The following blog was written by Pastor Perry Noble. Enjoy!
Duck Dynasty is one of my absolute FAVORITE shows on television. (And Phil Robertson is my favorite character.)
I must admit, I was not an early adopter. However, after I heard several people RAVE about the show, the humor and the part at the end where they pray as a family I decided to watch one episode…AND I WAS HOOKED.
In fact, watching “Duck Dynasty” together is something that I do with my family at least once a week as it is awesome entertainment (and their recent Christmas special was AWESOME!)
However, just a few hours ago I was made aware by this article at the Christian Post that A&E (the network that has the show) has suspended Phil Robertson indefinitely after he called homosexuality a sin in an interview he did with GQ magazine. (Here is the link to complete GQ article.)
Let me press the pause button here…
There are people in this world who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and who really do deal with same sex attraction. If I could personally sit down with everyone who would categorize themselves in one of those ways I would communicate four things to them.
#1 – I am SORRY for the way you have been treated by the church and by people who claim to be followers of Christ. There is no excuse for those who hold up signs that say “God hates fags” or who use insensitive phrases such as “that’s so gay.” The way many of you have been treated is detestable to me, but even more than that, I believe it is detestable to Jesus–and I sincerely ask for your forgiveness.
#2 – You matter to God! He loves you, created you in His image and has AMAZING plans for your life…and His plans are always so much greater than our plans.
#3 – You matter to me! Recently, I preached an entire message in our church dealing with this subject (here’s the link) and in preparing for that message I spent hours with a group of people who identify themselves as gay in order for me to better understand how to communicate what I truly felt need to be said…but in a way that showed compassion and care.
Now, for the Christian who is angry with me because I seem to be going easy on whom you would refer to as “those people” (Why do we always refer to those people who do not seem to deal with the same sins we deal with?) I would simply ask you to, again, press the pause button. I remember a conversation with a person in a church one time who was yelling at me about how the Bible insists that homosexuals will NOT inherit the kingdom of God. When I asked him for the specific reference in Scripture he told me, “somewhere in I Corinthians chapter 6.”
The place he was referring to is I Corinthians 6:9-11 which give a list that does include, but is NOT limited to homosexuality. Let’s take a look…
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
In this list we see such things listed other than homosexuality that include…
- WRONGDOERS – uh, that’s me, pretty sure I’ve done a lot of wrong things in MY life.
- SEXUALLY IMMORAL – anyone had an affair, looked at porn or had sexually impure thoughts about another person? (See Matthew 5:27-28)
- IDOLATERS – anyone ever paid more for season tickets and a parking pass for their favorite college football team than they have in giving to the poor or the church?
- ADULTERERS – Once again, see Matthew 5:27-28!
- GREEDY – lots of people don’t say “greedy,” they say “cautious!”
- DRUNKARDS – don’t EVEN bring up my high school years!
- SLANDERERS – ever been to a women’s Bible study?
You get the point right?
James, the brother of Jesus, tell us in James 1:22-25 that the Bible is like a mirror with which we are to look into intently to see where we are lacking in our own lives; however, too many “Christians” have ceased to use the Bible as a mirror and began using it as a window, and instead of looking IN IT to see their issues they look THROUGH IT to judge and condemn others (despite what JESUS Himself said in John 3:17.)
Scripture was given to us as standards to live our lives by, not stones to throw at other people who we do not perceive to be as righteous as we are.
Now, press the “un-pause” button and let’s get back to Phil & Duck dynasty…
GQ magazine did an interview with him and a PART (not the complete focus of the article) were some things Phil said…and I quote…
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
To be incredibly fair to Phil, we do not know how this subject came up, we do not know if he was questioned about it, we do not know if he was asked to specifically comment on the issue…all we have is a reporters version of what was said. (The article seems to make it seem like he is a goofy old man who is ranting and raving.)
People have taken this quote (and others that will follow) and labeled him as a hater, a dumb, ignorant hillbilly who is stupid and intolerant. (I would simply point out that this “dumb hillbilly” has proven that the American Dream still works as he started with nothing and began a business that is today a multi-million dollar industry and has also morphed into a household name. Not bad for a “hillbilly!”)
Later on in the article we see the following…
What does repentance entail? Well, in Robertson’s worldview, America was a country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.), and he believes that the gradual removal of Christian symbolism from public spaces has diluted those founding principles. (He and Si take turns going on about why the Ten Commandments ought to be displayed outside courthouses.) He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”
What, in your mind, is sinful?
