A massive number of companies have chosen to plaster rainbows all over their social media and physical buildings for the month of June, which the left has dubbed “Pride Month.” This political posturing is supposed to display support for the LGBT community.
On Saturday, MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays participated in this celebration.
However, at least five players chose to take a stand for their beliefs, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The Rays wore hats with a rainbow-colored version of their signature “TB” logo as well as arm patches that were rainbow versions of their secondary “sunburst” logo.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 4, 2022
Yet some players decided their Christian faith compelled them not to wear the “pride” uniforms. The Times reported they included five pitchers: Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson.
These players chose to remove the rainbow patches from their sleeves and wore the traditional hat.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Adam explained their reasoning to the Times.
“A lot of it comes down to faith, to like a faith-based decision,” he said. “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.”
Just as Adam said, Jesus did not call us to hate sinners but to love them. At the same time, he did call us to hate sin itself.
Loving someone is not always synonymous with encouraging his or her behavior. In fact, loving people often means holding them accountable by identifying their sin and helping them work to overcome it.
Adam further clarified to the Times that these players were not trying to exclude anyone. Even if they do not support the sexual choices of LGBT individuals, Adam said, the players still love and care about each of them.
“It’s not judgmental,” he said. “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.”
This is a perfectly logical explanation, and it seems like the response Jesus would call his followers to have in this situation.
That did not stop many on social media from demonizing these players.
🌹 And the hatred goes on, and gay people continue to die in the name of their deity. But then that is the plan is it not? Otherwise, everyone would advocate against it. 🤔
— Sinala, BTh., MTh., MDiv., ThD., ProfEmer 🌹🏳️⚧️ (@SinalaRae) June 6, 2022
Several players insecure with their sexuality and masculinity.
— GoodTrouble (@GoodTro31903672) June 6, 2022
Wow. How unsurprising that Adam is hiding behind religion to defend his ignorance and oppression.
— 🏳️🌈Chris Leeper 🇺🇦 (@RoseBug_22) June 5, 2022
— ndweiss. a brokedown palace, a dangerous fruit (@11tulips) June 6, 2022
@RaysBaseball Jason Adam is a piece of garbage. Hey Jason, after reading your quote blaming Jesus for your bigotry, even Jesus hates you. Yikes bro
— alex (@pocket_vito) June 5, 2022
“Faith based or not, it was judgemental,” one Twitter user wrote. “They judged that their God doesn’t love anyone other than straight folks.”
Faith based or not, it was judgemental. They judged that their God doesn’t love anyone other than straight folks.
— Jerib (she/her) (@knittingamma) June 6, 2022
This is exactly the opposite of what these players said, but many on social media choose to villainize anyone who does not agree with them.
The criticism was not confined to random nonbelievers on Twitter.
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” — in his Twitter bio, called the players’ decision not to promote the LGBT agenda an “absolute joke.”
absolute joke https://t.co/LKzBZU77wf
— Jack Flaherty (@Jack9Flaherty) June 6, 2022
Sadly, many professing Christians have fallen into the trap of believing the only way to love people is to approve of their sin.
The Rays players who chose not to encourage sin made a strong and loving decision, even if that love consisted of identifying sin.
Christians who are trying to determine how to navigate “Pride Month” should follow the lead of these players.
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