Friday, December 20, 2013

Should Phil Robertson have been graphic in describing the homosexual act?

How helpful or unhelpful were the remarks Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty made in the January 2014 edition of GQ about the graphic nature of the homosexual act?

In the wide-ranging interview several comments specifically have caused a firestorm. I wrote about my interpretation why there was such an explosion in a previous blog entry. Today I've been mulling over the graphic nature of Phil's comments. I won't repeat them here, but suffice to say, he used the correct names for the body parts in describing the homosexual act and summed it up by saying the act is "illogical."

Many people are calling Phil's anatomically correct portion of the interview an unhelpful part of the conversation, as did I. But I've been thinking, IS it unhelpful to be biologically straightforward in plainly describing homosexuality? It brought to mind the article published last August (2013) by Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition, the website where the essay was published. It is called,

The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing Homosexuality and “Gay Marriage”

The "ick factor" is part of the issue and the liberals and homosexuals promoting its normalcy have been successful in covering that up and diverting our attention to the less 'icky' parts of the issue they want us to focus on.

In Anyabwile's article above, he wrote of how he was invited to attend a high-level think tank discussion in Washington DC ten years ago to discuss "long-standing research consensus on family structure." Of course the discussion soon edged over to homosexual marriage, and it is here that Pastor Anyabwile makes his observations. At the meeting, there were five diversionary tactics the advocate for gay marriage used, now cemented as homosexual marriage advocacy talking points in the years since:

Seize upon politeness. Turns out that being civil about indecency actually hurts the traditional cause.
Minimize conjugality. With most of the room nodding, he then began to divorce (no pun intended) marriage from its conjugal nature.
Remove the “yuck factor.” Our advocate friend was keenly aware that any conversation about “what goes on in bedrooms” was death to his cause. So, he privatized those realities and their implications for what we view as “normal” or “acceptable,” and focused on other things (rights, etc.). He pointed out that most people have a visceral reaction, a gag reflex, when they think about sex between two men or two women. That deep-in-the-stomach gagging was symptomatic of an even deeper moral opposition to sodomy and other homosexual practices. He told us that this gag reflex should not and could not be allowed to affect the debate.
Emphasize love and commitment. Then the winds picked up. If marriage wasn’t about the conjugal relationship, what was it about? “Love and commitment” we were told. “What’s wrong with two people finding love?”
Call for “rights” and “equality.” If marriage was merely about love, and such love ought to be protected via government-recognized rights, then “gay marriage” should receive those same protections and rights.

Pastor Anyabwile was amazed at the confidence, winsomeness and brilliance of the liberal man in constructing and presenting his arguments. He said, "Here’s what I failed to do then and I’m convinced is necessary now: respond in this way," [in part]

"Return the discussion to sexual behavior in all its yuckiest gag-inducing truth. Now to do this, we’re simply going to have accept the fact that we aren’t going to be liked. We’re going to be branded “mean” and “bigoted.” We should not in fact be mean and bigoted. We should speak the truth in love. But the consequence will be a nasty brand from the culture. I should say branded again because we’ve already been given those labels simply for being Christians. So, we don’t have much to lose and we just might re-gain some footing in this debate. What do I mean by returning the yuck factor? Consider how many times you’ve read the word “gay” or “homosexual” in this post without thinking about the actual behaviors those terms represent. “Gay” and “homosexual” are polite terms for an ugly practice."

Anyabwile continued in the essay to describe the act in anatomical and plainly graphic terms, exactly as Phil Robertson did. Robertson spoke the truth in love, describing himself as a sinner in need of a Savior. He listed many sins, not just homosexuality. He said not to be deceived, homosexuals as well as any sinner will not inherit the kingdom. But Phil did describe homosexuality's 'ick factor' and as Anyabwile advised 4 months ago, 

Your moral sensibilities have been provoked–and rightly so. That reflex triggered by an accurate description of homosexual behavior will be the beginning of the recovery of moral sense and sensibility when it comes to the so-called “gay marriage” debate.

and they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them."
(Genesis 19:5 NASB)
So I go back and forth on Phil's graphic comments. Phil squashed the romantic aspect of the conversation from the liberals and brought the graphic, icky reality of homosexuality smack into spotlight. Were the comments helpful? Ill-advised? Time will tell.

