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Christian McCarthyism: Tony Dungy

There is a new McCarthyism sweeping across our cultural landscape. The target of the prodding tongs and loaded questions is not a political viewpoint, ethnic group or social bias. The enemy of the state is those who hold to a biblical worldview.

Recently, Tony Dungy, former Super Bowl winning coach, author, speaker, and current NFL commentator, found the red dot on his chest of the new Christian McCarthyism. What was his crime? He stated that he would not have drafted NFL rookie and openly gay football player Michael Sam. His reasoning was not because of Sam’s sexuality, but because of the unnecessary media circus and distraction surrounding a seventh round draft pick.

Michael Sam was a great college player. After a sub-par NFL combine and running a disconcerting 40 time, his draft prospects looked dim. This is the case for many collegiate players seeking to enter football’s highest level. He was projected to be a late round pick if one at all. This is not newsworthy. However, given the fact that Sam is a practicing homosexual, he quickly became one of the draft’s main stories.

Tony Dungy, who is a professing Christian, stated as a football coach it would not be worth the media frenzy and distraction for him to take such a player. What type of player? A sub-par combine performing, slow 40 running seventh round draft pick.

But as Pardon the Interruption’s Tony Kornheiser stated, “What he said was that he didn’t want the media circus. What I heard was, ‘I don’t want a gay football player.’”

Here is the new McCarthyism at play. Tony Dungy is a Christian who holds to a biblical worldview. Because of this, the words he uses, the reputation he has built, and the respect he has garnished are all thrown aside at the possibility that a person’s lifestyle might be a source of discernment in a hiring decision.

But consider the facts. Do you know who else decided they didn’t want the Michael Sam media circus for their team? Thirty-one other NFL coaches, owners, and general managers. Not only that, but the team that did draft him, the St. Louis Rams, passed on him six times before taking him in the seventh round. Either this means everyone in NFL leadership is anti-gay, or Michael Sam as a football player is one that teams could do with or without.

Hypothetically, what if Sam’s lifestyle influenced his draft status? This is not new. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel slipped in the draft despite his high draft-stock because some owners and general managers decided his ensuing media circus and lifestyle would be a detriment to their team goals.

What about a person’s lifestyle creating a media distraction? Tim Tebow, a devout Christian, virgin, and biblical worldview supporter, was also discriminated against in the draft because of the media circus that followed him as well as his limited hopes as a successful NFL quarterback.

Where was the anger then? Where were those on ESPN lauding the Broncos for taking a young man with biblical sexual views? Where were the pundits spewing venom at every other commentator or NFL organization who said they wouldn’t take Tebow because of the media baggage?

Most mocked Tebow for his virginity. Most acknowledged he was a solid young man of character, leadership, and a degree of skill. But why were organizations given the pass on not selecting Tebow? Because of football skills and media frenzy. Why did Tony Dungy say he wouldn’t take Michael Sam? Because of football skills and media frenzy.

One Philadelphia writer put the case succinctly regarding Tebow late last year:

“Tony Kornheiser told me…that Tim Tebow is still the number one most searched athlete in America. THAT’S how insane our country is these days. A guy who is so bad at football that he’s LITERALLY the most popular football player on the planet…Still no job and still wildly popular. All because he talks about Jesus like they were boys back in high school.”

You don’t have to lift the veil on those words. You don’t have to speculate.

The new Christian McCarthyism is bent on hunting down those with a biblical worldview and fileting them in the public eye. Under what banner? Sexual liberalism. Sex is our god, and anyone who does not bow down to it is to be mocked, stripped of honor, degraded and labeled as a hate monger. This is particularly the case if your conviction regarding sex comes from the Bible.

Tony Dungy did not say he wouldn’t want Michael Sam because of his sexuality. He didn’t even say he wouldn’t want him on his team. He said he wouldn’t draft him because of the baggage the media has created and the distraction it would create.

Dungy stated, “I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does. I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process. It should not. I was not asked whether I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not.”

However, he is being judged and ridiculed as a hate-mongering, homophobic bigot.

The new Christian McCarthyism hears only what it wants to hear.

Tony Dungy is only a recent example. Watch and be aware.

*Photo credit: Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

Author: Ryan Smith

Worship pastor, Stillwater, Eagle Heights and contributing blogger on WordSlingersOK.com

View more articles by Ryan Smith.

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