Skip to comments.An Oh-So-Subtle Twist (Homosexuality)
Posted on 01/06/2014 9:07:43 AM PST by Gamecock
It seems the recent firestorm surrounding Phil Robertsons suspension from the show Duck Dynasty has subsided. A&E has reinstated him with no further repercussions. Make no mistake, that was a purely financial decision. It was very clear to me on Day One that A&E needs the Robertsons far more than the Robertsons need A&E, and I was certain the final resolution would reflect that fact. So it has.
Ive been mulling over one phenomenon I couldnt help but notice throughout the controversy, something that has been slightly bothering me. A great many evangelical Christians responded (even in the pieces I happened to really like) this way: I dont really have a problem with what Phil Robertson said (though it was uncouth), but I have problems with what he didnt say.
Now, usually it is a very small matter when somebody criticizes silences, what so-and-so didnt say. But there was a uniform pattern to this criticism this time around, a widespread agreement over the particular thing Phil should have said but didnt. In short, the thing Phil Robertson should have said is we are all sinners and that homosexual behavior is but one sin among many.
Regarding its truth, I have no doubts. Regarding its wisdom in many contexts, I have no doubts. Regarding its value as either a rule or a cogent criticism, I have many doubts.
Let me use an illustrative analogy to explain what I mean.
Imagine the New York Times in 2008 had approached Pastor Tim Keller to ask what he thought of the arrest of Bernie Madoff for the incredible Ponzi scheme he used to defraud billions of dollars from investors. Keller responds with something like, Economic fraud is a terrible sin, and Bernie Madoff should repent and turn to Jesus for forgiveness.
I cannot imagine a single Christian pastor, teacher, evangelist, apologist, journalist, writer, social critic or observer criticizing that quote with the following: While I agree with Pastor Keller, he really should have emphasized that economic fraud is just one sin among many and we are all sinners.
I believe the same is true with almost any other sin: lying, cheating, stealing, assault, murder, and so forth. Nobody has any difficulty with people singling out and specifying these things as sin. Nobody gets their ire up because somebody in a given instance criticized a thief but left out the adulterer.
In my experience there is one, and precisely one sin we are not allowed to single out. Not allowed to declare as sin without that familiar, contextualizing epilogue that goes, Well, but, this is just one sin among many and were all sinners.
Herein lies the irony. In the name of not singling out homosexual conduct we are, in fact, singling out homosexual conduct. If it is the only sin we treat with these special kid gloves, then we are guilty of treating this sin differently than the others. We are minimizing it in a way we do not minimize any other sin. It seems to me a simple fact that we do not treat any other sin according to this contextualization rule. Nobody demands it, and it doesnt really occur to us.
Now, lest I be misunderstood, let me make something clear. I believe that usually, meaning the vast majority of circumstances, contextualizing sin and making clear that we are all sinners in need of Gods grace is the wise and true course of action. It is not as though I dont think thats a good idea. I am simply noticing here and criticizing the idea that this must be some kind of rule, as though if I dont add this epilogue I am somehow selling the gospel short. That isnt true because the Bible itself gives myriad examples of teachers singling out particular sins (James and the abuse of wealth, for example) without feeling the need to add this ultra-sensitive, But were all sinners and this is just one among many. In fact, the Bible itself rarely speaks that way. Precisely because a single sin is one among many, the Bible feels free to single them out whenever and wherever it feels like it.
And when I consider that this rule only makes its public appearance when the one, specific sin of homosexual conduct is the issue, I think we ought to ask ourselves: where is this rule really coming from? It strikes me as an oh-so-subtle scheme whereby we all willingly and rigorously downplay the very sin with which the world is presently in thrall. And, as icing on the cake, the Devil even gets Christians to do his policing for him. Ahem
If youre sharing the gospel message with anyone struggling with any particular sin, by all means, make clear that we are all sinners and that Gods forgiveness is big enough for every single sin. But if a journalist asks you a general question along the lines of, Is X a sin? you are not obliged to add that So are Y and Z. In fact, Im becoming of the mind that we should self-consciously resist that temptation and keep it simple:
Its. A. Sin.
