Drew Brees Defends Appearance In Video Linked To Anti-LGBTQ 'Family' Group

The New Orleans Saints quarterback faced backlash after encouraging students to partake in "Bring Your Bible to School Day," a Focus on the Family initiative.
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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faced a barrage of criticism this week after appearing in a video promoting an event organized by an evangelical Christian group known for its anti-LGBTQ stance.

Brees partnered with Focus on the Family to promote 鈥Bring Your Bible to School Day,鈥 now in its sixth year and slated for Oct. 3. The athlete encouraged students to 鈥渟hare God鈥檚 love with friends鈥 in a 22-second video, viewable above.

The video was posted to YouTube Aug. 28. However, it began making the media rounds this week after Louisiana鈥檚 Big Easy Magazine questioned whether or not Brees was aware he鈥檇 supported 鈥渁 religious group known to be one of the most well funded anti-LGBT organizations in the country.鈥 The clip itself makes no mention of Focus on the Family, though the group is referenced on the official website for 鈥淏ring Your Bible to School Day.鈥

And while Brees has been vocal about his Christian faith, his participation in a Focus on the Family initiative didn鈥檛 sit well with some fans given that group鈥檚 well-documented opposition to LGBTQ rights.

In an effort to 鈥渟et the record straight,鈥 Brees responded to the criticism in a short video posted to his social media accounts Thursday.

鈥淚 live by two very simple Christian fundamentals,鈥 he said in the clip, which can be viewed below. 鈥淟ove the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.鈥

鈥淚鈥檓 not sure why the negativity spread or why people tried to rope me into certain negativity,鈥 he continued. 鈥淚 do not support any groups that discriminate or that have their own agendas that are trying to promote inequality. 鈥 That鈥檚 not what I stand for.鈥

Brees doubled down on that stance at a Thursday press conference, telling reporters that his video 鈥渨as not promoting any group, certainly not promoting any group that is associated with that type of [anti-LGBTQ] behavior.鈥

鈥淚 know that there are, unfortunately, Christian organizations out there that are involved in that kind of thing, and to me that is totally against what being Christian is all about,鈥 he said. 鈥淏eing Christian is love. It鈥檚 forgiveness. It鈥檚 respecting all, it鈥檚 accepting all.鈥

Based in Colorado, Focus on the Family has lobbied against same-sex marriage, arguing that there is 鈥渘o place for it within the context of a Christian worldview鈥 on its official website.

The group opposed the 2011 repeal of 鈥淒on鈥檛 Ask, Don鈥檛 Tell,鈥 which banned gay and lesbian people from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces. It was also an organizer of the now-defunct Love Won Out symposium, featuring 鈥減owerful stories of ex-gay men and women.鈥

On Friday, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly denounced the backlash that Brees had weathered.

鈥淚t鈥檚 unfortunate that mean-spirited antagonists have attempted to draw attention away from this event by mischaracterizing the beliefs and positions of our organization,鈥 he told The Washington Post.

As for Brees, the 40-year-old has previously participated in anti-bullying efforts. In 2012, he joined Ellen DeGeneres and Demi Lovato in signing a petition encouraging the Motion Picture Association of America to change the rating of the documentary 鈥Bully鈥 so that younger viewers could access the film.

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