Hypergraffiti

Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

I Cannot Believe I’m Writing About This Guy

30 Comments

philrobertson

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m highly unlikely to watch any reality TV show unless I have a gun pointed at my head. I try to remain as unaware as possible of this entire bizarre cultural phenomenon; ever since I accidentally saw part of the first-season finale of Survivor I’ve been trying to convince myself that if I lie low and ignore it, it will all go away.

I reluctantly became aware earlier this year that a TV “show” called Duck Dynasty existed, which appeared, from what I could gather, to be some kind of celebration/send-up of duck hunting and … I don’t know, redneck culture? My only response upon finding out this show existed was the horror of realizing it was aired on a network called A&E, which once used to stand for “Arts and Entertainment.” But then, the History Channel used to air shows about history instead of about storage lockers and aliens, so basically, I’m just glad I never got cable TV.

But then I noticed that a lot of my conservative Christian friends seemed to admire these hairy beardy guys for their unabashed faith. And then this whole thing happened, and the internet exploded. And my Facebook newsfeed was evenly divided between between my gay and gay-affirming friends who thought Robertson should be run out of town on a rail, and my conservative friends who wanted to rally around and make him the poster child for religious liberty and freedom of speech. To be fair, there was a small minority who steered the middle ground and pointed out, correctly I believe that this was not actually a case of a brave Christian’s free speech being stifled: it was a reality TV “star” acting in character — the character he’s been well-paid to promote and which America has apparently, for some reason, enjoyed watching — and other people responding, predictably, by disagreeing and disapproving.

But most people rushed immediately to the extremes, giving North America something it’s never seen before — a full-on culture war between fundamentalists and secularists in the month of December that has nothing to do with saying “Merry Christmas.”

My own life would not be in any way adversely affected if the entire cast of Duck Dynasty came out of the closet as secret gays, then doused themselves with gasoline and set fire to themselves in a fit of self-righteous self-loathing. But I still felt there was something at the core of this ridiculous teapot-tempest that I wanted to respond to.

I understand that many Christians feel that what really got Phil Robertson in trouble — moreso than his crude anatomical analysis of why he finds homosexuality incredible, moreso than his frankly disturbing comments about African-Americans or any one of a number of other narrow-minded, racist things he said in that interview — is that he quoted a Bible verse that condemns homosexual behavior. In a Western society that’s increasingly open and accepting towards LGBT people, many conservative Christians harbour a deep fear that a time will come when they’re not allowed to quote potentially controversial Bible passages in public or to say “I believe a particular behavior is sinful.”

I get where this fear comes from (although I think it’s groundless) and I am a passionate believer in freedom of thought, speech and expression. Although I, like many other Christians, view the six classic anti-gay Bible texts differently than Phil Robertson does, I absolutely defend his right to read, quote and interpret the Bible as he sees fit. That is as real and valid a right as the right of a gay person to walk down the street wrapped in a rainbow flag. It’s as real as Pamela Anderson’s right to come to Newfoundland and offer sealers money to stop the seal hunt. Freedom of thought, speech and expression means absolutely nothing if you restrict it only to people who agree with you. But also, if you think your right to free speech somehow means that other people can’t disapprove of what you say, and express that disapproval, you haven’t read the manual, or something.

So I hope that my fellow Christians will always be free to quote from the Bible and express their understanding of what it teaches — just as I hope that Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Wiccans, Buddhists, atheists and everyone else will always be free to express their beliefs. When I talk to fellow Christians about how we speak to and about LGBT people, I am talking to people who read the same Bible I do, even if we don’t always read it the same way. I understand that when you say homosexuality is a sin, you’re not necessarily speaking from a place of hatred or bigotry or ignorance. You may be speaking from a place of genuine conviction and a need to share what you believe is truth. And because you’re my people — which I guess means that even Phil Robertson is my people, kind of — I understand your need to speak your truth, and I respect your right to speak it.

