Kurt Warner has lost his right to an opinion

Kurt Warner (left) and Amani Toomer (right)
(credit: Mike Moore/Getty Images for CFN)

Having lived in New York State and the NY city area for about 20 years, I was a fan of the NY Giants for a long time. Amani Toomer played for the Giants when they earned one of their Super Bowl titles, and I may have damaged my vocal chords from cheering so loudly. But, I can’t say that I support his recent effort. Kurt Warner, the All-Pro quarterback, Super Bowl champ (MVP), and professing Christian, said that his preference is that his sons abandon their dreams of playing in the National Football League. This was prompted by the discovery of the bounty scheme and Jr. Seau suicide, among other things. Amani Toomer responded in this way (via Pro Football Talk):

I think Kurt Warner needs to keep his opinions to himself when it comes to this. Everything that he’s gotten in his life has come from playing football. He works at the NFL Network right now. For him to try and trash the game, it seems to me that it’s just a little disingenuous to me.

Toomer was defending his love for football, and I’m not going to debate his viewpoint. Neither do I make it a habit of supporting everything a Christian athlete says for the sake of our spiritual team. My problem is with the thought process that denies Warner the right to voice his opinion. That has overshadowed any redeeming qualities of Toomer’s position. For me, it always does. After all, just because an opinion is unpopular that doesn’t mean it’s without merit.

A blogger friend of mine, Bird Martin, had a rough time last week. She mentioned that while most people worship God for his love, she is attracted to his vengeance. What’s your initial reaction to that? I’m familiar with Bird’s insightfulness so I spent time to consider it. As I read the comments on her blog and how some Christians made her feel because of her honesty, all of a sudden a vengeful God didn’t sound so bad (of course, my approach at that point probably wasn’t in line with her thinking). At times it seemed that her deep insight was being reproached by platitudes. The Christian community is conditioned to react in full critical force when a sentiment is offered that is currently unpopular and gives the impression that such opinions should not be voiced. I tend to focus primarily on God’s love, but that doesn’t mean it’s somehow sinful or misleading to desire the fear aspect of God?

I’m reminded of the book Erasing Hell (Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle) I reviewed recently. The authors repeatedly ask the readers if we could love a God who sends people to hell. If we’re planning on going to heaven, we probably should find a way because God isn’t going to change. It brings up a great thought. Who are we to reject any aspect of who God is? Can we question his character? Do we have a right to say what parts of him are righteous and acceptable? Just one clip to prune the Divine and there we go creating God in our own image again.

Having read more of what Bird had written it became clear that she desired God’s vengeance on evil, not evildoers. Besides, there are many times in the Old Testament where God’s people declare their desire to see God pour out his vengeance on Israel’s enemies. Does that seem just as wrong as what Bird said? Sounds pretty much the same to me, except that death in the Old Testament was predominantly physical, not eternal. Still, it’s God’s vengeance in some form.

The best way to learn more about God is to be open to the notion that there are things about God that the Spirit has not yet decided to reveal to us. When Christians act as if they know all there is about God to the point where they’re offended when people step on their theological toes, they’re counting themselves out of further revelation and hampering the discovery process for God’s people. Remember the whole millstone picture Jesus painted for people who did that? My thinking is that the “God-believing children” doesn’t necessarily mean children, but those who have faith enough in Jesus to seek him out with humility and openness. So, if you find yourself guilty of hindering somebody’s ability to know more about God, be warned . . .

. . . ’cause I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like that.

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14 thoughts on “Kurt Warner has lost his right to an opinion

  1. I know that both of my daughters believe that I am slightly to the right of Genghis Khan so what I am about to say may give them a joint heart attack. I agree wholeheartedly with Voltaire when he said “I may disagree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it”. The problem which we have today, whether in secular areas, religious areas or political is that rather than adopt Voltaire’s stance we, and include everyone including myself in this, become judgemental and all to easily start to vilify those with whom we disagree rather than try to win them over by reasoned and logical debate.

    That does not mean that we should vigorously defend our position, but we do not have to belittle, threaten or vilify, for once we go down that street we have immediately lost the argument, and if, as Christians, we adopt that position then we have not only lost the argument but may be guilty of losing a soul, possibly two, that of the person we are trying to win but also our own for preventing their salvation.

    • I’ll be ready to do CPR on the daughter this side of the pond when she reads this.

      Well said. I would like to clarify that those Bird was debating with weren’t rude so much. They just didn’t give credibility to her stance. But there are those, even among Bird’s followers, who jump right in with vilification without thinking things through from what might be a refreshing perspective.

      Thanks for commenting pops-in-law.

  2. I believe what makes this country great is that we have a right to express our views freely. However,it does not give us a license to belittle another person views….I do agree with Kurt Warner!

  3. I agree with this wholeheartedly, Dave. Plus, maybe I should have been more clear in my article that it was this trait of God’s that attracted my initially, and not necessarily the one I love the most now. I truly love that God is my Father now..I like that you took time to think about it. 🙂

    • I hear ya. I’m not even sure what it is about God that attracted me initially. Love for God is the ultimate destination if we’re getting this whole Christian journey thing right. Thanks, Bird.

  4. Warner has every right to tell his kids whatever he wants about football. I think he knows a lot more about it than any of us. Also, he’s not alone. Many players and sports journalists are at least questioning whether or not they will encourage their kids to play. I don’t see this as hypocritical at all because we know now so much more than we did when these guys were starting out. The evidence just continues to pile up that the sport is extremely dangerous for the brain, even on the high school level.

    • Yes, he sure does have that right. There are things about my experiences that I warn my kids about as well.

      From this point, people who enter the NFL know what they’re getting in to. My guess is that men who love football will take the risks – especially if they’ve reached that level of success to even be considered for pro ball. But, it’s up to them, and they should have all the info available to make the right decision. So all opinions on the matter are welcome. Thanks for your thoughts Ben.

  5. When was following the discussion on “Mike & Mike”, it seemed to me that they would be fine if Warner was duplicitous by simply keeping his thoughts to himself “losing his free speech rights” as you put it. Another example of people wanting Christians to compartmentalize their beilefs and their conduct / conversation. For society in general Christians need not be consistent so everyone can be less threatened and not impacted by Christians serving out their God-given responsibility to be salt & light. Like politicians who are personally opposed to abaortion but vote pro-abortion / choice so they can seemingly have their cake and eat it too.

    • Well said, Gary. I wonder if it’s a case of society not wanting to deal with the moral issues presented from the perspective of a Christian worldview. Is there a part of “Mike & Mike” that makes them feel guilty because there is truth in what Warner said that they don’t want to face? Warner said nothing about his faith in this instance (that I know of), but all of his comments are held against that backdrop.

      I brought this up to draw a parallel with my blogger friend, except in her case it was a portion of the Christian communty that tagged her as misinformed because of their view of her statement about God’s vengence. Maybe there’s truth in her statement that people would rather not address. They give the impression that they are taking the high road, so what she has to say is doctrinally inept. It sounds very similar to me.

      Thanks Gary.

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