Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov recently infuriated sports journalists when he refused to wear a rainbow jersey for warmups during "Pride Night," citing his Russian Orthodox faith. "I respect everybody and I respect everybody's choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion."The essay goes on to list sports commentators who wanted to punish him for this, and argues that he should have freedom of religion.
I do not agree with the essay, to the extent that it suggests Provorov's rights are somehow contingent on his religion. He is not the one injecting homosexuality opinions into a hockey game. If it is permissable to say that homosexuality is good, then the contrary opinion ought to be acceptable also. Religion should not be an issue.
Perhaps religion is the issue. He said that his religion is his choice. Jews and Moslems do not believe that. They believe that you are born into Judaism and Islam.
Even the anti-religion atheist zealot Sam Harris adamantly argues that he has no choice about being a Jew. He even argues that he has no free will at all, and do not feel that he ever makes any free choices.
Some Islamic countries have the death penalty for any Moslem who chooses another religion. They think people must do what God wills.
Jews and Moslems like that do not even grasp the concept of freedom. They cannot respect free choices, because they do not believe in any such thing.
Those objecting to Provorov's statement are essentially arguing against free choices. If their view prevails, then the Flyers are not making a pro-Pride or pro-sodomy statement at all. They are merely tools of an anti-freedom ideology.
Funny how Russians seem to appreciate freedom more than Americans. Maybe he has seen the destruction of Commies in action.