Sunday, December 22, 2013

Phil Robertson Loves Fags



As someone who has experienced both Christianity and homosexuality, I can only conclude from these words of Phil Robertson in the recent GQ interview that the Duck Dynasty patriarch loves fags:

“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he tells me. “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”

What does repentance entail? Well, in Robertson’s worldview, America was a country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.), and he believes that the gradual removal of Christian symbolism from public spaces has diluted those founding principles. (He and Si take turns going on about why the Ten Commandments ought to be displayed outside courthouses.) He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost. 

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”

[Q.:] What, in your mind, is sinful?

“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.” 

[Phil, in reference to his own conversion, elaborated:]

As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If you read the words above and conclude that Phil hates homosexuals, then you are either deceiving yourself or you are not fully comprehending what he's actually saying. You don't have to agree with Phil to recognize that he is actually expressing a kind of love for homosexuals. He's using standard Bible language here, talking about a quintessentially Biblical concept - salvation for sinners like himself.

One of the Bible-identified sins that Phil experienced was drunkenness and it begat other sins, such as violence and cruelty to his family. What he's saying here is that no matter what sins you engage in, you can repent and be saved. Phil is affirming the fundamental dignity of men and women who are, as he understands it, lost in the sinful practice of homosexuality.

This may be an understanding of homosexuality you disagree with or a theology that you disagree with, but it is not hate. The most precious thing Phil has ever experienced - the mercy of almighty God attained through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - is something he wants to share with all of humanity. Phil loves you, he loves me, and he truly loves homosexuals to the best of his understanding.

As for Phil's "comparing" homosexuality with bestiality or terrorism, please note that he's also "comparing" it to the major sin he identifies in his own life, drunkenness. Those who are unfamiliar with Christian evangelicals or fundamentalists may be unaware of the concept of the "equality of sin" which is held by many of these kinds of Christians. It's the idea that "all fall short of the glory of God" and that accepting Christ can wipe away literally ALL sins.

If the worst thing you ever did was tell a white lie and answer a woman that her dress looks great when it actually looks awful, accepting Jesus into your heart wipes away all your sins. If the moment before the famous "double tap" in 2011, Osama bin Laden quickly prayed that Jesus come into his heart, all his sins were forgiven. To an evangelical or fundamentalist Christian, that's the free gift of salvation that Jesus Christ extends to all who seek repentance.

But you did not choose homosexuality, you say. Well, Phil probably says he did not choose alcoholism or addiction either. He probably has a hankering for a drink every now and then too. Very few evangelical or fundamentalist Christians would suggest that "being saved" eradicates the desire to sin.

I do think that many of these folks misunderstand same-sex attraction and think of it as a condition that can be switched on and off. I know someone who was baptized twice by a sect he belonged to briefly because the first time did not apparently "wash away" his sexual attraction to men. It didn't take the second time either and he moved on.

Maybe Phil is at a similar place in his concept of same-sex attraction as that sect. But I bet you a hundred ducks that if I sat down with Phil and spent 10 minutes explaining my experience of this thing, he would believe me at least that the orientation or attraction itself is not something I have it within my power to presently control, and that I bear greater responsibility for what I can control. He can choose to avoid alcohol and drugs if he wants to, so I think he would grasp that I can avoid pornography, masturbation, and sex with men (or women who aren't my wife) if I want to.

The fact is the Bible mostly identifies certain acts as sins, and much more rarely calls thoughts or inadvertent thought patterns sins.

In fact, while I can think of several places in the Bible where men are condemned for coveting or lusting for women, the passages I am familiar with dealing with homosexuality all only explicitly mention sex acts or people who commit certain sex acts. (If anyone reading this has an example counter to that assertion, please let me know and I'll correct my assertion or at least examine the competing example.)

Look at an extended version of the passage in St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (I Cor. 6:9-11) that Phil paraphrased:

[9] Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders [10] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] 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.

The English phrasing and terminology employed in this passage (as well as the whole Bible) have varied across translations (from the original Greek in the case of the New Testament) since the Reformation, but judging by Phil's paraphrase in the GQ article, this older NIV (New International Version) translation seems to be what he's familiar with. Whether or not you like seeing homosexuals lumped in with the other people on the list, from a Bible perspective, take that for granted and consider what comes at the end in verse 11: "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." That's actually the point St. Paul is making and it's the point Phil was making in his own way.

Sadly, both sides - people who support the gay agenda and those who oppose it - most often quote verses 9 and 10, but rarely seem to follow through to verse 11. St. Paul here is not simply recasting Leviticus's condemnation of men lying with men as they do with women; Paul is saying that Christ has the ability to wipe out ALL our sins and set us on a new path if we let him.

To his mind, Phil was once a drunk and drug addict (and a fornicator and a few other things on the Corinthians list) who overcame those sins by accepting Christ. He was washed, he was sanctified, and he genuinely wants every person he comes in contact with and everyone who reads the article or watches his show to feel that same joy.
Phil does not hate anyone for experiencing same-sex attraction or engaging in homosexual acts. He identifies with us, and to his mind he wants the absolute best for us.

