Texas Rangers team chaplain Rev. Roger Ryland was pulled aside by another player today who asked if anything in the Bible specifically forbids the use of steroids or other illegal performance enhancing drugs.
"It's the question I get asked more than anything else," said Rev. Ryland. "More than eternity, more than about salvation, more than about God's message of love. Second most is questions about three-ways."
And as all great spiritual leaders can do, Rev. Ryland is able to provide comfort to his flock.
"I tell them that the word 'steroids' is not in the Bible, nor is the terms 'PEDs,'" he said. "I also mention that doesn't necessarily mean it's okay to take them. Although I don't harp on that too much because the team would probably fire me."
Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan says the role of a chaplain is very important and clearly defined on a team.
"The point of a team is to win. So all chaplains, Rev. Ryland included, are required to work towards that goal as their top priority," he said. "That means we don't need him telling people God doesn't want them to take steroids. What's next? Telling them not to steal signs? Steal bases? It's a slipper slope."
The Rangers are no different than any other sports teams that way. Team chaplains throughout all four major sports are instructed to keep players away from crimes such as murder, armed robbery and rape that could get them suspended and leave the team in a bind.
"This is not the true message of Jesus," said Rev. Ryland. "And it's not how I necessarily saw my career in the ministry going funneling million dollar athletes towards steroids and away from violent crime. I have struggled to reconcile that with my heart and with my God. But I get free tickets to every home game. And that's awesome."