Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, Natural Law and Handel's Messiah

I am a hunter.  I am a member of Ducks Unlimited and enjoy hunting ducks and geese.  I know who Phil Robertson is but don't pay much attention to Duck Dynasty.  Of late I've been a little busy and not too involved with the Phil Robertson story.  I first heard his comments on the drive home and they kind of took my breath away, especially the comment about human anatomy.  But as I have mulled them over I don't sense hatred or disdain for homosexuals as much as a degree of confusion and being puzzled about same-sex attraction.

Regarding anatomy, what did he say? 

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.
Apart from the word "sin" there isn't a reference to the Bible.  Though he may not know it this is an observation rooted in natural law.  Lest you think he is out in left field consider these words of J. Budziszewski who has taught at the University of Texas - Austin since 1981.  He is the author of the book, Written on the Heart: The Case for Natural Law

Deception #3: Homosexual intercourse is equivalent to heterosexual intercourse; "long-term committed homosexual relationship" is equivalent to marriage. What we do with our bodies has meaning. The message of anal intercourse, for example-an act which puts the organ that represents the generation of life into the place of decay and expulsion-is "Life, be engulfed in Death."

Again, no Scripture was quoted to make this point.  This isn't hate speech as much as it is an observation, rooted in natural law, about the purposes of various anatomical structures.

This leads me to my final point.  As I was listening to Handel's Messiah this morning I was stricken by the nature of human rebellion as recorded in the words "All we like sheep have gone astray" (see Isaiah 53:6).  That is the sad truth about all humanity: Phil Robertson, his detractors, his defenders, you and me.  In a clumsy way I think that was the message Robertson was trying to convey.

It seems to me that there are many who deny this very fact and they don't want anyone to remind them that they are in open rebellion toward God.  In the case of Phil Robertson they shut down discussion by shouting "Intolerance", "hate speech", and "homophobia".  But the message of Christmas is that God sent His Son into the world to save sheep that have gone astray.  Phil Robertson understands this perfectly well but that seems to have been drowned out in the by those who want him punished.

The Apostle Paul understood human rebellion and God's work to bring about reconciliation in these terms:

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, the Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.  I Timothy 1:15-16. 

So to those offended by Phil Robertson's comments, look beyond that self-acknowledged sinner to the one he is trusting for his salvation, Jesus Christ.  Consider the one who took on human flesh to keep the moral law perfectly and to bear the penalty for sin.  That's what Christmas is all about - the wonder that God became man to save sinners from what they truly deserve.  Merry Christmas!