File this under “And you thought Fox was different?” Recent news reports say that college football commentator Craig James was fired by Fox Sports after only one day on the job when his employers discovered his conservative views on sexuality and marriage.
The Washington Times reports,
Craig James, a former NFL player who unsuccessfully ran last year for a Senate seat in Texas, said during a campaign debate that gays would “have to answer to the Lord for their actions,” the Daily Mail reported. He also said, to applause, that being gay “is a choice” and those who “choose to do that” face accountability from God.
He made the comments about gays in context of explaining how “God’s going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions,” the Mail reported.
He added: “We should not give benefits to those civil unions. They should not occur. We have to stay strong on this, this is important, man. … We have a fiscal issue in this country. … We also have a moral issue in this country.”
Michael Brown writing for the Christian Post notes that across town at ESPN, Keith Olberman was ranting vigorously against Russia’s anti-homosexuality laws and comparing the conservative social move to Nazi Germany. “Has Olbermann been disciplined for this? Publicly corrected? Censured in any way? (And remember this was on a national, ESPN show.) Not a chance.”
While the traditional anti-media, “double standard” argument applies, it is not the big news here. The bigger news no one is discussing is, hey, this is the so-called conservative Fox selling out here.
And not only is it selling out, it is falling over itself to prevent any possible appearance that it would tolerate for one second conservative views on marriage. This is not just caving before the PR pressures of the homosexual lobbies; this is willingly joining in homosexual activism.
You can tell clearly how tightly the folks at Fox are in the grips of the homosexual forces from their own words: “We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.” It’s clear that Fox’s faux conservative front is run by crypto-liberals behind the scenes; or at best, they’re deathly afraid of the perceived power of the homosexual lobby.
How bad is this knee-jerk reaction? Even some liberals who vehemently oppose conservative views on marriage and sexuality think James’s firing was wrong. Writing for the Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf is unequivocal:
Despite strongly disagreeing with James’s political and moral judgments, I want to go on record expressing my dismay. . . .
That action strengthens a suboptimal norm, even if Fox Sports is acting within its legal rights.
America is always going to be a diverse country that encompasses people with very different political views and moral values. In order to get along, despite our differences, it is useful to debate divisive issues openly through the civic process, and to establish spheres where what divides us is set aside as irrelevant. Fox Sports’s actions undermine society’s ability to do both things.
He continues, “I’m a bit perplexed by the people who are celebrating his firing under the present circumstances. There are millions of Americans who think homosexuality is a sin. Is the implication that if any of them dare express that view out loud, they ought to be unemployable? If not, why should James be denied this job?”
Brown notes the dangerous precedent as well: “Come again? In the workplace, he would not be allowed to say he opposed gay marriage? He would not be allowed to say he didn’t believe people were born gay? He would not be allowed to say that practicing homosexuals would have to answer to the Lord for their actions (as would a whole lot of heterosexuals as well, based on James’s beliefs)?”
Of course, Friedersdorf’s tolerance quickly becomes intolerance when he doesn’t personally approve of the scenario:
A network would be justified in firing a sports broadcaster for expressing controversial moral or political views during an entertainment telecast that had nothing to do with the subject. . . .
If . . . Craig James had said, “Homosexuality is a sin, and I’d never vote to give a gay athlete the Heisman Trophy, or player of the game honors, because to do so would elevate a sinner,” that would be grounds to refrain from hiring him.
Nonsense. Fox was clearly within its rights to fire James even in the current scenario. It just so happens that the move reveals particular hypocrisy or at least quivering cowardice among the allegedly conservative organization’s operation. But on the other hand, any such organization is equally within its rights to retain an employee even if they expressed ultra-conservative activist sentiments like these just suggested by Freidersdorf.
Indeed, a case could be made for denying the Heisman or comparable award to an otherwise deserving athlete based solely upon a perverted personal life. Personal ethics and integrity are required for even the most talented athletes to be considered a role model, and thus to deserve any top honors. This should include their sexual mores. This should be the conservative view and should be welcomed by conservative commentators and news outlets.
But the point is that it would take serious guts to uphold such a standard. Unfortunately, Fox is showing that it lacks those guts, or perhaps even the ethics to begin with.
The biblical position is to stand for freedom, property rights, and sexual purity. Leftists defy all three. In this deal, Fox is exercising freedom only in the aspect that it has the right to end the employment in this way if it wants. But God’s Law is a unity, and in selling out to the pressures of sexual immorality, Fox is undermining even the freedom that it is exercising. If it continues, that would be gone one day as well.
Christians must demand integrity and the courage to uphold it in all these spheres, without compromise. When the institutions they have (whether rightly or wrongly) trusted for so long show obvious failures at their root, Christians should either pressure them to change, or abandon them. And Christians leaders should be open in condemning those failures forcefully and often.