The patriarch and the pope: the real difference between Phil Robertson and Pope Francis

By now, enough has been said about Duck Dynasty to make Sir Tim Berners-Lee sorry he invented the Internet.

Kristen Howerton of Rage Against the Minivan shared what I felt was the best response so far. Also worth considering: a valid question from Time about A&E’s suspension of Phil Robertson and this Atlantic piece arguing the “real scandal” is what Phil said about blacks who lived during the Jim Crow era. Also, Preston Sprinkle demonstrates what a conservative response to this controversy ought to look like.

So I have just one thing to add, and it’s about this meme, which circulated on Twitter yesterday, shaming “liberal logic” for its alleged duplicity.

dynasty pope

On one level, just about every word is true. Both men believe sex between two individuals of the same gender is sinful. Pope Francis was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. And while Phil was suspended rather than fired, many would say it comes to the same thing.

But all that’s beside the maddeningly obvious point, because those making this argument haven’t bothered to ask: why was one named “Person of the Year” while the other was suspended from his own TV show? 

If you believe anti-conservative bigotry is the driving force behind Phil Robertson’s suspension from Duck Dynasty, you owe it yourself to ask why the gay community and its supporters have responded so differently to these two men.

The difference is that Francis’ first—and, to date, only—comments about gay people have focused on their inherent dignity and worth. Which is in marked contrast to his predecessor, who characterized homosexuality as having “a strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil.”

Pope Francis made waves in 2013 by saying, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

It wasn’t just a one-off comment. He also went on to say this in an interview with America Magazine:

A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.

Nobody’s under any illusion that the pope will alter Catholic doctrine on sexuality. But he HAS modeled a radical shift in the church’s posture toward gays.

If you want a sense of what that means for people in the gay community, take a look at The Advocate, an LGBT magazine — which also named Pope Francis their Person of the Year for 2013.

Phil Robertson chose a different path. He used his platform to express revulsion at the mechanics of gay sex, thereby reducing people to a sex act. His comments reveal a diminished view of their humanity.

If he had simply said, “I believe the Bible teaches sex should be between a man and a woman,” I doubt anyone would’ve batted an eye. Certainly no one would have been surprised at a devout, openly religious southern family patriarch expressing this conviction.

The difference between Pope Francis and Phil Robertson comes down to this. When the pope looks at a gay person, he sees a human being. Phil’s comments in GQ suggest that when he looks at a gay person, the first thing he sees are reproductive organs being put where he thinks they shouldn’t.

And that’s a problem. Because whatever you believe about homosexuality, people are so much more than who they sleep with or who they’re wired to be attracted to. Pope Francis gets that, even though he maintains a conservative view of sexuality.

Finally, the contrast between the patriarch and the pope exposes the lie in thinking that Christians are just being persecuted for their beliefs. After all, naming someone “Person of the Year” is a pretty odd way of persecuting them, don’t you think?

If Christians are going to be persecuted — and really, there is so very little of that in this country — then it’s time we were persecuted for something worthwhile.

Diminishing someone else’s humanity is not one of those things. 

155 thoughts on “The patriarch and the pope: the real difference between Phil Robertson and Pope Francis

    • Clue to Ben Irwin, you sing the same song and dance as all Stuffy Catholics who are narrow minded are about this—Wake up, it is Wrong no matter what PHIL OR ANYONE’S EXPRESSED (FREE SPEECH) Says, ! stop trying to Politically be so Correct—-Geez! Say what it is!

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      • I think we are missing the point …who is our measuring stick? Jesus Christ. Jesus loved the sinner not the sin.. In his day he called the Sadducee/Pharisees a den vipers…that would have been looked on as crazy as Robertson’s statement. Robertson should be given his job back and I’m a Black woman.

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      • Below, you described his comments after the fact as “damage control”. In these cases, there’s never “ample opportunity to clarify remarks” after the damage is done. That’s how it works.

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      • The entire interview went out of its way to belittle Phil Robertson and make him the fool. It appeared Phil welcomed the trap. I have never watched a full episode of the show, but Phil should have known that GQ would not be a favorable format for him. But comparing the Pope to Phil Robertson is equally unfair. Both are ridiculed by the upper East Side glitterati. One is a simple man who is easily ignored and viewed as irrelevant, the other is admired by millions of people and must be placated for fear his followers will view them as irrelevant. You guess which is which.

