Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the hit show ‘Duck Dynasty’ granted an interview to GQ that has caused a backlash from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation or (GLAAD). According to GLAAD’s latest update, A&E has placed Robertson on “indefinite filming hiatus” due to the remarks described by the alliance as “vile”. As Phil Robertson is a well known, Bible thumping Christian, it should come as no surprise that he holds a Biblical view on homosexuality, but the question must be asked: Do Americans have a right to be anti-gay?
Another important question is whether someone can be anti or against something and remain tolerant at the same time.
The problem between Christians and gays is long standing and goes back to the Bible itself. There is no question that homosexuals have suffered under the hand of religious persecution, and continue to suffer to this day. It isn’t just the Christian faith either. Try being a homosexual living in Saudi Arabia and my guess is you’d trade your head to live in the United States. However, while gays and lesbians fight for equal rights in marriage, the work place, and in all aspects of society, there remains the fact that some people will always be anti-gay. Now, anti-gay and homophobia are two different things. There are people who are anti-gay, but are not homophobic. They simply believe that homosexuality is sin and that God will punish all who practice it. They do not fear homosexuals; they believe they are living a lifestyle that God does not approve. They are anti-gay, and I believe they have the right to be anti-gay if they choose.
The idea that all people who are against homosexuality are homophobic is misleading. It almost gives the impression that you can “educate” a person well enough to accept the homosexual lifestyle as one that is “normal.” It is not my place to call another person’s lifestyle normal or abnormal, but for those who believe the Bible is the literal word of God, (and there are many in the United States and around the world), the homosexual lifestyle will always be “sin.”
Moreover, this is where the trouble lies.
How do we live in a country where Bible believing Christians have the right to be anti-gay, in the sense they believe homosexuality is sin, while ensuring gays and lesbians civil rights are protected and even advanced?
It’s clear that if you follow political debates, there is a growing number of people who feel the time of Christianity in America is, and should be, over. They want to remove all Christian or Biblical influence from public life, speech, what is presented on the air waves, and equate democrats with the “good kind of Christians” and Republicans as the “evil kind of Christian who wants to kill you dead,” as if people were so easily categorized and the human species not complex.
People are complicated, life is messy, and politics is not the answer to the utopia we seek. The fact is that in a free society, we don’t just protect speech we agree with, but also speech we disagree with. So what happens if we feel that speech is hateful towards a group of people? What if the Bible we read and follow advocates murder? How do we reconcile ourselves with that and do Americans have a right to be anti-gay?
From a Biblical and theological viewpoint, the answer should be rather simple. The Old Testament advocated murder for many seemingly wicked and not so wicked crimes, but the entire point of the New Testament is that the Christian is not under law, but under grace.
For all Christians who take the Bible literally, there should be no doubt that nowhere in the New Testament did Jesus advocate hatred, murder, stoning, belittling, or trampling over a person because they were gay or in some perceived sin. Do you not think gays and lesbians were around in Israel? How about ancient Greece? The homosexual lifestyle was pervasive in ancient cultures, yet Jesus chose not to focus his energies in that direction. Never, did he once advocate, quote, or hurl Leviticus verses at gays and lesbians in an attempt to bully them over to his side, and neither should any Bible thumping Christian who claims to follow Jesus.
The early church was pacifist and the first Christians were not roaming the villages looking for sinners to kill. That really didn’t happen until after Constantine legalized and legitimized Christianity. Before then, Christians were persecuted and martyred.
To be clear, nowhere in the New Testament is it advocated to kill gays and lesbians, or to hate gays and lesbians. However, the New Testament reaffirms in multiple places that God considers homosexuality is considered a sin.
While many people do not believe the Bible, do not take the Bible literally, and do not believe in God, do they have the right to override the beliefs, faith, and speech of those who do? Does the gay community have the right to stop church services from reading the Bible because they are saying “hate speech?”
Can the police raid a KKK meeting where people are sitting around talking, even if they are sharing “hate speech?”
There is a line between “bad speech” or “hate speech” and “bad behavior.” We have laws in this country that protect people from bad behavior, but it is a dangerous slope when we start creating laws or issue rulings based on “bad speech.”
It is freedom of speech that fuels social media networks allowing citizens to criticize the president, local politicians, discuss and share personal views, including religious ones that not everyone agrees with or may not be popular. Now, back to the Bible.
The Bible clearly calls homosexuality a sin and states that those who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God. Some groups twist the Bible and try to present a picture that the New Testament never spoke about homosexuality at all, and that is wrong.
Not only does it speak about homosexuality, Paul issues a pseudo-warning for believers not to approve of the lifestyle. I mean, there’s really no way to get around it, a Bible believing Christian has to make a choice to believe the Bible and their interpretation of God or the homosexual community’s viewpoint that their lifestyle isn’t sin. Nevertheless, to pretend the Bible doesn’t call homosexuality a sin is a blatant, false assumption.
Please read the following New Testament verses.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
New King James Version (NKJV)
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”
Please note the end of Romans 1:28 where it reads, “who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.” This verse is not advocating killing gays and lesbians.
New King James Version (NKJV)
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality,[c] wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,[d]unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”
These are hard verses to read, and for those who identify with being LGBT, undoubtedly the source for trouble. Like Mary Lambert so eloquently stated in her song “She Keeps Me Warm” “I’m not crying on Sundays.” It’s a clear fact. The Bible is against homosexuality and those who believe the Bible literally feel they are called to either stand up for God or stand up for the gay community by silencing what they believe is sin.
Do you believe that Christians have the right to say that homosexuality is sin? Do Christians have the right in personal conversations to say, “I believe what the Bible says; I believe God is against homosexuality?” Of course, that conversation could include numerous “offenses” that often aren’t spoken of in many circles, but for this purpose, do you believe it is a protected, religious, and fundamental right to quote the Bible and say you believe it to be true?
How about in politics? Do Christian politicians have the right to say they believe the Bible is true therefore they believe homosexuality is sin?
On the other hand, do you believe this is separation of church and state? Do you think all politicians should come from the same viewpoint, the same, shared, humanistic beliefs? If so, I must ask if that is a democratic nation or a socialist one.
The beauty of America is that the dream was for everyone, despite his or her religious beliefs, to work together to create a place where all rights are protected. This includes the rights of the gay and lesbian as well as the religious person who believes their lifestyle is sin. Let’s face it, many people believe Christians are living a sinful lifestyle as well.
As for GLAAD’s response to Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, I feel they have overreached. Robertson was clearly sharing his personal beliefs in an interview and quoted Bible verses. He repeatedly stated that he was giving his own personal opinions and no one would assume that A&E held the same views as Robertson or his family. I believe that Robertson has every right to say what he believes without losing his job.
I think that when someone is fired for sharing their religious beliefs, their civil rights have been violated.
What do you think? Should Robertson hire a civil rights’ attorney?