On Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty

What do I think about the Phil Robertson issue? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Normally, I don’t post on Saturday, but next week is Christmas and I will be busy and I have other reviews going on and this topic is important to cover right now so with a few hours before the podcast today airs, I’m going to give some thoughts on this one.

I can also say that I have never actually seen an entire episode of Duck Dynasty. My wife and I do not get A&E. I’ve only seen the tail end of one episode when we went to visit my parents and I remember seeing a truck get blown up (Which I thought was awesome) and having the family gather together for prayer and a meal. I liked what I saw, but never watched more.

Yet I have been watching what has been going on and quite enjoying what I see.

Phil Robertson as we know was asked by GQ his stance on various issues. This would include sinful behavior. It’s hardly a shock to anyone that Robertson, a conservative Christian, gave an answer that a conservative Christian would do. What should he do instead? Lie? (For those wanting to talk about how a true Christian behaves and believes, a true Christian does not lie.) No. He gave an honest answer. Some say he was crude. It’s amusing that these same people quite likely have no hesitancy using profanity and probably don’t complain about a number of jokes their favorite comedians make or can show up on television elsewhere.

What did A&E do in response? They cut him out of the show for going against what they believe. A key point in this has also been that Robertson included bestiality in the list of sexual sins.

Maybe he did that because it is included in the Christian list of sexual sins? Notice also he included men and women sleeping around. If anything, since that was listed afterwards, it could be implied that he’s saying that was worse. I don’t think he was saying that. He was just listing sexual sins.

And to top it off, he gives a passage from Scripture.

Now going back to A&E’s response, a lot of people see this as a free speech issue. Upfront, I will say that this is not an issue about free speech. I will assume for the sake of argument that A&E has all right to fire Phil Robertson if they so choose. The right to speak does not entail the right to be heard or agreed with.

Of course, in turn, families all across America have a right to boycott A&E and to cancel their cable.

And before going on, I just want to ask this question. A&E, what the heck were you thinking? Duck Dynasty is your cash cow. It is the number one show in the nation. It is the reason people are watching your network. Why on Earth would you want to risk the equilibrium of that show? People who watch it already know how Phil thinks whether they agree with him or not.

That having been said then, what is the real issue here?

The real issue I think is hypocrisy.

There are many homosexuals out there who are practicing homosexuals who see no wrong with the behavior, but at the same time, they’re also not dogmatic about wanting to redefine marriage. Many of them even oppose redefining marriage. They don’t want to be the center of attention. They don’t want to make their sexual behavior the focus of their life or stake their identity in it. Of course, they don’t want to be discriminated against in other areas of life, but they’d prefer to really just be left alone.

Most Christians will have no problem with these people. Now we’ll disagree with their lifestyle, but we suspect that we can have good and honest conversation with these people about the issues. These people will also disagree with orthodox Christians. Some will claim to be Christians themselves, but I don’t see any way around 1 Cor. 6 for a Christian. Those interested in more on this are invited to read Robert Gagnon’s “The Bible and Homosexual Practice” and listen to his interview on my show here.

What do we Christians mind?

We mind the ones that are very much in our face with their lifestyle and not only wanting us to listen to them, but demanding that we accept them.

“Oh you are huh? Well what about those Bible thumpers who go around telling everyone that they’re going to Hell? What about them?”

By and large, I think they’re generally an embarrassment to the kingdom. I do. The ones that I see are generally high on passion and low on knowledge on the topic. All they know how to do is quote the Bible. Get them in a discussion where they actually have to defend the Bible and they’re toast. Of course, I am not condemning evangelism, but I do think we are in a world where the Bible no longer has the authority it had before in the eyes of the world. We need to do pre-evangelism as well.

So was Robertson doing that? No. He was just answering a question and yes, he did quote Scripture, but he didn’t just say a Scripture. He also made an argument about the nature of the body and how it works. I have no problem with that. He gave the Christian view and then said “And here’s why I think this view is true.”

GLAAD of course would have none of it and immediately made a protest. Unfortunately, this has come back to bite them. GLAAD has been receiving complaints from people everywhere and if you go to their Facebook page, the people are livid. What do they point at? The hypocrisy.

All this time, the homosexual movement has been saying we should tolerate them. We should have a live and let live attitude. We should be willing to accept that they are different. Classically understood, Christians will have no problem tolerating homosexuals. True tolerance means “I disagree with your view, but I will give you all right to hold that view and live your life the way you want.” (Of course, this excludes actions that are illegal.)

The government with behavior can do three things after all. It can promote a behavior and say this is what we want society to do. It can prohibit a behavior and say this is what it doesn’t want society to do. It can also permit a behavior as a way of saying they’re not saying yes or no either way but leaving it up to people to decide.

