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Sorry American Jesus, St. Paul Agrees With Phil Robertson

Phil Robertson spoke in his church on Sunday. [1] From the report:

Earlier he stood in front of the small class, at White’s Ferry Road Church wearing his full camouflage suit and addressed the group for around 45 minutes.

He said: ‘I have been immoral, drunk, high. I ran with the wicked people for 28 years and I have run with the Jesus people since and the contrast is astounding.

‘I tell people, “You are a sinner, we all are. Do you want to hear my story before I give you the bottom line on your story?”

‘We murder each other and we steal from one another, sex and immorality goes ballistic. All the diseases that just so happen to follow sexual mischief… boy there are some microbes running around now.

‘Sexual sins are numerous and many, I have a few myself. So what is your safest course of action? If you’re a man, find yourself a woman, marry them and keep your sex right there.

‘You can have fun, but one thing is for sure, as long as you are both healthy in the first place, you are not going to catch some debilitating illness, there is safety there.

‘Commonsense says we are not going to procreate the human race unless we have a man and a woman. From the beginning Jesus said, “It is a man and a woman.” Adam was made and Eve was made for this reason. They left their fathers and mothers and be united to become one flesh, that’s what marriage is all about.

‘But we looked at it and said it was an outdated stereotype. When you look back at the human race, the sins have always been the same: We get high, we get drunk, we get laid, we steal and kill.

‘Has this changed at all from the time God burnt up whole cities because their every thought was evil?’

More:

Then reading from the Bible he said, ‘The acts of the sinful nature are obvious. Sexual immorality, is number one on the list. How many ways can we sin sexually? My goodness. You open up that can of worms and people will be mad at you over it.

‘I am just reading what was written over 2000 years ago. Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom. All I did was quote from the scriptures, but they just didn’t know it. Whether I said it, or they read it, what’s the difference? The sins are the same, humans haven’t changed.”

More raw Christianity from a raw man. And you know, if you have a problem with the substance of what Phil Robertson said here, you have a problem with the Bible and St. Paul, who wrote in I Corinthians 6: 9-11 [2]:

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 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  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.

Granted, I prefer the far more irenic approach of Pope Francis, but it cannot be denied that Phil Robertson is only repeating what St. Paul said. So many American churches are embarrassed by Paul, because his teaching — which is fundamental to Christianity — clashes head-on with modern sensibilities. What kind of Christianity is it that decides it doesn’t have to take St. Paul and his letters, which are in the canon of Holy Scripture, seriously?

This, I think, is the deeper thing being revealed by the Phil Robertson controversy: how ignorant most Americans are of the Bible and the Christian tradition. If you are a Christian and are shocked by what Phil Robertson says, you should wonder why that is, given that he’s either closely paraphrasing Scripture, or stating basic Christian doctrine, though in ways you would expect to come out of the mouth of a duck hunter from north Louisiana, as opposed to an Oxbridge theologian. Writing on the Atlantic site, Larry Alex Taunton says that the real issue here [3]is that you cannot easily reconcile contemporary attitudes towards homosexuality with Christianity. Excerpt:

Missing in the controversy over A&E’s handling of its golden goose—or duck, rather—is the fact that the real conflict here is not between Robertson and A&E; it is between gay activists and a solid majority of Christians who believe homosexual acts are wrong. As indicated above, Robertson’s views are hardly anomalous. Christians may disagree on the details, but the Bible strongly condemns homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments; the marriage model of one man and one woman is first given by God in Genesis 2 and reiterated by Jesus in Matthew 19; and in Romans 1 the Apostle Paul denounces homosexuality as a hallmark of a degenerate culture. The point here isn’t that you have to believe any of this, but many Christians do believe it and feel morally bound to believe it.

Instead of acknowledging this tension, however, A&E, GLAAD, and their supporters have responded with disingenuous expressions of shock and horror.  And it matters that it’s disingenuous, because if they actually acknowledged that there is a genuine conflict between orthodox Christianity and homosexual sex (along with several forms of heterosexual sex) they would have to confront head-on the fact that calling for a boycott or pressuring for Robertson’s suspension tells orthodox Christians that their religion is no longer acceptable, and that’s not a very politically correct thing to do. Right now, they are trying to weasel out of it by characterizing Robertson as a backwoods bigot who takes his moral cues from Deliverance rather than from a straightforward reading of the Bible and the historic teachings of the Christian religion.

On the substance of the matter, there is not much difference between Pope Francis, the Advocate magazine’s Person Of The Year, and Phil Robertson. People who think there is simply don’t understand the Christian religion as it has been practiced and understood for almost all of its existence — even if they profess that religion. St. Paul’s teaching about sexual purity, which has its roots in Hebrew religion, is far more difficult to cast aside than his opinions about whether or not women should speak in church.

Christianity is not just the parts we like and find easy to take. It includes the hard stuff too. If in his GQ interview Robertson had read the riot act to the rich who grind the faces of the poor, he wouldn’t have been in trouble at all. He would have been well-grounded in Christianity had he said that — not just from the Gospels, but from St. Paul’s teaching. Here he is in I Timothy 6:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Frankly, I would like to hear what Phil Robertson, who is extremely wealthy, has to preach about the temptations of money. It’s easy for people to condemn sins that they aren’t subject to; I don’t think the Duckmen are tempted by homosexuality. Then again, Phil condemned his own past sexual sinfulness in his sermon on Sunday. This is not a man who claims to have been spotless. Anyway, my sense of Robertson is that if he were to shut up or retract his words for the sake of saving his TV show, he would consider himself to be exactly the kind of weak believer St. Paul condemns in I Timothy.

