Going against my better judgement, I read down several pages of Tweets on this Phil Robertson thing. I did this because Twitter interests me a lot. It did little to enlighten me and everything to made me sag in despair. I kept seeing a lot of handwaving and “tolerance goes both ways!” and all that stuff.
I think it’s likely that anyone who’s seen this story already has an opinion and mine is certainly not needed, but there is an itch in my brain that I need to scratch by simply writing something down so I can walk away and WRAP HOLIDAY GIFTS.
Here is one of the quotes that caused the problem:
"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."
This is very questionable theology, and borderline insane when it comes to anything to do with actual human behavior. It sounds like the remarks of someone who is a conservative and casual bigot who lives in a remote area and makes duck calls. Lots of conservative and casual bigots can also be nice people—to the people they consider to be the “right” people. I know this because I was raised in an area almost entirely populated by conservative and casual bigots. I can’t hate these people—I’m related to a lot of them. I have the same blood.
Nor can I say it’s cool because you seem like a fun guy with a beard.
To all those who are saying, “Tolerance goes both ways…”
…this isn’t tolerance. If you think this looks like tolerance, you do not know what tolerance looks like. You have confused tolerance with non-tolerance and that is actually a pretty big mistake.
When you call any group of people the root of sin, you’re not being tolerant. You’re being a bigot. You assume moral authority where you have none. You would FREAK OUT if someone did this to you, but you expect the people you are addressing (and make no mistake, you address some of your friends and loved ones) to roll over and take it. Take the blow to their pride and personhood and psychological state. Tolerance!
No. This is not tolerance, so stop throwing the word around like a boomerang, because that thing is headed back to you and is about to hit you square between the eyes.
Gays and lesbians and transfolk and people all along the spectrum of normal human sexuality are literally being put to death around the world today. Literally. In Russia, it’s currently popular to talk about putting gay people in ovens and burning them alive. If you really want to ruin your afternoon, read about 76 countries in which being gay is illegal, and all of the horrible, horrible things that can happen to you there. And in America, where this is taking place, you actively have fewer rights as promised to you in the Constitution if you are gay. You are likely to receive threats and be the victim of violence. This is actual, literal persecution.
So when you throw down your lot with the “gays are the root of sin!” people, you are throwing wood on a fire that burns high and bright and literally kills people. It is not a question of being put off a show about duck calls for a few weeks.
Also, no one is taking Mr. Robertson’s rights to say what he likes. He’s fine. He’s still doing his thing. We have the right to say what we like in America, which is wonderful. This is a separate issue from our employers having the right to fire us when we violate a code of conduct and become poor representatives of our place of employment. You can get fired from your job at a restaurant for having a sloppy uniform, or being rude to customers—so why shouldn’t a highly-paid man get the can for calling a major portion of the population the root of sin? If someone said that to me in Denny’s, I WOULD ASK FOR THE MANAGER.
As for the religious argument here, it’s been made so many times by people far more qualified than me—this obsession with the sex lives of gay people is strange and foreign to the soul of Christianity. It also shows a fundamental and constant misunderstanding of how gay people lead their lives. I will say that loads of Christians out there are doing good things every day and not walking this particular road to nowhere. This road brings pain and suffering to others. It has never seemed very Christian to venture down it.
The nature of these kinds of kerfuffles means that this will probably be forgotten in two days, but the actual persecution of gay people will go on past that.
But who am I even talking to here? I worry that I simply preach to a choir. But then, I also worry (a lot) about many of you who may read me and be teens and despair over the state of the world when you read things like this. If you are gay or anywhere along that bright rainbow, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU. Sorry about this. We’re working on the issue.
Here’s hoping for something that breaks the polarized cycle of discussion and actually moves us forward, together, into a place where the playing ground is equal.
And I do think that day is coming.