San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer issued a statement announcing that he would not wear the team’s pride jerseys and explained he would not due to his Christian faith.
Reimer issued the statement to the press and was eventually published by the official San Jose Sharks Twitter account, “Under the umbrella of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone Initiative, the San Jose Sharks have chosen to wear jerseys in support of the LGBTQIA+ community tonight.”
He continued, “For all 13 years of my NHL career, I have been a Christian – not just in title, but in how I choose to live my life daily. I have a personal faith in Jesus Christ who died on the cross for my sins and, in response, asks me to love everyone and follow him. I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I have always strived to treat everyone that I encounter with respect and kindness.”
Reimer then explained why he would not wear the jerseys, “In this specific instance, I am personally choosing not to endorse something, you know, a sexual identity or orientation that is counter to my convictions which are based on the Bible, which I consider the highest authority in my life.”
“I strongly believe, I feel like I couldn’t reiterate that enough, I strongly believe that every person has value and worth, you guys, my teammates, everyone. I strongly believe that every person has value and worth and people in this community, and the LGBTQIA+ community like all others, should be welcomed in all aspects of the game of hockey,” he concluded.
On top of this statement, Reimer added, “I think something that I want to kind of reiterate and you guys can ask me and whatnot or check me on it, but you know what I’m like. You know my reputation. I feel like I’ve you guys with respect and dignity and that’s kind of how I treat everyone.
“As far as teammates regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, I treat everyone with the same kindness and respect,” he continued. “When a guy walks in the room I don’t ask him his life story. My faith has said — like I said before everyone has worth and value and I love them. When a guy gets traded to a team often I’ll ask people in charge what’s their number so I can send them a text, welcome to the team, ask if they need anything. And I don’t do that based off of what they believe or what they identify with. I do that because I’m taught to love and care for people. That’s who I am.”
“The other side is that I just can’t publicly and personally endorse something that goes against my beliefs. So that’s kind of where I’m at,” he concluded.
Reimer is completely correct in choosing not to wear these jerseys as their entire goal is to promote and attempt to normalize the sin of sodomy, one of the sins that cries out to heaven.
Trent Horn at Catholic Answers also explains why Catholics should not use the symbol because what it promotes is incompatible with the Gospel. He writes, “The rainbow flag symbolizes not just the diversity among those who identify as LGBT but the pride this group claims in the one thing that unites all of them: their sexual behavior. The rainbow flag promotes not just pride in this behavior but the desire to take action to legally silence or publicly shame those who would disagree with it.”
He concludes, “We should not associate ourselves with symbols that are widely recognized to stand for something that is contrary to the deposit of Faith given to us by Christ and the apostles.”
While Reimer is correct in not wearing the jerseys and other paraphernalia associated with the night, his closing message is cause for concern. As noted by Trent Horn, Christians should not be wearing the symbol or the jersey because the worldview it promotes is contrary to the deposit of Faith, but Christians should also be actively warning of the dangers this worldview pushes and should be actively working, out of love, to ensure that our neighbors are aware of the dangers it causes to one’s soul and relationship with Christ.
Christ instructed his followers in Matthew 18:15-17, “If your brother sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”
St. Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians also instructed the faithful, “Brothers, even if a person is caught in some transgression, you who are spiritual should correct that one in a gentle spirit, looking to yourself, so that you also may not be tempted.”
Not only did Christ instruct his disciples and followers to correct their brothers if they sin, but he also warned them that if one leads another to sin their consequences would be far worse.
Luke 17-1-4 states, “He said to his disciples, ‘Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.'”
“‘Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him,'” the Scripture passage reads.
James Reimer deserves props for refusing to wear the jerseys. And he needs our prayers to stay strong in an environment that is heavily tempting him to push a sinful worldview and lifestyle.