That seems to be the one sentence people least want to hear. So perhaps its the one sentence we most need to speak.
Actually - that is EXACTLY what Robertson said. "Just start with homosexuality and morph out from there..." (I think I have the quote correct.)
I have not heard or seen one single individual that has criticized Robertson for what he did not say. I believe this author to be making up an issue to separate himself from Robertson - in spite of what was actually said.
Robertson was asked a specific question; I don’t see why he should have been expected to give a generalized answer.
If there was something lacking in Robertson’s answer, it was that he didn’t go far enough and say that laws against homosexual conduct that were deemed unconstitutional only 10 years ago should be reinstated.
Actually, it is the defining Sin of the last days.
I cannot imagine a single Christian pastor, teacher, evangelist, apologist, journalist, writer, social critic or observer criticizing that quote with the following: While I agree with Pastor Keller, he really should have emphasized that economic fraud is just one sin among many and we are all sinners. Can you?
IIRC, “Phil Robertson [DID SAY] we are all sinners and that homosexual behavior is but one sin among many” - and he listed other sins. The ‘problem’ wasn’t that he forgot to say we are all sinners, but that he included homosexuality as one of the sins.
There are two reasons to add “we are all sinners”. One is to legitimately recognize that no list of sins is all inclusive and that none of use earn heaven or forgiveness. The other and illegitimate use is to let people remain comfortable in their continued sinning, because ‘surely God won’t punish us all’.
“We are all sinners” too often turns into “Let’s all sin”.
I agree with the writer. No one says, “Lying is sin, but of course we are all sinners”, or, “Gluttony is sin, but we are all sinners”.
Furthermore, homosexuality IS a special sin, as is murder. While all sin separates us from God, some sins are more obviously evil that others, and create greater damage. If our society started approving of murder, as it does with abortion, we ought to recoil in horror. It means there is no consciousness of sin left.
When everyone is society is expected to applaud one man sticking his penis in another man’s rump, our society has obviously degraded to an amazing degree. The behavior is so obviously wrong and unnatural that no one has an excuse for not recognizing it as sin. And thus a society that normalizes it is giving God the middle finger salute, and daring God to punish us...
When the practice of homosexuality was first brought out into the open during the 1980s many people understandable reacted with revulsion. Perhaps there was some overreaction, but generally there was a natural reaction to such an overt sin.
Thereafter, many evangelicals somehow allowed the cultural elites to shame them into submission on homosexuality. There followed this great equivocation of homosexuals and those with AIDS as being morally equal to lepers. While this is a false moral equivalency, I do understand the pure interest of seeking compassion, love and forgiveness to all. Moreover, yes, I agree, we shouldn't fixate on one sin.
However, what many evangelicals failed to grasp was that the homosexual movement was not about people who contracted a dread disease and simply needed compassion, they failed to recognize that the homosexual movement was militant and continues to seek the destruction of Christian values in totality. So in the very basic sense they fail to see to the whole picture.
I remember on more than one occasion being told, on a collective level, that we ought to extend compassion and not focus on one sin. While I agreed, I asked one speaker about the militants who want to take over the curriculum in my children's grade school. The answer was that this person felt the pendulum of focus swung too far. But, again, what is not understood is that many want to be left alone by the militant homosexuals don't want to leave things alone, they want the destruction of moral values.
So, in the end, many Christians observed what leaders have said about homosexuality and walked away from the moral debate. For reasons not fully understood, people were embarrassed by about past activity of organizations such as the Moral Majority. But now that we walked away, the homosexuals have eagerly stepped up to fill the moral vacuum and we are in far worse shape now than we ever were with homosexuals successfully mainstreaming this sinful and repugnant behavior.
We erred, I believe, because we allowed our culture to shame us into silence. And we valued our culture's approval more than we valued the Word of God.
