Magic Johnson and HIV: 20 Years Later

On November 7th, 1991 Magic Johnson announced to the world that he was HIV positive and would be retiring from basketball.  Last week I watched in amazement as EPSN and a host of other media outlets “celebrated” the 20-year mark of that day.  They talked about how he had overcome adversity, supported charities, founded HIV research organizations, and other things he had done.  But as I listened, watched, and read everything being said, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.  I found it troubling that the media was honoring a man who contracted HIV through fornication and promiscuous behavior.

I have nothing personally against Magic Johnson and I don’t know what kind of person Johnson is today.  I also realize that we all make mistakes and can change our lives around.  There was just something sickening about how the media was glorifying the day when Johnson admitted to the world that he had been engaging in sinful activities and contracted a deadly virus because of it.  Yes, it is amazing that his health is so good 20 years later, but the honor and publicity he received for it just wasn’t right.

I don’t expect the media to be moral and upright.  Characteristics like those seem to be long extinct for them.  The media is becoming more impure and accepting of sin all the time.  The problem is, this seems to be rubbing off on Christians.  I am always saddened when I see Christian people supporting people like Lada Gaga, Katy Perry, Flo Rida, and a plethora of other immoral celebrities.  Just because a person is a great musician, athlete, or actor does not mean we should turn a blind eye to who they are and what they support.  We would be sickened if a close friend of family member did the things these people do, but for some reason we aren’t with celebrities.

What does God expect us to do about this?  First, He expects us to be different from the world (1 John 2:15-17).  Second, He expects us to be the “light of the world” and the “salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13-16).  If we are supporting immoral people, not only are we being just like the world, we will have a difficult time being a light for God.

It’s time we take a second look at who and what we are supporting.

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