The point of all this is to say that Phil Robertson is taking the Bible more seriously than many of his detractors. You may, of course, believe that the Bible is wrong about homosexuality, or anything else, but please don’t act shocked when people who profess to believe in the Bible as the Word of God repeat things that are written in it and say, “I believe this, and I am bound by it, because it is God’s word.”

Research data from Pew, though, shows how alienated most religious Americans are from this fundamental teaching of Christian sexual morality. [4] Excerpt:

The public is divided over whether engaging in homosexual behavior is a sin: 45% say it is a sin while an identical percentage says it is not. In 2003, a majority (55%) viewed homosexual behavior as was sinful, while 33% disagreed.

Among several religious groups, there has been relatively little change in these opinions over the past decade. Fully 78% of white evangelical Protestants view homosexual behavior as a sin; 82% said this in 2003. About as many black Protestants view homosexuality as a sin today (79%) as did so ten years ago (74%).

However, opinions among Catholics have changed substantially. In 2003, more Catholics said homosexual behavior was a sin than said it was not (49% vs. 37%). Today, a third of Catholics (33%) say it is sin, while 53% disagree.

People who attend religious services weekly or more continue to view homosexual behavior as a sin by a wide margin (67% to 24%). Nearly six-in-ten (57%) of those who attend less often think such behavior is not a sin, while 34% say it is; 10 years ago, opinion was divided (44% sin, 45% not a sin).

So, while Phil Robertson’s views on homosexuality are explicitly validated by Scripture and are thoroughly within the mainstream of Christian thought for the past 1,950 years or so, they are becoming outdated in American Christianity. I get that. Honestly, I do. What I don’t get is the ahistorical, pearl-clutching outrage over the fact that an Evangelical believes what the Bible says. O. Wesley Allen, theologian contacted by CNN to explain the passage Phil Robertson paraphrased said that it’s more complicated and nuanced than Robertson believes [5], in a way that (in Allen’s view) makes it inapplicable to gay relationships today. But he adds:

Even so, scholars such as Allen acknowledge there are no Bible passages that support same-sex relationships, and at least seven that appear to condemn gay sex.

“There’s no way around the fact that those passages take a negative view of homosexuality, and nowhere in the Bible is a positive view offered,” Allen said. “So conservatives and liberals continue to debate.”

We’ve had a couple of generations of Americans raised without basic teaching in the Bible and what it says. I was talking last night with a Protestant friend about how ignorant kids — even Christian kids — today are of common Biblical stories and themes. They don’t even know what they don’t know. It would probably shock a lot of American churchgoers to open up the New Testament and discover what they find there.

A few years back, Evangelical theologian David Nienhuis observed [6] that the students in his Scripture classes at a Christian university are shockingly illiterate on the Bible:

There are, no doubt, many reasons for the current predicament. In general we spend far less time reading anything at all in this culture, much less dense and demanding books like the Bible. Not long ago I met with a student who was struggling in one of my courses. When I asked her what she thought the trouble was, she replied, in a tone suggesting ever so slightly that the fault was mine, “Reading a lot is not a part of my learning style.” She went on to inform me that students today learned more by “watching videos, listening to music, and talking to one another.” She spoke of the great growth she experienced in youth group (where she no doubt spent a lot of time watching videos, listening to music, and talking with people), but her ignorance of the Bible clearly betrayed the fact that the Christian formation she experienced in her faith community afforded her little to no training in the actual reading of Scripture.

Indeed, a good bit of the blame for the existing crisis has to fall at the feet of historic American evangelicalism itself. In his book Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know–and Doesn’t, Stephen Prothero has drawn our attention to various religious shifts that took place as a result of the evangelistic Second Great Awakening that shook American culture in the first half of the nineteenth century, key characteristics of which continue to typify contemporary evangelical attitudes. For instance, there was a shift from learning to feeling, as revivalists of the period emphasized a heartfelt and unmediated experience of Jesus himself over religious education. While this strategy resulted in increased conversions and the creation of numerous popular nondenominational voluntary associations, it also had the effect of requiring Christians to agree to disagree when it came to doctrinal matters. There was a corresponding shift from the Bible to Jesus, as more and more Christians came to believe that the key test of Christian faithfulness was not the affirmation of a creed or catechism, or knowledge of the biblical text, but the capacity to claim an emotional relationship with what Prothero calls “an astonishingly malleable Jesus–an American Jesus buffeted here and there by the shifting winds of the nation’s social and cultural preoccupations.”

The most important shift, according to Prothero, was the shift from theology to morality. The nondenominationalist trend among Protestants tended to avoid doctrinal conflicts by searching for agreements in the moral realm. Christian socialists, such as Charles Sheldon, taught us to ask not “What does the Bible say?” but “What would Jesus do?” Advocates of the Social Gospel, such as Walter Rauschenbusch, taught that it was more important to care for the poor than to memorize the Apostles’ Creed.

Christians schooled in this rather anti-intellectual, common-denominator evangelistic approach to faith responded to the later twentieth-century decline in church attendance by looking not to more substantial catechesis but to business and consumer models to provide strategies for growth. By now we’re all familiar with the story: increasing attendance by means of niche marketing led church leaders to frame the content of their sermons and liturgies according to the self-reported perceived needs of potential “seekers” shaped by the logic of consumerism. Now many American consumer-congregants have come to expect their churches to function as communities of goods and services that provide care and comfort without the kind of challenge and discipline required for authentic Christian formation to take place.

