Matt Birk is a bigot.

Another Ravens player is speaking up on marriage equality.  Unfortunately, Matt Birk is regurgitating the god awful (see what I did there) arguments of the side of bigotry.

The union of a man and a woman is privileged and recognized by society as “marriage” for a reason, and it’s not because the government has a vested interest in celebrating the love between two people. With good reason, government recognizes marriages and gives them certain legal benefits so they can provide a stable, nurturing environment for the next generation of citizens: our kids.

Children have a right to a mom and a dad, and I realize that this doesn’t always happen. Through the work my wife and I do at pregnancy resource centers and underprivileged schools, we have witnessed firsthand the many heroic efforts of single mothers and fathers — many of whom work very hard to provide what’s best for their kids.


I am speaking out on this issue because it is far too important to remain silent. People who are simply acknowledging the basic reality of marriage between one man and one woman are being labeled as “bigots” and “homophobic.” Aren’t we past that as a society?

No, we aren’t.  Nor should we be.  Failing to call bigotry out when it is present is not some higher societal value toward which we should strive.  It is, in fact, sacrificing our sense of justice on the altar of political correctness.  To do so would be a failure, not something for us to “get past,” it is something for us to choke on.  You’re a bigot, Matt Birk, and you’re owning it in every way but in title.

I’m literally writing this from the back of a car on my way to KC.  I wish I had the time to rip into his whole article.  You guys will just have to let me live vicariously through you in the comments.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • tubi

    And Birk’s former Vikings teammate Chris Kluwe responded:

    • Nate Frein

      I get more and more respect for Chris Kluwe each new post I read of his. He made an excellent, enlightened response. I’m going to have to share it.

    • John Horstman

      I want to gay-marry Chris Kluwe. Sadly, he’s already straight-married.

      • tubi

        Me too. But I’m also straight-married. My only recourse is to ask my wife for a #5 jersey for my birthday. Although I think she already got me a briefcase.

  • Bix

    I’m puzzled why he frames this as children having the ‘right’ to a mother and father. Were my boyfriend’s rights as a child infringed when his father died? Did his mother (or the government) have the obligation to immediately provide a father figure? You can say that a child has the right to an education or a right to receive health care, because those are services that can be provided, but you can’t say that a child has a right to a parent of each sex. The concept of ‘rights’ doesn’t work that way and life doesn’t work that way.

    • tubi

      Unless we go full OT and require that a widow marry her brother-in-law. If children have a right to both a father and mother, that certainly solves the problem. Expect to see that in the next GOP platform.

  • Randy

    JT Eberhard is a bigot. I think the evidence that you hate Christians is 1000 times greater than the evidence that Matt Birk hates gays. When people express fear that the new atheism will result in a new genocide of Christians it is posts like this that make me think it is possible. You would have made a very good Nazi. That is not said as a cheap shot. I feel the mindset you express in this post is precisely the mindset that led to the holocaust. I know you don’t see it. You think you are above that kind of evil. The truth is we are not. If we let hatred rule we can do frightening things.

    • tubi

      Citation needed!

      Point to the spot in JT’s post where he calls for genocide against bigots. Or are you equating the act of calling out bigotry akin to espousing a final solution against our enemies?

      • Randy

        No. Just the willful promotion of hatred towards the person. Really the hatred of a whole class of people. I think JT would like Matt Birk if they met. Yet he attacks him in such a public and irrational way because of his religion.

        • jatheist

          Randy wrote: “Just the willful promotion of hatred towards the person.”

          Ugh… The worst thing JT wrote was, and I quote: “You’re a bigot, Matt Birk, and you’re owning it in every way but in title.”

          He explained why he (rightfully) thinks Matt is a bigot. And by pointing this out you think it is “willful(sic) promotion of hatred towards the person”?
          You’re insane…

          • Randy

            Matt is not a bigot. It is an emotionally charged word. JT knows it. It is intended to incite hatred. It is opposed to rational debate. This has been seen in recent history. JT knows he is making a false and inflammatory accusation. He is doing it with malice of forethought.

          • Nate Frein

            I’m sorry, no. Matt is promoting bigoted reasoning and logic. We need to stop pussyfooting around the term and tone trolling anyone who points out that a person is engaging in bigoted behavior (voting for the government to discriminate against a minority).

            He is flexing his democratic muscle to force other people to follow his narrow religious definition of marriage. He may have all the happy lovey intent in the world, but intent is not magic. His actions here are bigoted. JT (and others) have explained at length why.