The bible calls these acts an "abomination", "debased", "error, "unrighteous", "shameless", "contrary to sound doctrine," "unnatural desire," and "ought not to be done." People who engage in it will suffer eternal torment. God is clear about the ick factor of homosexual sin, (and all sin). (source & source)

Meanwhile, Pastor Anyabwile followed up his August ick factor essay with this yesterday-

Duck Dynasty and the Twisted Ironies of Our Current Sexual Politics
"I think Mr. Robertson spoke what a lot of people think and feel but are not accustomed to expressing–for good or ill. His visceral reaction is the reaction of most who stop to think about the actions in question... 
1. It’s ironic that a “vulgar” rejection of certain sexual acts cannot co-exist with visual and verbal sexual vulgarity itself.
2. It’s ironic that “vile” remarks are rejected while the vile acts they describe are celebrated.
we seriously need to reflect on the terms of engagement in this debate."

And for that reflection I redirect you once again to the link I'd posted at the top,

The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing Homosexuality and “Gay Marriage”

13 comments:

  1. I get where people are coming from on both sides of the argument, regarding tone and delivery. I guess for me, it actually goes down to what is the motive when we speak out on this issue. My view is, I would want to be able to proclaim the gospel, and not have anything in what I said or how I said it to hinder that. I will repost an email I sent to another believing friend yesterday, explaining my view on it:
    I totally get what you are saying. And initially, when I first heard of this story last night, that was my exact reaction. But the more I think on it, the more I see it differently. I'll explain:
    Christ doesn't call us to be concerned with everything being fair and equal in our society. He calls us first, to proclaim the gospel. Its irrelevant weather or not things are fair or just for me in the secular world. You are exactly right, that tolerance should work both ways. But you and I both know the chance of that happening is exactly zero. Why? Because it is spiritual warfare. So, I believe we have to approach it differently. Not trying to reason and point out that tolerance works both ways (although true) but rather, how can I best preach the gospel? Because really, that is our only true objective, from the perspective of eternity.
    Now, when I look at what Phil said in its entirety, from that eternal perspective, I don't think he chose the best choice. I think the best thing, when asked what he believed about the gay rights/gay lifestyle, would have been to point to scripture, (like he did) and say this is what I believe. This is the truth. And stop there. They probably won't like it, but you have obeyed Christ's command, the rest is up to Him.
    When he went on to explain unhelpfully the illogicalness of same sex union (which is totally true), he just opened the door for people to be offended and for the focus of the conversation to be off of the gospel and on to what he personally thinks. See what I mean? What he said wasn't untrue, but it hindered the gospel. And if our objective is to take every opportunity to preach the truth, we don't want to mess it up with poorly worded statements.
    I don't mean that in a critical spirit to Phil. He is a brother in Christ and he has done much good for the kingdom. I am sure, on the spot, I wouldn't have done it perfectly either. But since this is a "debate" out in the world about what happened, I am just trying to be concise about what I felt the real issue was, and where things went wrong. It went wrong when the Christians try to engage and argue on a societal level, rather than taking a eternal perspective.

    I'm sure this will be an issue that many of us disagree on. Even so, it is good to discuss it, I think.

    Jennifer

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    1. Hi Jennifer, thanks so much. You gave me a lot to think about.

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    2. Hi Jennifer,

      I totally agree, just speak God's word lovingly to this lost generation. I would read Romans 1: 21-32 to them, they can have the discussion with Jesus when they stand to be judged but not with me I'm not the author.

      Delete
  2. I think Robertson's first error was agreeing to the interview. Interviews with those sorts of publications will never come out good for the Christian.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was watching Jeopardy the other night, and one of the questions had to do with the rape scene in the movie Deliverance. The contestant, as he answered, wrinkled up his nose, made a face and said "What is Deliverance?" and then he even shook his head and made a face. I asked my husband then, why do people still seem to be grossed out by Deliverance but if you act that way when you talk about homosexuality, you get outrage. It's the same thing basicaslly. You just proved my point.

    Kim

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    Replies
    1. "it's the same thing basically"

      you are comparing RAPE and consensual sex between adults

      Delete
    2. The discussion is about the reaction to the act of sodomy, whether consensual or not. In fact, the scene in Deliverance impacts us through these many generations since it aired because it is so heinous. Sodomy is gross, consensual or not, sodomizing someone through rape is worse. The filmmakers wanted to depict something so terrible we'd remember it. They could have chosen to castrate him. They could have chosen a different rape act. They didn't. A man sodomized and brutalized that way was something that the resultant generations collectively shudder at. And why is that? Because the act of sodomy is so base and perverted.

      Delete
  4. Lev 18:22 is an oft quoted verse telling us that homosexuality is an abomination to God. It always has been and will continue to be for all eternity, all complaining of LGBTQ crowd aside. Now would be a good time to look at the very next verse, Lev. 18:23 "Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion." Looking further in Leviticus we find in chapter twenty the penalty for such sins. Lev. 20:13-19. Being "cut off" means to be put to death. Our God never plays with sin, neither should we. The declaration of the Gospel has always included the exposing of sins, no matter how distasteful they may be to "discuss in public". It is the chink in our armor to bow to the demands of the lost that we back off from preaching against sin no matter how heinous it is. Right now this is the hot topic and how many will there be that succumb to the demands of the lost to shut up?