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is replacing historical Christianity. It’s not just that the media and corporate types don’t grasp that Phil Robertson was merely channeling St. Paul. It’s that many American Christians, especially young ones, don’t get that either, or if they do, don’t see why that should have anything to do with what they believe.

 

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185 Comments To "Sorry American Jesus, St. Paul Agrees With Phil Robertson"

#1 Comment By JonF On December 24, 2013 @ 6:08 am

Re: Yet, Christians don’t go around telling Jews that they’re the same as murderers, rapists, adulterers and devil-worshippers. Why is that?

For over 1800 years (longer in Russia) Christians did do that. “His blood shall be on us and our children” was universally interpreted, East and West, Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic, as license to discriminate and oppress the Jews.
Sometimes universal tradition is Holy Tradition, and sometimes (rarely) it is an example of the principle “Nothing is more respectable than an ancient evil.”
So the claim “Christianity has always and everywhere taught this” is not quite dispositive. Sometimes things really do need to be rethought.

#2 Comment By pinkjohn On December 24, 2013 @ 9:25 am

Many of the trads on this thread make a good point. This whole controversy is crap. It makes nice white liberals and progressives like me feel so nice and superior over Southern conservatives.

Idiots will make a fuss, and then claim they “stood up” to homophobia and racism, when they have done nothing but play along with this media farce.

Enough already!

[NFR: Thanks, Pinkjohn. You and Nadia Bolz-Weber are two Christians who came to mind when I think about how for many conservatives, all they need to know about you to dismiss you is that you are gay and liberal (in your case) or pro-gay and liberal (in her case). I know that you both do good and holy work for hurting people that many of us on the orthodox Christian side do not do. I respect that, and honor it. — RD]

#3 Comment By Dale Carville On December 24, 2013 @ 9:52 am

Wait a minute. Are you telling me that this is about homosexuality? It’s clearly about non-believers, about idolatry. It says people have no excuse for not knowing God. Consequently he is going to “give them over” to doing a whole litany of bad things: females get freaky. then man on man sex, then greed, envy, murder, strife, gossip, slander, disobedience, etc.
I feel like i’ve been mislead in this thread. It wasnt until i saw the preceding verses in Josh McGee’s post that i realized this whole bit is about idolatry. Homosexuals, per se, are not the topic or subject here. Apparently homosexuality is just one of several effects that God causes or allows to happen to unbelievers/idolators. I must not understand. What am I not gettin?. You said Rodgerson was on the mark when he spoke but he clearly makes homosexuals the subject of the whole section when he starts “..then God gave them (homosexuals) over to shameful lusts…”. At that point “them” refers to unbelievers not homosexuals. Homosexuality is an act in a series of acts to follow. “Them” is gossipers. “Them” is murderers.
What am I missing?
Forgetting the issues about agency and free will,
forgetting the fact that Paul blows his cred by making assertions that are falsifiably untrue (i’m familiar with a lot of different people’s sin resumes and they don’t look like this AT ALL.) I’m worried that a writer I trust has spun a piece of sacred text to make it inflate and overemphasize one item in order to rubber stamp the propaganda of an ideological ally. If that’s the case, knowing the sincerity of your faith, you may have just pushed a fencesitter off the fence for good. I can’t take this stuff seriously if im learning that you’re abusing you’re own texts to nail one kind of sinner while letting others pass. If homosexuality and abortion arent the number one and two worst sins in the Bible, then christianity as its practiced by conservatives is bunk. If christians are abusing their own scriptures to carry out vendettas against sins in a way that’s out of proportion with the emphasis those sins receive in the bible, I could only concede that Christianity is a force for evil in the world. I don’t want to find that out on Christmas Eve.

[NFR: Concern trolling on Christmas Eve. Lovely. — RD]

#4 Comment By dominic1955 On December 24, 2013 @ 9:59 am

“What I hear you saying, Rod, is that we ‘moderns’ have given up reading the Bible because we find living it out to be “too hard.” There is a lot of truth in that. But I think many of us have also walked away because we are finding the lens of tradition to be inadequate to truly understand it, especially when it conflicts so sharply with our lived experience.”

Translation: folks started cussing, or playing with themselves, or whathaveyou and no lightening bolt struck them down dead. So, using “logic” they figure all the “old stuff” is bunk and walk around with puffed out chest like they are some conquering heroes.

Reading comments on this blog and observations at random seem to show me that more and more people have thrown off religion and are getting hubristically uppity about it like its a bear they killed with their bare hands. Sad, but there is nothing new under the sun.

#5 Comment By M_Young On December 24, 2013 @ 10:29 am

“We don’t hear much about the sexual disgustingness or physical practices of lesbians, hmmm, why not, Phil and MYoung?”

Well, because as far as I know, Lesbians haven’t been key in starting a costly epidemic. Historically, Lesbianism has been looked upon with far less disdain than male homosexuality — and there’s a reason for that. Actually, there are many reasons for that.

#6 Comment By M_Young On December 24, 2013 @ 10:32 am

“The South and the Bible belt don’t exactly have the best track record on being on the right side of history on moral issues – slavery, desegregation, women’s right to vote, and now extreme homophobia.”

You know who were really not on the ‘right side of history’ ™? The Marxists who thought up that phrase.

#7 Comment By JonF On December 24, 2013 @ 11:13 am

Re: Lesbians haven’t been key in starting a costly epidemic.

Gays did not “start” an epidemic either. As far as we know a random mutation in what had been a rare simian retrovirus in Africa did that, abetted by some unsanitary butchering practices among those still living primitive lives in the remote parts of that continent. Christian determinists are free to conclude that God caused that mutation, but even so it cannot be blamed on gay people in the US.

