After being banished from some of his scheduled appearances at NBA's All-Star Weekend, former NBA player Tim Hardaway recently made a second apology over his anti-gay comments.
"I don't hate gay people," Hardaway told CBS affiliate WFOR. "I'm a good-hearted person. I interact with people all the time. ... I respect people. For me to say 'hate' was a bad word, and I didn't mean to use it."
Hardaways anti-gay remarks were made last week when he was asked how he would react to having a gay teammate. "I hate gay people ... and I don't like to be around gay people," he said, acknowledging that he's "homophobic."
His comments drew fire from the NBA along with Christians who say his remarks were "harmful."
Hardaways comments are both unfortunate and inappropriate, said Matt Barber, policy director for Cultural Issues at Concerned Women for America, in a released statement. They provide political fodder for those who wish to paint all opposition to the homosexual lifestyle as being rooted in hate. Its important to note that Hardaways words represent the feelings of Hardaway. His words do not represent the feelings of the vast majority of people opposed to the homosexual agenda."
Just a couple weeks earlier, Isaiah Washington, actor in the popular television drama "Grey's Anatomy," had outraged his co-stars and audiences when he referred to co-star T.R. Knight using a negative slur for the word homosexual. Knight had not gone public with his homosexuality prior to the slur but publicly declared himself gay as a result of the incident, Knight said on "The Ellen Degeneres Show." Washington apologized twice.
CWAs Barber stated that it is "perfectly natural for people to be repelled by disordered sexual behaviors that are both unnatural, and immoral."
"However," he added, "the appropriate reaction is to respond with words and acts of love, not words of hate. Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and freedom for all sinners, and that is the heart of the Gospel message.
"Thousands of former homosexuals have been freed from the homosexual lifestyle through acts of love. Hardaways comments only serve to foment misperceptions of widespread homosexual victimhood which the homosexual lobby has craftily manufactured.
Loving homosexuals is how one ex-gay Baptist does it. Tim Wilkins of Cross Ministry hosts conferences that teach Christians how to respond to homosexual people. While clearly stating homosexuality as a sin, Wilkins proclaims a message of redemption and love.
That message of love has surprised many gay/lesbian groups.
Wilkins was invited to speak at a major university to a gay/lesbian organization. Although unsure how he received the invitation, he spoke to the audience of homosexuals about his own experience with same-sex attractions and inevitably told them how his homosexual lifestyle ended with God.
Some asked questions that were "mildly discourteous" or "overtly rude," but overall, the group was surprised.
"I expected you to be preachy, loud and self-righteous," said several homosexual people after his talk, according to Wilkins. "I expected you to quote Scripture the entire meeting, to say you hate us."
"Do I hate homosexuals? Absolutely not!" Wilkins said in a statement. "The truth is, I love homosexuals more now than when I was one!"
A week after the university event, when Wilkins arrived to speak at the same university, the crowd had almost doubled.
"Word had spread that 'the ex-gay guy was respectful, polite and friendly,'" stated Wilkins.
Correction: Thursday, February 22, 2007
An article on Wednesday, February 21, 2007, about the anti-gay remarks of some public figures incorrectly stated that Isaiah Washington is an actor in the television drama "Heroes." Washington is an actor in the television drama "Grey's Anatomy."