Tom Daley, no matter his last placed semi-final finish, will return to the UK as a role model to many of our young people. Tom Daley is an icon of hard work and commitment, of excellence and endurance. Whatever place he has finished in Rio, he has been and still is an inspiration to so many. He’s someone to be praised.
Yet, on what appears to be the least appropriately named Twitter account (connected to a similarly misnomered website) I’ve seen in a long time, Christian Voice, have chosen to humiliate him. They throw the words of hatred at him, focussing on his sexuality, hinting that Tom’s being gay has some connection to his failure to win an individual diving medal. (Skilfully ignoring his superb, medal winning, synchro performance.)
Here we are again, the prophets of bigotry and hatred, spew bile whilst waving the banner of a Christ who loves us all. Another young person directly attacked for being themselves, and countless others caught in the crossfire. Not in my name.
We can ignore the glaring lack of logic in the tweet, never mind the lack of coherent theology behind it. If God made Tom lose for being gay what of the other medal? Why didn’t he break the hockey sticks of the Richardson-Walshes? Why didn’t Nicola Adams end up knocked out on her back? The God of Christian Voice seems to have a very inconsistent view of sexuality and sporting success. Hateful nonsense.
Christian Voice, you don’t speak for the Christians I know, nor the Christ I know. You don’t speak for the Christ who embraced all, loved all, died for all. You don’t seem like Him at all. You don’t speak for the Christianity of undeserved grace. Even if we had the same belief in the ‘rights and wrongs’ of sexuality, which we don’t, you still wouldn’t speak for me. The Jesus I read of in the Bible didn’t punish people in petty ways, he dignified them, he levelled their pathway to the embrace of God, even people like you and I. Go back and read the gospels, you’ll be surprised.
I know what happens in your mind when you get criticised and questioned like this. If it is by Christians like me you say we are lukewarm and liberal, that we have abandoned our true faith. This, of course, elevates you to the place of one true church and places you as untouchable and unquestionable.
If criticism comes from non-believers, they are cast as immoral, deviant and evil. They are persecuting you and you think it makes you more like Jesus. Again, you rise above us all. This, of course, elevates you to the place of moral guardian of society and places you as untouchable and unquestionable.I’ve seen it before. It’s a water-tight system of self-delusion but we can all see through it.
So Christian Voice, I ask one of two things of you. Please either remove the word Christian from your name and accept that the voice you have is your own and not Christ’s, or please delete your accounts and stop writing and tweeting. You’re taking His name in vain, and God mentioned somewhere that He doesn’t like that.
I’ll pray for you. I’ll pray that you have an encounter with grace that sets you free to love everyone, even Tom Daley.
Oh, and Tom. Well done on your medal. You’re still a national treasure. Sorry about the individual event. You’ll bounce back. Also, please don’t do Splash again.