#8 Comment By Jon On December 24, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

@Josh McGee

Unless I am mistaken, The Section from Romans 1 has been typically interpreted to mean that because of the Fall we are all prone to sin, and included among those sins are homosexuality, envy, lust, murder strife, deceit etc. That does not mean that homosexuality is somehow the root of envy, lust and murder, or that gays are especially prone to other sins. In fact the passage goes on to explain that everyone is sinful.

Robertson, however, paraphrases Romans to make it sound as though gays are particularly sinful in other ways (i.e. murder, lust, envy, etc.) He does not say that these are universal human conditions, he says that this state is something that happened since the founding of the United States. That sounds like scapegoating of gays in particular for everyone’s problems, which Paul very clearly says you should not do.

#9 Comment By Maxi On December 24, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

pinkjohn: “Many of the trads on this thread make a good point. This whole controversy is crap. It makes nice white liberals and progressives like me feel so nice and superior over Southern conservatives.”

Uh, no. White liberals aren’t the ones who are all exercised over Robertson’s statements. That is a figment of your imagination.

I and other commenters have asked Rod and others repeatedly to point out all the interest groups who are protesting Robertson’s statements. Who are the people that pushed A&E to suspend him? No one has provided a single example. No, this “controversy” is entirely a creation of one tribe that is seeking to victim status.

The “fuss” that you see is nothing more than the counter-argument to 5+ posts that claim that Robertson is being picked on for his faith. He’s not being picked on for his faith.

He was suspended from his day job for making statements that even his defenders acknowledge were ignorant, offensive, crude and ugly.

#10 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On December 24, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

Is there any Biblical support for beastiality and homosexuality being two peas in a pod (any moresoe than say homosexuality and worshping idols, or homosexuality and beating false witness)?

Yes. Both are joining together things what were not designed or intended to go together.

Now, I agree that we aren’t actually on a slippery slope towards endorsement and widespread practice of bestiality, but gay sex and bestiality are the same kind of thing.

Are you sure about that? What if the bestialist is a male heterosexual, and only has sex with nanny goats, but not billy goats? Or ewes, but not rams? How many gays become goaterasts, and vice versa? Try reasoning by something OTHER than analogy.

#11 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On December 24, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

I’ve said this before on another related thread, and I’ll say it again here: until we figure out how to protect employees from retaliation by their employers for utterances outside of the workplace, these kinds of things will continue, and will remain entirely “legitimate.” When so-called “conservatives” can get behind protecting a Walmart worker for using his “free speech” to advocate a union during his lunch hour, or right after work, I’ll give due consideration to your desire to protect reactionary millionaires from losing their TV exposure. Have any of you ever defended a “liberal” from his employer in similar circumstances? And how about some extension of the First Amendment even into the workplace? Are you prepared to go there?

[NFR: I’ll go there. But what about Justine Sacco, who tweeted an idiotic Sarah Silverman remark, and got canned for it? I think she deserved to lose her job, precisely because she is the head of PR for her company. She rendered herself completely ineffective with that mistake; the company really had no choice. So where do we draw the line? — RD]

#12 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On December 24, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

[NFR: I’ll go there. But what about Justine Sacco, who tweeted an idiotic Sarah Silverman remark, and got canned for it? I think she deserved to lose her job, precisely because she is the head of PR for her company. She rendered herself completely ineffective with that mistake; the company really had no choice. So where do we draw the line? — RD]

I think we can safely say that someone who is involved with public relations has a greater responsibility for her off the job utterances than someone in accounting. Someone in that position should also know that social media is NOT private. Her excuse was apparently that she was drunk at the time. So, not only was she needlessly offensive, she was stupid, and a drunk. Not exactly part of the job description for the PR department, is it?

Now, I don’t exactly know where to draw the line, but I know that if we don’t draw the line, these things will continue to happen, and all the whining about it will do no good. Furthermore, each “side” in the “culture war” will self-righteously defend or decry these actions, based entirely on their political preferences, because no objective standard exists. Employers will meanwhile have recourse to the “private company” defense.

Personally, I would prefer to give second or third chances to individuals whose offenses are merely verbal, provided their utterances contained no threats or incitements to violence, with warnings and escalating penalties. There should be a way to disassociate from a person’s remarks without entirely disassociating with the person, in most cases. Any thoughts on where the line should be?

#13 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 24, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

Maxi fighting Pinkjohn goes a long way to prove that theren are no monolithic “sides” to the “culture wars.”

Remember the old fairy tales about the king who offered a huge reward to anyone who could tell him a story that never ended? This thread is an even better prospect than the tale that went “…then another ant came and took another grain from the barn…”

#14 Comment By VikingLS On December 24, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

“Idiots will make a fuss, and then claim they “stood up” to homophobia and racism, when they have done nothing but play along with this media farce.”

And the most ironic part about that is that almost nobody would have known that he even made those remarks if they hadn’t done so. Does anybody who is commenting here read GQ?

#15 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On December 24, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

An addendum to JonF’s comment about HIV making the species jump to humans. Looking back on death records in the early 20th century scientists found a number of AIDS like deaths and preserved tissue samples. It turns out these people died of an early strain of HIV that made the species jump around 1884! It took the virus a long time to mutate into the pandemic strain which is why it flew under the radar until the early 80’s.

HIV isn’t unique in this regard, and some nastiest pandemics in human history have resulted from zoonotic infections. The 1918 influenza was a swine flu variant. In the present day SARS and avian influenza seem primed to make this jump.