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  1. Well said. One person looks at the people on the margins and is pushing them further out. The other see those people and wants to go be with them. It’s kind of how I see Jesus’ ministry, almost like he’d look around and say, “Who are the people no one is paying attention to? I think I’ll go be with them.”

    Tim

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      • I find it interesting that you feel it’s okay to compare Phil Robertson to the Pope. I have a question for you – just exactly how well would you stack up, Mr. Irwin? I’m sure in your “I’m a better Christian than you” world, you probably think you would do just fine. By this very article, you have proven the opposite. I wonder – what would the Pope have to say about Phil Robertson? I dare say he would be more Christlike than you. After all, he doesn’t condemn homosexuals, so I seriously doubt he would feel the need to condemn Phil Robertson because of semantics.

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  2. I believe that if Phil Robertson’s remarks would have been, “I believe the Bible teaches sex should be between a man and a woman,” things would still be the same, not different as the writer of this article claims. There have been other Christian celebrities that have expressed their views on homosexuality and have been condemned and crucified for their beliefs. One person that comes to mind is Kirk Cameron. A few years back and expressed his views on the subject and was slammed by the media and gay rights groups for months following his interview. His comments weren’t harsh at all, he just stated his beliefs. The problem here, I believe, is that any time you refer to something as a “sin” people get all defensive. Someone who’s living in that lifestyle (or is involved in other things of a sinful nature) don’t like to feel like they are being judged. They react and get defensive. We should all have the right to believe what we want as long as it’s presented in a civil manner. I’m against hate, but I’m also against being told that I’m not allowed to have an opinion on this issue or that my beliefs are wrong or misplaced. Each side needs to be equally accepting to one another.

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    • Its all about public perception. The Pope is perceived as a sincerely compassionate person because he actually performs deeds of compassion. Kirk Cameron’s church and his legacy is one that is heavier on belief and doctrine. I should know because I attended his home church for many years. If Kirk Cameron was well known for his charities and his work amongst the poor and rejected his non-harsh views of homosexuality would probably have been balanced against his open acts of love. So I think the lesson here is if you want people to tolerate your views on homosexuality then you need to make sure that your actions of love speak louder than your beliefs. Thee is nothing wrong about clearly stating your beliefs but pretty much the success of your witness depends on how you state them and even more how you live them. I could sure use to apply this wisdom to my own life.

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    • Finally, a comment that speaks some sense to this one-sided fanaticism driven agenda. Did I mention pseudo-support of the marginalized?

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  3. Does your Dr. hate you when he tells you your lifestyle is killing you? Does your parent hate you when they restrict you from playing in the street? Does the first responder hate you when he tazes you when you are distraught and threatening to kill yourself? Does Phil hate you when he warns of the consequences of behavior that can cost your immortal soul? Is he insensitive to use blunt language when so much is at stake. You may not believe as he does; but his motivation is not hatred; but love.

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  4. It appears that the writer of this blog didn’t read the whole interview, because Phil quoted directly from the Bilble, and followed it up by saying that he would never disrespect anyone and that he loves anyone. The question asked of him was specifically in regards to what is a sin, so yes, he addressed homosexuality, because the Bible says it’s a sin. He also joked that he didn’t see the draw for a man to want to be with a man because he feels a woman can offer so much more. The comments made by the Pope and by Phil are essentially the same, the only difference being that Phil quoted from the Bible where it relates to sin and that’s what everyone is upset about and is focusing on.

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    • Except that when you reduce gays to an orifice (and women as well), then you’ve disrespected, indeed dehumanized, them (regardless of intentions and subsequent qualifications).

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    • He didnt even quote the whole verse…. he could have jumped on idolators, fornicators, etc. why only homosexuality!!! I agree with JILL.

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      • Actually, he did. Here’s his quote, “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.” That’s straight from the interview and it’s quoting the verse from the Bible.

        In the SAME interview, NOT later after the A&E backlash, he said, “If you simply put your faith in Jesus coming down in flesh, through a human being, God becoming flesh living on the earth, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and being raised from the dead-yours and mine and everybody else’s problems will be solved. And the next time we see you, we will say: ‘You are now a brother. Our brother.’ So then we look at you totally different then.”

