Others such as Archbishop Cranmer and David Robertson have written about the deeply unhelpful tweet by Christian Voice directed at Tom Daley. I wasn’t going to post, but I don’t think the responses above have got the tone and language, which is so important, quite right.
I was reluctant to post for a number of reasons. First, I was annoyed about the tweet and I didn’t want to post while frustrated. Second, I didn’t want to give the issue publicity – the tweet seemed to be outrageous simply to get attention. Third, I didn’t want to set a precedent responding to those claiming to speak for Christians. Finally, I am hesitant to critique others publicly but having chatted by phone to Stephen Green at Christian Voice, I feel more comfortable responding.
Having spoken frequently about this issue and engaged with local members of the LGB community, I feel it was important to say that Christian Voice doesn’t speak for me. If you haven’t seen it, they sent the following tweet:
Firstly, it is a cheap shot at a competitor who had a bad day. There is nothing Christ-like in this engagement. In a follow up blog Stephen Green has admitted to being provocative.
Secondly, it makes no sense. Tom Daley had already won a medal as had openly gay athletes such as Helen and Kate Richardson Walsh of the GB hockey team. And as others have said, Mo Farah, a committed Muslim, has won two gold medals at this Olympics. Not to mention Ryan Lochte who won a gold medal before getting himself into all sorts of trouble.
Thirdly, its not biblical or Christian. The Bible is clear that sex is to be between a man and a woman within the context of marriage. Those wrestling with same sex attraction should check out Living Out which provides brilliant resources and support to do this is in a biblically faithful way. Yet Green’s tweet skips the Bible and instead promotes a works-based, ‘prosperity’ gospel approach. I spoke to Stephen about this and he disagrees, but I think the point stands.
The message of the Olympics is meritocracy – you get what you earn or deserve. The message of the kingdom is that we don’t get what we deserve. Instead, in His generosity, God pours out unmerited favour.
Speaking grace and truth in the public square is a tough job at the best of times. Stephen Green’s tweet makes the job harder. Surely Jesus’s message to Tom Daley is the same as His message to us all – repent and believe the good news .