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Discerning the Duck Dynasty Scandal

Adrian Patenaude

Facebook is blowing up with the latest scandal: Phil Robertson’s comments on homosexuality and his suspension from Duck Dynasty. Conservatives are scandalized by his dismissal, which some are calling an attack on Christianity. The secular world and the cool Christians are scandalized by his insensitive position against homosexuality. And I’m watching it all happen, wondering which side to take. Being a college student, it is all too easy to jump on the liberal bandwagon. But recently I’ve been learning to be more skeptical of the Internet’s mob mentality. I hope you’ll hear me out on two points I’d like to make to Christians in the midst of all this.

As Christians, we are called to look at Scripture.

So what does the Bible say about homosexuality? Exactly what Phil said. At one point, he quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.

It’s there in black and white...right? Well, there are other arguments. For example, many agree that Scripture is meant to be applied differently in modern society. I mean, we’ve rethought the whole women-can’t-talk-in-church thing, right? But how much give-room should we allow for current culture? That's dangerous ground. Culture has never been a good test for what is right – just think slavery.

Another argument is that the original Scripture meant something different in the original context. Maybe “homosexuality” didn’t mean the committed homosexual relationships we see today. But I’m no Biblical scholar. So who knows? Do you?

My point is we have a lot of discerning to do. And as Christians, we are called to a truth that is deeper than what is popular. In fact, it might even be offensive. Paul caused riots. Why are we so surprised when the world gets offended?

But that doesn’t mean we have to be jerks about it either.

As Christians, we are called to look at our own lives.

Before we solve the theological issue of homosexuality, let’s look at our own sins first. This is the classic speck-in-his-eye, log-in-yours situation. If we are so adamant about homosexuality being condemned in the Bible, shouldn’t we be just as adamant about the subtler sins that are infecting our own lives? What about ignored issues, like tithing? Anger? Pride? Gluttony? What about honoring our parents?

Just take a look at Galatians 5:20:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: ...hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group... Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But isn’t hostility okay when it’s against gay people? Nope. Whether homosexuality is sin or not, we don’t get a pass on bigotry. There are better ways to stand for truth.

In his memoir, Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis talks about the homosexuality he was exposed to at school. But rather than digging into it, he wrote this:

The sin in question is one of the two (gambling is the other) which I have never been tempted to commit. I will not indulge in futile philippics against enemies I never met in battle.

I urge you to follow his example. Who are we to judge something we don’t understand?

It’s not our place. It’s God’s.

And we are not called to be right. We are called to purity.

Let’s look closely at our own lives before we condemn others.