I don’t even think it’s my role to try to change anyone’s understanding of Scripture, on this or any other issue. I just ask one thing — and I know Phil Robertson is not listening to me (and other people, whom he might listen to, have probably said the same thing far more clearly and succinctly).  But you might be a fellow conservative Christian, maybe even a fellow Adventist, who is reading this blog, and you might hear what I have to say.

Speak the truth as you understand it, boldly and without fear. But when you speak about sin, think about who’s listening to your words. 

When you say that you believe sex between two men or two women is a sin, imagine those two men or those two women in your mind’s eye, listening to you. If you’re a parent, imagine that’s your child, who’s confided in you that he’s gay. Imagine that your lesbian daughter and her partner are listening to your words. If you don’t have children, imagine it’s your kid brother or sister, or your best friend, hearing you speak. When you choose how to frame your words, what kind of language to use, speak your truth the way you’d say it to them. Use the language you’d want your beloved child, or sister, or friend, to hear.

Go a step farther. When you speak about the Bible and homosexuality, imagine that young person you love as gay or lesbian. Then imagine him or her as a teenager. Imagine a gun in his hand, pointed at his own temple, or a bottle of pills open in her palm. Say what you’d say if you wanted to talk to that young person about God, and at the same time prevent them — because you know you’d want to prevent them — from becoming one more statistic in the numbers of gay and lesbian youth who kill themselves at a higher rate than the rest of the teen and young-adult population.

You have the right to speak freely. So do I; so does your neighbour; so does the person you disagree with most violently. So does Phil Robertson.

Use that right with care. When you, as a Christian, speak about homosexuality, imagine that everything you say is being heard by a vulnerable, hurting, questioning gay or lesbian teen who has trouble believing God loves him or her.

Because believe me, they are listening.

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30 thoughts on “I Cannot Believe I’m Writing About This Guy

  1. Yes, this is wonderful. This is what I believe.

  2. “Act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with your God. ” That’s from the Bible ….& pretty well sums it all up. As I get older and see the divisions within the Christian Church, the less I want to be involved with formal religion. After tomorrow, the days will be again getting longer. Great! We need all the light we can get.

  3. Homosexuality is the act of intercourse between people of the same sex. When the Bible speaks of homosexuality, its emphasis is on behavior, not condition. God loves sinners, but condemns sin. And the Bible’s verdict on homosexual behavior, as with all sexual immorality, is that it is sinful.

    Leviticus 18:22
    “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.”
    Leviticus 20:13
    “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.”
    Judges 19:16-24
    That evening an old man came home from his work in the fields. He was from the hill country of Ephraim, but he was living in Gibeah, where the people were from the tribe of Benjamin. When he saw the travelers sitting in the town square, he asked them where they were from and where they were going.
    “We have been in Bethlehem in Judah,” the man replied. “We are on our way to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim, which is my home. I traveled to Bethlehem, and now I’m returning home. But no one has taken us in for the night, even though we have everything we need. We have straw and feed for our donkeys and plenty of bread and wine for ourselves.”
    “You are welcome to stay with me,” the old man said. “I will give you anything you might need. But whatever you do, don’t spend the night in the square.” So he took them home with him and fed the donkeys. After they washed their feet, they ate and drank together. While they were enjoying themselves, a crowd of troublemakers from the town surrounded the house. They began beating at the door and shouting to the old man, “Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him.” The old man stepped outside to talk to them. “No, my brothers, don’t do such an evil thing. For this man is a guest in my house, and such a thing would be shameful. Here, take my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. I will bring them out to you, and you can abuse them and do whatever you like. But don’t do such a shameful thing to this man.”
    1 Kings 14:24
    And there were also male cult prostitutes in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations that the LORD drove out before the people of Israel.
    1 Kings 15:12
    He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
    2 Kings 23:7
    He also tore down the living quarters of the male and female shrine prostitutes that were inside the Temple of the LORD, where the women wove coverings for the Asherah pole.
    Romans 1:18-32
    But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness…. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
    So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.
    That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
    Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
    1 Corinthians 6:9-11
    Do you not realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
    1 Timothy 1:8-10
    Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine .
    Jude 7
    And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

    • What version of the Bible are you quoting from here? Seems to me it must be a very modern edit, since the terms “homosexual” and “homosexuality” didn’t appear probably until the late 1800s. That kind of suggests to me that your Bible has been modified to reflect more modern ideology, reinforcing condemnation of a concept that didn’t really even exist when the Bible was written.

