Butker speech was intolerant and inaccurate. Why would Sen. Marshall ‘stand with’ him? | Opinion

Watching Harrison Butker’s speech to the graduating class of Benedictine College, I was thinking to myself that the country owes John Rocker an apology.

Rocker, for those too young to remember, was a star relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves whose reputation and career was derailed by quotes he made to a Sports Illustrated writer in 1999.

He said a lot of things in that article, but what stuck like glue was this comment about the New York Mets and their fans: “Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”

And this: “The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. I’m not a very big fan of foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”

Even in those days, long before social media and when less than half the country was connected to the Internet, it went viral. It even sparked a website, rockersucks.com, where people could complain about him on what were then called “bulletin boards” online.

Rocker was pretty much universally excoriated for his comments. If anyone agreed with him, they generally had the decency to keep it to themselves.

As it turned out, John Rocker was just a man ahead of his time. His comments about queer people, single mothers and foreigners invading America are essentially the Republican Party platform of 2024.

Which leads us to the graduation speech by Butker, the placekicker for your Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

His commencement address at Benedictine was a weird mix of pining for the 1950s as depicted in “Leave it to Beaver” coupled with the Catholic Church of the Dark Ages.

The son of an accomplished female medical physicist, Butker told the women of the Class of 2024 essentially that they needn’t worry their pretty little heads about careers because it’s better for everyone if they stay in their lane, get married, meet their husbands’ needs and bear him many strong children.

That got a lot of attention.

Less attention was paid when he sidesniped the LBGTQ rights movement as “the deadly sin sort of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it” and claimed someone (he didn’t say who) is “pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America.”

Even his exhortation for male grads to take care of the kids they father (which I actually agree with) came off as a backhanded slap to single moms, who according to Butker are too weak to control children by themselves.

“As men, we set the tone of the culture,” he said. “And when that is absent, disorder, dysfunction and chaos set in. This absence of men in the home is what plays a large role in the violence we see all around the nation.”

Butker’s tone was polite and he didn’t go everywhere Rocker did — I didn’t catch any mention of foreigners in his commencement address.

But two out of three ain’t bad (except when you kick field goals for a living).

Like Rocker, Butker’s taking heat for his pronouncements.

But the big difference from then to now is how many people are defending Butker’s outdated intolerance, including our own U.S. senator from Kansas, Roger Marshall.

He tweeted: “I stand with Harrison Butker. Families, babies, and strong mothers and fathers are a BEAUTIFUL thing. No amount of liberal gaslighting and manufactured ‘outrage’ will change our convictions. Christ is King.”

I’m guessing the senator didn’t listen to the whole speech.

If he did, he’d have heard Butker kicking dirt on the kind of modern-day Christian worship practiced in the non-denominational Protestant church that Marshall attends.

In Butker World, Christian liturgy must be delivered in Latin instead of English because “I believe, just as the God of the Old Testament was pretty particular in how he wanted to be worshiped, the same holds true for us today.” He also criticized clergy for being friendly with their congregations, instead of aloof and standoffish like the good old days.

Butker also had harsh words for the institution where Marshall serves: “Congress just passed a bill where stating something as basic as the biblical teaching of who killed Jesus could land you in jail.”

Beyond that being a dog-whistle way of saying “Jews killed Jesus,” Butker is just plain wrong.

The House recently passed a resolution expanding the definition of antisemitism, and urging the Department of Education to withhold federal funding from educational institutions that discriminate against Jews. No mention of jail time and it’s still awaiting a vote in the Senate.

So to Sen. Marshall, you may think you stand with Harrison Butker.

But I don’t think he’s standing with you.