Drew Brees has now made national headlines for working with Focus on the Family on a video for “Bring Your Bible To School Day”. Focus on the Family is an organization that has been known to fight against equality for LGBTQ+ folks and who also supports the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy. Brees has posted a video to Instagram and has addressed the media on this issue. Here is my letter to him. Let’s hope he listens.
Dear Mr. Brees,
You have been a role model to many people here in New Orleans. We have seen you embrace New Orleans as your home with the class and dignity of a hero. You helped New Orleans bring home the championship and to that we are all grateful. The people of New Orleans have embraced you with open arms. New Orleans, as you know, is a diverse culture with people from all walks of life. Many of the people who live here are in the LGBTQ+ community.
So when you stand with a group that not only openly promotes discrimination against people who are in the LGBTQ+ community but also supports the abhorrent practice of “conversion therapy” to try and “cure” people of homosexuality, people are going to be hurt and betrayed by that action. The hurt is even more so because the people of New Orleans hold you in such high esteem.
Let me be clear. It doesn’t matter that the video wasn’t about those issues. What matters is that you chose to work with that group.
I was raised Jewish. I do not claim to be an expert of matters of Christianity. But I have tried to learn as much as I can about other faiths so that I can better understand why people believe the way that they do. One of the things that I have learned from the more compassionate kind of Christianity, the one that you claim to support (and not the kind of Focus on the Family), is that Christianity is about humility and asking forgiveness when you harm someone
People are telling you that your actions hurt them. Instead of listening to them and understanding why they are hurting, you are making excuses. You tell us the video wasn’t about homosexuality. You tell us that you didn’t know about their stances on LGBTQ+ matters. You tell us that people are misrepresenting you and your beliefs and that you believe that your actions speak louder than words.
To people who are LGBTQ+ your actions caused pain. Instead of doubling down on why you believe that what you did is right, I am asking you to take the time to sit down with people and let them explain why you doing this video hurts them. Listen to why the simple act of standing with Focus on the Family for this one video sends a bad message about how you feel about them. Talk to people who have been to these conversion therapy camps. Act with humility and learn about what these people go through every single day of their lives. Maybe then you will see why doing any sort of activity with Focus on the Family would be seen as a harmful thing to the LGBTQ+ community. And then, just maybe, you can ask the people you have harmed for their forgiveness and work with them to put an end to conversion therapy and all the ills that this group stands for.
But to do all that you have to be humble, stop making excuses, and listen.
(Edited to add) P.S. I know that when people accuse us of doing something we don’t think we’ve done that it seems unfair and our gut instinct is to go into defensive mode. That’s when it’s most important for us to sit back and listen. We are biased because we know what we meant. Only by trying to see our actions from the eyes of others can we really see how those actions impact others.