As most of you probably know, Phil Robertson of the uber popular reality TV program “Duck Dynasty” made some news-stirring comments yesterday about homosexuality. To quote the most cited comment, Robertson said:
“It seems 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.”
He goes on to talk about the effects of homosexuality:
“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. 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.”
Robertson’s flippant comments have produced a vitriolic response from people of all moral leanings. Conservative Christians are ticked that a Robertson has been condemned for being honest, while the LGBT community and its sympathizers are outraged at the crudeness of his rhetoric.
Now, many people would consider me a conservative Christian. I believe the Bible is true. I believe Jesus Christ is Lord over all things. And I believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. If this makes me conservative, then I’m conservative.
However, while many conservatives probably line up with Phil Robertson and his remarks—perhaps wondering what the problem is and bemoaning our secular culture for hanging a man for being honest—I want to say that I was offended and discouraged at Phil’s remarks. (Probably more so by his comments about African Americans during the Jim Crow era, but that’s for another blog.)
First of all, I’m disappointed that homosexuality was reduced to sex. I know a lot of gay people who think in terms of companionship, intimacy, and friendship when they reflect on their attraction to the same gender. So, Robertson’s comments about a vagina vs. an anus is naïve, offensive, and misses the point of the whole debate over homosexuality; yes, even to me—a straight Christian who is a conservative Christian.
Second, Roberston doesn’t show any desire to empathize with people who are attracted to the same sex. I want to ask Roberston: “What about the 15 year old Awana champ, who through no desire of his own is attracted to guys? Or what about those women, who were raped respectively by their fathers and therefore are committed to finding companionship in lesbian relationships that have little to do with sex?” Homosexuality is much more complicated than what the A & E star has made it out to be. Now, like Roberston, I’m straight. I will always be straight. And even though I can only identify with those who struggle with heterosexual sins, I desire to empathize with those whose who are attracted to the same gender. Contrary to Robertson’s off-handed comments, there are many people who have unwanted same sex attraction, and Robertson’s comments will do nothing to minister to these people.
Third, I’m disappointed that many millions of Americans will take Robertson’s views as typical of conservative Christians. They’re not. I’m a conservative Christian. And I’m not homophobic. I’m not anti-gay. I’m not even creeped out when I see two dudes holding hands, or two girls kissing. I’m just not. Now, I still believe, with Robertson, that homoeroticism is contrary to God’s will, and I’ve written 20 previous blogs exploring this question. However, this does not mean that I hate gay people (quite the opposite), or that I think gay and lesbians are sick and twisted—I don’t. I have no animosity, hatred, disgust, or disdain toward people attracted to other beautiful humans of the same gender. So I therefore would never make comments about a vagina vs. an anus as Roberston did, even though I believe, with Roberston, that acting on homoerotic desires is prohibited in the Bible. In short, even though Roberston and I share similar beliefs, I’m terribly disappointed at his comments about homosexuality.
Fourth—get over it. Phil Robertson is one human being who expressed views shared by many millions of humans—billions, actually—around the world. The buzz created by his comments is fueled by an idolatrous American culture that considers authoritative the comments and opinions of movie stars over experts in the field. And this is sad. The fact that Robertson’s comments—the opinion of one human being—has created such a stir is proof, if proof were needed, that America places on a pedestal the opinions of ordinary people who found their way in front of a camera.
So, to my LGBT friends: “Please don’t consider Phil Robertson’s comments as representative of all conservative Christians. They’re not. Take it with a grain of salt and try to befriend a local Christian. You may be surprised.”
And to my conservative Christian friends: “Try befriending someone who is gay or lesbian and you’ll discover a reservoir of creational, image-bearing ingenuity and creativity that can be delighted in. And you will see that the gay vs. straight question is much more than a debate about a vagina vs. a man’s anus.”