(Photo: Reuters/Tami Chappell)
Golfer Bubba Watson said he supported Christian ESPN analyst Chris Broussard's statement that NBA player Jason Collins' announcement about being gay is open rebellion against God. At the same time, he respects "anybody that's gay" while believing that homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible.
"The Bible says you're not supposed to be gay, and so I never downed Jason," Watson told Golfweek, referring to his tweet this week, which said "Thanks @Chris_Broussard for sharing your faith & the bible!! #GodIsGood."
During a segment on "Outside the Lines," Broussard said Tuesday that as a Christian he does not agree with homosexuality and that Collins, who came out as a gay man, is "walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ" by being gay.
Watson commented, "I've met Jason, said, 'Hey,' to him, because he used to play for the Suns when I had the Suns tickets. I respect anybody that's gay."
The golfer added that he did not intend to say he is better than others. "I'm not saying I'm better than anybody else," he said. "I'm not saying he's wrong, I'm saying I love him. If he called me right now and said, 'Hey,' or any person that was gay called me, I'd go to dinner with them any time. It's just my belief system on the Bible says you can't be gay. That's a sin. So somebody living in sin I believe to be wrong."
The Bible, Watson went on to say, tells "how to act, and I try to act that way. Now, I don't do it every time. We've seen me get mad before. I do wrong, too. Every time I hit a bad shot I'm pretty mad about it."
Renowned theologian John Piper had also lauded Broussard, calling his comments "solid steel."
In a tweet directing his fans to the link on Broussard's commentary, Piper, former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minnesota, wrote: "Chris Broussard. This is solid steel in a world of cattails."
Other high-profile figures like Republican Herman Cain also tweeted support for the Christian sports analyst. "So much for free speech RT@CainTV Chris Broussard is gonna get it for applying the Bible to Jason Collins," noted Cain.
Collins, currently a free agent, announced he is gay in a Sports Illustrated article Monday and also spoke of his Christian faith.
"My parents instilled Christian values in me," wrote Collins. "They taught Sunday school, and I enjoyed lending a hand. I take the teachings of Jesus seriously, particularly the ones that touch on tolerance and understanding."
When Broussard, who also confesses the Christian faith, was asked how he felt about Collins' claim, he said his actions were not consistent with biblical teachings.
"Personally, I don't believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you are living that type of lifestyle, the Bible says you know them by their fruits, it says that's a sin," said Broussard. "If you're openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that's walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ."
In a follow-up statement to his comments, Broussard further noted: "Today on OTL, as part of a larger, wide-ranging discussion on today's news, I offered my personal opinion as it relates to Christianity, a point of view that I have expressed publicly before. I realize that some people disagree with my opinion and I accept and respect that. As has been the case in the past, my beliefs have not and will not impact my ability to report on the NBA. I believe Jason Collins displayed bravery with his announcement today and I have no objection to him or anyone else playing in the NBA."