    For a Christian to bury his head in the sand will render him a big fat zero in effectiveness when speaking the Gospel to anyone caught in sexual sins. You really want to help? then know the subject. Know that ALL sexual sin quickly becomes an obsession, lust is ever increasing and never satisfied, no matter the number of partners, the frequency of encounters, NOTHING is enough. If anything in our present day could be akin to demon possession this is it (some of it is). Changing of "tastes", trying something new, it doesn't matter, nothing helps, but the obsession stays and grows. These people are caught, hopelessly caught, and their only rescue is Jesus Christ. Half the Gospel won't cut it. Preaching love without repentance is meaningless. Telling someone that "Jesus loves you" HAS NEVER SAVED ANYONE. Telling them that Jesus died to free them from their sin by His death on the cross and His resurrection is key. They will not listen to you if your presentation is half-hearted, if you are more concerned with their feelings than the fate of their soul. When they get tired of their sins and want to be freed from them, then they will call upon the Lord to save them and not before. This is what the Holy Spirit does to every believer as He deals with them and causes them to see their sins as God sees them. Then comes freedom, real freedom! No longer enslaved to old sins, no longer does the obsession of the past rule, but Christ is forevermore alive in the heart, eternal life has been bought, paid for and now delivered to the sinner.

    You really want to help gay people? know what it is they do and know they are trapped in it until the Lord delivers them.

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  5. I didn't know about your blog until today, when I read your previous post about Phil Robertson. I wish I had read this post before commenting on the previous one, because this is exactly what I was talking about in my comment. What does the Word of God have to say about all this? Ephesians 5:12 tells us it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

    I think that verse is highly relevant in this discussion. From the standpoint of human reasoning, I agree with Pastor Anyabwile - but what good is human reasoning? Particularly when it is in conflict with what the Word of God plainly states? Not much, I can tell you that.

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    1. Hi Sandi,

      I agree, it is relevant to the discussion. Thank you for bringing it in and for giving me (and readers) something to think about. I looked up the exposition of that verse by John MacArthur. He preached it here:
      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/1933/living-in-the-light

      He said,
      "You know, I read a book on the homosexual problem written by a Christian this week that talked about the problem of homosexuality in such lurid terms that it was like pornography. Now that isn't right. You don't need to do that. You can give God's solution without portraying every evil thing that could possibly go on in that relationship. That's not necessary."

      The sermon is called Living in the Light" and he goes on to the next verse which says that the Light will make these things which are reproved made manifest. "This is your commission, people, get out there and reprove sin and expose sin because you're the light"

      Se we are to reprove and expose but not graphically? It's a balancing act. I think the verse you're sharing would indicate that in this instance Phil stating the verse and paraphrasing his stance that it is a sin which will disqualify adherents from heaven would have been enough, and not to bring the secret things out into the open. The sin is exposed but the secret things that ought not to be talked about stays unsaid. Is this what you're saying? Hmmm, then using the verse you shared then I agree with you...

      thanks for educating me :)

      Delete
    2. Hey Elizabeth,

      you said..."I think the verse you're sharing would indicate that in this instance Phil stating the verse and paraphrasing his stance that it is a sin which will disqualify adherents from heaven would have been enough, and not to bring the secret things out into the open. The sin is exposed but the secret things that ought not to be talked about stays unsaid. Is this what you're saying? Hmmm, then using the verse you shared then I agree with you..."

      That's exactly what I'm saying. :) When we call sin what it is without giving our opinion about it, then we can be sure any fallout is strictly because people love their sin. When we give our opinion as well, it muddies the water and the Word of God loses some of its effectiveness because people get distracted with the opinion.

      Of course, that's just my opinion. :)

      Delete
  6. Homosexuality is a sin because God's word says it is. It requires no human qualifiers to its level of ickiness to make it so. It just is.

    In broader terms, for us to view sin through a human lens is a very slippery slope. It's the same justification that someone who lied to say, "well at least I didn't kill anyone today."

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    Replies
    1. This is a really good comment...I hadn't thought of it like that. It's not our revulsion to a thing that makes it a sin, just like it's not our apathy to a sin that makes it okay.

      Your example of lying is spot on. It seems even among Christians that this is an area of sin that is swept under the rug by the liars as well as the lied-to.

      Delete

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