God Hates Phil Robertson

That’s what the good people at the Westburo Baptist Church believe. He is going to Hell like everyone else in the world outside their church. Here is the story at Tellmenow.com.

You may be familiar with the Westboro Baptist Church from Kansas, the so-called church that goes around the country with “God Hates Fags” signs that they wave while protesting at the funerals of our fallen soldiers? Well, now they want to protest TV’s Duck Dynasty.

One would think that these gay-hating nuts would be all in favor of Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family due to the recent controversy over Phil Robertson’s comments on homosexuality. But, no, they hate them, too.

Certainly the gay-hating “church” is in agreement with the way that most media types mischaracterize Robertson’s comments about the act of homosexuality, but despite that, church members want to protest the Robertson family. I suppose they imagine that the publicity is better than their so-called principle.

Of course, Phil Robertson noted that the act of homosexuality (but not gays as people) is listed in the Bible as a sin. The Westboro people agree with this–as do most Christians. Still, they have criticism.

Church spokesmen criticized the Duck Dynasty family saying, “the Phil Robertson’s [sic] of this wicked generation are the very reason that fags run this nation” and that the country is “hurtling toward her destruction.”

Apparently the Westboro Church now wants to protest the season premiere of season five by protesting on February 1 outside the New York offices of the A&E network on.

Season five of Duck Dynasty premiers on January 15.

Jael Phelps picketing Trinity Episcopal Church...
Well, I am not too fond of them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t think the writer of this piece understands what the Westburo Baptist Church really believes or is trying to accomplish. Phil Robertson, like most mainstream Christians, seems to believe that homosexuals are sinners in need of God’s love and forgiveness. He has said that he is not in the business of determining who is going to Heaven or Hell. The members of the Westburo Baptist Church are  hyper-Calvinists who believe that God has already decided who is to be saved and who is to be damned. As gotquestions.org explains,

The members of Westboro Baptist Church are quick to assert that those they name are going to burn in hell. The problem with this is that although we are to measure others’ actions by the Word of God and encourage fellow believers toward maturity, we are never to make a judgment about another’s salvation (Matthew 7:1-2). Jesus warns His disciples against proclaiming the guilt of others before God. To be a condemning judge of others is to show that one is still under the condemnation of God. We are not the absolute standard. We are not the final word on the matter. To make such a dogmatic pronouncement is to usurp the place of God.

The vehemence with which Westboro Baptist Church denies God’s compassionate love for all people and declares others’ position of salvation reflects their belief in hyper-Calvinism. Calvinism states that man can do nothing to save himself from judgment; God elects those He will save (Romans 8:29-30). Hyper-Calvinism takes this further, saying since God alone elects those He will save, witnessing is futile. It also denies the concept of common grace—the beneficence God shows toward all His creation by providing good things (Matthew 5:45b) and holding back evil. This is a dangerous misconception about God’s grace that leads to great anxiety and doubt of a person’s own salvation. Westboro Baptist Church’s extreme hyper-Calvinism also explains why they do not care about offending people. They believe if a person is elect, he/she will believe, no matter what. They believe if a person is non-elect, he/she has absolutely no possibility of salvation. Therefore, hateful, angry, and vehement rhetoric does not matter, as it could not possibly change a person’s eternal destiny. Westboro Baptist Church rejects the idea that offending people could turn them away from faith in Jesus Christ.

To put it another way, they do not believe that God hates fags because they are homosexual. They believe that people are homosexual because God hates them and wants to throw them into Hell. Since Phil Robertson presumably does not believe that God hates homosexuals, he is part of the problem.

Westboro Baptist Church Anti-Jewish Picketing
They are branching out. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obviously, the tenets of the Westburo Baptist Church are not in the mainstream of Christian doctrine, even within the Calvinist tradition. In fact, I believe their beliefs to be heretical. God hates sin, but He does not hate the sinner and certainly does not wish for anyone to be lost. After all, He gave His only Son to keep people out of Hell. But then, I suspect that it is really all about doing what gets them attention, not what God wants.

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Newhart Cancels Show for GLAAD

It seems that the drama involving the A & E Network and the Robertson family is nearly at an end. At any rate A & E gave in to the nearly overwhelming opposition of the show’s fans to their suspension of Phil Robertson and have allowed him to continue on the show. This is a victory, of sorts, for free speech and a stinging defeat for the GLAAD bullies. Unfortunately they will continue their efforts to marginalize anyone who happens to disagree with their views and not everyone has the resources or the will to fight them.