      Yes, Leviticus says that a man shall not lie with another man as he would with a woman. But Leviticus also says that a man shall be put to death for eating shellfish. Just something to think about. Why is it, do you think, that we don’t consider it an abomination anymore for people to head on over to Red Lobster?

  4. I get a kick out of the fact that the Pope can make statements regarding the sensitive subjects and no one wants to hang him out to dry, however, when someone else even quotes the Bible they are treated like haters. I would say simply “Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner”.

  5. Islam is clear in its prohibition of homosexual acts. Islamic scholars cite these reasons for condemning homosexuality, based on teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah:
    It clashes with the “natural” order in which God created human beings
    It brings destruction of the family and the institutions of marriage
    It leads people to ignore God’s guidance in other areas of life
    In Islamic terminology, homosexuality is alternatively called al-fahsha’ (an obscene act), shudhudh (abnormality), or ‘amal qawm Lut (behavior of the People of Lut). Islam teaches that believers should neither participate in nor support homosexuality.
    From the Qur’an

    The Qur’an shares stories which are meant to teach people valuable lessons. The Qur’an tells the story of the people of Lut (Lot), which is similar to the story as shared in the Old Testament of the Bible. We learn of an entire nation which was destroyed by God due to their obscene behavior, which included rampant homosexuality.
    As a prophet of God, Lut preached to his people. We also sent Lut. He said to his people: ‘Will you commit lewdness such as no people in creation ever committed before you? For you come in lust to men in preference to women. No, you are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds’ (Qur’an 7:80-81). In another verse, Lut advised them: ‘Of all the creatures in the world, will you approach males, and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? No, you are a people transgressing (all limits)!’ (Qur’an 26:165-166). The people rejected Lut and threw him out of the city. In response, God destroyed them as punishment for their transgressions and disobedience.

    Muslim scholars cite these verses to support a prohibition against homosexual behavior.

  6. Trudy, your words gave me goosebumps. As always you bring a perspective that is level-minded, and forces you to think about things from a personal perspective. Thank you.

  7. Thank you Trudy. I am an atheist who has friends and family of various beliefs whose even if I don’t share, I respect. It is refreshing to hear a person of faith speak in the way you do. Thank you for your words; they are good tenets for atheists and believers alike.

  8. Excellent read! I am a Christian and I have friends who are gay and what I wish for them to experience from my words and actions is love. Well written and definitely worth sharing! Thank you.

  9. Thanks Trudy. Nice job. Sorry that “Rex” didn’t get your point–or he wouldn’t be laboring to present his scripture list to you. (Even by quoting scripture we are editing scripture Rex. Please explain to us why you would present this list of quotes to a beloved friend or child that is holding a gun to his or her head because he or she thinks that God has rejected him or her.)

  10. An excellent commentary, Trudy! I think we all have to recognize that there are things in the Bible that are difficult to understand and interpret–however, the principle of love is something we all can understand! I’m frankly horrified that one of the verses Rex quotes against homosexuality also includes a father handing over his virgin daughter to a mob to be raped and abused. Surely, God is not promoting that as a positive alternative to homosexual rape. I think this just illustrates the problem we have with understanding and interpreting the Bible. We always need to leave room for the possibility that we can be wrong in our beliefs–and not insist others believe exactly the same as we do. And beyond that, to love others as Christ loved us.