This would all be fascinating if I wasn’t one of the organisms in the cross hairs of these microbes.

tl;dr blah blah blah, nerd rant. We now return you to Duckgate.

#16 Comment By Glaivester On December 24, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

While St. Paul spoke against homosexuality, Jesus spoke against divorce. So I guess the consistent thing would be for all christians to treat homosexuals just a little better than they treat divorced people. If we’re going by the bible, that is.

This thread isn’t about treating gay people badly, it’s about whether or not it is okay to speak against the practice as a sin.

I’m not committed to the idea that God will ruthlessly condemn anyone who commits to a gay partner, but there is no doubt that it really does appear in the Bible as quoted.

The thing to understand is that God ruthlessly condemns all sin, and all sinners, BUT Christ’s death took that condemnation from us; in a sense, people who commit the aforementioned sins are not considered guilty of them if they have been saved; they are new creations, in a practical sense, what “people who do X will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven” means for a believer is that when you fall back on doing these things, you are not exercising the you that is going to Heaven; it’s not that your salvation is revoked, it is that the side of you that you leave behind when you die is being exercised, and the sinless new creation is being mortified.

So men who commit homosexual acts certainly can be Christians and go to Heaven; the problem is that sin of any sort tends to reduce the person that will be in Heaven.

The Duskster is speaking without Love! He playing the same old self-righteous game of blaming the other (worse) sinners. Not only that, he also is playing the game of bragging about how much sex & partying he had when he was young but now that he’s older he is holy.

No, he is simply saying that this, that, or the other thing is wrong. And I don’t see a lack of love here; I don’t think he said that we should exile or ostracize
sinners. There seems to be a prejudice in the world today that if you call anything wrong, that you are expressing hatred.

It is rather annoying how many people believe that speaking “with love” means not identifying sin as sin.

But how can Phil Robertson be merely “channeling” St Paul on the morality of homosexuality? The latter was a first century Greek speaker living eighteen centuries before the concept of homosexuality was constructed.

To the common man, homosexuality means having sex with someone of the same sex (I will grant that some of the passages may have specifically been referring to male homosexual sex acts). This concept has existed for a long time. That it was not called homosexuality until the 19th century, or that we did not have a modern conception of it in terms of “orientation” is irrelevant. It’s like claiming that “thou shalt not steal” doesn’t forbid, e.g. credit card fraud, because the modern conception of property rights and credit cards didn’t exist a few millennia ago.

I also want to point out that most people who say that think “homosexuality is a sin” are referring to homosexual sexual behavior, not to a person’s orientation, so arguing over what concepts people had of orientation 2000 years ago is rather pedantic.

Except for then … there he goes, off on the sex stuff.

And then … there his popularity goes, like hearing the air rushing from a huge balloon.

The elites have always hated Pat Buchanan because he is against free trade and free immigration, both of which are very good for international corporations. In the 1990s this, and not his positions on social issues, is why the mainstream destroyed him.

Where is the evangelical outrage about those men and women who have been married multiple times?

Suspend an incredibly popular reality star for speaking against divorce, and see what happens.

It ought to be noted here that the outrage is not over homosexual behavior, but over the ostracism of people with traditional views on the subject.

what Robertson and others fail to realize is; the United States is not a theocracy, so the Bible, Christian doctrine, etc. mean nothing to the US as a Republic when considering “tradition”.

I’m sorry, was he advocating that the government ban homosexuality?

#17 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On December 24, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

“Idiots will make a fuss, and then claim they “stood up” to homophobia and racism, when they have done nothing but play along with this media farce.”

And the most ironic part about that is that almost nobody would have known that he even made those remarks if they hadn’t done so. Does anybody who is commenting here read GQ?

Apparently, some of the executives at A&E read GQ. He should have done his interview with Field & Stream.

#18 Comment By VikingLS On December 25, 2013 @ 12:08 am

“Apparently, some of the executives at A&E read GQ.”

Not so sure about that. They didn’t react until GLAAD reacted.

” He should have done his interview with Field & Stream.”

He’s done plenty of those kinds of interviews. Field and Stream and Outdoor Life don’t care about his views on social issues and don’t write about him as if he’s a member of some alien species.

#19 Comment By VikingLS On December 25, 2013 @ 12:13 am

“I’m sorry, was he advocating that the government ban homosexuality?”

Our host here gets some version of “You seem to think that the US would do better under a Christian theocracy” at least weekly.

My theory is that the vision of a Christian Taliban takeover is to the left what Atheistic Islamist Feminist takeover is to the right, an imaginary fear that keeps them motivated.

#20 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 25, 2013 @ 1:07 am

There is a lot of straining a nat going on here. I especially enjoyed the read that disected the the greek term for homosexuality. That was quite an exercise to end up where Paul started — whether it is lesbianism, homosexuality, orientation, or some other variation — in the end such relations are verboten. And it matters not what modern sociology or psycho-social research has created to justify and or explain the matter.

The only possible turn might be some biological trait — as if. And even then — one’s thorn is one’s thorn.

The other rather old slight of hand is the introduction of the issue of slavery —

Slavery is not commanded by God — abstaining from sexual relations outside of marriage is and make no mistake — marriage is a state between men and women for christians —

Since one may have slaves or one may not — has no bearing on one’s sexual behavior – none. It is not similar, it bear no resemblance to slavery – save one being enslaved by ones desires.

The reality a worse condition that one’s sexual behavior. Since same behavior is forbidden — no.

Slavery’s moral condition rest’s on the societal norms, the law and how one is treated as a slave.