Comedian Bob Newhart was scheduled to give a performance at a conference by Legatus, a Catholic businessman’s organization. GLAAD decided that the group is anti-gay because they happen to support Catholic positions on sexuality and pressured Newhart to cancel the show. Unfortunately, Newhart complied.Here is an account in Lifesitenews.com.

Famed comedian Bob Newhart has canceled a headline show at a conference for Catholic business leaders after a homosexual activist group ran a campaign portraying the organizers as “anti-gay.”

After learning of the 84-year-old comedian’s scheduled appearance at the Legatus Summit in Orlando on February 6, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) began urging him last week to back out. Activists also organized a petition at Faithful America that garnered 17,000 signatures.

Legatus, which was begun by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan in 1987 to network Catholic business leaders, is faithful to the Church’s Magisterium and therefore upholds the Church’s teachings on all moral matters including homosexuality.

“It’s unfortunate that Bob Newhart has decided not to perform at Legatus’ annual Summit in February,” Legatus Executive Director John Hunt told LifeSiteNews.com. “It’s clear from stories in the media that certain organizations have asked him to cancel his appearance.”

Hunt continued, “Despite the rhetoric in these news reports, Legatus is a faith-based organization that proudly holds firm to the teachings of the Catholic Church especially, in this case, to the teachings on human sexuality.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church bases itself on the Bible, calling homosexual sex “acts of grave depravity” and the inclination toward homosexuality “objectively disordered.” At the same time, it says those with same-sex attractions “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

Newhart, a lifelong Catholic, announced the cancellation on his Facebook and Twitter accounts Wednesday. “Upcoming Bob Newhart Tour Date Change — Bob will not be performing at the Legatus Summit in Orlando FL on February 6th, 2014,” the post said.

I can’t say that I am very disappointed in Bob Newhart. As the article states, He is 84 years old and he certainly doesn’t need to be involved in any controversies at his time of life. Also, as a life long performer, it is very likely that his politics are closer to GLAAD than Legatus. All the same, I wish that he had kept the engagement in order to stand up for the principle that performers should not have to seek permission from pressure groups to decide where to book performances. Does Newhart really want to live in a country where entertainers have to seek permission to perform? Does he want future performers to have to submit their material in advance  to ensure that nothing offensive is said. This may seem far fetched, but there have been places in the world where this was  and is the case.

A long time ago, I happened to see the Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff on some late night talk show.I don’t remember which, but I think it might have been Johnny Carson. During the interview, Smirnoff mentioned that he while he worked in the Stoviet Union, he had to submit his material to a Department of Jokes. A comedian was not allowed to depart from the submitted material or improvise. The host thought this was a joke, but Smirnoff assured him this really was the case. When the host asked Smirnoff if a comedian who disobeyed would be sent to jail, Smirnoff answered that he would not, but he would never be allowed to perform again. Keep that in mind while reading what GLAAD has to say.

GLAAD praised Newhart’s decision Thursday. “Newhart is merely siding with the majority of fair-minded Americans who do not support the anti-LGBT agenda of organizations like Legatus,” said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s vice president of communications.

“These groups constantly struggle to find high-profile people of faith to speak at their events, but at a time when more and more people of faith are accepting of LGBT people, they will continue to be left to choose between increasingly fringe figures,” he added.

The homosexual activist group launched the campaign in a December 12 post titled “Bob Newhart, don’t become the next Kirk Cameron!”

If you don’t accept GLAAD’s agenda then you will be labeled a fringe figure and marginalized until you cannot find work. The only difference between GLAAD and a Soviet commissar is that GLAAD’s dictates do not have the force of law, yet. In a legal environment where a baker can be compelled to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple against his religious scruples, can the day when legal sanctions against “hate speech” really be so hard to imagine.

What does Legatus say that is so hateful and bigoted? Do they advocate executing gays? Imprisoning them? Well, no. Here are the statements that GLAAD finds utterly unacceptable, as reported by GLAAD. They are quoting from a piece written by John Haas.

There are many reasons why people suffer from SSA disorder. Some “discover” this tendency within them. Others grow into it through pursuits of pleasure or experimentation. Some use it to punish themselves or others. Whether the disorder has some deep, unknown roots over which one has virtually no control, or whether it’s a developed disorder resulting from bad choices, it leaves an individual disposed toward activities and a lifestyle that are dangerous — physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Fortunately there is hope for those who suffer from the disorder. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality reports that significant numbers of homosexual persons have undergone treatment and had their sexual drives properly ordered. These findings are a beacon of hope to those suffering from SSA, as well as for their family and friends who desire their happiness and good health. Finally, for those who for whatever reason cannot be cured, there is a support group known as Courage to help them live safe, moral, chaste lives. Those who continue to suffer from this disorder can find true help through an orientation toward their Savior and Redeemer, “the Orient from on High,” and the life that He offers them in Himself.