  11. Wow..Trudy,…you’re getting much response from all this. I know of only a few homosexual couples who have been together for many years. One couple (two men) recently had a death of a partner after being together for more than 35 years. They were a committed couple. I was never a believer of the gay movement but after knowing them my views changed. I’ve recently come across this page http://carm.org/spiritual-side-homosexuality and it’s an attempt to promote the Christian side I grew up on. But in light of what problems the Religions worldwide have caused, I’m not so sure any more. But I do believe in a God and yes God is love……so unless the “end is near” idea happens, we better all get along with each other. (Oh I’m sure many will jump on that end is near idea!!!! lol ) Cheers…Mike ~PS. Keep writing good stuff, Trudy!

  12. From my perspective, here in the US, the outrage is not about what he believes, what he said, or how others feel about it. It’s that he was FIRED because of it.

  13. My concern here is not about Homosexuality exclusively as it is about sin. We as a modern society are reluctant to call sin by it’s name for fear of offending someone. We are all sinners and where sin becomes a real issue is when the sinner is unwilling to repent of his/her sins. God does not ask us to be sinless in our own right but we must continue to bring our sins to him and repent of these sins. It seems to me that the problem is not homosexuality but the unwillingness of sinners to repent. God extends forgiveness and love to each of us equally, our part in the relationship is to release our sin to him and pray that he helps us overcome evil with good. I am frankly tired of people constantly saying that we as Christians are gay bashing and not tolerant to the gay community. I have friends that I love dearly that are gay, I will always love them and will always care about their salvation. What I am concerned about is that we all come to the conclusion that there is no way we can over come our individual sins (whatever it may be) so we have to accept our condition. I don’t care if your sin is infidelity, stealing, homosexuality, taking the Lord’s name in vain, etc…..The important thing to do is to repent of our sins and ask God to lead us not into Temptation but deliver us from evil. It is God’s intent from what I understand of the bible to bring the human race back to it’s original sinless existence and eradicate sin once and for all. I am not as articulate as my friend Trudy but I hope I got the message across.

    • I enjoyed your comments immensely! You did get your message across and I’m sure that there are many people that echo your thoughts!

    • Remy, I get your point and I do think it’s important to call out sin when we see it. However, as I read the Bible, the two classes of sin that I see we are called to point out are 1) our own sins, and 2) the sins of others where the innocent are being hurt or oppressed. I am not sure there is a clear call to point out the “private” sins of others especially in cases where most people are only too clear how “the church” feels about them.

      I genuinely don’t understand when you say “I am frankly tired of people constantly saying that we as Christians are gay bashing and not tolerant to the gay community.” Do you mean you don’t think Christians are saying hateful things to and about LGBT people? Or that this doesn’t hurt? Because believe me it is happening ALL THE TIME, and I think sometimes those of us who live within a Christian “bubble” are a little desensitized to how much it happens. If you have gay friends that you love dearly, have you ever asked them if they have felt hurt, rejected or hated by something they’ve heard from the pulpit or something that came from the mouth of a Christian speaker or teacher?

      If you haven’t read Justin Lee’s book “Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs Christians Debate,” I can’t recommend it highly enough … fantastic book.

      I also think that as Christians we are going to have to come to a point of accepting that people have different views about sin, and that we can accept and love each other regardless. You believe that sex between two people of the same gender is a sin even if they are in a committed monogamous relationship. I don’t. Maybe that’s a point on which we have to agree to disagree. Like many Christians believe it’s acceptable to teach that God will burn people in a place called “hell” for eternity. I not only think that’s wrong; I think it’s a sin to teach that (because it maligns and misrepresents the character of God, which to me is blasphemy). But I can work and worship together with Christians who do believe and teach that, even while thinking their doctrine is wrong. In point of fact we tolerate the views of others with whom we disagree all the time in thousands of ways … why is it so hard on this one issue?

  14. Well done Trudy! Thanks for your words of wisdom and the call to action to speak in love. My Pastor talks constantly about “having the right picture of God.” If you took away the entire Bible, but could only tell one Bible story to illustrate God…what story would it be? For my pastor and myself, it would be the story of “The Prodigal Son.” The picture of God in the Prodigal Son, is of a Father, who loves so much, that he allows his children to make choices that he does not agree with, but meanwhile, with a heart of yearning and love, waits for both sons to come for healing and restoration.

