Green Bay's Reggie White - Minister of Offense?

by Chuck Colson

 These days it seems that top athletes can get away with anything: They can abuse drugs, kick photographers—even murder their ex-wives.

But as Green Bay Packer Reggie White discovered last week, there is one kind of behavior our society will absolutely not tolerate—even from its greatest sports heroes.

What was Reggie’s crime? Did he strangle his coach? Did he bite off an opponent’s ear?

No. It was worse than that—much, much worse. Reggie White stood up for Biblical standards of right and wrong.

White has been called the greatest defensive lineman of all time. He’s also a lay Baptist minister, and he’s famous for his godly character and good works. For example, White founded Urban Hope, an inner-city business training and investment project. He speaks to kids about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

He’s the most popular public figure in Wisconsin, and he was invited to address the Wisconsin legislature. That’s where the trouble started.

White talked about sin, including homosexuality. White affirmed his love for homosexuals, he reminded lawmakers that the Bible condemns the practice of homosexuality. He observed: "We’ve allowed this sin to run rampant in our nation, and that’s why our nations is in the condition it’s in today."

Gay activists promptly accused White of spreading "divisiveness and bigotry." More sobering was the reaction of CBS. White had hoped to enter the broadcast booth after his playing career was over—but it now appears that this great black athlete will be blacklisted. Commenting on White’s remarks, CBS Sports spokeswoman Leslie Ann Wade said that "any violation of (CBS’s) policies against bias would certainly preclude anyone from being hired by CBS."

White—who was once given a Tolerance Award from the Simon Wiesenthal Center—was unmoved by the attacks. He declared: "I didn’t start a ministry to please everybody." As for CBS, he said, "I like people to think good of me, but I’m not going to sell out." Amen!

The way White is being treated demonstrates how our secular elite’s have deconstructed the word tolerance. Historically, tolerance meant respect for all points of view. But in recent years, that understanding has been turned on its head. Today tolerance is defined as moral neutrality, or, more accurately, moral skepticism. Moral judgments are wrong.

That’s why calling homosexuality a sin, even if you love homosexuals, is deemed intolerant because it presumes to make a moral judgment.

But true tolerance means accepting people despite their sins—not pretending that sin does not exist.

It’s also one reason that White is, as Andrew Thomas put it in the Wall Street Journal, "a liberal’s worst nightmare": It’s because he’s "a sincere black athlete repudiating the core values of contemporary liberalism."

"The notions of sexual liberation and radical individualism that today are splintering American society were, after all, largely the invention of white liberal intellectuals," Thomas notes. How ironic, he adds: "if blacks, whose ancestors arrived (here) in chains, were to lead the nation back to freedom from the slavery of vice and temptation that now shackle it."

It would be, indeed!

In an age when it seems we have no heroes, I’ve just found one, a great role model for our kids—Reggie White.