Christian football player Drew Brees is facing criticism for appearing in a video in which he promotes Focus on the Family’s Bring Your Bible to School Day. Brees is facing criticism, not for what he says in the 22-second video, but for the fact that he promoted an initiative by Focus on the Family, which critics label an anti-LGBTQ organization.
Speaking to reporters about his ties to Focus on the Family, Brees said he “was not aware” of any kind of anti-LGBTQ lobbying or “hate type related stuff” that Focus allegedly engages in.
Criticism Sparked by ‘very negative headline’
Brees says “there’s been a lot of negativity about me spread in the LGBTQ community recently” in a video he posted in response to the criticism. Instead of addressing the promo video itself and the support of Focus on the Family his appearance implies, Brees mentions an article that was posted “with a very negative headline” that he believes “led people to believe that somehow I was aligned with an organization that was anti-LGBTQ.”
Hopefully this sets the record straight with who I am and what I stand for. Love, Respect, and Accept ALL. I encourage you not to believe the negativity you read that says differently. It’s simply not true. Have a great day. pic.twitter.com/4RdTahE7EZ
— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) September 5, 2019
The headline in question is most likely the one The Big Easy used to draw attention to the video Brees appears in. “Drew Brees Records Video for Anti-LGBT Religious Organization,” the headline reads. The article states Brees’ “support of a religious group known to be one of the most well funded anti-LGBT organizations in the country” is “surprising.” It goes on to raise further concerns about Focus on the Family:
Focus on the Family supports and promotes the practice of “conversion therapy,” which uses a combination of shaming, emotionally manipulative and traumatic stimuli, and physically painful stimuli in order to “cure” LGBTQ+ people of their sexual orientation.
However, a 2018 statement published by Focus on the Family seems to denounce the practice of the kind of “therapy” The Big Easy accuses Focus of supporting. While the Christian organization does “believe in and support the availability of professional counseling in matters of sexuality that is respectful, safe, ethical and responsive to the client’s values and desires,” they also mention their lack of support for other forms of “therapy” that have been proven to be harmful.
Focus on the Family says they do not advocate for therapy that “‘requires’ or promises categorical change or sexual conversion.” And it denounces “any practice that shames, degrades, coerces, abuses, or insults individuals with demands to earn basic human acceptance.”
Drew Brees Lives By Two Christian Fundamentals
In the video he posted to his personal social media accounts, Brees attempted to clarify his religious beliefs and his position on the LGBTQ community. “I live by two very simple Christian fundamentals: Love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Brees interprets loving one’s neighbor as oneself as a directive to “love all, respect all, and accept all. The football player says he strives to treat people this way regardless of “your race, your color, your religious preference, your sexual orientation, your political beliefs.”
Brees then explained the only thing he did was appear in the video to encourage kids to bring their Bibles to school for National Bring Your Bible to School Day. He also said he doesn’t “support any groups that discriminate or that have their own agendas that are trying to promote inequality.”
“Unfortunately, there are Christian organizations out there that are involved in that sort of thing. To me, that is totally against what being a Christian is all about,” he assured the group of reporters who approached him in what appears to be the New Orleans Saints’ locker room.
The most pointed statement Brees makes in the interview alludes to the article that he believes got him into hot water. “What’s a shame is people will make headlines just to get hits, just to get views, and all of a sudden these rumors spread that are completely untrue,” Brees concluded.
In the video that sparked the controversy, Brees said one of his favorite Bible verses is 2 Corinthians 5:7, which says, “For we live by faith, not by sight.”