    I could go on about the roles of both sons…but really the crux of the story is about the Father…full of grace, love, forgiveness, restoration. A Father that waits patiently…so if we reflect the Bible from a perspective of a loving, gracious Father…then, it seems to me that spewing hateful words against God’s gay and Black children, is not a reflection of a loving Father. Using the Bible to “justify” bigotry and racism is not Christianity…

    I get it that there are arguments between conservative and progressive Christians to the meaning of what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians. Conservatives taking the literal point of the world homosexuality in the list of vices, whereas, Progressives take the context of the era and Paul’s intent to the readers – demonstrating that sex between an older man and a young man (typically for idol worship or master/slave domination) was sinful. That is a very different perspective from what we now know to be sexual orientation, and mutual, loving relationships.

    Would Jesus, love a gay person? I say, loudly…Yes! Why? Because when Jesus was on earth…he loved Mary Magdalene (the prostitute), Simon the Zealot (the terrorist of his day), the Roman Centurion (the enemy of the Jews), the Samaritan leper (the person with an incurable ‘catching” disease…ie (AIDS), etc. Each of these persons, made a difference in their communities because of their relationship and love for Jesus. Mary was influential in the early spreading of the gospel. Simon became one of the first missionaries to Egypt, Lebanon, Persia and Samaria. The Roman Centurion spread the gospel to his Roman family and troops. The Leper returned to Samaria to testify of Jesus. Each person, had a platform, and made a difference because of Jesus. Their actions and words spoke to a betterment of their communities.

    I guess, that is where Robertson fell. He used his platform to spew hate and bigotry. That is not Christianity. The good news, each one of us, are sinners…and thru Christ’s grace can be forgiven, and restored…even Mr. Robertson.

    • Jesus loved all humanity despite what they did. He did however express when we did wrong and that we should change our ways. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he spewed our wrongs to all those that could possibly be present to hear and see our faults! He spoke in a way that clearly was reflected to each individual who was in need of a Savior. Jesus came to Earth save us from our sins- whatever they were ! He loves us and wants what is best for us. We should be full of love and compassion yes, but we should never turn from truth because it doesn’t match up with our own convenient measures of life. God has told us to speak boldly truth – but before we do this, we should approach the throne room of God boldly ….. then we will know how to respond…..this is where many of US fail! Not one of us is perfect and even with the best of intentions, we will fail. There was a statement that I read earlier that stated, ” acceptance and approval are not the same thing”. I do think that there is much power and truth in this statement. May God add his blessings unto all peoples…may they see his love, truth, acceptance and approval…may they experience the transformation of the soul, heart and mind that comes from a life of surrender of the many things of this world, instead to leading a life for Christ! I pray that the Lord may touch each of you in a ‘real way’ – particularly at this time of the year when so many people realize that Jesus was sent into this cold, dying world to save His people from all sins. This was the greatest act of love that cannot be reproduced by anyone!! God is so good to each of us…count your blessings and be a blessing to those around you -the greatest of these is love! Remain humble and pass no judgements.

  15. It’s late. And I’m rambling. so sorry for the book.

    Firstly, I loved the original post, and was touched, because it speaks to the heart of the matter. I have Gay friends. I have gay friends who have basically had nervous breakdowns because they tried not to be Gay, they tried to be Christians, and they felt like sinners due to their thoughts. They can’t change. They’re born that way and trying to change to fit in with a belief system that judges them as a sinners, causes a cognitive breakdown.

    With so many young kids killing themselves because they feel confused and hear things that make them feel hated, I think anyone who calls themselves a Christian should think twice before spewing hurtful words. There are a ton of other things the bible tells people not to do that they have no problem ignoring. Like don’t cheat on your wife. Or eat shell fish. Or touch pigskin ( a stoning offense by the way if you’re going by the bible, so all you footballers out there…see you in hell.