And.

I often tell my students that no one has ever died from not having sex. Plenty of people have died from having sex, but no one has ever died from not having sex. This idea that sexual expression is the only or a necessary expression of love is the underlying principle behind the argument that we should not deny happiness to two people who are in love, even two people struggling with SSA.

No one is denying them love or happiness. We are not denying love or happiness to the alcoholic by taking away his alcohol. We are not denying love or happiness to the drug addict by taking away his drugs. We are not denying love or happiness to the pedophile by keeping him away from children. In fact, we are showing true love to the sinner by denying him his disordered passions.

Second, even if we grant that people are “born that way,” it is a specious argument to conclude that it is natural and must be accepted. People are born with bad eyesight, but we do not consider that natural. We consider it a disorder that should be corrected with glasses or contacts. People are born without arms and legs, but we do not consider that natural. We consider it a disorder that should be corrected with prosthetic limbs. People are born bipolar and with A.D.D., but we do not consider that natural. We consider it a disorder that should be corrected with medicine and psychological counseling. There is even scientific research showing that alcoholism and pedophilia are genetic, that people are “born that way,” but we still consider them disorders that should be corrected.

Consider that we are all born with original sin. Yet, we recognize that it is a disorder within us and we do our best to overcome it with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, with the help of the sacraments, and the grace of God.

These do not seem to be malicious or hateful statements. The author feels that homosexuality is a disorder and wishes to cure those afflicted by it. Considering that homosexuality is not, in fact, conducive to a healthy or well-adjusted life, there are high levels of depression, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and compulsive risk taking among homosexuals, there is good reason to consider it a disorder not dissimilar to alcoholism. It is perhaps more compassionate to seek to cure the homosexual than tell them that their orientation is fixed at birth and is immutable, especially if they are young people. The idea that sexuality is fixed at birth is, if not actually a lie, is vastly simplistic about a very complex part of human behavior. I strongly suspect that sexual orientation is, to some degree, fluid in most individuals.

I have long on long enough about this subject and frankly I am feeling a little ducked out.

GLAAD isn’t Glad

There has been a backlash against the comments made by Duck Dynasty‘s patriarch, Phil Robertson, but not the backlash A & E or GLAAD might have wished for. GLAAD, or Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, is getting quite a bit of well deserved criticism for their efforts to silence dissenting viewpoints. I read about it at Yahoo News.

In the fallout over Wednesday’s suspension of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson by A&E for anti-gay and racist remarks, GLAAD is experiencing record levels of backlash.

“In the five-and-a-half years I’ve worked at GLAAD, I’ve never received so many violently angry phone calls and social media posts attacking GLAAD for us speaking out against these comments,” the media watchdog organization’s vice president of communications Rich Ferraro told TheWrap.

He said those reactions range from those who simply believe as Robertson believes to those who feel that GLAAD and A&E’s actions limit the reality star’s free speech.

“I don’t think this is about the first amendment,” Ferraro said. “I feel it’s more about the America we live in today. That is one where Americans, gay and straight, are able to speak out when people in the public eye make anti-gay and racist remarks.”

I don’t think their representative really gets it. No one is questioning their speaking out against comments they find offensive. The problem is that GLAAD and similar organizations are unwilling to extend that same courtesy to others. Speaking out is one thing. Trying to silence people by trying to prevent them from making a living quite another. And, make no mistake about it, this is precisely what GLAAD is trying to do. The Robertson family are wealthy enough that they don’t really need the income from their reality show. The next person GLAAD targets might not be so fortunate. This whole  affair is meant to serve as a warning.

Robertson’s supporters have started petitions, called for boycotts and include Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. Currently, more than 70,000 people have signed the online petition asking A&E to drop the suspension.

“It just means we still have a lot of work to do,” Ferraro said.

Meaning that not everybody is cowed by their bullying.

GLAAD spoke with A&E representatives on Wednesday morning to discuss why people would be offended by the comments and calls to action. ”They took this very seriously, as soon as the news broke,” Ferraro said.

