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May 2nd, 2013
11:56 PM ET

Church cancels Butler after Collins tweet

Four simple words tweeted in support of Jason Collins, an NBA player who came out, and a church changed their mind about inviting former NFL player LeRoy Butler to speak to the children in the congregation about bullying.

Butler said he was "a little shocked" when the church first brought up the tweet and expressed concern that he was going to talk about gay people with the kids, which he never intended to do. "I speak all the time ... I tell my story. Single parent home; African American; from the projects; going to Florida State and playing for the Green Bay Packers for 12 years."

The church, which Butler isn't naming, angered him when they told him that he could redeem himself if he agreed to apologize, ask God for forgiveness and remove the tweet. He refused to delete the message. "I told the Pastor, blame it on my mom because my mom brought me up to love everybody," he said.

When asked about taking issue with gay players during his time on the Packers, Butler said it comes down to one thing. "If we win a Super Bowl ring, I don't care who you bring to the ring ceremony. I just want to win the ring ... isn't that what it's about? Winning a championship," he said.

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Filed under: 360° Interview • Gay & Lesbian Issues • Religion
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. RK Williams

    Jeanne Gardner – You are correct,... God loves the sinner, just does not like the sin.

    May 8, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  2. liz

    LeRoy Butler should name the church this way we would know who all the good Christian people are.

    May 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  3. JJ

    It's not about what his mother says, he says or whoever. It's about what God and the good book says. If it's wrong, it's wrong. You can't say off the teachings of his mother, him, or any other person. Their just man. Man doesn't run this, God does. Either for him or against him. You can't accept half of what he says and just let the rest go. You have to do all, believe all or accept non. Denying part, not accepting the full gospel truth. Believing what you choose to believe, not what he wants us too. Wow, are we our own God to make up what we think is right. We are here because of him, his vessels, willing to do his work. Not our will but his will......get it....got it.....GOOD!!

    May 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  4. Dan Scott

    How is this "intolerant" by this church? They have a set of moral principles that they believe in. If Jason Collins had been having sex with his sister, and declared publicly an incestuous relationship, nobody would be complaining about the church canceling his appearance. I'm a libertarian, so I don't care if gay people get married. But I'm sick and tired of having the gay-agenda beliefs shoved down my throat. I personally believe that the act of homosexuality is wrong and that the bible and the early church believed that it was wrong. How does me believing that the act is wrong somehow make me hateful of gay people?

    May 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  5. Jeanne Gardner

    God loves the sinner not the sin! no matter how much people choose to defend what God is against (homosexuality) as plainly stated in Leviticus 18:22 and 23. It does not matter if our current president congratulates as braves those who "come out". Our duty as christians, is to pray for them but not condone what they do. If christians are considered as intolerant or bullies because it is politically incorrect to disagree with what the bible says is wrong, then God the creater is the biggest bully of all!

    May 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • SJW

      Agreed 100%

      May 7, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
    • ray

      What ever happened to 1 nation under God? In God We Trust? Every single famous person (athletes/actors) that wins an award first thanks God for their success. When you see acts of terror like the boston bombings you see people praying to God. So how come when it comes to things like being gay everyone like to throw God to the side and use the words "being tolerant" as an excuse for caving into peer pressure. """""" Leviticus 18:22 """""" You can't say that you believe in God but you believe that being gay is ok. Its an oxymoron...God is perfect and Gods word is the bible so therefore if the bible says men don't sleep with men than that's what God means. So how can you say you believe in God (who is perfect) but then say well God is wrong there, being gay is ok.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • Tim

      The BIble/God also says, judge not lest ye be judged...love they neighbor as thyself... and remove the plank in your own eye, before the one in your brothers ... what part of THIS don't u read and accept? and the Bible also says you get stoned to death for adultery, are an abomination if you eat shellfish, and that men can have multiple wives and slaves... so get off your Leviticus nonsense and focus on LOVE, which most Christians sadly put at the back of their own spiritual bus... enough said...

      May 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • Menicy

      @Jeanne The bible also says that a woman MUST absolutely be a virgin upon marriage otherwise she can't marry at all. The Bible dictates that we do have to be tolerant to others, including sinners, so the fact that this church tried to Bully this man into changing his beliefs says alot about that church. Preach what you will, but allow others to have their opinions. Its one thing if they asked him not to discuss his beliefs on homosexuality, but they DEMANDED that he change his thinking and what he wrote on his personal twitter account. Christians tend to want people to listen to them about their beliefs and demand repentance but yet, if someone says anything contradictory they want that person to immediately change and do something different. Its a hypocrisy.
      Things like this are what make me not want to deal with religious beliefs of any kind... and I'm Catholic

      May 8, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • chrisj

      Well, Jeanne. So long as you are there quoting bronze age texts how bout 1st Timothy 2:12 'I do not permit women to teach or have authority over a man. She must listen quietly.' That passage was used for years upon years as reason why women should not vote or otherwise participate in society with equality – either in government or in the private workplace. So if you are about obeying scripture, you should be campaigning against your own right to vote. Why don't you leave the bronze age where it belongs. In the long distant past.

