What’s all the quacking about?

You’ve heard the controversy: Phil Robertson, former leader of Duck Commander and star of the hit reality TV show “Duck Dynasty”, issued some statements about his views on homosexuality this past week. As result, he was suspended from the television show.  Backlash has ensued.  Controversy has arisen.  Ugliness from both sides has been seen.  So let’s talk about what the duck is going on here and what I believe is the big misunderstanding of this whole controversy.

If you look at the actual comments Phil made to GQ magazine (go here), they are vulgar, crude, and distasteful.  I believe Phil should issue an apology for the way in which he said it.  That doesn’t mean his comments are wrong or right–it just means that as a Christian leader we are held to higher standards and there are appropriate ways of saying what you believe and inappropriate ways of saying what you believe.  I believe it was inappropriate.  I know the Duck Dynasty fans will say, “That’s just Phil being Phil.”  As a leader, he should know better how to express his opinions and beliefs.

Phil can believe that homosexuality is a sin and still love the people who are homosexual. In fact, he says in the article that he loves them.  The major misunderstanding is that people equate his belief about homosexuality being a sin with Phil hating homosexuals or being homo-phobic.

There are almost no other sins that people can write or talk about, besides racism, where people make the same jump.

If I tell people that I think it’s a sin for parents to let their 14 year old children watch Rated-R movies I don’t think it would get much backlash.  People wouldn’t assume that I hated those parents because they made those choices.  They would simply assume that I don’t think its right, and for that, they would be correct.

If I tell people that I think it’s a sin to engage in any sort of sex outside of marriage, I don’t think it would get that much backlash.  Maybe I’d be called old-fashioned, out of touch, or prude, but that’s probably the extent of it.  People wouldn’t assume that I hated those people engaging in sex outside of marriage because they made those choices.  They would simply assume that I don’t think its right, and for that, they would be correct.

If I tell people I think it’s a sin to engage in homosexual activity, it gets a whole lot of backlash.  If enough people see it, eventually I’d be called a bigot, a hater, a homophobe, etc.  And for that, they would be wrong.

For some reason, when the topic of sin comes up and you mention nearly any sin besides homosexuality, nobody relates that sin to hatred of the particular people that are engaging in that sin.  But when the sin is homosexuality, it gets related to hatred towards those people.  The second anyone defends it as a sin biblically it is distorted as bigotry and hatred for the individuals involved in that activity.

Here’s the truth: It is possible to know that someone is sinning and to absolutely love the person at the same time.

My wife does this for me every day.  And I, in turn, do it for her every day.

I hate adultery. I hate lying. I hate cheating. I hate whining.  I hate illegal drugs.  I hate alcoholism. I hate homosexuality. I hate the Steelers.

And at the same time…

I love adulterers.  I love liars.  I love cheaters.  I love whiners.  I love drug-dealers.  I love alcoholics.  I love gay people.  I still hate the Steelers…throw the Ravens in there too.

Right now in my life…

I’m currently friends with someone who once committed adultery.  I’ve lied and I’ve cheated.  My sons are big whiners right now.  I’m friends with someone who dealt drugs.  I’ve got quite a few alcoholic friends.  I’ve got some friends who are gay.  I even hang out with a Steelers fan quite often.

People want everyone to accept them for who they are.  They want to be told that everything they are doing, especially the major lifestyle choices that they are making, are right.  When we tell them they are wrong according to the Bible we believe in, they are offended, want nothing to do with us, and blast us for being hateful towards them.

The reality is all of us mess up.  There’s not one person who is perfect.  And as Christians, we continue to love one another despite those imperfections.

I can hate the sin that is in you and at the same time love you.  It is possible.  It is what Jesus has done for us.  It is what he calls us to do.

The world, and the media, needs to let Christians have an opinion based on the Bible, without jumping all over us and accusing us of being haters and bigots to a group of people that I would welcome to come to my church.  I would welcome them the same way I would welcome thieves, the same way I would welcome porn addicts, the same way I would welcome Steelers fans.

