Warning: I'm new to this whole organized religion thing, and I think football's dumb. So you might not want to read this post if you're a big fan of Biblical Fundamentalism or the NFL.
I'm no authority on The Bible, and I've barely been paying attention to the news of St. Louis Ram's draftee Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend on TV. But I know what I know, and I feel what I feel, so I feel like telling you what I know about this current event.
The cool thing about being a Presbyterian is they teach you to read Scripture and interpret it yourself. The cool thing about not being a football fan is I couldn't care less if Sam got drafted by the NFL. I'm just interested in the story of the kiss.
I'm a kissy person. I whole-heartedly admit one of the main reasons I picked Will as a mate is because of his bright red kissy lips. I kiss my parents and my daughter on the lips. Closed mouth, but still. I know many people who think that's weird. I kiss my dogs and cats like they're my fur kids. I try not to aim for the mouth with Sawyer, since she's one of those dogs who thinks cat poop is a Scooby Snack. I like kissing so much, I don't care if someone I love is sick and I might catch their germs: I kiss them anyway.
When I was a kid, my neighborhood friends and I decided that Stephanie's dad was The Best Dad In the World. Stephanie's dad escaped during the Hungarian Revolution and moved to the United States as a young man. He retained his accent and his Eastern-European-Male's propensity for kissing. It was not uncommon to show up at Stephanie's house to see if she could play and be greeted by a kiss on the cheek from Stephanie's dad. It was weird and wonderful. Sure, I kissed my dad at bedtime every night, but I wasn't used to seeing adult men kiss anyone other than their own wives and kids.
Public displays of affection do not gross me out at all. Not that I'm a voyeur. I don't seek out people kissing so I can spy on them. It's just that if I happen to see two people kissing in front of me, it doesn't make me feel squeamish like it does some people. My mother for one. I remember when she graciously accepted my invitation to accompany me to an Indigo Girls concert (when none of my friends thought they were uncool enough to go with me). She said she enjoyed the music, but she wanted to barf every time she saw two people kissing.
"Two lesbians kissing?" I asked.
"No, two anybodies kissing. Yuck. I do not like public displays of affection," Mom said.
Not to pathologize Mom's preference for stoicism, but I'd like to interject here that my mom was raised mostly by her dad and her nanny until she started school at age five. My grandmother had "nerve problems" and was bedridden much of the time. Mom says she remembers her life as being very quiet and boring when she was a young kid. She was forced to kiss her mother, out of respect, but she didn't like it and only kissed her out of obligation.
I, on the other hand, grew up sleeping in the same bedroom with two of my sisters. I was hugged and kissed like real live doll. Plus, it was the 70s, and society as a whole was getting much more affectionate.
So I understand why Mom's not all that into kissing. She thinks there is a time and a place. I, on the other hand, get tiny little butterflies in my stomach when I see two people so happy, so in love, no matter the time or the place.
OK, maybe I am a little bit of a voyeur. But I'm not a perv. OK, maybe a little. I do admit, similar to how some men like to look at, *ahem*, prurient images of two women together, I think it's hot to see two men kiss. And you thought I used to like to go clubbing for the dance music--ha!
No, seriously, I do not have any problem seeing two anybodies kiss, so I don't get what the big deal is about Michael Sims kissing his boyfriend when he received the news that he was drafted into the NFL. It seems like a reasonable time to express your feelings to me.
I've read some comments from people who express concern that seeing two men kiss is "not Christian" and "not good for kids to see". I disagree. From my interpretation of Scripture, I think Jesus is very pro-kissing. Between two anybodies. Here's why. Read the bold print:
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
A Sinful Woman Forgiven
36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” 41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Sounds to me like Jesus welcomes kisses from harlots, from men, from everybody. Dear God, my friends. What is wrong with a kiss? What's wrong with our country that people get upset about their kids seeing two men engaged in a kiss on TV but they don't make a fuss when their kids see two men engaged in war?
Like this guy, Conservative lobbyist Jack Burkman. His panties are all in a bunch over this Sam-kisses-his-boyfriend-on-TV event. He wants people to start boycotting the Rams who drafted Sam, and Visa who gave Sam his first sponsorship.
I like how the writer points our the hypocrisy of Burkman's concern:
"Despite his focus on religious values, Burkman appears to be focusing his boycott only on the NFL team that drafted a gay man, not on the teams that hire players who kill pedestrians while drunk, assault police officers, rape women, bully teammates or otherwise break the Ten Commandments."
Love People. Love God. It's as simple as that, my friends. Stop using Christianity as an excuse to judge people.