Right now, the government permits homosexual behavior. There’s nothing illegal about it. That’s not saying anything about it being right or wrong. After all, the government permits adultery and Christians should condemn adultery. The government permits some forms of pornography (Excepting child pornography of course) despite that Christians consider (or they should!) that to be immoral as well.

Knowing that, most Christians will do the same. We’re up for having honest and frank discussions with people in the homosexual community who disagree with us. I have friends who are part of that community. I have friends who I disagree with on many issues and we know we disagree, but we can maturely discuss the issues.

GLAAD is not pleased with that. They don’t want discussion. They have shut down discussion immediately instead. When it comes to what Robertson has said, the question has not been asked “Is he right?” Personally, I think that would be a good question for us to discuss. Let’s suppose for the sake of argument that Christianity is true. Let’s suppose God does have a Kingdom. Let’s suppose this really is a behavior that excludes you from the Kingdom.

Isn’t that the kind of thing people should know about?

Let’s even suppose for the sake of argument that Christianity is false. However, Phil Robertson still believes that it is true. He honestly believes that people who are participating in homosexual behavior without repentance and not seeking to repent are going to be excluded from the Kingdom of God?

Isn’t it consistent for him to want to warn people about that?

GLAAD has decided to skip the step of if what is said is true or not. Now they could say “Well we’ve studied the claim and we’ve found that it’s not true.” Okay. Perhaps you think you have. Has your audience? What about people out there who think otherwise? What about people like myself who say we’ve studied the Bible and found it to be true and we agree with it here? We need to hear more than your indignation.

All this time GLAAD has been telling us to be tolerant of people who are different, but apparently, when someone shows up who is different from them, then that tolerance goes out the window. They no longer have a desire to be tolerant. They not only refuse dissenting arguments. They refuse dissenting opinions. If you speak out and say something that offends them, then they will come after you.

I’ve debated Muslims before. These Muslims tell me that I’m an idolater and a blasphemer. I am guilty of the sin of shirk for since I hold to the deity of Christ and the Trinity, I am assigning partners to God. I deserve to go to Hell forever.

And you know what? If Islam is true, they’re exactly right! If Jesus is not who He claimed to be, I am guilty of a great blasphemy anyway and I deserve what I get.

Am I offended by this? Not a bit! I think the Muslims are being entirely consistent.

When the Muslim says that, what do I say? I don’t go off on a tirade about being offended and therefore it is wrong. What I do is give my reasons why I think the Bible is true and why I do not think that the Koran is true. My reasons could be wrong for the sake of argument, but I give a reason.

What has happened with GLAAD is instead of focusing on the question under discussion, we are instead focusing on the feelings of those involved. If GLAAD feels offended, we cannot help with that. We cannot change what we believe is the truth just to help them feel better. What this ultimately means if we keep going down the route of discussing the feelings involved is that we are held captive by GLAAD’s feelings.

And why should we be?

Should we submit the truth to our feelings or submit our feelings to the truth?

GLAAD’s problem is that they are not practicing the gospel that they preach. The tolerance is a one-way street. If you agree and accept them, they are fine with you, but if you dare raise disagreement, GLAAD isn’t so…well…glad.

An interesting example of the kind of tactics GLAAD is doing is in the interview discussion between Al Mohler and Wilson Cruz. Do you know who these people are? Well let me tell you a bit about them.

“Wilson Cruz currently serves as a full-time GLAAD staff member and national spokesperson, having spoken about LGBT issues on MSNBC, Huffington Post Live, NBC Latino and in USA Today, among many others. He will soon be guest hosting ‘Raising McCain,’ the new talk show on Pivot TV hosted by Meghan McCain. His involvement with LGBT advocacy began in 1995, when he accepted the GLAAD Media Award on behalf of the groundbreaking drama, My So-Called Life. Cruz’s role as gay high school student Rickie Vasquez was a groundbreaking moment in the history of LGBT images in the media. Since then he has gone on to appear in several memorable roles that have spanned television, film, and the Broadway stage. In 1997, Cruz joined GLAAD’s Board of Directors. In 2008, GLAAD honored Cruz with its Visibilidad Award. He recently served on the Board of Directors for The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and for the past two years he co-chaired their annual Respect Awards which raises money for the organization. Cruz also worked at The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force as a Field Organizer, advocating in cities around the United States to expand human rights ordinances to includes sexual orientation. He has been the Grand Marshal at Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, West Hollywood and San Diego Pride events, as well volunteering for the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center and APLA’s AIDS Walk. He is based in Los Angeles.”

And to let everyone know, this is not a description I have made on my own. This is a description that comes from GLAAD’s own web site and can be found here.

Now what about Al Mohler?

“A native of Lakeland, Fla., Dr. Mohler was a Faculty Scholar at Florida Atlantic University before receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. He holds a master of divinity degree and the doctor of philosophy (in systematic and historical theology) from Southern Seminary. He has pursued additional study at the St. Meinrad School of Theology and has done research at University of Oxford (England).