    Those who obsess over money, become greedy, not care for the poor. The rich have no problem ignoring that part of the bible but they LOVE to focus on the homosexual part. What happened to the whole, “give all your money away and follow me” thing? or the “eye of the needle” issue? But so many so called Christians are capitalists and all about the money. And homophobic. I say, let god sort it out. It is not my problem, other then to love people, which is what Jesus did. And might I say, I was actually more offended by what Phil said about the blacks then the Gay’s. How come there isn’t more bitching about that? He practically said, “the blacks were happier working in the fields picking cotton for the rich whites then they are now.” I’m a christian and I find all the judgement to be offensive. And then that makes me judge the judgers and I feel icky. I’m trying to raise above all this stuff. But sometimes people go too far and its too hard to shut up. I’m so tired of keeping my mouth shut. I’ve watched Christians RUIN our name over the last few years. People are switching sides, due to Christians being awful. I have seen more and more friends turn away from God, become athiests etc. and alot of it has to do with this kind of behavior. When athiests care more for the poor, and those who need love and kindness, its a said day. There is such an increasing backlash against Christians it makes me want to not share my faith and that sucks.

    Phil absolutely has the right to say anything he feels or believes (if he really believes that…I’m not sure how much of this show is a con. ) He lives in America and can not go to jail for his thoughts or opinions, unlike in other countries w,here “hate speech’ is against the law. However, that being said, let’s take this in perspective. If Phil worked at IBM, and came in to work one day, and stood up during a meeting, or even in the lunch room, and spewed even half of the ignorant stuff he said in the magazine, he’d be fired. Period. I have worked in the diversity and prevention of harassment in the workplace industry for 8 years. The company that does not take action against an employee who says things so offensive , has to take action to avoid being sued by other employees who are offended or to keep from losing viewers of other shows, or to keep from losing sponsors. Phil is an ambassador for A&E so in speaking his mind, his association with the channel comes into question.

    Also, A & E has only “suspended” Phil. He is not fired. He’ll be back on the show before you can shake a few dead duck tails. Meanwhile, this being the Christmas season, the Robertson clan will make a FORTUNE, due to outraged Christians and homophobes, and bigots, wanting to show their support for the poor maligned millionaires by bying Duck Dynasty shirts towels coffee cups, you name it. Personally, I think this is a massive and well planned publicity stunt. Willie is a marketing genius. Do not underestimate him. He let his dad off the chain knowing what he would say. Phil thinks he knows everything. Hence he is going to start a church or at least start preaching professionally. He’s already said it is what he wants to do. This is great publicity for when that happens, and the family makes money. The right gets outraged, the politicians who are running for re-election next year speak out to pander to the evangelicals and people who would never watch the show will now be glued to it.

    The whole thing is amazing. I enjoy the show because it doesn’t have violence, or foul language or sexual content. Its formatted, scripted, made up. But its enjoyable to watch. They are like some members of my family. I know they don’t agree with me on a lot of stuff but I like them anyway, but Phil went to far and he deserved to be suspended.

    Re: some of the other posters who shall remain nameless. Methinks the lad protests to much. Just sayin’.

  16. Interesting thoughts from everyone. Read each other’s comments, folks — there’s an interesting variety of perspectives here.

  17. Thank you for writing this. Just because we can, it doesn’t mean we should.

  18. Ma’am, if you are going to try and write an intelligent article about someone, perhaps you could do some actual research on the person you are writing about…

    “To be fair, there was a small minority who steered the middle ground and pointed out, correctly I believe that this was not actually a case of a brave Christian’s free speech being stifled: it was a reality TV “star” acting in character — the character he’s been well-paid to promote and which America has apparently, for some reason, enjoyed watching — and other people responding, predictably, by disagreeing and disapproving”.

    Anyone who does even the barest minimum research on Phil Robertson and the Robertson family, would be able to very quickly tell that they not only ARE genuinely Christian, but that they have not changed themselves at all since being on TV.

