected to respect the players’ homophobic beliefs. Change the issue to one of skin color — as was common in the 50s — should we be expected to ignore the sincerely held beliefs of racist players? Of course not.

Tampa Bay management should have released a statement calling out the players’ homophobic statement. Instead, the team said nothing. Better yet, give the players a day off. After all, they are Christians. They could have spent the day in church, reflecting on WWJD?

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Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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6 Comments

  1. Avatar
    BJW

    Nope. They don’t have a clue, do they? They are like commenter Mark, who claimed to be non-judgmental (except for icky LBGTQ people). sigh

  2. Avatar
    Sage

    Full disclosure: I am not a sports fan, and certainly not a baseball fan. My hobbies and interests are elsewhere. This is my viewpoint from the outside as a non binary person.

    “…I t’s just that maybe we don’t want to encourage it if we believe in Jesus, who’s encouraged us to live a lifestyle that would abstain from that behavior. Just like (Jesus) encourages me as a heterosexual male to abstain from sex outside of the confines of marriage. It’s no different.”

    This is the statement that shows their stance is, at best, based on ignorance. In fact, it is quite different. Imagine if their religion called on them to abstain from any sexual desire or relation with women, and required them to refrain from dating women, and called marriage to a woman a sin and a direct path to hell. If that wasthe case, then it would be the same. They have no idea and no concept of the demands placed on LGBTQ people by religious zealots. They only see with their own limited, cis heteronormative viewpoint, and apparently have not taken the time to engage with LGBTQ people.

    Also, just for clarity, there is nothing they can do to “encourage “ people to be part of the LGBTQ community. No one is being taught to be gay or trans or anything else. Or perhaps they are saying they prefer LGBTQ people,should not be encouraged to be out. Either way, this is a troublesome viewpoint.

    But at least they love us, so it’s ok, right? After all, if it’s against your religion then it’s ok to take a public stand that you do not support LGBTQ people while saying you have nothing against them.

    Perhaps these players are just grandstanding so they can get accolades from other like minded people. As I always say, most LGBTQ people are content to just live their lives and be allowed to exist. But christians and their patriot friends just cannot do this, and constantly find ways to express their bigotry and prejudice, and will go to any length to control and eliminate any LGBTQ people.

    Intuitively we know the homophobia that exists within the sports world. It seems that LGBTQ people are ok as long as they are not around the players or in the clubhouse. Since there are currently no openly gay players in the MLB, even though it is likely there are players that are gay, the we can assume that the MLB is still not ready to fully accept gay players.

    Why do I say still not ready? Read the story of Glenn Burke, the first openly gay player in the MLB, who played in the late 1970’s for the LA Dodgers. While it has been reported that his teammates generally accepted him, management certainly didn’t. The general manager and Tommy Lasorda, a well known homophobe, traded him from their team. Apparently the GM had offered him a large sum of cash to marry a woman, and when he refused, he was traded. Not long after he was sent to minor leagues which began his descent to the streets. Like many in this era, AIDS took his life.. I encourage you to go read his story, because even today he is seldom discussed and his story is not often mentioned.

    Ironically, Tommy Lasorda Jr, son of Tommy Lasorda, was thought to be gay, but father was not pleased and denied his sons gayness. His son also died of AIDS.

    Finally, this year, during Pride month, just this past weekend, the Dodgers honored and acknowledged Glenn Burke. His brother threw the first pitch, and the game commentators mentioned he was the first openly gay player in the MLB. So maybe there is still hope for major league sports. It was a small mention, and seems to have missed any major mention, but at least the Dodgers acknowledged him.

    It’s 2022, and I keep hoping make male major pro sports will change and allow openly gay players. I think this would be a great support to the LGBTQ community as a whole. But sadly, I don’t think teams are ready, and even if they were, I don’t think teams are brave enough to take the public backlash that would occur. And these players really symbolize the limited support that teams are willing to give.

  3. Avatar
    ObstacleChick

    When Christians (usually evangelicals) use the word “lifestyle” to refer to people’s sexuality, it signals that they do not or will not understand that sexuality is not a choice. Did they choose to be attracted to women? No. They were just “blessed” by the grace of Jesus to be cis heterosexual men. Hey, fellow, we exvangelicals speak Christianese – we hear your bigotry loud and clear.

    The Tampa Bay Ray’s uses to be the Devil Rays before changing their franchise name…….I wonder if these bigoted players would have turned down their multi-million dollar contracts to play for a team with “devil” in the name…

  4. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Faith-based harm is essentially different than harm done openly with malice. It is different in a very essential way because it is inflicted on others while denying that it is harm at all! The faith-based hatred is not hatred at all: It is love with robes and hymns, choice according to the preacher: It is holy obedience to the holy God. And this covers over any possible human insight with gobbledegook chapter and verse so that those doing the harm, actively hating while saying they are achieving love, can stay in denial in their own lives. They can take the advice to love your neighbor as yourself, as permission to persecute. Fundamentalist Christianity is a scourge on humanity. The Jesus of this religion is a narcissistic prick who smiles as his minions spread ‘love’. Oh Fundy faith, please please die.

  5. Avatar
    MJ Lisbeth

    Brian—Another difference is this: Faith-based harm has the explicit or tacit approval of large segments of society. Or, at least, people will look (or turn their ears) the other way. And, at least in the US, it’s subsidized: Religious organizations are exempt from taxes. That means our taxes are helping to pay for the harm they cause.

    As for Jason Adam: Anyone who calls my being a “lifestyle “ doesn’t have a clue. No more needs to be said. But, silly me, I read on and saw all the usual code-words and phrases: All are welcome.
    Everyone is loved. I’m not being judgmental. Really, I started to wonder whether that guy was really “Mark,” who trolled my most recent guest post.

  6. Avatar
    Emersonian

    Speaking only for myself, I’m actually quite fond of shallow displays of support for the LGBTQ community. At least to me, the fact that even major sports teams feel like they can do this little thing and it seems inconsequential to them (except for a couple of their pitchers apparently) is symbolic of the HUGE progress we’ve made since I was a kid in the 70’s and 80s. That an MLB team would just casually say “woo hoo, it’s pride month” means that 1) they see us as a constituency in their fan base, which certainly didn’t used to be true, and 2) they see absolutely zero risk to their bottom line from doing it–again, unheard of back in the days of yore. I’d much rather be lightly pandered to once a year than ignored, denied, or abused.

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Bruce Gerencser