Drew Brees

FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2016 file photo, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees speaks at a post game press conference after an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in New Orleans.

Eleven years ago, seven million Californians, a majority of ballot initiate voters, approved banning same-sex marriage. Liberal California, not Alabama.

Also 11 years ago, Barack Obama, running for president as a Democrat, made it clear he opposed gay marriage. The New York Times reported back then, “Citing his Christian faith, Mr. Obama said he believed marriage to be the sacred union of a man and a woman.” It wasn’t until May of 2012 that Obama said he changed his mind and publicly supported gay marriage.

We didn’t hear much back then about California voters hating gays or Obama the homophobe. How quickly things have changed when it comes to what’s publicly acceptable on the topic of homosexuality.

Fast-forward to today and Saints quarterback Drew Brees is pounded for shooting a video encouraging kids to bring their Bibles to school. He’s criticized for shooting a video for Focus on the Family. The website Deadspin reported, “Because opposition to LGBT people is Focus on The Family’s signature issue, people naturally got upset to see Brees associate with prominent homophobes.”

Sports commentator Robert Littal tweeted, “Drew Brees Created a PSA Video for an Anti-Gay Religious Cult.”

The New Orleans-based Big Easy magazine ran a story headlined, “Drew Brees Records Video for Anti-LGBT Religious Organization. “

Is this where we are now? To hold the traditional view that marriage as the sacred union of a man and a woman, a belief held by Obama only 11-years ago, means you are “anti-LGBT,” in a “religious cult,” or are a “prominent homophobe?”

National media outlets also picked up the narrative of Brees supporting an anti-gay agenda. CBS News ran a story headlined, “Brees defends making video backed by anti-LGBTQ group." The New York Daily News wrote, “Saints quarterback Drew Brees recorded a video for culture-war anti-gay dinosaurs, Focus on the Family.” The Washington Post headline read, “Drew Brees defends appearing in video linked to anti-LGBT rights religious group.”

Despite the misleading headlines, Brees says nothing of homosexuality in the video recorded last month for Focus on the Family. He only encourages kids to bring their Bibles to school.

“It was not promoting any group, certainly not promoting any group that is associated with that type of behavior. Because I know that there are unfortunately Christian organizations out there who are involved in that kind of thing and to me that is totally against what being a Christian is all about,” said Brees.

Brees did seem to waffle some on his association with Focus on the Family, claiming he was unaware of the religious group’s stand on gay issues.

 “I was not aware of any of the things they said about them lobbying for anti-gay (causes)… any type of messaging or inequality or any type of hate-type related stuff. I was not aware of that at all,” Brees said.

 But Focus on the Family is much like most Christian organizations advocating for the preservation of family values. Does Brees consider defending traditional marriage as “hate-type related stuff?”

Former Saints tight end and self-proclaimed Christian Benjamin Watson defended Brees for making the video. He also defended Focus on the family. “It’s a shame in this country right now if you adhere to certain biblical beliefs, that we all have a right to choose what religions we adhere to, you’re labeled as ‘anti,’” he said. “What Focus on the Family does is uphold marriage . . . family is the basic building block of society. They uphold those things and they’re labeled anti by other people.”

Watson has a point. If Focus on the Family holds a traditional view of marriage, it doesn’t make the group anti-gay. It is, after all, a Christian organization. Obama was never considered anti-gay when he favored traditional marriage as a first-time candidate for president.

But the rules are different now. Are Christian groups no longer allowed to take positions on controversial social issues? Are organizations whose beliefs are Bible-based now off-limits for celebrities like Brees? Is this the new standard? The fact Brees had to defend, quantify and clarify his association with Focus on the Family speaks volumes. It should concern us.

Email Dan Fagan at faganshow@gmail.com.