Do we need to be compassionate knowing that sin enslaves people? Yes, of course. It is not our job to persecute through words or deeds, but we should not back away or be ashamed to fully state what sin is, and always doing so in a careful and thoughtful manner that best represents Christ.
New recruiting slogan under Odumbo’s residency...
“Join the military and never leave your buddy’s behind.”
I can remember when real men thought this sort of thing was laughable and would get you kicked out, then we weren’t supposed to ask and they weren’t supposed to tell. Hell, I’m glad I retired before this crap becomes mandatory.
I don’t feel a particular need to qualify it like that. It’s a disgusting unnatural perversion. Full stop.
Very succinctly put.
why are we even discussing this?
I’m glad that Robertson didn’t fall to his knees groveling, begging forgiveness and weeping, like so many people do. He stood his ground, and got respect. This should be a lesson to all the normal people.
If you apologize they see blood and go in for the kill. If you hold firm, they don’t know what to do - they thought they could control us.
We should name sins while realizing we are all sinners. Babies born without fathers, most divorce, sleeping around...those are sins no one mentions anymore because there are too many of us doing these things.
When we pray and ask forgiveness we should name our sins. Named sins are the correct way to go. We never claim to name then all.
I don’t agree with the article. Our society currently addresses these issues in a different manner and therefore the response to such issues is different.
There aren’t large activist groups demanding rights for cheaters, thiefs etc. and they don’t get equal representation or more than equal representation on television in the spirit of equality or fairness or an attempt to teach the public that stealing is just as good as not stealing. Approximately 2% of the population has achieved similar standing to those who suffer under the abuses of slavery and lynching, separate drinking fountains etc.
Also, those who lie and cheat, steal etc. seem to maintain their acts at arms length from their identity. We may call them liars but I always get the impression that they consider themselves as an average person who “had” to lie or something or a normal person who can turn on and off a switch if the want or “need to” but that in the “off position”, they are acceptable. Homosexuals are more likely (in my experience) to identify their sexuality as their identity. They are less likely to function as if they are a person with a sex drive but more likely to function as a sex-drive-based person. So comments about homosexuality are often perceived as comments about core identity of members of the population.
I am not catholic but I think I just read somewhere that catholics believe homosexuality is not a sin but the act is a sin. I believe that gays do not believe or will not accept that this division exists in the thinking of others. I don’t think it makes sense to them.
If gays don’t or won’t separate the act from the individual, then statements from Christians about the act are perceived as the desire of Christians to denounce and “hate” the individual while quoting from the bible or biblical standards. By this, I mean it seems in some quarters to be interpreted as “God hates you.” I believe Christ died on the cross to save us all - me as well as my gay friends. I believe God would disapprove of those in the Westboro Church (did I get the name right) who try to teach that God hates gays. Who would ever trust God, turn to God if they were taught that he hates them and is eager to scorch them in hell??
So I can see the need to try to clear up some confusion. Someone left flyers on the windows of the cars in my church’s parking lot. The flyers denounced Christians as being filled with hate toward gays. The pastor contacted the individual and asked to have coffee with him. Among some of the statements the young man made, he said “You Christians act like you are better than other people, like your sins don’t count.” The pastor said he had to agree with the young man that sometimes some Christians may act like that and when they do so, when they elevate themselves above the honest confession of their own sin, they are not in compliance with the bible because God has said all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God etc.
Some gays have been told by some rage filled people claiming to be quoting from the bible that “God hates you.” Others simply willfully interpret any quote on any topic from the bible as hate.
But this issue is treated differently in our society (in some quarters, willfully confusing the issue) and I think it is wise to try to help people understand that making statements about what the bible teaches does not mean representing yourself as without sin or more loved by God than anyone else He ever created.
Wonder what the libs would do if there was found a “gay gene” in unborn children, and the parents started aborting them for that reason.
years ago, I found that the people who HATE homos the most are the average working man who does not go to church.