        AND

        “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.”

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  5. Catholics aren’t Christians because they do not believe the only way to be saved is through Jesus Christ. They pray to a dead woman, Mary and think they can be prayed into Heaven. Nothing in the Bible about that. Go Phil!

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    • That’s a false caricature. Catholics and other Christians who venerate Mary for her special role in the biblical drama do not pray TO her; they pray WITH her and all the saints who have gone before us. There is a difference. Without trivializing the theological differences that exit between Catholic and Protestant Christians, both put their faith in the same person.

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      • Catholics believe in the doctrine of intercession, which is where they pray to a saint or to Mary, to intercede for them with God. They are elevating people all the time to this not so rare anymore status. When a Catholic kneels and prays to a dollar store statue of Mary, they are praying to an idol. This is against biblical doctrine and convetion.

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      • Khrisiengarrett Lambert: Sounds like you’ve listened to the same anti-Catholic lies and half-truths as others on this thread. Take time to go ask a knowledgeable Catholic about your concerns. Don’t continue to be led around by anti-Catholic “Christians” without asking some of your own questions. Maybe you and Patricia could go together?

        We do not pray to that “dollar store statue”… It’s a reminder though of the person to whom we are praying. Just as pictures of vacations or relatives remind us of good times and memories we hold dear.

        As to the idea of intercession… Have you never asked a good friend to pray for something for you? Is that not the same?

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      • No, it is not the same. My good friend is not dead.

        Ecclesiastes 9: For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.

        Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,[a] anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

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      • Yet we do not attempt to “speak with the dead” in the manner of which the bible speaks. Rather, it is to the living part of all of us which makes its home in heaven to which we address our thoughts. Surely the bible mentions at least once or twice that we do not die, but rather live on with Christ.
        Context, context… Ecc 9 is reminding us how we are to behave on earth and reminding us that once this life has passed us by, it it too late. Deut 18 is very obviously warning us against acts that had become common-place in that age. Did not Moses himself appear with Jesus long after Moses died? Were we to apply this passage without context, would Jesus himself not be guilty of this?

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      • If you have to double talk, and weasel your way through a verse, then there is a good chance you are… well… wrong.

        Are they dead… yes. Are they a part of this world… no. Can they hear you… absolutely not. Just like the Pope (which we’ll get to), they are NOT omniscient. ONLY God is omniscient. God hears our prayers and Christ mediates, and the Spirit groans. If you make the spirits, which you claim are in heaven (which is another complete lesson the Catholic Church completely contradicts itself on), able to hear the prayers of several people on earth, which the Bible clearly states they have no knowledge of, then you are making them Gods, omniscient. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Pretty simple and straight forward.

        Matthew 17:1-3
        Mark 9:1-3
        Luke 9:27-29

        You are going to compare Jesus (God in the flesh), who can do all things, to us. The same Jesus that can raise the dead and IS the Word of God. They also departed not saying anything to Peter, James or John. We are never told, anywhere in the Bible, to pray to Moses, Elijah, or any of the Apostles or prophets. The transfiguration was to stress absolutely the validity of Jesus and his mission to the Apostles.

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    • Patricia, Catholics do and believe none of that. We are very much Christians, but I’ll let God judge me and not you. You don’t get to define who I am.

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    • Patricia, you should really take the time to express your concerns about the Catholic church to someone knowledgeable in Catholicism. Unfortunately, there are many “Christian” preachers (and writers) out there who like to publicize half-truths and outright falsehoods about how Catholics “believe”.
      – Catholics believe you must be saved through Jesus.
      – Mary is as alive as everyone who has gone to heaven before us.
      – We ask for Mary’s help just as we ask for each other’s prayers for intercession.
      – The path to heaven in through prayer, faith and works. No amount of simple “praying” will “pray you into heaven”

      I don’t fault you, as you have likely been misled by those you respect. But now that you have been informed, if you do not take steps to clarify your position, yet continue to share your misinformed beliefs, you have taken upon yourself the sin of spreading falsehoods.

