Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tim Hardaway vs. John Amaechi

For those who don't visit the sports pages every waking moment (like myself), here a brief recap. John Amaechi, a retired NBA player, has written a book and decided now is the time for him to come out of the closet and announce to the world that he is a homosexual. ESPN and every sports reporter has decided that this topic will now be included in every player/coach interview with the specific question: "How would you react to having an openly gay player on your team?"

A majority of the active players have given the standard politically correct answer and one radio disc jockey got lucky enough to have retired loudmouth Tim Hardaway step up to the plate and issue a whopper of a sound bite in the name of defending Christian morals.

Tim Hardaway - NBA Ambassador to Sexual Preference Relations

Quote #1 - "First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that is right. I don't think he should be in the locker room while we are in the locker room."

Quote #2 - "You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

And apparently Tim Hardaway already has the anti-gay club started. The Philadelphia 76ers' Shav Randolph said he could tolerate a homosexual teammate as long as he didn't bring that "gayness on me." Other things have been said but those were the most ridiculous of the bunch.

I know it may seem weird for the conservative Mormon guy to be sticking up for the rights of gays but hear me out. I understand that that Christian morality dictates homosexuality as a sin but it also deems adultery and fornication as grievous sins as well. Why isn't Tim Hardaway spouting off about how the NBA players need to stop cheating on their spouses or get rid of their city by city groupies. Remember the quote attributed to the great pacifist Mahatma Gandhi, "Hate the sin, love the sinner."

I have long since stopped caring about the personal lives of professional athletes. I don't revere these athletes as people but I thoroughly admire their skills and talents as competitive professionals almost to the point of envy. However, I would cease being a sports fan if I had to link the two together. As a fan I would be disappointed too often.

That being said, do I care if John Amaechi is gay? Absolutely not. I am more impressed with the fact that an average to mediocre player has found such an opportunistic time to announce his homosexuality and will transform it into a best-selling autobiography. John Amaechi has had more clips on ESPN Sportscenter this last week than in his whole career combined.

Bottom line - if you want to be against gays in the NBA...pick a reason other than immorality. If we are going to create a morality clause in the NBA union then get ready for a bunch of scrubs to take over the league because AC Green is already retired and I think the only other squeaky clean guys are Shane Battier, Shawn Bradley and Mark Madsen... and that doesn't sound like too much fun.

Monday, February 12, 2007

First Questions About Mormons...

Ok TJ I'll be first. I was born and raised Catholic and so was Susi. We constantly go back and forth with each other over religion. She is very devoted and I am not. Though I do believe I have a good relationship with God.

Question 1. Do Mormons believe Jesus Christ was the son of God and died on the cross for all of our sins and rose again three days later?

Question 2. Do Mormons believe every sin is forgivable like Catholics? I for one don’t want to believe that. I don’t want to walk through the gates of heaven and see some child molester I arrested or some gang banging piece of shit who killed a seven year old little boy during a drive by shooting. I should say since starting my career seven years ago my faith has been severely tested. Well, we can start there. Have fun. Oh and by the way I love a good heated debate, just ask Jared.

Thanks for being brave and being the first!

QUESTION 1: Yes absolutely we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We believe that He began to pay for the sins of the world during His time in the Garden of Gethsemane and finished the perfect Atonement on the cross at Golgotha. Luke 22:42-44 - "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

I will also add here that you may come to notice that Mormons do not wear the cross or hang a cross in their homes. It does not in anyway mean that we do not believe Christ died on the cross or do not value the importance of His death. We tend to focus more on the fact that He rose three days later. The death was essential because it led to the resurrection. I suppose, if anything, we would wear an empty tomb if it could somehow be done.

Let me try to give an example. Suppose a family member was shot and killed in an armed robbery. Would you ask the hospital surgeon to save the bullet and then hang the bullet or the gun on the wall of your home to remember your deceased family member? Or would you hang a photograph or picture of some kind? That may be a morbidly extreme example of what I am trying to say. I personally don't have a problem with people wearing or displaying the cross. I believe I understand the Catholic significance behind the wearing of the cross is to help the individual remember what Christ went through for each of us and that is a commendable personal decision and would that we all have those personal individual reminders in our lives.

QUESTION 2: This is a great question! According to the Bible there is only one sin unpardonable: Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Matthew 12:31-32 says: "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."

I could go into a long diatribe about this but let me just put it this way. For someone to qualify to be put into that category they would be a person who would look into the sun at noon-day and deny the existence of the sun. They would have to know God intimately and then consequently deny His existence and generally work/fight against Him.

Now getting to the issue of the dregs of our society. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, said these words regarding those who would do harm to our little ones: " were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6). Some of the harshest words Christ ever spoke yet in our day of instantaneous knowledge and fast-paced lives the eternal punishments of God somehow seem too far away to carry a fear of punishment or a sense of justice. I tend to agree.

Mormons are encouraged by church leaders to be law-abiding citizens in the states and countries in which we reside. I am of the opinion ( opinion and not the doctrine of the church) that our laws regarding child molesters and crimes against children are not severe enough. Understanding that we are all children of God, I also believe that each of us it born with an inner sense of right and wrong, regardless of what happened to us during our upbringing. At some point each of us becomes accountable and therefore chooses our actions.

My social sense of responsibility belongs to those who cannot protect themselves and I feel less responsibility about the rehabilitation of those who prey on the defenseless and weak. I am not quite a "Send 'em to God and let Him sort them out" kind of person, but now that I have two kids...I'm leaning that way.

Thanks for the questions! I hope I answered them fully, if not, let me know and I will try to complete them for you! And if you think of more, BRING IT!

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My new blog series...

Over the last decade plus I have been amazed at the varied levels of questions or assumptions that have come to my attention from family, friends, associates and the like regarding what it is that I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or as the nickname goes...The Mormons.

I have decided to write a monthly blog discussing some of those questions and comments, so that those who wish can "hear it straight from the horse's mouth," as they say. All of my future blogs will not be religious in nature but I intend to devote one per month to the sharing of my religious views. It will hopefully create a balance for those suffering through readings of my views on the political and social events of the current world.

I encourage all of you to ask questions (either in private message or publicly) or leave comments. Do not fear about hurting my feelings or worry about shaking my faith. I embrace truth from all avenues. I do not believe I hold a monopoly on the dispersion of truth. I just want to share a little about what makes me who I am and what brings happiness and peace to my life and family.

Heck, many of us already made it through the most awkward times of our lives together (high school)...I think we can make it through healthy discussions about religion, wars, politics, taxes, and just about anything else that inspires heated debates. Happy Sunday to you all! And stay tuned for my new blog series, entitled: What Do Mormons Believe?

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Friday, February 9, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith and Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell has released a statement about Anna Nicole Smith's death, saying:
"So sad. It's unbearably tragic, that poor little baby."

The irony is that just a few hours before Anna Nicole died Rosie was being Rosie and whining on The View about how sick of seeing her she was, even doing an impression of her trying to speak. She said: "If I have to see Anna Nicole Smith one more time on television, one more time, that woman and her paternity tests and she can hardly even speak now. She can't even speak. (insert insulting impression here) It's a tragedy all around. Her son died. She has this little baby. There's obviously some kind of medication or substance involved."

I do not wish anybody to die, but I do wish Anna Nicole Smith and Rosie O'Donnell could switch places. At least Anna Nicole Smith was entertaining to watch. What does Rosie O'Donnell contribute to society and the entertainment world except for making everybody else look that much better. And Rosie O'Donnell making fun of the way somebody speaks is like Richard Simmons making fun of someone for being gay.