of the Duck Dynasty reality series on A&E, got everyone's feathers ruffled with his comments in
. For starters, Phil just can't understand the attraction of homosexuals for non-female body parts.
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”a
Well, spoken Bearded Heterosexual Male! To Phil, it's not a biological preference that determines what a person finds attractive, but sin, or its absence. A normal, unsinful person, one like Phil, I guess, will crave the genitalia of the opposite sex. But when sin gets hold of you, all bets are off!
But it's when he was asked what behavior is sinful, that Phil really got rolling.
“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.”
The left-wing blogs and magazines had apoplexy over this one. Good God, Dobson, Robertson has equated homosexuality with bestiality! Perhaps. But Robertson has simply paraphrased what is stated in
Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutesnor sodomitesnor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.
But for all his skill at quoting Paul, Phil leaves out the context of the statement -- which was Paul's admonition against Christians suing fellow Christians. Seems the Corinthians were a litigious bunch. Paul was upset because in the Kingdom, Christians will be set up as judged over non-Christians. We are supposed to judge them, not ourselves!
But Paul goes on:
That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.d
Interesting. Paul knows that some of his own flock have been mighty sinners!
What disappointed me about the media reaction to the Robertson's interview was the focus on homosexual sins. Too bad. We lefties might have made common cause with Phil when it came to beating up on the thieves, slanderers and robbers. Very much in line with the rhetoric of the Occupy movement. But no one would know with all the focus being put on non-financial sins.
So what do we make of this?
First, that that Phil's mindset is hardly different than that of most fundamentalist Christians. He reads a bible verse, and runs with it, usually without regard to its context.
Second, that it is dangerous to allow uneducated people to speak on topics they barely understand. There's far more to even seemingly straightforward scriptures like the one Phil quotes. Like, what was Paul's understanding of sodomy and homosexuality? Did it match ours? And where does our modern understanding of biology fit into the way we might filter biblical verses? Paul had no idea about DNA, genetics or chromosomes. He did not have any knowledge of germs, viruses or prions. To him, there were two "facts" about human beings. They were created perfect by God. And any problems they might have -- from painful childbirth to illness to death -- were caused by sin. That is Paul's worldview, and it's sad (in the light of so many scientific advances) that many Christians still hold to it today. I guess it makes it easier for them to blame the sufferer for their problems.
But let's give Paul (and maybe Phil) some credit. While most educated people no longer see homosexuality as a disease or as a choice, no one believes the greed, slander and theft are biologically determined or a matter of viral influence. Ripping off your neighbor or your workplace or your national economy are still wholly under the influence of the will. By putting our focus on moral issues we can all agree on, we might be able to move beyond the current silliness with Duck Dynasty.