Is Mets Star Free to Express His Beliefs?

Posted in Leadership by Benham Brothers | November 3rd, 2015

Daniel Murphy

Are we free to believe in America today? Are we free to voice those beliefs? The story of New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy brings those questions to the middle of today’s cultural field of play.

We’re not sure how many of you are watching the Major League Baseball playoffs (now the World Series), but Murphy’s name continues to rise to the top. The kid can hit, but until this postseason hardly anyone outside New York had heard of him.

There are several things that make Daniel special, but we’ll only mention two.

First, he’s never hit more than 14 home runs in a single season, yet he’s the only guy in Major League history to hit consecutive home runs in six playoff games. Six games, six bombs. That’s big time – something not even Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron or other baseball greats ever accomplished.

Second, he’s an outspoken Christian with biblical beliefs about homosexuality and marriage, and he isn’t afraid to say so. When asked about Billy Bean, the former big leaguer now an outspoken homosexual and LGBT liaison to the Major Leagues, Murphy had this to say:

“I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual. That doesn’t mean I can’t still invest in him and get to know him. Maybe, as a Christian, we haven’t been as articulate enough in describing what our actual stance is on homosexuality. We love the people. We disagree [with] the lifestyle. That’s the way I would describe it for me. It’s the same way that there are aspects of my life that I’m trying to surrender to Christ in my own life. There’s a great deal of many things, like my pride. I just think that as a believer trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn’t mean I’m just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That’s not love. That’s not love at all.”

Because of these comments, made before the season started, the media threw a temper tantrum that made Kansas City Royals’ third baseman George Brett’s pine tar tirade in 1983 look like a walk in the park. Yet as this season progressed, the media flurry around Murphy died down.

In recent weeks, however, he’s walked back to center stage through his heroic feats on the diamond. Yet there are still some in the media that feel Murphy’s more of a “zero” than a hero – all because of his beliefs.

Listen to what a New York sportswriter said of Murphy and the success of the Mets:

“Hate the homophobia, love the home team. Everybody’s calling him a hero. I say zero. Note to Daniel Murphy: Don’t hate me because I want to get to first base with Matt Harvey. So while the entire city has come down with a raging case of Mets fever, I’m just raging.

“Grown men and women in team jerseys and face paint on the subway? Love it. Normally, I’d say I’m in. But because I’m out, I can’t. Yep, it’s a gay thing. Murphy is famously homophobic – and that doesn’t play in a major league town where the pennant is rainbow-colored.”

Now, go back and re-read Murphy’s statement and compare his tone to this sports writer’s. Interesting. And vocalizing sexual urges? Nice.

“Don’t hate me because I want to get to first base with Matt Harvey.” Seriously?

The question here isn’t about Daniel Murphy’s beliefs about human sexuality, which have been held for centuries and provide abundant historical facts for human flourishing, but the real question here is: Does Daniel Murphy have the freedom to believe? And does he have the freedom to exercise, or voice those beliefs?

Today, a country founded on freedom of religion and freedom of speech faces fundamental questions.

As we continue to hear about the battle over religious liberty, which is the freedom to exercise in public what you believe in private, we feel this fight is transitioning into the battle over “belief liberty.”

Daniel Murphy believes something that’s contrary to what’s now politically correct. Because of this, according to some in the media, he’s become a hometown zero instead of a hometown hero.

What if he were to have come out and said he wanted to hit a homerun with one of the umpires? Would he then become a hero?

Sounds crazy, but we’ve gotten to that point in this country.

Here’s the beauty of it all – in the midst of all the belief attacks, there is an army of Daniel Murphy-like Christians who aren’t afraid to lovingly speak the truth that sets people free and allows them to flourish.

Murphy hasn’t said much since spring training, as the Mets have told him to keep quiet. We know the feeling. But we pray for him and the millions of others across this county who desire to believe according to the Bible and voice those beliefs in freedom.

As an avid baseball fan, Ronald Reagan, once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

For the most part, Christians have taken Ronald Reagan’s advice for granted and stopped fighting for even principled freedoms, like the freedom to express our religious beliefs. His statement has gone from a wise statement to a prophetic utterance, as we now see the disastrous consequences of not heeding President Reagan’s warning. Now is the time to get in the game and swing for the fences!