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Matt Birk, Matt Birk, Baltimore Ravens

(Photo credit: Ben Liebenberg/NFL)

By Barton Gingerich (@bjgingerich)

The culture wars are heating up the gridiron. My beloved (and may I add reigning champion) Baltimore Ravens were all invited to visit President Barack Obama at the White House. One player declined: center Matt Birk. The reason for his boycott?  Birk informed KFAN-FM yesterday, “I would say that I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.'” Birk continued, “Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic, I am active in the pro-life movement and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way…I’m very confused by (Obama’s) statement. For God to bless a place where they’re ending 330,000 lives a year? I just chose not to attend.”

The Super Bowl champion has six children. Birk has also defended marriage, urging against the Maryland ballot referendum on the Civil Marriage Protection Act which sadly garnered enough votes to redefine the institution for the state. A former Minnesota Viking, he authored an op-ed  in the Star Tribune last year to encourage the passage of the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, which would have altered the state’s constitution to prohibit gay marriage. This measure was defeated in the fall election, and same-sex marriage was legalized in Minnesota last month.

All I can say to Mr. Birk is this: continue holding the line and being a sir. I now have two reasons to be a fan of yours.