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  6. I am heart broken by Phil. I don’t want people to associate all “Christians” with him…and that’s what is happening. The two sides seems so very distinct. Here is a third side (and I agree the rage against the minivan was great!). I am a Christian who thinks there are many sins…that we all struggle with in our journeys to become more like Jesus (that’s called, Sanctification). Sexual sins, materialism, being unkind, lying. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Robertson is like the rest of us and struggles with some of these things. I am heart broken that he has used his immense platform to harm, and not do good. He has taken us backwards by harming a group with a specific struggle. Can you imagine waking up one day to find that your particular sin struggle (let’s say lust, shall we) was now a huge focus of crude, isolating, unkind public scrutiny and commentary…by people claiming to want to help you and lead you to Jesus!? Jesus was a man who had MUCH to say about all kinds on sin and idolatry, and if you’ll look through the scriptures and tally it all up…you may be shocked to find that homosexual behavior doesn’t have as many hits as many of our more tidy sins. That’s a real hard pill to swallow for all of us living in America isn’t it? We want to drive our SUV’s and Christmas shop in peace while we rally around this man because he has finally made a public statement about homosexuality…yuck! How did we get so off?

    What I won’t do is rail against Phil Robertson and his family. That isn’t the right response. He and his family have provided a funny, family friendly show I can usually rely on. I’m going to talk with my older kids and let them know that I think this was uncalled for and that Phil broke my heart, and that I hope they will never lose control of themselves like that in a public, damaging (I believe to the very name of Jesus) way. But they might indeed say something awful and hurtful one day, I’ve done it before I’m sure. So I’ll tell them that Phil needs forgiveness just like all the rest of us. I also won’t be wearing camo to work. What I will be doing is praying for all sides (don’t you know how hard this is for that tight knit family as well, my goodness) helping and serving people that it are within my power to help and serve in the name of Jesus, and trying to help the world know HIM better.

    If I can allow myself one tiny soapbox…all this talk of 1st Amendment rights is so dumb. Does Phil have the “right” to say those things? Of course he does! And A&E has the “right” to suspend him. And we all have the “right” to debate this on social media etc. We live in a great country, let’s not muddy the water here. Let me state the obvious here…this isn’t about Phil’s religious “rights” being infringed on. Have you watched the show?!?! They are freely aloud to pray and speak scripture and the name of our Lord…and they DO! And that’s why we all love it! If religious rights were going to be harmed here, don’t you think they might have done something up to this point? But if Phil loves the Lord, as he says he does, and I believe he does, then he has a higher law that he is accountable to. So “rights” (meaning what we are entitled to in this great land) wouldn’t even be a part of the discussion for Christians.

    I’ll probably regret this post but I can’t seem to help myself. To all of my loved ones out there who love the Lord, and to those who don’t, those of you with struggles, and those of you who think you don’t have any, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t associate me with either of the 2 distinct sides that seem to be forming in this debate. Just associate me with heartbroken about the whole thing.

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  7. I absolutely love this article and I commend you for hitting the nail on the head. I am truly sorry for being this person, but it’s just nagging at me and I have to make a correction.. Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web, not the internet.

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  8. A Christian is a follower of Christ. They confess their sins to him not a priest or pope. Don’t equate the Pope with being a Christian. He’s not. We need to look past Phil and his crude remarks and get to the heart of the matter being attacked which is God and his word.

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    • Catholicism is a denomination of Christianity… The confession of one’s sins to a Priest is not the determining factor between Christianity and other religions. There are plenty of different denominations within the Christian faith that differ in methodology and interpretation of scripture, but they’re still Christians.

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  9. Did the pope say this:

    Indeed, for more examples of Robertson’s complete aversion to encouraging hate, just look at a speech he gave in 2010, in which he said homosexuals are “full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil”

    http://www.tmz.com/2013/12/19/phil-robertson-2010-sermon-homosexuality-gays-homophobia-a-and-e/

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    • Yet another person who has bought into the media fodder. That’s a PORTION of him quoting from the Bible. It cuts in just after he says the word “wise” and it’s not a description of homosexuals, that’s just PART of a the passage that describes >>>>people who bow down to idols instead of God<<<<

      It's a sad state the church is in when Christians can't recognize a passage form the Bible

      Romans 1:22-31
      New International Version (NIV)
      22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

      24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

      26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

      28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

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  10. Excellent post. Also, in response to those who are claiming that Robertson is being “persecuted” because of his Christian faith… I’d like to remind them of Christian persecution that does exist around the world and – among other things – includes: prohibition of worship, imprisonment and sometimes even being killed for wearing crosses or carrying Bibles, receiving severe life threats, bombings of churches and other Christian gathering places, being forced into exodus and refugee-status, torture, kidnapping, etc. etc.

