Thursday, December 19, 2013

Duck Dynasty and Homosexuality

I don’t watch Duck Dynasty. But Phil Robertson, if you ever happen to read this, you keep on preaching, brother.

I have three things to say, and here’s the short version if you don’t feel like reading. Phil Robertson seems – from what I’ve seen and heard – to be a man of God, and I support him and his right to express his beliefs. A&E is a private venture, and as such is under no obligation that I’m aware of to air anything they don’t want to. And finally, GLAAD has no business telling Christians what they do and don’t believe.

Phil Robertson was asked his beliefs on what sinful behavior is, and he answered. Did anyone expect him to do anything else? Personally I would have started with a definition of sin rather than picking one particular one out, but that’s his prerogative. Now everyone’s making a big deal about what Phil said. At the risk of putting words in someone else’s mouth, I’d like to clarify what he said.

The NY Daily News says Phil “equated same-sex relationships with bestiality.” That’s more or less correct; however it’s a gross over-simplification. He didn’t just equate homosexuality and bestiality, he equated all sexual sin. And while I said I wouldn’t have started with sexual sin, I can see why he did. Here’s what 1 Corinthians has to say about it:

“18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

Phil chose sexual sin as his example because it is one of the most dangerous and most prevalent sins in our society. Phil speaks the truth. It’s within his rights. And let’s be serious people, they’ve always claimed to be conservative Christians; did anyone really expect anything else from them? Did anyone really believe that just because you didn’t see it on TV it wasn’t there?

Which brings me to my next point. I’ve seen some people spewing quite a bit of vitriol against A&E. A&E is a private venture, and isn’t going to air anything they think is going to hurt their ratings. It’s just smart business, and that’s the only obligation they have. They aren’t an arm of the government, they aren’t the only platform for their type of communication and they have to obligation to air anything they think will hurt them. If you want to say “shame on A&E” that’s fine. Shame them all you want. But remember they’re well within their rights.

I now have to address what I think is the most egregious behavior of anyone in this whole situation. GLAAD - Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation - said this in a public statement:

“Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans – and Americans - who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil's decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”

GLAAD has no business telling Christians what true Christians believe. Their entire organization is dedicated to making sinful behavior accepted. To tell Christians they should accept homosexuality is a farce. I don’t know what Bible they’ve been looking at, but mine has no room for accepting sinful behavior. I understand GLAAD has the same First Amendment rights that Phil does, and I wouldn’t dream of saying they don’t have the right to express their opinions. That said, their statement about true Christianity is a lie.

Now that I’ve said all this, I’d like to go back to Phil one more time. When most celebrities – or anyone else caught up in a media whirlwind like this – do get caught up, they issue an apology saying they never should have done those things and they try to take it back. Phil didn’t quite do that. He had this to say:

“I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

Again, at the risk of putting words in someone else’s mouth, I don’t see an apology there. I see a clarification. I believe what Phil is trying to get across is that he believes homosexuality is wrong, but does not judge the sinner or treat them with disrespect. He judges the sin and the fruits of sinful behavior, which the Bible commands us to do. It’s our job as Christians to spread the Gospel, to love our fellow man and to praise the God who gives us breath. It’s His job to judge souls. Phil’s message isn’t one of hate. It’s one of love. What Phil hates is to see someone’s sin dragging them to damnation. He loves people enough to show them the error of their ways and to try to help them onto the path of righteousness.

You don’t have to agree with what Phil Robertson says or believes. But know that if he’s anything like what I believe him to be he doesn’t hate anyone. He loves God’s people and wants to see them be made whole. That is a man after God’s own heart. And that is a message I can get behind.