In light of the recent Duck Dynasty/Phil Robertson GQ Magazine brouhaha, I was again struck by the notion that this issue has become the defacto issue in which tolerance and intolerance is decided and where bigotry, discrimination, dogmatism, fanaticism, and prejudice are laid bare. The response from tens of thousands via various social media outlets and calls from the pro-gay juggernauts have been predictable and unsurprising. The cycle has been on rinse, wash, repeat for a long time now. If Christians vocalize that homosexual choices, lifestyles and sexual acts are wrong and incompatible with a biblical worldview, they are vilified as being hateful and vitriolic. Not only that, but instantly the Christian is also accused of tacitly encouraging hatred and violence upon the people that he doesn’t agree with and with whom he has deep and irreconcilable differences with, particularily in how that person expresses their sexuality.
Do the people who lambast Phil Robertson for his views on homosexuality just not know what he believes about other dynamics in the sexual arena, and if they did, would they care? We Christians are called judgmental bigots who must be silenced when we say that homosexuality is wrong and that there is no such thing as gay marriage, but why does that clarion cry not carry over to our other beliefs? It may seem like the issue of homosexuality dominates our daily discourse, but that’s only because this is the battleground that we are currently fighting and which our sinful society keeps bringing to the fore. The fact is that the sphere of homosexuality comprises one small part of an over-arching Christian ethic on the sacredness and sanctity of human sexuality. We’re not just against gay marriage, but rather the Christian message, rooted in the scriptures, has always stood against all forms of sexual expression not found within the confines of a monogamous, heterosexual marriage.
We don’t just believe homosexuality is a sin- we believe premarital sex is a sin. We believe adultery is a sin. We believe shacking up is a sin. We believe the consumption of pornography is a sin. We believe masturbation is a sin. We believe polygamy is a sin. We believe lust of the heart and immodesty is a sin.
If people know that Christians stand opposed to those things and consider them as sinful and evil as homosexuality, they sure aren’t letting on. There’s no material difference in our condemnation of any of these activities up and against homosexuality and yet you don’t see Piers Morgan pressing those other issues on show. Phil Robertson surely believes the actions contained in the former list are all sins, and yet A&E isn’t suspending him for his views on heterosexual fornication. Twitter isn’t lit up with the feigned “morality-less” moral outrage at the conviction of Phil Robertson that couples who aren’t married shouldn’t live together. Facebook isn’t aghast with the revelation that watching pornography is a vile sin against God and one’s own soul. The charge of homosexual sin only affects a small subset of our population- about 2%, and yet the charges against a society that has absolutely and utterly perverted sex in every way possible, which affects everybody, remains un-cared for and un-called out. Instead of getting offended on behalf of other people, why not get offended for yourself?
Or how about premarital sex and various other sexual mischief that couples commit with each other? Pretty much everyone in our society engages in this particular sexual sin- it really is the norm that is encouraged and expected- and yet the Christian sexual ethic would say that it’s just as wicked a sin as homosexuality is. Is that belief so outrageously judgemental that it warrants boycotts and protesting, much like the intolerant “tolerant” did with the whole Chik-fil-A debacle? If the president of that company had made comments suggesting that fornication was a sin that needed to be repented of, would there have been similar widespread condemnation and economic thuggery from the enlightened ones? And why not? Saying that premarital sex is wrong and those engaged in it are committing a wicked, egregious deed impacts far more people with “judgmentalism” than the gay thing, and yet the latter is what makes headlines.
In the same vein, as part of the same baseless rhetoric, many of these people will suggest that if we vocalize our rejection of same-sex sexual practices that we’re promoting hatred and violence on the same-sex community. That’s what many of the comments were on Reddit- that the blood of gays who will get beaten up because of these statements will be on Phil’s hands. How is this manifestly possible and demonstrable? Where are the Christians encouraging violence upon the LGTB community? Where are the Christians telling people to go hurt and harm and kick their heads in? How does our rejection of their ethic for one which we believe to be better equate with us somehow rallying our neighbors to acts of brutality and murder? It doesn’t. Christians don’t do it in light of our grieving over other sins, so why would this one be any different? They can’t demonstrate our purported hostility and brutality, because there isn’t any.
Keeping with our theme of the broader Christian sexual ethic, let’s plug different sins into the equation and see if their charges of violent incitement hold up to further scrutiny. Are we Christians intolerant bigots when we say that husbands and wives shouldn’t cheat on each other? Are we encouraging hateful actions and inciting violence against men and women who are unfaithful to their spouses? I imagine that adultery and infidelity are sins far more prevalent than homosexuality, and yet where are the screeds against us when we condemn that? If it’s fair game to accuse us of condoning violence in regards to the gay issue, how does this necessarily translate to the adultery issue? We disagree with both on the same basis, and yet we aren’t being raked over the coals on that one. Where are the boycotts and pressure from social media on that issue? Where’s the venom and acrimony from the blogosphere and opinionated actors and actresses calling for our heads and reputations on platters?
If people knew the full spectrum of our beliefs and the positive presentation we would give for the Christian sexual ethic, they would surely continue to hold us hostage with the threat and call of social excoriation, but its probably laziness and hypocrisy that they don’t. Phil Robertson is branded as out of touch, close minded, and socially devolved for his views on the queering of our culture because of the pushback that he has given, and yet if the critics were being fair and consistent they would call him hateful and judgmental for his views on the hundred more common sins before they pressed him on his views of “the big “H”. For a culture that thinks they know what we believe, they sure don’t know what we believe.
Phil Robertson is labeled judgemental for his views on homosexuality, and yet I know that he’s far more judgemental than he’s given credit for. I use judgmental in the sense that he has made internal, moral judgements based on a moral, eternal source of authority. By all accounts he holds to a God-honoring, Christ-exalting theology of sex, despite how imperfectly he may at times live it and express it. This is not a bad thing. This is a good thing. This is a right thing. All us Christians are far more judgmental, and far less hateful than we’re given credit for, and we need to be unashamed to own it.
As Christians we don’t merely disagree with the practices of 2% of the population, but with the sins and evils of 100% of the population, including our own, because we are all prone to abuse and misuse the gifts that God has given us. We shouldn’t view homosexuality like the Westboro devils do [ the deranged, frothing at the mouth cultists with a single-minded devotion to ignorance and wrath.] Instead, we should treat and view the sin of homosexuality with the deference and lens that we would regard a young teen looking at pornography on his computer, or a co-worker who is fooling around with her boyfriend, or a man who is obliterating the marriage covenant with his wife. Sad for the spiritual ruin they are bringing upon themselves. Desiring for their own sake that they stop. Acutely aware of our own failings and inconsistencies in light of their own. Thankful for God’s mercy and forgiveness, and eager to declare the gospel for the repentance and forgiveness of sins.
[Contributed by Dustin Germain]