Duck Dynasty & the Trivializing of Sin
CALIFORNIA, December 31, 2013 ― The flap over Phil Robertson’s comments on sin and homosexuality have yet to settle down. This isn’t surprising; any opinion that’s less than glowing about homosexuality has become toxic.
Besides a public clash of value systems, this fiasco shows how easily corporations like A&E are intimidated by activist groups trying to normalize and promote what many believe is sexually immoral.
This controversy goes far beyond personal opinions, corporate profit or issues of censorship, it reeks of intolerance for sincerely held, personal beliefs, and a common ignorance of what sin actually is.
Clearly, Phil has a right to express his personal beliefs, just as A&E has a right to not televise material that’s inconsistent with its brand. In fact, A&E’s initial suspension of Robertson is no different than the major news media swaying public opinion by selective reporting or the president consistently misleading about Obamacare.
As everyone now knows, Robertson was asked by GQ to define sin. His quirky responses paraphrased a portion of 1 Corinthians chapter 6. These verses list: thieves; idolaters; the greedy; drunkards; adulterers; the sexually immoral; as well as those that practice homosexuality as sinful. At another point Robertson again listed homosexuality as sin (Romans 1:24-28; 1 Timothy 1:9-11), and added bestiality (Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 18:23) and sleeping around (Colossians 3:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7) to the list.
Let’s be clear. Robertson never equated homosexuality with bestiality as Nancy Dubuc the CEO of A&E claimed. Obviously both behaviors are condemned in scripture, and both violate God’s perfect design for his created order. By conflating bestiality and homosexuality, Dubuc used shock value to unjustifiably suspend Robertson and put the continuation of the conservative Duck Dynasty series in doubt.
What Robertson actually did in the GQ interview was express a profound truth: Those who practice sin in defiance of a holy God will not inherit the kingdom of God unless they repent and turn to Christ (1 Corinthians 6:10). In fact, Biblically all sin both great and “small” is offensive and unacceptable to a righteous God (Romans 3:23; James 2:8-10; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Robertson could have used other scripture to define sin, such as Ephesians 5:1-6; Romans 13:9, 13; Galatians 5:19-21, or 1 John 3:4 but the result’s the same. For Christians, God’s word is the authority on what’s acceptable and what’s sinful, not the CEO of A&E, GLAAD or Congressional or State legislators. For them, what’s obviously unacceptable is holding God’s word in much higher regard than political correctness.
Let’s be honest. Those who reject the notion of the Bible as God’s authoritative revealed will would rather attack the messenger (Robertson) than the message (what sin is). In fact, calling Robertson anti-gay, homophobic, intolerant, a gay-basher and hater is vile character assassination. It is only intended to prevent objective dialogue on the true nature of sin and its consequences.
For example: although all forms of sexual immorality are glorified in our popular culture, any downsides to these behaviors, particularly with the homosexual lifestyle, are rarely reported. Data assessing relative promiscuity and STD infection rates; average life expectancies; rates of clinical depression, suicide, or convicted sex offenses; or any other meaningful metric of societal health are virtually non-existent.
God’s word may be characterized as hate speech by the politically correct crowd, or sinfully twisted to corrupt its clear message (2 Timothy 4:3-4), but that doesn’t change the nature of timeless truth. It only illustrates the extent so many are willing to go to justify sinful behavior and try to silence anyone that disagrees.
It’s been lost in the controversy, but speaking truth in love towards everyone characterizes Phil Robinson’s comments both in the GQ article and in a recently surfaced sermon. In fact, the verse following Robertson’s paraphrase says: “…and such were some of you. 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” (1 Corinthians 6:11). This is the hope of the gospel Robertson stands for.
Although sin is a condition of the human soul, and indulging it has real life consequences, through Christ we have the hope of a new nature that replaces our old sinful one. That nature will desire to live by God’s standard and not the relativistic values of our day (Proverbs 4:27; Matthew 7:13-14). This applies to everyone, including homosexuals. In fact, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 clearly shows that homosexuality is not a biological condition; it’s a heart, mind and soul condition and thus ultimately redeemable.
The bottom line is that what God demands, he can provide (Romans 3:21-26); and no amount of political correctness, intolerance, or rationalization of sin will change that.