    Phil was not acting in “character” when he did the GQ interview and he is on video from years ago saying almost exactly the same thing…long before the TV show.

    They were rich before doing the show and will be rich after the show is over!

    It is an unfortunate and easily avoidable trap your laziness has allowed you to fall into, perhaps in the future just a small amount of googling would be sufficient to avoid making this mistake again.

    Although, due to your cavalier elitist dismissal of Phil and his opinions I doubt you were really trying to defend him in the first place!

    • I certainly was not trying to defend him. Nor was I suggesting he was not really a Christian; I’m sure he is, and I’m sure the views he expressed are views he genuinely holds.

      I think “reality TV” represents a particularly skewed and highly scripted version of reality in which people play characters who are essentially caricatures of their real-life selves. Of course, people have every right to do this, and other people have every right to disagree and disapprove.

      I’m not sure what it is about that analysis that offends you, but my point is simply that even if you genuinely and sincerely hold an opinion, you still have a responsibility to think about how it will affect others when you express it. I don’t know what there is about Mr. Robertson’s background that would exempt him from the requirement to be kind.

  19. I feel like the point about the marketing genius is the most valid here. GQ KNEW how Phil would answer that question…hence, they asked it to get something going. Phil could have deflated the potential explosion by saying something like ‘You are no doubt already aware of my beliefs on the subject…so let’s move on” which would have defused the situation before it began…but he chose not to, and a social media frenzy is the result.
    Being faced with a bit of an explosive situation myself this year, I found myself praying to have the Spirit of Christ in it all, and have spent a lot of time reading in the Gospels just to particularly find out what that Spirit was. The times that Christ was calling a spade a spade or driving moneychangers out of the temple, for example, He was following a specific call on His own ministry. His command to people like me (layperson) was not to call out constantly against all the sin that I see, but to live a life in front of others that lets them see the difference that HE can make in a life, and let Him make the decisions about others. I’d be the first to say that Biblically, I believe the homosexual lifestyle is wrong in His eyes, but it’s not my job to mete out His judgement to others. It means I am only responsible not to practice it myself. Not to mention that I am Biblically mandated to remove all beams from my own eyes before working at the specks in others’ eyes…I’m finding that a full time job! No time for bashing here!
    However, I have found that it is nearly impossible to promote one thing without seeming to bash its opposite. I have found that I cannot post pro-homeschooling material on facebook without public schoolers getting offended. How ridiculous! I am not bashing public school! But they think I am…so these days I keep my mouth shut. Maybe that would be best thing for most….

    • Certainly, we could all do with more of keeping our mouths shut, except when we know that opening them will bless and encourage others. Maybe I”ll work on that for 2014 …

  20. Thank you. This is well said. My sadness in this entire conversation is this: Jesus commands we be compassionate to one another, the ten commands can be summed up as “be kind to one another”. We are humans who will interpret the message in many ways resulting on us never agreeing on this subject. But we should agree to be thoughtful in the dialogue and should understand that how we choose to discuss sin can have far reaching consequences. My other sadness is this: as we call out sin, we should remember that only God can see the depth of our sins and can judge the strength of our desire to repent. I suspect when judgement day comes, I will meet many sinners in heaven, some who have committed THE BIG SINS we like to argue about. We are all sinners. Just because someone else has the scarlet letter on their chest does not mean you are somehow off the hook in the sinner department.

  21. Thank you for writing this. As someone who still (uncomfortably) believes homosexual intercourse is a sin, I don’t want to hear another person or sermon condemn homosexuality without condemning the attitudes that drive so many gay youth to suicide. It’s a subject I’ll continue to study, but ultimately it’s my Christianity that makes me believe in “gay rights”. As a Seventh-day Adventist I’d consider myself sinning if I worked on Saturday, but I don’t penalize or condemn those who do. In fact, my church’s history of opposition to Sunday laws made me into the “liberal” who doesn’t believe in legislating religiously-based morality.

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