    Another difference between Pope Francis and Robertson is that Pope Francis is speaking out about and working to decrease such severe persecution of Christians around the world. http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/pope-francis-we-won-t-resign-ourselves-middle-east-without

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  11. The problem with your post Ben is that the Bible doesn’t just teach that sex is just between a man and a women. Christ condemned homosexuality. If we as Christians do not do as Christ who lead a sin free life did, there we are not CHRISTians. This should not be a big fight, its a black and white issue.

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      • No, He said He has come to fulfill the law. And what law, pray tell would that be? If He believed that homosexuality was okay after it was condemned repeatedly in the Old Testament, don’t you think He would have said something? Or, perhaps, you think He just forgot to mention it?

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      • Is there a church out there that preaches that if Jesus himself didn’t say it, if it doesn’t have “Jesus said” in front of it, quotes around it and printed in red letters, it doesn’t apply? Is there a church that has thrown out the entire Old Testament and most of the New Testament?
        I have to ask, because you aren’t the first to push so hard on looking for a direct quote from Jesus Christ himself. And given Christ’s own belief and support of the Old Testament, as well as tradition and sharing of stories and the spoken word in the New Testament, I’d have to say that church’s teachings would be on very shaky ground indeed.

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      • Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Mt 19

        Jesus defines, quoting Genesis, marriage, ergo the context of sex. Implicitly, that excludes same sex marriage. BTW, Jesus often quoted the Old Testament, which he did not author, as his authoritative source. If it good enough for him, it’s good enough for us, which means additional teachings given by Paul and others are also authoritative.

        A commenter above mentioned how Kirk Cameron’s church was focused on doctrine too much. Maybe they are but to use that to make the Catholic Church look good is ludicrous. From the ungodly councils to the Crusades to the inquisitions, to indulgences, the murder of tens of millions of Huguenots, and recent child-molestation scandals; I think it’s clear the RCC has some skeletons to deal with. The latest Pope is beloved by the gay movement because they see an opportunity for the advancement of their agenda through the softening of a historic adversary. Of course they’re going to stroke him, at least for now.

        What the new Pope is doing looks good to a lot of people and from a cynical view that may be exactly what it’s supposed to be. Has anyone checked to see how many diseased and hideous souls the Pope has kissed and hugged in the past? What’s he been doing the last 10-20 years? Or is this just photo ops?

        Robertson was unwise in answering GQ’s questions and in his choice of words. Probably he has no gays in his family to force him to consider they’re feelings about his beliefs. If he did, he’d probably have a more refined viewpoint. Maybe now he’ll work on it. Not to change his beliefs but to consider the effects of coarse expressions.

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      • Hmmm, methinks your question exposes the source of the problems people have with your comparison… Start with reading the Bible, and not just what the motivated press extracts and warps from the Pope’s statements. Then come back, Ben, and consider a re-write on your article.
        Christ and the books in which he as a good Jew believed mention it many places, as has been quoted in the comments to your posting…

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  12. I absolutely adore the fact that you all have just elevated the commentary of Phil Robertson to that of the Pope. It is officially time for you all to get over collective selves.

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    • Nothing has been ‘elevated’… We are commenting on the COMPARISON between the two. Just because two things are being compared doesn’t mean they’re of equal significance.

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  13. Phil Robertson has been one of the strongest voices for Christ in our area. You are doing the same thing to him that you claim he’s done to someone else…..condemning him for his beliefs about what the bible says. You don’t know him so you cannot possibly have an opinion about what kind of person he is.

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    • Your logic is flawed. You’re saying that we shouldn’t pass judgement on him because we don’t know him, but he’s done the exact same thing. Also, we CAN possibly have an opinion on the type of person he is, but that’s all it will be- our opinion.

