The news has been filled all this week with the announcement by professional basketball player Jason Collins that he is gay. Here in Oklahoma City, the local paper quoted several athletes who expressed their opinion (4-30-13). One came from the Thunder’s Kevin Durant, a professing Christian. I like Kevin Durant. By all accounts he’s not only a superb basketball player but a fine human being. But I wish he had given more thought to his response to Collins’ declaration. He said: “If the guy’s happy, whatever he does, that’s cool with me. Nobody has any right to judge” (emphasis mine).
Actually, not only does everyone have a right to judge, everyone has a responsibility to judge! In fact, everyone does judge, even if they think they don’t. Making moral judgments is simply inevitable.
No one has made this clearer than have Francis Beckwith and Gregory Koukl in their excellent book, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air (Baker, 1998). They provide us with a number of ways to respond to those who think our moral judgments about someone like Jason Collins are bigoted, hate-filled, and an expression of unwarranted intolerance and arrogant judgmentalism.
For example, how often have you had it said to you, or heard it said to someone else: “You shouldn’t force your morality on me.” The proper response is: “Why not?” After all, he is forcing his morality on you by insisting that you have no right to force your morality on him! He has a strong moral conviction, namely, that no one should force their morality on anyone else. But “he’s going to have a hard time explaining why you shouldn’t impose your views without imposing his morality on you. This forces him to state a moral rule while simultaneously denying that moral rules exist” (Beckwith/Koukl, 145).
If I had heard