Phil Robertson does not hate fags. Phil Robertson loves fags.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Dispatch from Pride Weekend

The crime and folly of the court of Ravenna was expiated a third time by the calamities of Rome. The king of the Goths, who no longer dissembled his appetite for plunder and revenge, appeared in arms under the walls of the capital; and the trembling senate, without any hopes of relief, prepared, by a desperate resistance, to delay the ruin of their country. But they were unable to guard against the secret conspiracy of their slaves and domestics; who, either from birth or interest, were attached to the cause of the enemy. At the hour of midnight, the Salarian gate was silently opened, and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet. Eleven hundred and sixty-three years after the foundation of Rome, the Imperial city, which had subdued and civilized so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Love Letter To Red Eye

Dear Red Eye,

It was a typical evening for me stretching into the early hours of February 6, 2007. I was watching the replays of all the prime time shows on Fox News Channel. Then, 2:00 AM rolled around and all of a sudden something new was there. It was you.

I was confused, bewildered, and intrigued. Saw this new music, new set, new people, and the crawl at the bottom of the screen was gone. I was like, "WTF is this?". I watched. I saw something that really appealed to me and it took all of about 5 minutes for me to decide I loved you.

Greg Gutfeld came on and started talking about whatever was in the news that day, but there was a bit of a twist. It wasn't like the normal Fox News shows, this was different. He appealed to my ADD nature and my love of current events. Then it was thrown to your repulsive side-kick Bill Schulz and his witty remarks came on and I wanted more. Then at halfway through, this guy named Andy Levy came on and gave an ombudsman report right in the middle of the show calling no bullshit from those on the panel. This also appealed to me because this was different than any other show on television.

I endeavored to stay up the next night to make sure you were not an anomaly. You weren't, I was relieved. Ever since that first night and that first week, you have given me reason to stay up at night to see fun social commentary on the days events.

You have also brought me to know a lot of cool people on Facebook and Twitter. Some I've met in person. Some I wish I could meet in person. Also, Red Eye, you have read a couple of my letters on air. I thank you for giving me that personal connection. In addition to that personal connection, Bill and Andy have both tweeted at me, which was super cool.

Now, something I didn't like is when you switched from 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM. I didn't want you to go a changing but you did. Reluctantly, I accepted those changes. There were some other changes with the show which were less objectionable such as no longer "drawing the news" or having a certain Canadienne who was a regular at first.

So, with that said, thank you for being there for me, and I'll always be there for you.

From the saddle of my magical unicorn,

Bryan

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Trev & Me

Friends, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Bryan and I've had
contact outside of the twitters with our dear friend Trev over the
last year and a half or so.

Trev got in touch with me while I was at vigil with my mother last
year. Since then he's confided in me some information about himself,
his SSA (Same Sex Attraction), and things from his past. For that I
thank him immensely.

When the Tyler Clementi story broke and
I read Trev's reaction to what had happened, I
felt a stronger connection to him because I knew what he was going
through with the information he gave me. Learning what Trev has gone
through in the past, it's easy to see how that could have just as
easily been him years ago. I'm happy that never happened.

Trev has a heart of pure gold. So much so, if Glenn Beck or Ron Paul
were to find out about it, they would say something to the affect of
"BUY TREV NOW!"

Now, unlike the case with Trev's friend Jason Australia, Trev did not reveal a "crush" on me. Which is cool,
since just because he's living with SSA doesn't mean he's
automatically sexually interested in every man. Just like even though
I do not have SSA, I'm not sexually attracted to each female.

Jason talks about male bonding. Trev has told me that it's sometimes
been difficult to hang out with other men and watch a football game or
something similar since he lacked a close male role model growing up
to solidify that kind of bond.

Recently in a conversation with Trev, he recounted how he could see
generations of family relationships setting him up for the childhood
wounds he carries. Children shouldn't have to pay for the sins of
parents and grandparents.

Trev has talked to me about what it's like to have an interest in
other close male friends. He has said it certainly is not easy for him
to live with the desire and urge to tell them and not to act upon it.
You might not know it from his online personality, but in conversation
Trev displays great self-control and adherence to his own philosophy
of abstinence.

My discussions Trev do not always involve talking about SSA or related
issues. We talk about random other stuff like anyone does; jobs,
movies, food, politics, and of course the thing that brought us
together in the first place... Red Eye.

Of course Trev was nervous about telling me a lot about himself, so in
turn I have shared my own stories so he doesn't feel like he's the
only one revealing so much. I figure that's what a good friend should
do: make sure that we can trust each other.

Trev is funny. He makes me laugh a lot and is a very close and dear
friend. His friendship and his trusting me has meant so much.

With that said all that said, I am thankful Trev is in my life and we
call each other friends.