For the US what makes slavery a tragedy is that it violated everything the US stood for and went to war to obtain — snort, snort. That is why slavey is such an incredible tragedy. With respect to scripture we called the lie the truth and the truth a lie about where rights are derived and who gets to access them. One big fat lie — and we are living the consequences of that lie.

And it is in that locus that Christ and scripture come into play. For a democracy to have subjugation of certain citizens based on twisted and incorrect notions of the mark of Cain, color indicators of humaness, intelligence, etc. That is the spiritual crime as it pertains to slavery. Not merely owning slaves —
except for christians. I think scripture discourages such — thought it does not deny it.

Unlike same sex practices — verboten through and through.

Enjoining slavery to homosexuality is just incorrect on every level save that previously mentioned.

#21 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 25, 2013 @ 1:11 am

I hate to break the news to you, but,

“Where is the evangelical outrage about those men and women who have been married multiple times?”

Multiple marriages is not forbidden and it is not a sin. God hates divorce, but he does permit it it. No so with homosexuality.

Another old trope on the assault on marriage.

#22 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 25, 2013 @ 9:54 am

“An addendum to JonF’s comment about HIV making the species jump to humans. Looking back on death records in the early 20th century scientists found a number of AIDS like deaths and preserved tissue samples. It turns out these people died of an early strain of HIV that made the species jump around 1884!”

Just to be clear. I am not an advocate of slavery in culture or in any form of government. It is also encouraged in scripture that one should attain their freedom.

Do liberals never get tired of these end around runs. No, they did not find strains of AIDS. Strains of AIDS? It is very difficult get the species jump conclusion without filling in massive holes with pure speculation. As we now are clear, AIDS is the breakdown of the immune system. That means the body defense system just breaks down and one dies from a multitude of viral invasions. So in determining the actual cause of death any number of actual causes are available. Which it has been possible to mask HIV related deaths from other causes and be accurate.

They have never linked these deaths to HIV which is why they say, deaths of unknown viral/germ causes are related. In the attempt to trace it’s origins they are grasping at whatever might be available. Hence you use of the term “AIDS like”. Making the claim that an AIDS like illness is a species jump is false. One might as well like the influenza pandemic in the 1900’s to HIV and call it a day.

Anthropologists and evolutionary biologists have been after these historical loci with ever increasing tenacity since Mr.Hooper’s book the River and the increasing number of medical professionals who are beginning to agree and get on board with his conclusion that HIV is the result of the search for the cure for polio. When serums developed from monkey kidneys for polio in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The first case of HIV appears to have been in 1958 or 1959. I may have those dates incorrect. But it was a male englishman who died soon after returning from Africa. I have packed my books away so I am going by memory here.

Of course it created a malestrom of anxiety among everyone connected with that race for fear of damage to reputations, political policy and of course finances.

I lean heavily with Mr. Hooper’s analysis here. And I do so in spite of the Royal Academy of Sciences protests and denunciations based on conclusions from testing the everything other than the original samples – as they are unavailable.

#23 Comment By Glaivester On December 25, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

Well, if he’s quoting the Bible then obviously that settles everything. I’ve never heard of any argument that couldn’t be settled by just quoting a Bible verse, nobody ever disputes what they mean, do they?

Not the point. The issue here is not a debate over whether or not what he said is the correct interpretation, but over the fact that the elites who have the most influence of the media and culture are trying their best to silence what has long been the traditional interpretation of scripture. It is one thing to say that you dispute what the Bible says on some point, or to say that the Bible is not above criticism. It is quite another to say that it is impermissible in polite society to expound the most common interpretation of Biblical doctrine.

Oh and remember the direct quote from Jesus, about it being “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man go to Heaven.”

It ought to be pointed out that technically, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for anyone to go to Heaven. In the next two verses, Jesus clarified that while it is impossible with men, it is possible with God.

Pope Francis, for one, has warned against the pursuit of “an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ ” and criticized “those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists.”

This seems to me to be a bit of rhetorical misdirection. The issue is not whether or not Robertson is too sure of the correctness of his interpretation of doctrine. It is that the other side seeks to silence his interpretation. GLAAD operates with exactly this level of “doctrinal security” when they insist that “true” Christians are okay with homosexuality and imply that Robertson is not a Christian.

The issue here is not simply whether or not the Bible condemns homosexuality. It is whether or not those who control our society are willing to tolerate interpretations that say it does (I say “those who control our society” because the move against Robertson does not seem to be coming largely from the grassroots but from the corporate owners).

What should give you pause here is the strange fact that, in Robertson’s scheme, homosexuality is not just another sin like adultery, or love of money. It is uniquely evil. Thus homosexuals are not just another kind of sinner, they are ‘insolent, arrogant god-haters’.

I think this is largely because there is a large movement trying to destroy the traditional Biblical interpretation of homosexuality. If there were a powerful contingent trying to get society to accept adultery (if, for example, Ashley Madison were to be vigorously mainstreamed on TV and in the press), people would be saying the same things there.

And it’s somewhat the same thing with greed. While there is a large contingent that dislikes the idea of government trying to regulate wealth, I don’t think that most people would react well if actual, orthodox Objectivism became an overt political force.

Finally: Your appeal to Tradition’s condemnation of various sexual behaviors obviously has great weight for many Christians, but for a Sola Scriptura Christian evangelical or Protestant, it won’t be a satisfactory answer to say “We’ve done it like this forever, so shut up and stop asking about the original Greek.” I’m sure if you asked Robertson how to resolve a tension between the Bible and church tradition, he’d know how to answer that one.

