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Faith Ministry Stories

This is what our God asks us to do

Posted by Pastor John Klawiter on

Sports are finally back.

Which means that announcers are back… putting their foot in their mouths.

Last week, two announcers were removed from their positions for failing to stick to sports.

Social commentary and sports go hand in hand like Minnesota sports teams and heartbreak.

Thom Brennaman, while covering a Cincinnati Reds game, used a homophobic slur. He said it while he thought he was off the air.

He apologized later in the broadcast. Sort of. He had to make a home run call in the middle of regretting his choice of words.

Mike Milbury, while covering hockey in the bubble of Toronto, had his bubble burst after the regrettable comment that players are more focused while in the tightly contained bubble because there are “not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration.”

He apologized for trying to be irreverent—saying he took it too far.

I can hear the counter-arguments already. What’s the big deal? Should he really be punished for that?

Maybe you’ve heard worse around the office. Or said worse.

And that’s why I’m grateful something is being said. Yes, worse things have been said than Milbury’s flippant comment. But what about young hockey fans watching the game who heard his comment? Are boys being reinforced to think women are just objects that distract them? Are girls hearing that they need to stay quiet and let the men do the work?

Feels like a stretch? It’s the subtle messaging, reinforced over time, that creates the stereotypes and generalizations that can be hurtful.

My sons are not being raised to think women are objects. My daughters are not being raised to believe men are superior.

As grown-ups, our words matter.

To the LGBTQ community, words from the church have been used as weapons for too long. Sadly, as a pastor, I continue to witness people using their religious convictions to dehumanize people. Where exactly does our faith justify this behavior?    

Brennaman’s apology began with the words “I pride myself and think of myself as a man of faith…”

I appreciate that Brennaman pointed towards his faith. But he did it a harmful way.

As a man of faith… please have more sympathy for me than for the people I just disparaged.

As a man of faith, Brennaman should understand forgiveness and grace. As a man of faith, I hope he can be humbled by this experience and help others to be better educated by his hurtful words.

But as people of faith here in our community, what if we spent our time and energy proactively showing and telling our neighbors that we support them?

What if our LGBTQ neighbors knew that people of faith were on the front-lines standing up for their rights and ensuring that they have a voice?

What if we, Forest Lake, were committed to speaking positively about the LGBTQ community?

In the last few weeks, two members of my church told me that someone they know had come out to them. They were both so proud that the person went to them—as people of faith—knowing that they were trustworthy and would be supportive of them!

As a man of faith, I am committed to be an ally of the LGBTQ community and teaching the people of God at my church that this is what our God asks us to do.