Religion Can Ruin Your Heroes

The problem with Jim Miller's comment about gays never being accepted in NFL locker rooms pisses me off not just because it's an asinine way of thinking, but because he's ruined any goodwill I felt about the 2001 Chicago Bears.

These intros are usually focused on a broad news story in an attempt to bring about some relatability to the masses. However, this week I'm going to tell a small, personal story regarding how religion is messing with my own personal well-being in an attempt to bring about that same feeling:

Back in late 2001, I studied abroad in Rome. Every Sunday night—most likely as a subconscious way to maintain a level of connectivity to my family and friends back in the States during that awkward post-9/11 mindset—I'd take a multiconnection subway trip to the nearest 24-hour internet cafe, drop a few euros, find a computer, pop in some headphones, and listen to a streaming webcast of the Chicago Bears game. While the annals of football will only remember that team as decent—as a lifelong fan of the Bears, who regularly failed to provide any excitement—they were magical. Somehow they won in the last few seconds of every game, ultimately going 13–3 and winning the NFL Central crown. Their offense was led by professional journeyman , a mediocre-at-best quarterback who had just enough grit and determination to help eke out wins. He also graduated from Michigan State University, my own alma mater. Thusly, while most fans were enamored with the play of defensive stalwarts Brian Urlacher and Mike Brown, Miller was my favorite.

Every true sports fan has a player like this in their portfolio of fandom, someone they can actually relate to, someone they view as an avatar for their own wishes. No, you're never going to be Michael Jordan. But squint in just the right way, and you could reasonably be Jim Miller. Come to that understanding, and forever that player's embedded in you, ready to be trotted out when barroom discussions veer toward Favorite Players of All Time talk, and if anyone verbally slights that selection, your wrath awaits. That is, unless they say something stupid like this:

“Last time I checked, whether it’s Christianity or Muslims or other religions that are out there, they’re just not going to accept it. They’re just not. It’s just not realistic.”

That's Jim Miller, responding to a question about whether NFL locker rooms will welcome a gay player. The problem with this comment, then, is not just that it's an asinine way of thinking, a casual defense of intolerance through religious beliefs. But also that he's drilled his way into my brain and ruined any goodwill I felt about that brief period of time back in 2001. So thanks a lot, jerk. 

Onto the roundup!

- Someone from the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into the southern part of Israel. It's the first rocket launch since a ceasefire was signed back in November. No injuries were reported. This time.

- Iran doesn't want their citizens viewing any kind of filth on their TVs. You know, like Michelle Obama's rack during the Oscars.

- Police in Pakistan are investigating Sherry Rehman, the country's ambassador to the US, for possibly making blasphemous comments defaming the prophet Mohammed during a TV show a few years back. If convicted, the country has the legal right to sentence her to death.

- One Million Moms are now annoyed with GEICO because they aired a commercial that showed a girl on a date with a pig. Instead of understanding “jokes,” One Million Moms believe this is an insidious attempt to normalize bestiality.

- Are you one of those hipsters who troll thrift shops trying to find torn varsity-letter jackets from the 80s? Those threads got demons, folks. At least according to goofy old Pat Robertson.

- In Nigeria, gunmen thought to be part of the Islamist sect Boko Harem shot seven men who were guarding a marketplace.

- In Mali, soldiers from Chad reportedly killed both Mokhtar Belmokhtar (al Qaeda commander who masterminded a mass hostage taking in Algeria last January) and Abdelhamid Abou Zeid (second-in-command of al Qaeda of the forces in the area).

- The Pope has officially quit! So long, Pope, and goodbye to your red shoes, too! Keep your eyes peeled for white smoke, Romans!

- In Iraq, a whole bunch of bombs went off in predominantly Shia Muslim areas, killing at least 19 people in all.

- Thailand put an end to the decades-long conflict between the government and Muslim rebels by signing a peace treaty. Details of the peace negotiation have yet to be released, but let's go ahead and see how long this kind of thing lasts before we go around congratulating ourselves here.

- Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the most senior Catholic in Britain, resigned last week after he was accused of having “inappropriate contact” (read: unwanted sexual contact) with four other priests. Which, yikes, that's a pretty bold move to make, hitting on other priests and hoping they keep their mouths shut. But, at least it wasn't kids?

- Insurgents in the Taliban poisoned and then shot 17 people as they slept at a police station in Afghanistan.

- Oklahoma's on their way to passing a bill that would allow employers to opt out of including abortions and contraception in their employees's insurance plans. The bill was originally introduced because a constituent brought the idea to his congressman. See! This is truly a representative democracy! Unfortunately, the people being represented believe “part of [a woman's] identity is the potential to be a mother.”

- The first openly gay candidate in the Mississippi Delta for a mayoral position, 34-year-old Marco McMillian, was found murdered. While the 22-year-old suspect in custody has yet to explicitly admit the murder was due to any religious reason, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch.

- And Our Person of the Week: Comedian Dave Sirus who, in the role of news reporter Brick Stone, really did a number on those Westboro Baptist Church nut-bags with the following video.

Previously - Whoever Wins, We Lose