So here’s the rule: If you do something or hold an opinion that is controversial, everything you ever do for the rest of time is linked to that one event or opinion. Not only that, but anyone you ever associate with, even if it’s explicitly for a completely different reason, is also guilty of having committed that act or holding that opinion. If you think this rule is insane, I’m with you. It also means you’re not a member of the left.
Case in point: Drew Brees. For those of you unfamiliar with the NFL, Drew Brees is a future Hall of Fame quarterback, who plays for the most aptly named team for this article, the New Orleans Saints. According to various news and sports outlets, Brees made a “controversial” video for an anti-gay hate group. In fact, that is exactly the headline from ESPN. Now, reading that headline, you would assume that Brees made a video denouncing gay marriage, or some other homophobic attack. No. As a devout Christian, Brees cut a video promoting Bring Your Bible to School Day. The “problem” is the organization behind the video, Focus on the Family, which has a traditional view of marriage. This view is apparently enough for the media to label them as anti-LGBT.
Now, whether or not Focus on the Family is a discriminatory organization is up for debate. However, what is not up for debate is Drew Brees’ role in this. If you watch the 23-second video clip, Brees simply advocates for bringing Bibles to school on a random day in October. There is no mention of anything else, just advocacy for the day. There isn’t even a mention of Focus on the Family in the video. The fact that nothing was remotely hinted to in this video is not enough to defame Brees for his impudence. How dare he even connect to an organization that is connected to another organization that has a traditional belief in marriage? Who died and made him a saint?
I would love to say that this is an isolated incident. I might give it a pass if this was just one time that a person was demonized for a relationship with a company despite not agreeing with everything they say. However, this is how the left operates. If you agree with a person or an organization on one point, you have endorsed everything in their history or their platform. Case in point: Debra Messing. It was announced that there would be a fundraiser for President Trump in Beverly Hills this month. Messing, the former Will and Grace star, demanded that the donors’ names be released to the public so she wouldn’t have to work on future projects with them, essentially creating a Hollywood blacklist. There is no evidence that these donors agree with Trump on everything, just that they think he’s a better option than anyone on the Democratic side.
Now I know, I hear you saying that this is obviously different. These people are actively donating huge sums of money to a campaign that promotes this and that policy that I find morally reprehensible. It is in no way comparable to Drew Brees. I hear your argument there, but if you think that this is it, you are way off base. For years now the left has been at war with Chick-fil-A, a chicken restaurant that has been historically open about its Christian faith. In fact, earlier this year the San Antonio City Council rejected an application for a Chick-fil-A to be opened in the San Antonio International Airport, citing the chain’s “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior.” What this has to do with chicken is beyond me. You can also look at how the state of North Carolina was dealt with by the NCAA and NBA when the so-called “bathroom bill” was passed. March Madness games were removed from the state. NBA All-Star festivities were threatened. Furthermore, there is a whole organization named Media Matters that monitor television and radio programs they don’t like and wait for something about which to get outraged. They then coordinate attacks, not on the programs themselves but at the advertisers. They say, “How can you be associated with this program when they say X?” The hopes are that the advertisers will pull their sponsorships. Often times it succeeds.
The fact seems to be that whenever someone is connected to a controversial individual or organization, regardless of whether or not the relationship is rooted in that controversy, that someone is deemed as supporting everything that the individual or organization stands for or ever stood for. Well, not exactly. It only is a rule when that person disagrees with the left. If the controversy is against a member of the left, you don’t see the same rules being applied. The easy example here is Planned Parenthood. Founded by Margaret Sanger in 1916, Planned Parenthood was originally meant to aid Sanger’s vision of eugenics on the minority population of New York. But it’s weird. Today you don’t see the same left decrying those who revere Sanger as racists and pro-eugenics, even while they criticize those who defend Thomas Jefferson even though he was a slave holder.
There is no backlash from the left against Barak Obama for having taken a picture with Louis Farrakhan, or Bill Clinton for being in a picture with Louis Farrakhan, or Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or Tamika Mallory for taking a picture with Louis Farrakhan. (Man, it seems like the left is really okay with Louis Farrakhan.) Nobody calls them racist for the association. It’s almost as if the association doesn’t matter. It’s almost as if the left is just looking for a reason to shoot the message, and the only way they know how to do it is to shoot the messenger. Weird how that works.
The case of Drew Brees ended for two basic reasons. The first is that he refused to apologize for his video. He was defiant in his response, that promoting Bring your Bible to School Day was not anti-LGBTQ, and that those going after him have obvious ulterior motives. As I mentioned before, they didn’t like the message promoting Bibles in school, so they went after the messenger. By not apologizing and recanting his message, Brees was able to take the steam out of the reasoning behind the attack in the first place. The left saw they weren’t going to win, so they backed down. The second reason this controversy ended was that the NFL season started, and once people got a look at Drew Brees the quarterback, they stopped caring about Drew Brees the Christian. Because, after all, in America, the most widely attended service on Sundays is the Church of the NFL.
Izzo Zwiren is the host of The Jewish Living Podcast, where he and his guests delve into any and all areas of Orthodox Judaism.