      May 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  6. Lydia

    Congrats to LeRoy Butler for his honesty, integrity and good old common sense. His mom should be proud that she raised him to be such a good human being!

    May 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  7. Bette

    I believe God created all of us, I believe he loves us all. I applaud Butler for standing up for what is right and good, and I am sure God does too. God has no time for hate and bigotry against the people he created. The so called "church" has a right to cancel his speech, why would anyone want to be associated with a group who shows such utter intolerance anyway. There is nothing Christian about their attitude.

    May 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
  8. samobi

    Gays have a long to go before finding acceptance in America

    May 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  9. Lisa

    This "church" does not know the God I know. He said to love everyone and not to pass judgement. God bless you Butler for standing up a showing what a real man of God is... I pray also that this church will learn from this..

    May 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • edmundburkeson

      You are very selective! It also says that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. Not by what they say but by what they do are they supressing the truth.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • Lorenzo

        Like you said, the "Wrath of GOD", not man. Who are we to pass judgement on what is "ungodly" and "unrighteous". We are all born sinners. This counrty and world would be a lot better if we all stop trying to be God.

        May 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  10. Drew

    Mr. Butler

    I'm pretty sure they cancelled your speech bc u support homosexuality. Christianity does NOT support homosexuality, and they were afraid you would mention homosexuals as being bullied. Christianity does NOT agree w you. Sorry!

    May 6, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Joel

      I don't believe the church believes in bullying of homosexuals? I believe Jesus believed we should love everyone!

      May 7, 2013 at 9:00 am |
    • Ron

      Christianity does not support homosexuality? I guess your understanding of Jesus' teachings are different than mine.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  11. maria

    Why is the too much noise when someome "come out of the closet"? why is everyone congratulating someone about having sex with another man or viceverse with another woman? what is so beautiful and wonderful about it? is like they thing they are heroes.......

    May 5, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Lydia

      People who come out of the closet are being celebrated by some, not because of their sexual orientation, but for their bravery. They obviously are going to face some bullying, simple and serious, but they are being honest about who they love.
      I am Christian and go by what Jesus said about not judging others lest ye be judged. He treated everyone but the money lenders with respect and love and so should I.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Donny

      pretty sure its congratulating the courage to come out and not hide who he really is. Not congratulating because he is gay.

      May 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Tim

      Maria, would you prefer gay people stay hidden, bullied and demeaned just so YOU dont have to be inconvenienced that another human being stands up and says they deserve to be happy, equal and loved? It just amazes me how cold some people are about THIS one issue - utterly amazing, but part of human nature is hate, small mindedness and fear, we don have to look far to find proof of that... I'll pray for you

      May 8, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Joe

      He's the first professional athlete in America to come out of the closet. That took a lot of guts. Granted it would have required a lot more courage 20-30 years ago and there is more acceptance these days but still it required some courage there. I wouldn't call him a hero exactly, but I get giving him public support as Butler did.

      May 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  12. Alexis

    The church did the right thing. It's time for born-again Bible believers to stand up for their beliefs in this evil day.

    May 5, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Chris

      King James was gay, yet you read and worship his version of the bible. When are we going to learn to not judge, live our lives according to the way we believe and let God or whatever higher power you believe in sort out the rest? Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

      May 7, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Tim

      Alexis, im gay and Im definitely NOT evil - so dont speak about what you dont KNOW - I can only imagine the kind of person YOU are, and to me, anyone who hates someone they never met is pretty scary (and definitely NOT like Jesus!) - how can Christians just get love SO wrong?

      May 8, 2013 at 12:22 am |
  13. Mike

    Good for the Church. Everyone wants to jump on the Gay bandwagon. Somehow, if you are not a Gay supporter, then you are in the wrong, so who is bullying whom. I would not attend a Gay Church, or a Church that is openly supportive of Gays. yet, I have nothing against Gays, just keep it to yourself.

    May 4, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Lydia

      Mike, do you 'keep it to yourself' when you are in love? No, you have the freedom to have a public marriage, to share a home with your loved one and have all the protections, rights and obligations of marriage. We are all equal in this country so any two adults who are in love should be able to marry each other.

