Is it really cause for suspension or termination if when you are directly asked "What in your mind is sinful?" you refer to the Bible and include homosexuality in your response? Gay activists (GLADD) say YES. But their power to shape the national dialogue on the rightness or wrongness of homosexual behavior has been broken this week, or at least dialed down, by an unlikely fellow with a long beard in camo, Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson.
The way gays suffered and cared for their own during the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s infused great moral authority into their struggle for acceptance. But those lessons seem lost in the wake of more recent legal victories. Now that they have gained a measure of legitimacy in the courts their advocates speak with far less humility, far greater presumption. In the recent A&E Duck Dynasty dust-up I watched GLAAD spokespersons all over the news and entertainment venues make the argument that to label homosexual behavior as “sin” is wrong. “America has moved on. This is not what the majority of Americans or even the majority of Christians believe any more.”
The GLTB community has won a Supreme Court decision that declared Texas anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional. They have won decisions that basically struck down Prop 8 in California and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. And eighteen states now allow them to marry. These favorable rulings have given them a sense of inevitable victory and, so they have thought, compelling moral authority. But there is a big difference between choosing to permit homosexual marriage and judging homosexual behavior to be morally right. In our pluralistic society Americans may tend to allow people to do what we believe is wrong as long as we don’t think it’s harming others. (Although there is growing research to the contrary.)
A&E initially thought that the Duck Dynasty debacle pitted the moral authority and power of gays against a charming but prejudiced Southern backwoods redneck family. But the gay activists could not control the narrative. When more and more journalists actually read what Phil Robertson said in the GQ interview that started the uproar this is what they found: ““Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he [Robertson] says. “Sin becomes fine.”
What, in your mind, is sinful? [The GQ interviewer asks him directly]
“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.” A fairly faithful quotation of the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (6:9-10). Phil is famous for preaching that we are all sinners and all in need of God's forgiveness through Jesus.
Increasingly the record showed that the conflict actually pitted the moral authority and power of the gay community against the moral authority and power of the Bible. With surprising results. Phil’s family said they could not imagine doing the show without him. Cracker Barrel returned Duck Dynasty merchandise to its stores. Major TV sponsors of Duck Dynasty (WalMart and Target) stood by Robertson, as did GLBT advocates like Camille Paglia and many other journalists and intelligentsia who questioned the presumption, political correctness and intolerance of the gay activists (Saturday Night Live not withstanding…”Sometimes you really can judge a book by its cover”).
If when you are directly asked "What in your mind is sinful?" you refer to the Bible and include homosexuality in your response…A&E has finally decided that is not a terminable offense. Just a personal opinion.
GLADD is outraged. A&E promises to air a national public service campaign "promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people" on all its affiliated networks, which include the History Channel and Lifetime. And many Americans are not as ready as the gay community may have thought to write off the Bible as a source of moral authority.
The great preacher Charles Spurgeon is famous for saying, “The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend a lion. All you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.”
I agree with Robertson’s family: some of his remarks were pretty crude. They were delivered without much empathy or compassion for gays. If we were going to define “What is a sin?” we might start with pride or unbelief rather than homosexuality. But Phil Robertson grounded his belief that homosexual behavior is sin in the Word of God. And many surprised Americans saw it roar.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”