After the meeting, GLAAD issued its statement on Robertson’s comments. A&E initially released a statement from Robertson in which he said he would “never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me.” But the network declined to comment itself until Wednesday night, when it announced the suspension, which GLAAD applauded.

Mr. Robertson has made it clear, in the GQ inerview and in statements afterwards, that he would not treat anyone with disrespect, even if he believes their lifestyle to be sinful. But that is not enough for GLAAD.

“We believe the next step is to use this as an opportunity for Phil to sit down with gay families in Louisiana and learn about their lives and the values they share,” the spokesman said.

The organization is also currently researching companies who use Robertson as a spokesperson.

“Silence is agreement in this case,” he said. “With such egregious anti-gay and racist comments, those companies that choose to be affiliated with this family need to speak out.”

It is not enough to simply agree to disagree, or simply be neutral,  as far as GLAAD is concerned. Everyone must be an active supporter of their agenda, or else. GLAAD and like organizations are being bullies in pushing their agenda and suppressing anyone opposed to them, and it is about time that they are stopped.

Who are the haters?
Who are the haters?

 

Duck Amuck

We don’t have cable for the simple reason that we don’t actually watch much television in our family and it doesn’t seem worth it to have to pay for the little we would watch, especially since so many television programs are simply awful. When one of our children asked why we don’t have cable, I replied for the same reason that we don’t pay someone to dump raw sewage into our living room. Because we don’t have cable, there are whole segments of contemporary pop culture that I am unaware of in any but the vaguest fashion. For the most part, I don’t think that is any great loss on my part, but there do seem to be a few shows worth watching that I am missing.

One of these shows has to be A & E’s Duck Dynasty. I was almost completely unaware of this show until  the local Wal Mart put up a huge display in the front of their store featuring the recently released DVDs of the last season of Duck Dynasty and various paraphernalia related to the Robertson family and their business, including a TV running a continuous loop of clips from the show. I have still not seen a single episode of the show, but the Robertsons seem to be a decent and hard working family who deserve their success.

Now, it seems that the patriarch of the family, Phil Robertson, has gotten himself into a considerable amount of trouble by making “controversial” remarks about homosexuals. By controversial, it is meant remarks that the left does not approve of and therefore believe should be censored. As a result of complaints by the perpetually offended , A & E has decided to suspend Phil Robertson from the show. The story is all over, but here is an account from Yahoo News.

The stars of “Duck Dynasty” might be America’s most popular TV family, but that could change very soon — because Phil Robertson has made some seriously divisive anti-gay remarks that have sparked instant backlash.

Speaking with GQ, Robertson lamented that when “everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong … sin becomes fine.” So just what qualifies as sinful in his book?

“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,” he declared.

From what I have read, I don’t think the backlash will be against the Robertson family and Duck Dynasty. I think A & E will be getting the bulk of any backlash, especially if the rest of the family absolutely refuses to do the show without Phil.

I doubt that many will actually read the interview from GQ all the way through, but here is the article by Drew Magary. In general, it is a sympathetic treatment of the Robertson family, though somewhat condescending. The author shows a certain disdain for the red neck family. Here are the remarks that are controversial.

Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out. Like this one:

“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.”

Perhaps we’ll be needing that seat belt after all.

And,

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”

What, in your mind, is sinful?

“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,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “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.”

Phil Robertson did not advocated stoning homosexuals, nor did he advocate criminalizing homosexuality or discriminating against homosexuals in any way. He simply expressed a personal distaste for certain activities, a distaste that was considered common sense until very recently, and expressed the view that homosexuality is a sin along with a list of other sin, a view that is and has been a mainstream teaching of Christianity for the last two thousand years. He did not express hatred for anyone.Quite the contrary actually.

As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

In response GLAAD stated,

What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike,” said GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz. Robertson’s removal “has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value.”

Again, it is interesting that people who have had, up till now, no use for any religion, least of all Christianity, are now lecturing Christians about the precepts of our own faith, against clear statements in scripture. For the activist bullies, it is no longer enough to simply tolerate the homosexual even though you may disapprove of the act. You must become a cheerleader for the lifestyle, or else. And, if your religion teaches against it, you had best drop the religion in favor of what the world teaches. I doubt if Mr. Robertson is much disturbed by this controversy. If he is, he can take solace in the notion that the people who hate him and what he represents hate the One who is much greater.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. (John 15:8-23)

As for me, I stand with the Robertsons and freedom and against the bullies who preach tolerance and diversity but practice enforced conformity and hatred.

Who are the haters?
Who are the haters?