A Christian Group is calling for the suspension of ESPN the Magazine writer Chris Broussard, after Broussard told an interviewer that gay NBA player Jason Collins can't be a Christian because of his sexual orientation.
A group called Faithful America (motto: "Love thy neighbor. No exceptions.") has launched an online petition asking for ESPN to suspend Broussard for comments he made on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Monday, after Collins came out in an op-ed for Sports Illustrated.
"Chris Broussard's hateful attack on Jason Collins for being gay was an unacceptable misrepresentation of the Christian faith," the petition reads. "ESPN must immediately suspend Chris Broussard and guarantee that their network will never again be used for gay bashing."
Broussard drew a fair amount of Twitter reaction on Monday, when he said that homosexuality constitutes "open rebellion to God."
"Personally, I don't believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle, or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals … if you're openly living that kind of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that that's a sin," Broussard said. "And if you're openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be — not just homosexuality, [but] adultery, fornication, premarital sex, whatever it may be — I believe that's walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian, because I don't think the Bible would characterize him as a Christian."
ESPN told TheWrap in a statement Tuesday that it supports Collins' coming out, but stopped short of condemning Broussard's comments, calling them part of "a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints."
"We regret that a respectful discussion of personal viewpoints became a distraction from Monday's news. ESPN is fully committed to diversity and welcomes Jason Collins' announcement," the company said.
As of this writing, the petition has attracted 20,440 signatures, out of a goal of 25,000.
Faithful America has also launched petitions targeting the Boy Scouts of America for its discrimination against homosexuals, and St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church in Oceanside, N.Y., which banned a member from volunteering after he married his same-sex partner.