For the past week, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been embroiled in a controversy over a video he made for the anti-LGBTQ Christian hate group Focus on the Family. The video itself was fairly innocuous; it was a 23-second “commercial” urging kids to bring their Bible to school on a particular day. The problem was that Brees was endorsing a project of Focus on the Family, implying that he supports the work they do and the opinions they hold.
Those beliefs include: Transgender people are lying to themselves, gay people can change their orientation through conversion torture, and same-sex couples don’t deserve the same legal rights as straight ones.
Now Focus on the Family is weighing in. The group’s president, Jim Daly, released a video catching people up on the story. But check out how he describes the backlash.
… some in the LGBTQ community were offended by [Brees’ video] because obviously Drew Brees didn’t know, according to them, that we were a “hate group.”
And here’s the bottom line, and this is what is so frustrating in the culture today: If you respect people but disagree with their opinion, somehow you’re hating them. And that is so far from the truth! I think Drew Brees said it well: Christians are called to two basic commandments: To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. We, too, try to live up to that every day.
And yet, at the same time, if you simply say “We believe in the biblical definition of marriage — one man and one woman” — somehow they perceive that as being hateful.
Daly treats his critics as people unable to handle a different “opinion.” That’s a complete lie. That’s a Christian lie. A difference of opinions might accurately describe which baseball team will win the World Series or whether a movie is really as good as people say.
Whether or not LGBTQ people deserve civil rights is not about a difference of opinions. Rejecting their humanity isn’t showing “respect.”
These evangelical Christians have the power to deny LGBTQ people their humanity and they have used it whenever they’ve had the chance. They’ve driven people to suicide. They’ve caused immense emotional distress. They’ve broken up families. They. Help. People. Hurt. Other. People.
That’s why fans were so disappointed with Drew Brees, and that’s why Focus on the Family has never been able to shake the hateful reputation it earned under founder James Dobson.
For Daly to misrepresent what the criticism is about shows you he still doesn’t understand that this isn’t about religion. No one’s attacking Brees’ faith, and no one would’ve cared if he simply told kids to bring their bibles to school. But it’s reasonable to think that Brees, who’s been working with Focus on the Family since at least 2015, has some idea of what Daly’s Christianity looks like. Either he agrees with it or he doesn’t.
If that’s not his brand of religion, he should say so, and he should explain why. His LGBTQ fans deserve better that what Focus on the Family wants for them.