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phil robertsonIt seems in today’s current state of polarized opinions we have two choices although they differ depending on which lens we view them from.  From the perspective of the secular left, either you are a well-adjusted citizen with love for all mankind or you are a backwards believing religious bigot whose views belong in an era any time before, I don’t know, 1992.  If you are looking upon the world from the religious right, either you are true believer of the faith who will always be willing to shout the truth at anyone who you deem lost, or you are part of the, um, secular left.  Now there are plenty of people who recognize the polarizing extremes of these two modes of seeing our culture but they really aren’t newsworthy so good luck seeing one of those weirdoes being interviewed by cable news.

I will begin with a word of the day for my religious friends on the Right and that word is tact.  Learn it, embrace it, figure out the best way to employ it.  I understand the traditional views concerning homosexuality and probably share most of them with you.  The problem is the people who are screaming at you and calling you bigots, they do not understand them, and let’s be honest, they have good reason to be suspicious.  We have spent a good portion of our history demeaning homosexuals and even on occasion persecuting them to death.  Yes I know they did it too; it was not like non-believers throughout history were running to the aid of the gay community.  Our culture of machismo is not fully dependent on Christianity though we have to recognize our faith has been used to hurt others.  This discussion, as frustrating as it is, I believe, has been Divinely thrown upon us so that we may open our eyes to the lack of compassion we have shown toward a specific group in our community.  God knows I needed this debate.

Learning to change our actions does not mean we must forsake our beliefs though.  You know, and I know, it is possible to love an individual to the absolute fullest extent of the word, yet disagree with part of who they are.  We can do this because it happens to be a defining characteristic of our God and His Gospel.  So please, do not let the threat of some impending persecution cause your faith to waiver.  Perhaps we may need to change our methods though and this brings me back to the word of the day — tact.

Right now we are in a firestorm of debate over the Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson who has been let go from the popular A&E reality show due to his words concerning homosexuality in a GQ interview.  The religious right cannot understand how people could react so harshly to a man expressing his beliefs.  They should learn to understand though.

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.

Looking at this comment by Robertson I think we can see a plain spoken guy simply expressing his inability to comprehend how a man can find another man sexually desirable and blames this on the incomprehensibility of sin.  Two things, one, people don’t like to hear the words vagina, penis, and anus.  Remember when Rep. Lisa Brown of Michigan was barred from speaking after talking about her vagina?  Conservatives don’t like this language and apparently neither does the other side.  Anatomically speaking, there was nothing wrong about this observation.  Unless you disagree with the idea that homosexual sex is a sin.  So my second point here is this, do not point at people’s private parts, call them sinful then expect them to remain calm.  We don’t like it and neither do they.

If someone asks you your position regarding homosexuality, do not feel you will ignite a jealous rage in God if you do not shout bluntly, and without grace, that homosexuality is a sin.  Firstly, realize that many times this question is being asked as a trap (Why did GQ really need to report Phil Robertson’s views on Homosexuality?) or, I should rather say, a litmus test about where you fit in.  A line is being drawn in the sand and you are being checked for heresy.  Really, there is no need to even engage a person if this is their motive; remember who else stood silent before the accusers?  If you choose to respond, learn how to be politically correct for goodness sake.  Yes, I know this is annoying for some people but you are going to have to deal it or no one who will hear a word you say.  Those who hold the minority opinion must learn to embrace the art of rhetoric (goodness I am setting myself up here) if they would like to be granted a hearing among the majority.

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…

The secular community does not understand our position concerning homosexuality.  They don’t understand that the views we hold are four thousand years old and it is not in our power to change them.  Sure, they can go out and find biblical scholars or pastors who will agree with them and those people will also laugh at our “archaic” understanding of the faith.  Oh well.  Frankly, it is not our job to convince people of these matters.  In fact, it is impossible for us to do anything.  The best we can do is present a good example of the love of Christ.  What I am trying to say is, do not mention the word bestiality in relation to any gay or lesbian human being.  These people are not having sex with animals; they are having sex with consenting adults.  The same goes for pedophilia.  Perhaps down the road, during some cataclysmic breakdown into a post-apocalyptic society, this stuff will run un-opposed, through no fault of the gay couple down the street by the way, but we are nowhere close to this wasteland presently.

Remember, they do not understand our faith.  Theologically speaking, we know that all sin separates us from God.  My second glance at the brunette today carries the same weight as the man who makes the second glance at a young boy.  That is, in the sense that these sins will create the same gulf between me and God, and in turn can be equally forgiven.  I know you want to tell people that God can forgive homosexuality the same way He can forgive a murderer or a pedophile but, I mean, just don’t.  In fact, try something different altogether.  For example, instead of calling a homosexual a sinner, just quietly give them a hug, have a drink with them, and ask them what they think of the weather.  Show people the heights of the love of Christ, to the point of laying down your life for them, and if they still cannot accept your love, then “kick the dust off your feet”.

If you feel like you have been persecuted, ask yourself, “Did I show a perfect love toward the one who is persecuting me?”  If you have any doubts this is the case then blame yourself for the persecution.  We should listen to the Prayer for My Enemies by St. Nicholas of Zica:

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not

curse them.

Enemies have driven me into Thy embrace more

than friends have.

Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have

loosed me from earth and have demolished all my

aspirations in the world.

Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly

realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world.

Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an

unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by

enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having

ensconced myself beneath Thy tabernacle, where

neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not

curse them.

They, rather than I, have confessed my sins

before the world.

They have punished me, whenever I have

hesitated to punish myself.

They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to

flee torments.

They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered

myself They have spat upon me, whenever I have

filled myself with arrogance.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not

curse them.

– 2 –

Whenever I have made myself wise, they have

called me foolish.

Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have

mocked me as though I were a dwarf.

Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they

have shoved me into the background.

Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they

have prevented me with an iron hand.

Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully,

they have wakened me from sleep.

Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long

and tranquil life,they have demolished it and

driven me out.

Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world

and have stretched out my hands to the hem of

Thy garment.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not

curse them.

Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and

make them even more bitterly against me:

so that my fleeing to Thee may have no return;

so that all hope in men may be scattered like

cobwebs;

so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my

soul;

– 3 –

so that my heart may become the grave of my two

evil twins: arrogance and anger;

so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven;

ah, so that I may for once be freed from self

deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful

web of illusory life.

Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone

knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except

himself.

One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they

are not enemies, but cruel friends.

It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good

and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or

enemies.

Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and my enemies.

A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand.

But a son blesses them, for he understands. For a son

knows that his enemies cannot touch his life. Therefore he

freely steps among them and prays to God for them.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Amen

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