Dr. Mohler also serves as the Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Seminary. His writings have been published throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to contributing to a number of collected volumes, he is the author of several books, including Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Multnomah); Desire & Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance (Multnomah); Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists (Crossway); He Is Not Silent: Preaching in a Postmodern World (Moody); The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness (Multnomah); and Words From the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the Ten Commandments (Moody). From 1985 to 1993, he served as associate editor of Preaching, a journal for evangelical preachers, and is currently editor-in-chief of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology.”

This is just a snippet of what can be found here.

In fact, I’ll even say I’m not a big fan of Al Mohler, but let’s suppose I didn’t know these two men from Adam. All I had was these descriptions of them and I’m hearing them speak about what Christians believe. If I have not done any research on my own, which of these two men should I give more credibility? The one who has a Christian position at a Christian ministry earning degrees in the subject from a Christian seminary, or should I listen to the one who has been an actor and works at an organization that champions homosexuality and has based his whole life on that view?

If you answered “Al Mohler has more credibility” you’re spot on!

Yet what does Cruz say to Mohler?

“You know, it is not a Christian thing to compare or to include homosexuality in a list that includes bestiality or slanderers.”

You can see that here.

Upon what authority does Cruz make this statement? Could he biblically back it?

Amusingly, Cruz goes on to say this:

“And here’s the other thing. There was a time in our history when we couldn’t actually speak up and say something about how we were being characterized. That is no longer today. When someone speaks about us in these ways, we will rise up. We will speak out. And the problem with some of these people on the other side is that they don’t like that anymore. They want us to stay quiet. But we won’t stay quiet when someone makes misogynists statements, when they make racist statements the way that Mr. Robertson did. That’s not American. That’s not Christian. ”

Yes. The problem is people don’t like the way that homosexuals speak out and they want them to stay quiet. This is incredibly funny considering that Cruz and his colleagues want Robertson to be silenced and stay quiet. They don’t want him to speak up at all or say his opinion.

In fact, let’s suppose for the sake of argument that Robertson made misogynist and/or racist statements.

He has freedom to do that too! If he’s a racist, he has that freedom. If he’s a misogynist, he has that freedom. It doesn’t mean he’s right to do so, but he’s free to do so. If you want to silence him, do so with an argument as to why it’s wrong.

What we can hope is that this will instead show that the homosexual narrative is not playing the way it is. We are told that more and more people are coming over to the homosexual side, at least supporting them. This should show that they are not and GLAAD has now shown their hand and the people who support Phil Robertson are angry about it. The message has been given loud and clear. “Do not speak out against us or we will deal with you.”

What this demonstrates is something I have said for awhile. Tolerance has been a sham. It’s always been a one-way street. It was never meant to go both ways. As soon as the homosexuals have the power, they misuse it just as much as anyone else would. They have wanted us to live and let live, but they do not want us to do that, unless we’re just isolated to the private sphere. We dare not be public with our faith, though the homosexual can be public with his lifestyle.

My hope in this is that we will instead get the debate started again and maybe some Christians will wake up and realize what is going on in their world around them and come out of their enclosed societies where they never interact with the world. What we see here today is that Christians are still a force to be reckoned with.

And now, they are ready to show that they will not be bullied any longer.

Where we go from here is up to everyone else and to what you and I do, but this is not a free speech issue in my view. It is a hypocrisy issue and it is time we call the other side on it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Dr. J and Tyler Clementi

Has too much been read into a comment? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Yesterday, I found out that Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, known as Dr. J, of the Ruth Institute, was on the receiving end of some remarks from leftist homosexual activists concerning her supposedly misusing the suicide of a young man named Tyler Clementi. Dr. J is someone I consider a friend so I wanted to look into this since I have never known her to be anything but loving and respecting. I remember meeting her in NC one time and being introduced as her friend when we hadn’t spoken that much. I happily accept the title. I’m very proud of Dr. J’s commitment to marriage.

Still, I wanted to be as fair as I could. I talked to her and she said she would let me listen to the podcast without comment first so I wouldn’t be swayed by her. Fair enough. I listened twice. Then I questioned her about it. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of her response from what I heard, but later on, I looked back at it again and realized “Why yes. That makes perfect sense.” As it turns out, I had misinterpreted just as well. For that, I do offer my great apologies, but I want the reader to know that Dr. J was fine with me listening and coming to my own conclusions. That is her great character there.

So what is going on? At a talk, Dr. J spoke about how some people in the homosexual community get exploited. Okay. Let’s start there before we go on. Are we going to say this never happens? Is it the case that no one in the homosexual community could never take advantage of another homosexual in a sexual sense? There really doesn’t seem to be much controversial about that. You could be someone who thinks homosexuality is perfectly okay, and still agree with it. I think heterosexuality is what is right, but I am freely able to admit this happens. I would also admit this can even sadly happen in marriage when a spouse is treated as just an object of sexual pleasure and nothing else.