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  14. I don’t usually comment to posts, but it amazes me that “Christians” are claiming Catholics aren’t Christian. So, are Methodists not Christian, or Lutherans not Christian? Or is it only Evangelicals that can call themselves Christian? Get over yourselves. Christians are followers of Christ. And this pope seems to embody the meaning of being a Christian. I didn’t read the article, but from what I have seen repeated, Phil R., not so much. By the way, great post Ben.

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    • I think the problem here depends on people’s personal experiences. I have Catholic friends whom I very much consider to be Christians. I have also been to some “Catholic” churches in Mexico where the people bow down before statues of Saints. And some of the “Saints” in those churches are actually local tribal gods that the Spanish put in their churches in attempt to faster convert the indigenous population. If that was someone’s only experience with a Catholic church, I would not blame them for thinking Catholics are not Christians.
      However, the same thing could be said of many branches of the Christian church.

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    • Romans 6 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

      Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

      By their own definition, NONE of those denominations you mentioned are Christians. ONLY Christians are Christians, no labels, no smokescreen.

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  15. JILL……A&E has NO right to suspend him. If he is suspended for saying what he REALLY thinks, the show is NOT a REALITY show.

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    • If A&E had no right to fire him, he wouldn’t have been fired. A&E is his EMPLOYER and they have every right to fire him because he is their EMPLOYEE and he most likely signed away his rights to speak on such controversial topics to the extent that he did.

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  16. Interesting, I am gay and according to phil robertsons 2010 sermon, I am being equated with evil, doing evil things, and bestiality. I dont have an inkling for animal sex, and am a good person and try to live a Godly life. Sorry, I am a born again christian, and I believe I am saved. The way i see it, I agree with Jill. There are certainly other sins that he could have jumped on.!!!

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    • Mark, if you have homosexual tendencies and do not act on them, I would have to both agree with you and applaud you as a living example of the misunderstandings about how Christianity views homosexuality and homosexuals. The fine line about what Phil was referring to is that he was discussing outwardly-active homosexuals. If I am attracted to a woman who is not my wife, yet do not entertain the thought of acting on that initial attraction, I have not sinned.

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    • Romans 3:10 As it is written:
      “There is no one good, not even one

      While we can try to do a good deed, collectively, we each have sin and as a whole are SINFUL. Each one of us. Trying to be a good person does not reconcile us with God. Only Jesus Christ does, in which each one of us must first see our sin and want to turn from it walking with Christ. Living a godly life, you must follow Christ. You cannot live a godly life without God. So if you say you live a godly life but disregard God’s Word, the truth is not in you. If you are saved, then you would hate your own sin when you sin. But if you don’t have a problem with your sin and call yourself a pretty good person, you will want to have another conversation with Christ.

      By the way, Phil did mention other sins but you didn’t like that yours was included as you also will have other sins other than homsexuality. We all have sins to struggle with. But if you don’t want to admit to God that you are sinning and need help, He can’t help you. God is not going to just wink at our sins and say “oh come on in anyway even though you didn’t do what NEEDED to be done in order to be saved”.

      Mark 2:17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

      This is Jesus speaking to the Pharisees and Saducees who think themselves to be ok and in no need for Christ because they want to hang on to their sin. And in doing this, they twisted God’s Word and tried to trip Jesus up which they couldn’t because Jesus is the WORD. It is an evil thing to try and manipulate what God says. These types of people deny God’s whole Word and keep sinning not caring until the consequences hit them. And then it’s too late

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  17. There’s no doubt that Pope Francis is more politic than Phil Roberston. I question, however, the dichotomy you pose between the two regarding their respective attitudes toward the worth of homosexuals as people, for by the surface rhetoric you use as the means of distinguishing them, the apostle Paul, based on what he wrote in 1 Cor 6:9, would have to be grouped with Phil rather than Francis.

    Please re-think your diminishing of Phil in this post. Just because he is not as articulate as Francis does not mean we should necessarily accuse him of having evil in his heart toward homosexual people.

