The NBA, ESPN and freedom of speech

Monday, an NBA player came out and said he was gay. Everybody supported him. Then an ESPN commentator said – respectfully and reasonably – that he thought it was a sin to be gay. Now everyone is up in arms in the social media sphere about this ESPN commentator.

I had to memorize the First Amendment in college for a history of journalism class, and it seemed like all the professor ever talked about was freedom of speech. Even though that was the only college class I ever literally fell asleep in, sometimes the freedom of speech thing was interesting, and it got me thinking: should I get mad when people say things I don’t agree with?

While I wouldn’t necessarily say the people who wrote the Constitution or First Amendment were super-Christians, they did understand the value of freedom, especially when it came to religion and speech. That’s something that we really take for granted in our country. Just think if we lived somewhere where we couldn’t say anything bad about our leadership. Politics as we know them would go down the tubes. We might very well end up in some crazy dictatorship.

But believing in freedom of speech and, for that matter, freedom of religion, doesn’t just mean I believe in my right to say anything I want while people I don’t agree with can’t. In other words, I can’t get mad at someone when they say something that’s totally against the Word of God. I can be mad that they’re leading people astray and I should attempt to counter their words with truth, but if I want the freedom to say what I believe, I have to let others speak out for what they believe, too.

So it’s ridiculous for anyone who’s for gay rights to get mad at the ESPN commentator, Chris Broussard. If they can call Jason Collins a champion for coming out, Christians can call Chris Broussard a champion for standing up for what’s right.

If we live in a super tolerant world where people can be openly gay, then people should be able to be openly Christian, too, especially if we’re going to be respectful about it. (ESPN even said Chris Broussard was engaging in a respectful discussion when he made those comments.) And really, this guy saying what he believes shouldn’t even be an issue or make headlines like it has if America really is the tolerant and open country it claims to be.

Stuff like this is super emotionally charged, and people get angry easily. But freedom of speech goes both ways, and sometimes that means we have to listen to stuff we don’t want to hear, whether we’re liberal or conservative, and nobody should have that taken away from them or be hated for saying what they believe.