Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets is having a baseball postseason to remember. He has hit five home runs -- four in consecutive games -- and has eight RBIs. He's also a person who has said he disagrees with the "homosexual lifestyle" in the offensive "love the sinner, hate the sin" way. That makes us even, since I disagree with his Christian "lifestyle."
Murphy's comments about gay people were made this spring when gay former player Billy Bean met with players in spring training as part of his new role as Ambassador for Inclusion. Here are his comments in full, as reported by Mike Vorkunov of New Jersey.com:
Murphy is ready for a gay teammate, he says. The Mets consulted players this winter before bringing Bean in and Murphy called the idea "forward thinking." More than just listening to a seminar or speech, it was an opportunity to get to known an individual. He regretted that he had not had the chance to meet Bean yet.
Murphy, a devout Christian, said he would embrace Bean despite a divergence in their beliefs.
"I disagree with his lifestyle," Murphy said. "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn't mean I can't still invest in him and get to know him. I don't think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect. Getting to know him. That, I would say, you can still accept them but I do disagree with the lifestyle, 100 percent."
But Murphy also saw the moment as an opening for a conversation and an avenue to get past stereotypes. The issue, he says, was "uncharted territory."
While there may be a perception that Christian athletes may not be accepting of gay players, Murphy says that it is not the case.
"Maybe, as a Christian, that we haven't been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality," he said. "We love the people. We disagree the lifestyle. That's the way I would describe it for me. It's the same way that there are aspects of my life that I'm trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There's a great deal of many things, like my pride. I just think that as a believer trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn't mean I'm just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That's not love. That's not love at all."
Bean took the high road, saying, "I appreciate that Daniel spoke his truth." I don't appreciate anything Murphy said. There is nothing wrong with being gay, as he clearly believes, so I don't respect his views, though he has a right to express them.
One more thing -- being gay is not a "lifestyle" and it's something I did not choose. In Murphy's case, though, he did choose to be a Christian and has embraced its "lifestyle." He told the Christian Broadcast Network that he did not become a Christian until he was 14 or 15. "I actually came to the Lord in a youth group trip," he said. "The Lord's spirit overcame me so much, you couldn't resist."
He also said he believes God made him a baseball player for a reason. "He’s put me fortunately on this stage -- in the greatest athletic stage in all the world for a reason. I think that reason is to be a light."
He also asked for some divine assistance in Game 5 of the National League Divisional Series when the Mets held a 3-2 lead over the Dodgers heading into the final three innings.
"There was a lot of prayer going on out there, just asking for peace and just talking to Jesus and asking for peace those last three or four innings," he told AP. As for why he has played so well in the postseason, he said: "I don't know. Sometimes the blessings come, Jesus is good..."
I did not know Jesus was a Mets fan, which would sorely disappoint Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who is a very vocal Christian. Maybe Jesus has a skybox at Citi Field.
Unlike gay people, Murphy chose a lifestyle, and it's one that preaches that there is something wrong with who I am. I wish he had chosen a lifestyle more inclusive and less judgmental. I certainly couldn't disagree with that.