      May 7, 2013 at 9:29 am |
      • SJW

        Lydia, I pray for your salvation. If God intended for men to marry men and women to marry women, he would have ordained marriage relationships that way from the very beginning. Nature itself is against the gay/lesbian lifestyle. Can a man and a man naturally conceive a child?!?!? NO!!!!! I don't care how many of you in this country, along with our anti-christ President okay this way of life. GOD SAYS IT'S AN ABOMINATION. I don't hate those that are gay/lesbian. I am praying for their salvation.

        May 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  14. Rick

    Why do religion and bigoted beliefs always go hand in hand?

    May 4, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  15. Jeremy

    Who says it's okay or not? Nowhere in that story does it say whether he was right or not. Private venues can cancel whomever they want for whatever reasons they want, so long as it accords with the law, and private citizens can criticize them for it. No one is "making" you think anything.

    May 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  16. Danielle

    There's nothing ILLEGAL about the church canceling his appearance, but there is something WRONG. I pray that this church body will come around and realize that Christ would invite Jason Collins himself into His home.

    May 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • SJW

      Jason Collins will NOT be invited into the kingdom of heaven if he dies in his sins!! Homosexuality is a sin. Just like lying, stealing, killing, back biting, etc... IT'S A SIN. You can't expect to live a way of life that God isn't pleased with and skip your way into Heaven!!

      May 7, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
  17. Dave

    No group is less tolerant than a religious one.

    May 4, 2013 at 7:55 am |
  18. sue johnson

    this is BS!! He was acceptable as a speaker, but as soon as he behaved in a Christian manner toward his fellow man, the church full of "Christians" didn't want him anymore!! going to church does not make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes ya a Cadillac!! really people?? hopefully this will get him more speaking gigs, where his message will be properly appreciated!!

    May 4, 2013 at 12:28 am |
  19. John

    It seems that church is doing the bullying.

    May 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  20. Liza Bleu

    As a devout Christian I would like to say 4 words ..... "Congrats to LeRoy Butler!" for not allowing an ignorant Church bully him into going against the goodness his Mother taught him and also for embracing the love of Jesus Christ! AMEN!

    May 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  21. Cyril

    why is ok for an artist concert to be cancelled because she made an anti-gay comment but not ok for a church to cancel Butler speaking in their church because he made a comment supporting gays?

    May 3, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Joey

      Because people don't really care about being fair or tolerant...

      May 3, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • JSCraton

      Who said it was OK?????

      May 4, 2013 at 4:00 am |
    • MarcusInMN

      Because she was putting people down and because he was supporting people. It's a pretty obvious distinction. The people who don't get it will die out over the next generation or so.

      May 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Ché

      Because the first is prosocial behavior and the latter is antisocial religious bigotry.

      May 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • pammy6444444

      Cyril & Joe,

      Hey it's cool to be gay, forget the morality of it all. We have role models who cheat on their taxes, fornicate, have children out of wedlock, molest and send suggestive pics over the Internet & still have no shame & will oppress someone who disagrees w/ the gay lifestyle or holds marriage as sacred. All double standards, all steeped in a terribly corrupt culture.

      May 5, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Larry

      Because there is a difference between being tolerant & intolerant

      May 5, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Dylan

      It is perfectly acceptable for the church to do what it did and for concerts to be cancelled due to anti gay statements. Both are the rights of the people running both of those shows. You have the right to say what you want and people have the right to disagree.

      May 6, 2013 at 2:26 am |
      • Joe

        I don't think anyone is disputing that the church didn't "have the right to cancel" because of what Butler said, obviously they do. It's about whether it was the right thing to do. I have the right to scream racial slurs at the top of my lungs, that doesn't make it an okay thing to do.

        May 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • andrewbaldock

      Concerts are put on by the Business Owners who own the venue. They can host or cancel whomever they wish. That is capitalism. Their audiences paid for music, not a sermon on bigotry. The Church is free to invite or not invite whomever they wish, and be as bigoted as they want. And the press is free to report on both incidents, which is what happened. I don't see anything in the above article about one or the other being ok or not ok, that is your value judgement.

      May 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
      • Dan R

        Incorrect. Commercial venues who serve the public cannot discriminate that is against the law. As far as the church you are correct they can cancel or invite whoever they want. It is in poor taste what they did but not surprising. Fortunately, most of this backward generation will be gone in the next 15-25 years

        May 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Julia Gerson

      Because an 'anti-gay comment' in this case is similar to a racist, sexist or judeophobic comment. An anti-gay comment is not morally equivalent to a comment supporting equality.

      May 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • davis

      Let's understand what we have always aimed for. We aim for tolerance not intolerance. We use to be clear on this fact but now it seems that we what to equate the two. Cancelling an artist concert for anti-gay comment is done because we strive to place love over hate, tolerance over intolerance. Obviously the opposite is true for the Butler matter. Love over hate. Tolerance over intolerance. That is the goal or at least it use to be.

      May 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm |