Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe recently made national headlines when he spoke out against the marriage amendment being proposed on the November ballot in Minnesota. He joined the ranks of Oprah and Clint Eastwood in using their celebrity status to endorse their cause or candidate. This has caused some people who might not otherwise do so pay attention to the issues in the world around them.
An acquaintance of mine had been talking to her husband for months about the upcoming vote on the marriage amendment in November. “We have to VOTE NO,” she’s been saying. “We just don’t need to further define marriage.” Her husband has been listening, she thought, but he had failed to commit. After Kluwe spoke, he made his decision to vote no. While I am thankful to add one more vote against the amendment, this story leaves me frustrated.
I get how significant it is to have an NFL player voice their support of the LGBT community. I understand that having an outspoken straight male from the national sports scene will have a positive impact on how our culture views gay rights as my anecdote suggests. I get it….and yet I struggle with it at the same time.
I simply to do not want to believe that we have become a society that requires crass descriptions and graphic images and celebrity names to force our engagement and color our decisions in the issues at hand. A professional athlete’s opinion should not matter more than that of our spouse or a friend.
We are smarter and more intuitive than we give ourselves credit for- we only need to pay closer attention. As parents, we know when something is right for our kids. As adults, we sense when someone is feeding us a line. As citizens, we know our state is a better place to work and live when every person feels like they matter.
Tim Tiebow can pray where he wants and in doing so, he is encouraging others to not be afraid of showing their faith. Lady Gaga can take pictures of her less-than-perfect body, and this will encourage our girls to talk about their own body image insecurities. If Kris Klewe moves one more person to think more seriously about marriage equality, I am happy for that. These are all good things.
I just don’t want celebrities to become a replacement for the opinions of significant people whose lives directly affect ours. More importantly, we can’t ignore that internal compass that guides us toward our core values. True North is the direction it will always lead us if we listen, shining longer and brighter than any celebrity making a national headline.