Come join the rest of us sinners.  Let’s love one another, as Christ has loved us.  Let’s admit we are not perfect, and let’s explore God’s forgiveness together.

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15 thoughts on “What’s all the quacking about?

  1. Well said brother! I agree on every point, and I’m convicted of siding with somewhat of an error. Forgiveness is the key, in all aspects of this argument.

  2. You are so out of touch and that is what is wrong with our country. Everyone is so easily offended and obviously including yourself. Phil was expressing his constitutional right of free speech. Did you give a sermon about Miley Cirus and the atrocious image she is projecting for our youth? I am shocked that as a leader of your congregation you would pass judgement on a man you’ve never even met. Speaks a lot about your character and integrity and the lack of both qualities.

    1. Have you met the pastor of this church SMH? If not, than it seems you are suffering from that which you have accused him of. Why don’t you stop in on a Sunday morning and meet him. I am sure you will be welcome.

  3. Well said, but I do not belive that being gay is a sin. That is who a person is, Also a child of God as you and I. I repect those who read the bible as they understand it, I also respect those who understand the love of God in a different way. As an example i come from a belive that flying the flag in church is a sin, but I am now a member of such a church. Now we ALL see dimly some day will see clearly.

  4. I agree that Christians are entitled to believe homosexuality is a sin. I agree that it is possible to love the sinner and hate the sin. My one issue is with this whole term “lifestyle choices.”

    Did you wake up and choose to be straight? I don’t think so. Sexuality is part of your identity that was rooted in childhood. It is something you cannot control. Christians can believe homosexuality is a sin, as cited in Scripture.

    But with science and psychology demonstrating that even in nature, most animals and people are straight – yet some do have same sex-attraction – I would really question if being gay is a “choice.”

    Why would a gay person choose to be gay? This is a difficult “lifestyle.” It means churches saying it is not okay for you to love who you do, even if they still “love you.” It means families cutting children out of their lives. It means kids committing suicide because they are bullied for being different, and they so desperately want to be like someone else. No one would choose this.

    And this is distinguishes homosexuality from alcoholism, porn addiction, or cheating – you make conscious choices to commit those sins. In contrast, sexual identity is not a conscious choice. Cheating, porn addiction and alcoholism lead to horrendous consequences on those affected by them. How does the love of two people of the same gender really hurt anyone? Two people in love is a happy, beautiful thing – not a sad and alienating, as the aforementioned ills.

    Christians can love the sinner, hate the “sin.” They can believe homosexuality is a sin. But to box in being gay as a “lifestyle choice” or a “choice” shows ignorance and lack of empathy to someone who is gay. It shows a naive, black-and-white view of right and wrong. It means we should not revise our thinking about whether or not being gay is a conscious choice, even when evidence to the contrary arises. It means we need to focus on being thinking it’s bad to be gay is wrong, but we can disregard other outdated rules on women covering their head in church or not eating shrimp. This leads to a confusing, pick-and-choose reading of Scripture.

    I prefer Pope Francis’ answer on gays – “Who am I to judge?” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/pope-francis-gays_n_3669635.html

    1. What if someone told you they “hate heterosexuality” and they don’t believe you should have the right to be married to your loving wife? Oh, and by the way, you are living in sin that is, in some way, distinguishable enough to mention more than any other sin.

      Now, if that person told you that you were still “welcome” to attend their church, would you?

  5. I am an alcoholic. I was born that way. If I choose to drink it is a life style choice and a sin. If I was born a homosexual and choose to have sex with a man it is a life style choice and according to the Bible a sin. I am not judging, just quoting. The Bible and the teaching of Christ have always cause conflict as they require us to act differently than we want to.

    As much as we would like to be, we are not the ultimate authority in the universe. Just as there are laws that govern science and mathematics, there are laws that are designed to govern human behavior. Man did not create any of these laws. To think we are above the laws of nature is arrogance that verges on stupidity. Have we really become that blind?