While it’s true that tradition is not the final word, one does have to give it some weight – that is, if someone comes up with a new interpretation of the passage that just coincidentally seems to allow society to do what it desperately wants to do, one might at least question why this interpretation was never given much weight before.

It doesn’t matter whether his opinions come from his religion. We don’t consider religion to be an excuse for other kinds of bigotry in the court of public opinion.

Of course, it isn’t public opinion here, it is elite opinion. The fact of the matter is, there is a lot more grassroots rallying to Robertson’s defense than against him. It appears that it is largely organized pressure groups and rich executives who decided to take him down.

“If he can’t speak his mind because he is worried that his livelihood might be harmed if he is vilified though a smear campaign in the non-governmental, private mass media, he can’t speak his mind.”

How exactly would a government prevent that from happening? I’m far from being pro-corporate, but you’d be stopping corporations (and other business owners) from firing/otherwise punishing people for any crazy thing they said/did. Capitalists would never go for it.

I’m not sure anyone is asking the government to prevent that. They are calling on the people to rise up against A&E’s censorship and to defeat them in the court of public opinion.

Honestly, yes [society should allow intimidation and thought-policing by the cultural left to become an accepted norm]. The basics of maintaining a civilized society is by socially policing peers to enforced civilized behavior. And if that means condemning someone for ignorant statements about civil rights and homosexuality, then that is a good thing.

And the point that DeepSouthPopulist was making was that if you believe that the policing is in the wrong direction, it is definitely worth it to oppose such policing even if it hurts you politically.

Or to put things another way, DeepSouthPopulist was not speaking against thought-policing per se so much as to say that anytime your opponents want to thought-police against your opinions on an issue, that issue moves to the highest level of priorities. Even if a conservative doesn’t put a high priority on gay issues, cultural policing against conservatives on gay issues ought to make it a higher priority that it would be otherwise.

#24 Comment By jaybird On December 25, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

Slavery is not commanded by God — abstaining from sexual relations outside of marriage is and make no mistake — marriage is a state between men and women for christians —

Since one may have slaves or one may not — has no bearing on one’s sexual behavior – none. It is not similar, it bear no resemblance to slavery – save one being enslaved by ones desires.

The reality a worse condition that one’s sexual behavior. Since same behavior is forbidden — no.

Slavery’s moral condition rest’s on the societal norms, the law and how one is treated as a slave.

This is completely missing the point of the objection. Over and over, we hear about how St. Paul’s (and Christianity’s) challenge to Roman/pagan sexual norms was sweeping and revolutionary. So why is it that St. Paul/Christianity completely whiffed the opportunity to challenge pagan/Roman norms regarding slavery in similarly sweeping and revolutionary terms? Why are slave owners/traders not included in Paul’s litany of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God,along with the homosexuals, murderers, thieves and rapists? Was God just not all that concerned about slavery back then? That he didn’t command people to keep slaves, (except, of course, when he did in the O.T., but I digress…) but he wouldn’t get all broken-up if they did keep slaves? Seems like something of a blind spot, and one that is difficult to reconcile with the supposedly eternal, perfect, and un-changing morality that Christians claim as a standard. Why is it so hard to just admit that maybe St. Paul got this one wrong?

#25 Comment By Fred On December 25, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

“The Robertson family is a gang of college-educated millionaires pretending to be backwoods hillbillies. The beards and camo are literally costumes. Before they had a television show they were clean-shaven yuppies in polo shirts and cargo shorts. The Robertsons are performing a pantomime of southernness, and it is making them even richer than they were before.”

– Alex Pareene, Slate

[7]

Pre TV (but still millionaire) Robertson yuppies:

[8]

#26 Comment By MH – Secular Misanthropist On December 25, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

EliteCommInc, the AIDS polio vaccine link is considered disproven as there is no evidence for it. The current research on the origin of HIV is not speculation, but based upon comparison of the genomes of HIV and SIV, as well as finding HIV in stored tissue samples of earlier deaths.

#27 Comment By larry ellis On December 26, 2013 @ 10:23 am

Thank you for this. As a teacher in an American Baptist Church here in West Virginia, I will refer to this article
again and again in my efforts to edify the saints.
Keep writing. And get out in the woods more. It would be good for what ails ye.
Larry Ellis

#28 Comment By Laurie On December 26, 2013 @ 10:52 am

Homosexuality does seem to have traditionally understand by Christianity to be morally wrong. However, St. Paul also seems to find singleness a more desirable state, which tends to be played down. Also, were the homosexual acts in the Bible described as repugnant because of the nature of that type of sex, or the nature of power between the two people having sex (i.e slaves and masters?). It seems like the issue is more complicated than just locating the right Scriptual reference. It means understanding the context of Paul’s writing and his purposes in saying what he did. This is difficult, and I don’t feel confident that I have the right answer, and I imagine many people would feel a little daunted by doing that sort of theological work, so they end up picking a position that they feel most comfortable with and living with it.

I agree that GlAADs outrage is largely manufactured. However, it regards gay/lesbian marriages as a civil rights issue, and is following the playbook of making that kind of speech politically incorrect. You may disagree with them, but they are likely sincere in their opposition and believe they are on the side of the angels. People who oppose homosexuality are also sure that they are on the side of the angels. Maybe history will vindicate one group over the other, but it really doesn’t seem possible to arrive at a genuine consensus that can be backed up easily.