Let’s hope we’re agreed then. Sexual exploitation happens and it’s wrong.

In talking about this, Dr. J told Catholic students, who share her worldview, that she thinks chaste friendships should be what is sought. The idea I gather is that men need to form friendships with homosexual men and women need to form them with homosexual women. They need to be treated like men and women regardless of their sexual attraction. If I’m wrong on her stance, I’m open to correction.

Dr. J also said that in our culture, we sexualize everything. Will anyone disagree with this? You can’t go anywhere without finding sex being an active part. Now to an extent, this is understandable. I think that being too open about sex is a problem, but so is being prudish. I found the Ragu commercial during the Olympics absolutely hysterical and I think there is a fun and open way for Christians to maturely talk about sex, and no, I don’t mind the joke about it from time to time. It’s a funny topic after all!

Yet for us, any relationship is automatically sexualized and this can give us confusion in our society. Dr. J said that as a woman, she should have only one sexual relationship. As a married man, I am the same way. The only relationship I should have that has a sexual component to it is the one I have with my wife. In our society, too often sex is made a part of most every relationship.

Now in light of talking about sexual exploitation and the homosexual community, she told about Tyler Clementi. The story from GLAAD on Clementi is that he was a student at Rutger’s who committed suicide after his roommate recorded him kissing another man.

When this was brought up by Dr. J, she asked the students if they knew about this. Admittedly, on the recording, this part seems ambiguous. You can’t tell what the students say. Dr. J says she won’t go into it. My first impression was that that meant the students already knew about it. I have been told that that is not correct. What happened was no one had any clue and it would have been seen as a tangent and a long one to explain at a Q&A so don’t go into it while other people are waiting for questions.

Dr. J had said that people can be caught by activists in the homosexual group who might want to use them to further push their own agenda. Would anyone really deny that this is plausible at least? Don’t people in politics use other people on a regular basis to further their own agenda without taking into account the person?

Let’s state some things further that I don’t think would need to be stated, but I’m sure Dr. J would agree with.

First, that this happened to Tyler Clementi is a tragedy. Suicide is always a sad thing. I don’t know anyone in this debate who is looking at the suicide of Tyler Clementi as a good thing. It is something that we all wish to avoid.

Second, the action of the roommate was also wrong. In our culture of sexting and such, too often these kinds of incidents spread around the internet like wildfire. Yes. It is wrong for several young women to be sharing sexual pictures of themselves, but what we do with it is worse.

Third, bullying of anyone is wrong. This is also the case by the way for the homosexual activists on Dr. J’s facebook page. For all the time they spend talking about love and tolerance, they sure don’t show it. In fact, their comments are further confirmation of what Dr. J has said consistently. We can expect this kind of treatment when we speak against the party line. That they give Dr. J this treatment now is reason enough to suspect that if they gain power, they’ll do even worse.

In fact, GLAAD in a page complaining about Dr. J lists statements she’s made they don’t like. That’s their choice! They have a right to not like her statements and positions! What they don’t have on the page unfortunately is reasons why Dr. J’s opinions are wrong! Saying “I don’t like X!” does not count as an argument against X. It could be for the sake of argument that Dr. J is wrong. It is not enough to show she is wrong by having outrage.

So getting back to what was going on, in the worst case scenario, it was a statement that a young man could have been taken advantage of by someone in the homosexual community and the tragic ending of that was suicide. Who would deny that this is a plausible situation? Who would deny that this is also a possible situation?

The sad reality also is that exploitation will still sadly go on. There will be people who will use the death of Tyler Clementi to push their own agenda. The sad reality is that GLAAD could very well be doing the same thing. Does that mean that they are doing that? No. It means they need to be aware of that possibility.

As it stands right now, it’s my contention that this whole thing is being blown out of proportion. In fact, Dr. J has offered to meet with the Clementis. Personally, that sounds like an excellent idea. Let them meet and discuss the situation and see if they think Dr. J did something wrong. I do not doubt if Dr. J was given a convincing reason to show that something she did was improper, she would be the first to offer an apology. We would not need to ask her to. She is that kind of person.

Hopefully, we can move past the accusations that have been going on and try to sit down and listen to what is being said. We may not like it, but our dislike is not an argument in itself. No matter what position one takes in this debate, one needs to try to have a rational basis for what they think.

Let’s hope the apostles of tolerance and open-mindedness and diversity are willing to consider this approach. Somehow, I doubt it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

GLAAD’s page complaining about Dr. J as well as links to their position on Tyler Clementi can be found here: http://www.glaad.org/cap/jennifer-roback-morse