      1. The fundamentalist church’s only solution for homosexuals is to be celibate for the rest of their life, or to try to pray the gay away. Neither of these is an optimal solution. Being without a partner makes many people unhappy, and praying the gay away usually does not work.

        Find a better solution.

      2. Unfortunately serving Christ is not always easy. It is a series of choices. I seriously doubt that Christ was thrilled about going to the cross, but He did because it was his Fathers will. He made a choice. To be a Christian is to be Christ like. To surrender to His will. To put my desires second to Him.

        I have two long time friends that are homosexual and Christian. They choose to not act on their urges. Is it difficult, yes. But they submit to Christ because they love Him more than they love this world. I am, and will always be an alcoholic. I still have urges to drink. If I do or don’t is still a choice. I agree that I cannot pray away being an alcoholic.

        My heart goes out to anyone that struggles with sin. I know this struggle well. But in Christ there is hope. Not that this world will be easy, in fact Christ says that it will not be, but that we can spend eternity with Him.

        PS. 2000 years from now the words and teachings of Oprah will be long forgotten. In fact chances are that 20 years from now they will be forgotten. But the teachings of Christ, 2000 years later, continued to bring life and hope to people throughout the world. Again we get to make a choice, man or God?

        Thank you Anonymous for your thoughts. And I thank God that you are not anonymous to Him. He loves you and me alike.

      3. The link was not about the teachings of Oprah. It was on a special called “On God and Gays,” which featured gay church members talking about the damages reparative therapy and the inability to change their sexual orientation, despite prayer, self-control and other efforts.

        The celibate gay Christian way of life will not work for everyone. Gays will find acceptance as they are, with their partners, in the Unitarian and Evangelical Lutheran churches.

        Yes Jesus’ teachings will likely go on, but we need to get back to the heart of Jesus message. Instead of taking a stance on the same divisive issues or listening to, we should spend time visiting shut-ins, helping the poor and the oppressed, loving each other.

        As the Pope stated on gays, abortion and birth control: “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.

        “We have to find a new balance…otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel.”

        In the past, excerpts of the Bible where slaves were encouraged to return to their masters was used to support slavery and segregation in the United States. 86% of young people support gay marriage. 1 in 5 Americans have no religion, and the fastest-growing religion is no religion. Church members can choose to believe every word in the Bible on gays, while disregarding other portions of Scripture, and feel confident that they are following a morally correct and difficult choice, as taught in the Bible. But if they remain this rigid stance, I believe they will alienate young people who want to worship alongside their LGBT friends.

        http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/27/why-millennials-are-leaving-the-church/

      4. Actually, I totally agree with you. We as Christians need to get away from focusing on the things that separate us and focus on what Christ two great commandments are. First to love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and secondly to love your neighbor as yourself. James said that the mission of the church is to care for the widows and the orphans. Trying to reform homosexuals or alcoholics should not be our primary focus. As it is though, that was the subject of this article and the current events in our country.

        So what about this Anonymous, consider dropping in on our 9:30am service on Sunday. I will be sitting in the first seat of the rear row on the left hand side. Crandall is my real name. We will enjoy the service together then discuss how we can, together, visit shut-ins, help the poor and oppressed and love each other. Deal?

  6. that’s right you welcomed this alcoholic and I believe that a good relationship with God can correct any sin!!!Not because God does it for us but He changes us in such a way that the fruits of the Holy Spirit can be seen…even a blind man can see it
    !!!!

  7. Phil has a VERY odd way of expressing his love for gay people, and the Esquire interview wasn’t an aberration. If I told you that I believe you are full of murder, envy, strife and hatred, that you are an insolent, arrogant hater of God, that you are heartless, senseless and ruthless, how loved would you feel? Personally, I don’t find that kind of talk very loving, and if someone came into my home talking about my friends and family in that way, I would, with great enthusiasm, ask that person to leave.

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