    Like

    • Not to mention Jesus, I bet this wasn’t seen as “politically correct”

      John 2:13-28
      New English Translation (NET)
      13 Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

      14 He found in the temple courts those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting at tables. 15 So he made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple courts, with the sheep and the oxen. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold the doves he said, “Take these things away from here! Do not make my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will devour me.”

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  18. So to sum this up on a global view, media organization and the organizations that try to redefine family about what is right and wrong, see Duck Dynasty as a threat to their ideology, because it does not go with their agenda.
    I have read every post under this article and something is missing. Lets back up for a minute. When Duck Dynasty aired, the media wanted to show a rowdy group of southerners, who fought and cursed, but they did not. Instead they found a family that worked together and tried to live a life that included God. The producers of the show, did not expect this and tried to change the public perception of the Robertson by adding beeps to make it sound like the Robertson’s were cursing, and edited out the word Jesus. Still, against all odds and surprise of the networks, the show grew in popularity. Americans enjoy the shows redneck southern antics, but they also enjoy the fact that at the end of the day, they sat down with family and pray to Jesus to thank him. Because American family life has become so stressful, with most parents working two jobs to make ends meet, they do not always sit down to eat as a family, or pray before dinner. Duck Dynasty is a reminder that we should stop and spend time with family and pray together.
    OK, back to the present and the GQ article, that everyone is so focused on. Phil is not as well spoken as the Pope, we get that. Looks like A&E might have to send him to sensitivity training. The bottom line is that Phil understands, as other Americans, that things are not getting better in America, because of the weakening of family life and the pressures that we face from outside forces. The media was finally successful in it’s attempt to try and discredit a godly man to sway public opinion, but it backfired.

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  19. I am kind of torn here, while i support gay marriage and believe everyone should have the same rights and freedoms. I am kind of confused by the idea that on a show about down south Good Ol’ Boys and their deeply religious and seemingly overly stereotypical views on matters. That once someone hears, or probes, for an answer they don’t like that the whole world gets up in arms. Phil explained his views on the matter, which are his opinion and should in no way represent the videos of the network, in the same manner he explains everything else.
    I view this matter in the same way someone once described their view on gay marriage. “If you don’t like gay marriage then dont marry a gay person.”
    “If you dont like Phils opinion then dont watch Duck Dynasty.”

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  20. Jesus said the world will hate you because of me. Phil’s controversial comments were actually quotes from 1Corinthians 6:9-20. So I guess Ben thinks scripture diminishes peoples humanity.

    Like

    • Preach it, brother. 1 Cor 6:9 in the original Greek reads: “The vagina is way more desirable than a man’s anus. I mean, come on dudes!”

      Like

      • Oh, so Phil’s use of the physiological terms offends you? My, don’t we have thin skin. He could have used more vulgar terms – would that have made you happier? I truly have a hard time understanding why the terms vagina and anus are offensive. Sounds like some people have some sexual hangups of their own to deal with.

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      • Well, talk about completely missing the point. I’m not offended by the terms vagina, anus, penis, etc. nor by any of their more vulgar equivalents. I was just responding to the attempt to reduce Phil’s comments to a scriptural citation. What is offensive and dehumanizing, I think, is the reduction of the complex issue of sexual identity to simply picking your favorite orifice.

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      • Face it – you’re just offended because Phil – and the Bible – says that homosexuality is a sin. That’s what really gets your goat. Sometimes the truth hurts, so in order to hide your feelings, you pretend to be offended about semantics and mechanics. If the orifice didn’t matter to homosexuals, they wouldn’t be homosexuals.

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  21. I think it’s all a publicity stunt, a week befor Christmas. Think how the sales are gonna skyrocket. And the new season starts Jan. 15th, think of all the new views who will tune in to see what all the fuss is about! It’s all about money!

    Like

  22. Your article is wrong on one part. You said that if Phil had just said he believe the Bible said sex was only to be between a man and women no one would have batted an eye. Take a look at what happened to Chick-Fil-A and their CEO who said the Bible says marriage is only between a man and women. Evil always will fight against those who proclaim the Truth.