            Ergo, he is a bigot. He may be the nicest person to be around. He may even act nicely towards gay people. But when given the opportunity to either help them have equal rights, or to continue forcing a religious definition of marriage on them, he chooses to continue a tyranny of the majority.

        • tubi

          I liked Matt Birk when he played here. He still calls in periodically to the radio shows and talks about football, and I enjoy those segments when I hear them. I’d like him if I met him in person, and so, I suspect would JT.

          That said, Matt Birk is a bigot based on the bigoted things he said, and I’d say that to his face, regardless of the difference in our stature.

          • Randy

            You would be calling him a bigot based on his religion. You would be reducing his person to his member ship in a people group and inciting hatred for that group. That is the definition of bigotry. Matt Birk is not doing that. You are. Birk is not saying people should hate gays. I don’t know anyone opposed to gay marriage who thinks this. There are likely some but not many.

          • Nate Frein

            No. He’s not bigoted because of his religion. He’s bigoted because of his ACTIONS. Get that straight and stop dodging the bloody issue. He is actively supporting and voting for people to continue to be lesser citizens under the law.

            Further, you need to stop conflating telling a person they are wrong, and explaining how they are wrong, with inciting hatred. Being angry at a person for holding bigoted views and supporting bigoted legislation is not inciting hate.

          • jatheist

            Randy wrote: “You would be calling him a bigot based on his religion. You would be reducing his person to his member ship in a people group…”

            Nope. Not at all… it was Matt who did that to himself when he wrote that bigoted article.

            Randy cont’d: “Birk is not saying people should hate gays.”

            Nobody has claimed that he ~does~!! You don’t have to “hate” a group of people to be a bigot toward them… by actively seeking to deny gays the same rights that he enjoys, Matt is being a bigot.

        • Dave Pearce

          I think another dose of awesome from Chris Kluwe pretty much answers Randy:

          To me, what JT says and does is pretty much what Chris writes about in his post. No one is wanting to stop you believing whatever shit you want to believe Randy – no atheist or humanist is calling for the eradication of Pastafarians, or Muslims, or Christians (even though we believe, and will use our freedom of speech to say we believe, that the world would be better off without religion). But if you take actions based on your beliefs that as a result infringe the rights and freedoms of others, then stand by because there are plenty of people who stand ready to call you out on that – people like JT and Chris Kluwe.

          • Randy

            Kluwe has a problem with logic. I am intolerant of intolerance is a good analysis. It shows his position is self-refuting. He just does not see why that makes it not a good position to hold. His mirror-mirror thing is self refuting too. He condemns himself with his own words but he can’t see it. Sad.

            The truth is Christians make better distinctions. They know how to distinguish the sin from the sinner. I don’t see this in people like JT and Chris Kluwe. Christians can defend a moral principle without hating the people who violate it. Birk is doing that so all the charges of bigotry are unfair. Quite frankly I think you know they are unfair.

          • Dave Pearce

            I absolutely do not ‘know that they are unfair’. How on earth can you construe that from what I wrote????

            And ‘distinguishing the sin from the sinner’ is just classic christian double talk. Christians frequently use that trite cliche, but not only their words but their actions betray them as they not only condemn the alleged sinners, but also act to infringe their rights and freedoms. Nothing I see from Chris Kluwe or JT demonstrates hate, which unfortunately can’t be said of many of the words and actions of some christians. The christian who can defend a moral principle without hating the people who violate it is an imaginary ideal – I’ve never encountered a real one, even though many delude themselves that they are paragons of love while acting without charity.

          • Nate Frein

            Hating the sin and not the sinner.

            Sounds like hating the bigoted actions and not the bigot.

          • Soren

            Yes hate the sin not the sinner – sounds nice right?

            You do not hate gay people, you just want to make sure they cannot get married. You just want to deprive them of the same rights and responsibilities straight people enjoy.

            You do not hate gay people, you just tell them that the gay part of their personality is an abomination before god, and they must forever suppress not only any gay actions, but any gay thoughts or desires – because to Christians there is no difference between sinning in thought or action.

            So that is not hating gays, just like if I told you that I hated your belief in god, and told you to stop all actions inspired or required by your faith? or told you to forever stop even thinking about your faith?

            Thats not hate, just an oppinion about one part of what makes you you after all.

            So besides telling you I hate what you are, I am trying to force you to stop expressing your faith.

            But I love you – believe me I love you and all my Christian friends – except the Christian part of course – they need to stop that ASAP – it is an abomination before the great invisible pink unicorn, may her hoof never be shod.