#29 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On December 26, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

@Fred

I am beginning to smell more than a little phoniness to this alleged “controversy.” It seems to me that this situation reeks more of professional wrestling than genuine cultural conflict. I’d like to know if anyone has ever seen these guys in camo WITHOUT the presence of cameras.

I’ve also looked up Phil Robertson on Wikipedia. Apparently, one of his other so-called conflicts with the suits at A&E had to do with the way they portrayed the family praying, but bleeped out the words “in Jesus name.” Robertson says, in an interview, that the A&E editors told him they were afraid of offending Muslims! I challenge anyone to find ONE Muslim who would be offended by a
Christian praying “in Jesus name.” I can’t believe anybody would be stupid enough to think anyone would be offended by that! Now, the word “Muslim” has been a hot button word since 9-11, in much of the country, and probably with much of the “Duck Dynasty” audience. It sets the Duck Commander up as someone who stands up for Christianity and, by extension, America, in the back of people’s minds, while setting up A&E as the left coast “progressive” enemy of all that. I’m sure both the Robertson family and the executives at A&E aware of that subtext, and I believe they are complicit in creating it.

I think Duck Dynasty will be back on A&E next year, supposedly by popular demand. Both will make out like bandits, until the next “reality TV” team of professional wrestlers is brought online.

#30 Comment By VikingLS On December 26, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

“I challenge anyone to find ONE Muslim who would be offended by a
Christian praying “in Jesus name.””

[9]

#31 Comment By A. G. Phillbin On December 27, 2013 @ 2:45 am

@VikingLS,

False example. That is NOT an example of Muslims being offended by Christians using the phrase “in Jesus name” in their prayers. That is an example of Muslims being offended by the very existence of Christians in their midst. I don’t think the people who attacked those churches even cared about the prayers of their congregants enough to be offended by them.

#32 Comment By VikingLS On December 27, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

AG Phillbin, nope, they really are offended that in Christianity and the concept of the trinity. If you don’t know that you’ve never debated religion with them. Your challene was silly.

Get another argument.

#33 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 27, 2013 @ 9:14 pm

What if Jesus disagrees with St. Paul?

#34 Comment By Don P On January 1, 2014 @ 11:21 pm

At Christmas with my family, I had a brother tell me, “You and your gay friends should leave Phil alone. God’s on his side.” Before dinner, my mother told me it broke her heart to know that I was an abomination and would be spending eternity in hell.

I had done nothing to prompt either of those reactions other than have the poor timing of arriving while they were discussing the Robertson/A&E controversy.

I am a Christian. I grew up in a Christian home, accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 6, and at no time since then have I ever stopped believing in God the Father, Jesus as my savior, and the Holy Spirit, which resides within me. As you likely deduced from my initial paragraph, I am gay. I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for 20 years.

I’m not posting here with the expectation of stirring an epiphany or changing anyone’s views, but I would like to share that the experience has been a very painful one for me because of the vitriole I’ve seen spewed all over the Internet, so much anger and hate, with an occasional beacon of light from someone responding with a Christian spirit of compassion, not judgment or defiance.

When expressing what he believed to be sin, Phil spoke in broad strokes, with a convenient, easy-to-dislike target: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there.” With all due respect, my starting point would have been “the carnal nature of man,” but if Phil believes the starting point is “homosexual behavior,” it’s not my place to silence him or correct him.

I appreciate what you had to say in your article and have nothing to add to its substance, other than I would mention Matthew 19:12 where Jesus speaks of “born eunuchs.” When I was 12, I told my minister that I wasn’t attracted to women but I was attracted to men, and I was afraid that meant I would go to hell. He read that verse to me and then prayed with me, asking God to speak to me and help me understand. It was particularly meaningful to me during my adolescence when my only solution to being “an abomination” seemed to be suicide.

At this stage in my life, I have my own understanding of how and where I fit into God’s plan, one I’ve reached after years and years of soul-searching, reading, prayer and meditation. I answer to God, and He knows my heart.

My hope is that others see in me not my sexual orientation, but first and foremost compassion, devotion, a child of God, a person who loves his neighbor as himself and who tries to lead a life that would open people’s hearts to Christ.

#35 Comment By EliteComminc. On January 5, 2014 @ 11:47 pm

“EliteCommInc, the AIDS polio vaccine link is considered disproven as there is no evidence for it. The current research on the origin of HIV is not speculation, but based upon comparison of the genomes of HIV and SIV, as well as finding HIV in stored tissue samples of earlier deaths.”

I suggest you get in line with the other competitors for the origin of HIV. There is no definitive proof on the matter. The genome research is speculative. Very much like the those various missing connections of evolution.

The polio explaination makes the most sense. It makes a very clean and clear line from this new virus. There are no HIV samples prior to 1950 – none. There are unexplained deaths, but no cases of HIV.

Now I understand the desire of traditional medical community and the homosexual community to point to some previous existence. The problem for there is no evidence of any such mutation – well that is just one hurdle.

I cannot argue with the value of Christ’s compassion. But the reference to eunuchs in no manner supports homosexual behavior. I understand the attempt to redefine this passage for the purpose of justifying such behavior but the definition(s) of the term are in no manner helpful to the cause in any manner as suggested.

It does support celibacy whether by choice, by biology or by some manner force by others — but it is not a pass for homosexual conduct. It does provide a cause for ‘one’s thorn in the flesh,” as an issue of struggle and thereby bringing one to the place of living a celibate life.

But notice further in Christ’s comments — this is a hard saying — a life without sexual fulfillment with a woman is a tough task or call accomplished with Christ’s/God’s help. I can guess that since the other is forbidden (relations with the same sex) that the only option is a celibate life.