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
And finally we see him say this towards the end (although it does not seem this part is getting a lot of attention…)
As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
- Phil was not on some drunken tirade that was caught by someone’s iPhone and posted on YouTube.
- Phil was not making a political statement or running for office.
- Phil was not calling for a boycott.
- Phil was not asking for anyone to be beaten up or even politically opposed.
- Phil did NOT say he hated anyone (in fact, we see quite the opposite in his last quote above.)
He was simply expressing his right as an American that we’ve supposedly been given by our Constitution to free speech–and because his views are not in line with political correctness the A&E network has suspended him indefinitely.
The issue here to me is NOT A&E. They do not claim to be a Christian company…and I believe holding non-Christians or business that are not Christian to Christian standards is a little silly.
The issue is actually the ability for someone who has a strongly held belief that homosexuality is a sin should have the right to express their views in a non-hateful, non-judgmental way. (I also believe those who favor homosexuality should be able to express their views in a non-hateful, non-judgmental way as well!) Free speech is free speech!
Years ago the phrase that was associated with someone who was gay and wanted the world to know was “coming out of the closet,” yet we seem to live in a world now where if anyone thinks that sort of behavior is sinful that we are supposed to go into a closet.
I do not believe this is right, nor is it fair and someone should speak up. We have all seen extremely graphic words and things on television that are deeply offensive to those who believe homosexuality to be a sin that strongly and overtly support homosexuality; however, when one guy on a TV show about rednecks, family and hunting shares his viewpoint in a non-hateful way the world loses its mind.
People are screaming for “tolerance;” however, tolerance has morphed into the idea that, “if you believe EXACTLY what I believe then you are RIGHT, and ANYTHING you believe other than EXACTLY what I believe is wrong and hateful.” The irony of that argument is actually the intolerance of the argument itself.
There is a double standard. No one in the media seems to lose their minds when a movie star, singer or corporation speaks out in favor of homosexuality; in fact, they are often lifted up as brave, courageous and heroes for taking such a stand.
But let someone say that, as a follower of Christ, they do not support that homosexuality is an acceptable behavior and WWIII breaks out (point in case, Phil Robertson.)
As a follower of Jesus Christ and a believer in the Scriptures I do believe homosexuality is a sin; however, I do not believe it is the ONLY sin…it is not a sin I am obsessed with attacking, nor do I think that a Christians sole purpose in life should be to put a STOP to homosexuality. (AND…to be fair…I have always thought of homosexuality NOT in a category by itself, but rather in the category of sexual immorality. Jesus clearly stated in Matthew 19:4-6 that sex and marriage was designed by God for a male and female.)
What we need (from BOTH sides) is less condemnation and more conversation as my biggest concern in this entire eruption is NOT gay or straight…but someone’s right as an American to express their belief in a non-hateful way towards any issue with which they hold deep convictions.
I am deeply saddened by A&E’s decision and am quite positive they will soon discover that Duck Dynasty does not need A&E…but rather that A&E actually needs Duck Dynasty.
What should be a person who follows Jesus and believes this is wrong do next?
#1 – Pray for Phil and his family as I am sure they are getting way more attention than they ever imagined they would.
#2 – Do not attack A&E or be hateful towards them in any way…JESUS said they will know we are Christians by the love we show, not the venom we throw.
#3 – Publicly support Phil on social media by expressing love, support and prayers (NOT hate filled comments) by using #standwithphil
#4 – Understand that the issue of sexual immorality is NOT a political football to be tossed around…but rather a serious issue with which people have deep hurt, regret and pain associated with ANY type of sexually immoral sin.
#5 – Do not fear a conversation with someone who may see sexuality differently than you. AND…do not try to bash them with the Bible…because, you may “win the argument” but lose the relationship.
#6 – Do not be afraid to share your views (when asked) in a non-hateful, non-condemning way. Because…
#7 – God does NOT “hate fags.” He hates sin…because He KNOWS the long-term damage it causes, the life it robs us of…and because (MOST OF ALL) it cost Him the blood of His SON!
Christmas season is a reminder that GOD cares and is deeply concerned for all of us (even those who do not believe JUST like we believe!) If you are a follower of Christ…let’s stand solid on this without communicating hate, that’s what Jesus did…and HIS impact is still changing the world!