            You cannot parcel out people, and condemn basic parts of what makes them what they are, actively work to deprive them of rights and hinder their pursuit of happiness, and then insist you love them. Your actions and utterings hurt them, so stop pretending.

    • Nothing

      Troll harder.

    • Wren

      That was a quick Godwin.

      • Randy

        Godwin’s law implies the deliberate refusal to learn anything from the Nazi’s. I don’t refuse to do that. Sure anyone can say, “You are just like Hitler.” But when you espouse atheism so no moral absolutes exist and then you demonize one group of people. That is a bad combination. In principle it could grow worse and worse and lead where it led before. Those who ignore history …

        • Rob

          Right, and moral absolutes exist in religion /me rolls eyes.

          Where’s the smiting that happened in the Old Testament. Or has god changed? If he changed, it’s not an absolute now, it it?

        • Richard Wade

          You seem to be the one who is ignoring more recent history. The same arguments that were used against making interracial marriage legal have been trotted out again to be used against making same-sex marriage legal. The same silly slippery-slope projections about man-and-dog marriages, the same paranoid warnings about the evil hidden agendas of the oppressed group, the same contrived and unfounded “concern” about children’s well-being, the same dire predictions about the institution of marriage disintegrating, even the same doomsday warnings about the fall of civilization itself.

          Well, the last miscegenation laws in the U.S. were struck down in 1967, and history has shown that none of that terrible, awful, no good, very bad stuff happened. Same-sex marriage has been legal in several countries and several states for several years, and we’re still waiting for even a hint of any of that terrible, awful, no good, very bad stuff to begin. How long do we have to wait before the doomsayers admit their arguments have failed?

          Along with the history of these failed tactics, the history that you are ignoring has shown that trying to enforce a narrow conformity onto society based on your religious beliefs does not better society, and in the long run is not accepted by society, and when it rejects that imposed conformity, society does not suffer.

    • RobMcCune

      You would have made a very good Nazi. That is not said as a cheap shot.

      So your deep thoughts are little more than cheap shots?

      If we let hatred rule we can do frightening things.

      Says the guy fighting imaginary nazis.

    • Rob

      Tolerance of intolerance is not a virtue.

      Neither is faith.

    • DaveL

      Please point out to me where JT opposed the legal recognition of marriages between Christians. I mean, if the evidence is 1000 stronger that JT is bigoted against Christians than Matt Birk is against gays, surely the former must at the very least match the latter in terms of denying his rights?

    • Drakk

      It is considered poor form to godwin in the opening statement.

  • Art Vandelay

    Someone wants to make the Commenter Round-Up!

    • invivoMark

      I notice his handle is a link to his own blog.

      I notice his blog is filled with extremely poorly written tripe written at about a fifth-grade level.

      I notice his blog has no comments. Aww, poor widdle Christian troll. You’re so sad that we’re calling you a bigot! Well, stop being a bigot, and we promise we’ll stop calling you one.

  • Richard Wade

    A football player tells me that heterosexual marriage is the only way to provide stability for children’s lives and for society, and he tells me that same sex marriage will cause instability to both those things.

    Should I go to a sociologist to ask how the Ravens can improve their defense?

    • JT Eberhard

      Well played.

    • Brett

      Richard, you said, “A football player tells me that heterosexual marriage is the only way to provide stability for children’s lives and for society, and he tells me that same sex marriage will cause instability to both those things. Should I go to a sociologist to ask how the Ravens can improve their defense?”

      No, but if you take that stance against Birk you should tell the others on this post to stop quoting Kluwe (because, by your very own philosophy, you feel like people shouldn’t listen to Kluwe, either.” Hmmm…

  • Art Vandelay

    You’d think Matt Birk would be more morally offended that his middle linebacker murdered two dudes.

  • smrnda

    First, should I point out that the actual Nazis persecuted homosexuals?

    Someone on one of these blogs pointed out the difference between tolerance for people and tolerance for ideas. I can be tolerant towards a homophobe as a person, but I am not going to be tolerant of their bullshit ideas. We can’t really totally get rid of bigotry and ignorance, but they can be called out when expressed.

    My take on gay marriage is, unless you’re going to get gay married, I can’t see how it affects you. Which course of action pisses and shits on more people, some people getting legal recognitions for same-sex marriages (which pisses off a few people) OR people get denied legal recognitions for their relationships because some religious people think it’s icky?

    I don’t think JT hates Christians as people at all, he hates their beliefs because of the harm they cause. If you’re going to judge a person for something, it should be done over the opinions they hold, since that can actually be changed.