CBS Sports: Anatomy of a Hatchet Job

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By Steve Deace

This is what happens when those who can’t swim wade into the deep end of the pool.

This column by Gregg Doyel, a national columnist at CBS Sports.com, is just the latest example of the brave new world that is coming for Christians in an American culture that is devolving right before our very eyes. Religious liberty, which is what led those first (Christian) pilgrims to settle here and found what later became these United States of America in the first place, is under open assault.

Just recently we’ve seen:

 

And there’s plenty more where that came from, and unless we reverse the current course we’re on plenty more – and worse – are on the way, too.

But that’s not what has Doyel’s dander up. Oh, no. Its Tim Tebow agreeing to speak at the 10,000-member church of Robert Jeffress, whom Doyel says “does the work of the Lord sort of like Westboro Baptist does the work of the Lord.”

Right away you can see this is a smear campaign by Doyel, who leads off with the bullying tactic of linking Jeffress with the notorious Westboro Baptist. So what are Jeffress’ sins according to Doyle?

Doyel writes that Jeffress has said, “It’s a fact that [AIDS is] a gay disease so there’s a reasonable reason to exclude gays from the military.”

There are really two separate questions here, one involving whether AIDS primarily infects homosexuals, and whether homosexuals should be allowed to serve openly in the military. For example, plenty of people who aren’t opposed to mainstreaming homosexuality, like Senator John McCain, have opposed allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military for reasons that have nothing to do with AIDS such as unit cohesion.

Regarding AIDS, in May of 2012 the Centers for Disease Control – hardly a right-wing organization – reported that “gay,  bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV.” The organization says men having sex with men account for 61% of all new HIV infections in the U.S. and 79% of all new infections among men. Translation: if you’re a guy and you only have sex with your wife, and she only has sex with you, there’s a better chance you’ll be struck by lightning then get HIV according to the CDC’s own data. Furthermore, over half of the 784,701 living with HIV in the U.S. are homosexual men, and white homosexual men contract HIV at roughly 10 times the rate as white heterosexual women, again according to the CDC.

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This is all data that Doyel could’ve looked up for himself if he was truly interested in understanding Jeffress’ remarks and being a professional. But ready, fire, aim draws hits to your website I suppose.

Next, Doyel dips into theology, saying that Jeffress’ church preaches that “Jews and homosexuals are going to Hell.” Again, this is a bullying tactic. Doyel cherry-picks two sympathetic people groups here, but that’s not an accurate representation of Jeffress’ church. On its own website it says, “Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who, by His own blood, obtained eternal redemption for the believer. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.”

That faith statement on salvation is shared by at least 95% of Christendom throughout the religion’s 2,000-year history, as well as clear teaching in the Bible (John 14:6 is one example)—which you’ll notice Doyel never quotes in his column.

For Doyel’s characterizations of the beliefs of Jeffress’ church to be true would require several fantastical, dare I say intolerant, things to be true. First, Doyel is essentially saying is the Gospel itself, which was born of a Jew (Jesus) and initially spread by his disciples (all Jews) hates Jews.

Billy Graham, who has been one of America’s most respected persons every year for six decades, built a lifelong ministry on the faith statement on the website of Jeffress’ church that Doyel is condemning. So apparently Billy Graham is loony tunes, too. Heck, Doyel even managed to offend Jesus Christ himself, who claims many times in the New Testament there is no salvation apart from him. While claiming to stand for tolerance, Doyel elevates himself above God. What humility!

Doyel is mad that Jeffress’ says Islam “promotes pedophilia.” Except he leaves out the part that in some parts of Iran a girl can get married as young as nine with parental permission, because that’s supposedly the age of Mohammed’s child bride Aisha when he consummated the marriage.

Doyel also says that Jeffress is a bad guy because he has disparaging remarks about Catholicism (which I don’t share) and Mormonism. Again, these issues appear to be too complicated for Doyel, so he would’ve been better off not touching them. You simply cannot briefly touch on theological debates that are hundreds of years old and have centuries of context behind them without coming across as ignorant, unprofessional, or both. For example, Doyel doesn’t mention the Catholic Church teaches there is no salvation apart from the church, and the founder of Mormonism said “all Christian creeds (other than Mormonism) are an abomination.”

Doyel also never mentions that on the church’s calendar there are outreach events for those in mourning, the unemployed, single moms, and for those that “speak very little to no English.” Yet this is the church pastored by a man that Doyel describes as “monstrous.”

Doyel concludes his screed by saying he “despises Jeffress” so he “despises Tebow now.” Did he ever attempt to talk to Jeffress or Tebow? Is it “tolerant” to “despise” people you’ve never met? Is that what the diversity policy at CBS Sports teaches?

The article doesn’t say, but given the homework it’s obvious Doyel didn’t do before writing his column he comes across as rather intolerant, which Dictionary.com defines as “not tolerating or respecting others beliefs as in political or religious matters.”

I’d say that pretty much sums up Doyle’s piece, wouldn’t you?

(You can friend “Steve Deace” on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeacecShow)

Photo Credit: James W. Gaddis via Compfight cc