Last Tuesday night, the Philadelphia Flyers, a hockey team, participated in an LGBTQ+ Pride Night event. The team—with one exception—donned rainbow-colored jerseys as they warmed up before the game.
Defenseman Ivan Provorov opted out. “I respect everybody, and I respect everybody’s choices,” he told reporters. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.”
Provorov, an Orthodox Christian, has come under immense fire as a result. But his decision to stand for his beliefs was a righteous one. Christians should not be coerced into celebrating LGBT ideology.
To its credit, the National Hockey League defended Provorov’s decision. A statement from the organization said, “Players are free to decide which initiatives to support, and we continue to encourage their voices and perspectives on social and cultural issues.”
Flyers head coach John Tortorella defended his player’s decision as well. “With Provy, he’s being true to himself and to his religion,” said Tortorella. “This has to do with his belief and his religion. It’s one thing I respect about Provy: He’s always true to himself.”
The media, on the other hand, was less supportive.
NHL Network’s E.J. Hradek suggested the Flyers’ defenseman should go back to Russia (his homeland) and “get involved” with the Russia-Ukraine war. Quite nasty, huh? And we all know that Hradek wouldn’t have said that were Provorov from, say, Somalia.
Pierre LeBrun, senior NHL Columnist for The Athletic, told his nearly 836,000 Twitter followers that “Provorov obviously does not respect ‘everyone.’ If he did respect everyone, he would have taken part in warm-up and worn the Pride Night jersey. Don’t hide behind religion.”
But did Provorov hide behind religion? Or was he living in accordance with his Christian values?
To be clear, God calls us to be kind and loving. There is no commandment greater than that to love God and thy neighbor. Yet He also demands that we respect His word. And on the subject of sex, God’s word is crystal clear.
In Matthew 19:4–6, Christ harkens back to Genesis and affirms the Biblical account of creation. “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? … Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’”
So not only did God create two sexes—not the 72 genders that people identify as these days—he also specifically established marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Many Bible verses have historically been interpreted differently by different groups and individuals. This is not one. Virtually every Christian denomination until very recently understood that gay marriage and transgenderism are at odds with God’s will for humanity.
As such, Ivan Provorov’s refusal to participate in Pride Night was the Christian thing to do. Donning the Pride jersey would have affirmed an agenda at odds with God. We should praise his heroism. After all, having the “wrong” views in today’s society carries quite the cost, as the media backlash has proved.
But it seems others do support Provorov’s decision to stand for his values. After all the media backlash and attention, his jersey sold out online of every size except XS.
To live in this world is to face temptation. But as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to resist the worldly forces which attempt to lead us astray. Provorov did just that. Bravo.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons-All Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.04 comments