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    • That’s right GP. That’s exactly what happened. What they really want is for God to just leave them alone and let them have their sin but instead, out of love, God is still pushing and they don’t even realize it. What’s even worse is that anyone who isn’t saved will be end up in the lake of fire to remember their short lives in which they will then see every corner that God was trying to have them repent and be with HIM. God isn’t sending people to Hell. People choose not to want God, not the other way around

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  23. Clue to Ben Irwin, you sing the same song and dance as all Stuffy Catholics who are narrow minded are about this—Wake up, it is Wrong no matter what PHIL OR ANYONE’S EXPRESSED (FREE SPEECH) Says, ! stop trying to Politically be so Correct—-Geez! Say what it is!

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  24. It seems to me that “gays” present themselves as little more than sexual organs being placed in, what most people understand, as abnormal places. Otherwise we would know little about them as what goes on in most people’s bedrooms stays in their bedrooms. Homosexuals are parading their sexual practices publicly–little else seems to matter.

    Like

    • Jeff…I have been trying to argue for what you are saying for a long time, it’s nice to see somebody else who gets it. Homosexuality is so much more than a sexual preference; it has become a lifestyle. From t-shirts that read, “I’m not gay but my boyfriend is,” to gay pride parades to drag shows to music (Lady Gaga’s “I Was Born This Way”). Now the LGBT has added a “Q” on the end for “questioning” or “queer.” So, it’s now acceptable to use the term “queer?” And “questioning?” What else could there possibly be? Try SEVERAL genders. Huh? But…what?

      I for one do not feel like I should have to spend every waking minute “educating” myself on the latest sexual trends because it’s none of my business. It’s your bedroom, and it’s between you and God. But frankly, and it’s a good thing I’m not a celebrity or I’d lose my job, things have gotten a little bit weird and a lot out of control. To identify multiple genders (I read somewhere SIX have been identified) is absurd. To anybody that chooses to argue this point, be prepared to bring scientific evidence or I will not respond.

      We also still hear a lot about discrimination against homosexuals in the workplace. Example, not being hired for a job because of one’s orientation << which, by the way, implies something that was introduced, not something that just is or was. But that's for another time. My question is, how/why would anybody conducting an interview know that the interviewee is gay unless they came right out and said so? I'll tell you how. For men, it's in the way they lick their glossed lips and protrude their tongue just slightly between their teeth when they smile. It's in the way they cross their legs, their unnaturally high-pitched voice. For women, it's in their tucked-in polo shirt that when combined with three inches of braided belt hanging down gives them a lovely boyish-like muffin top. It's in the watch that they wear on their left wrist with the face of it facing inward. It's in their short spiked hair. No judgments here, just making an observation.

      Before somebody throws a fit here, I'm in no way saying that discrimination for any reason is acceptable. Who one chooses to sleep with should have no bearing whatsoever on finding employment, housing, what have you. A lot of the gay people I know are the kindest, most generous, loving, hard-working people you would ever meet. However, homosexuality seems to rule their life way beyond the bedroom. It's a lifestyle, therefore reducing their entire self-worth in the eyes of others to be based on nothing more than who they choose to sleep with.

      I happen to enjoy sleeping with well-hung black men. But I'm not about to create a movement for it because it's nobody's business who I sleep with. That is a private matter and I don't want to frighten the elderly or put mothers in the position of explaining to their young children what the logo on my t-shirt means (a small white penis, circled, with an X through it).

      Like

  25. Everybody wants to believe God is universal, wathever you believe, the real controversy is that God has just one plan for salvation: and we are all sinners, even Phil and Francis.

    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
    Ephesians 2: 8-9

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
    John 3:16

    “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
    John 14:6

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    • I guess proclaiming that adultery is a sin is a form of abuse and bullying also. How about lying, stealing, cheating? Abuse also? Hey, grow up. Sometimes the truth hurts. Get over it.

      Like

      • If God doesn’t approve of homosexuality why is it so prevalent in the world he created? Not just in humans but in the animals he put upon the Earth? If you believe it is a choice to choose who you love tell that to all of the priests who molested children (they probably did it with no love at all, just lust.) Christianity as a whole has done some very heinous acts throughout history all in the name of God…Christians were the main religion to burn down the library in Alexandria on the basis that their way was the only way…I feel there is much being overlooked in the history of this religion. Christians seem to be bigger sinners than most other denominations of people as they have difficulty following their own morals seemingly a majority of the time. I’m no Christian obviously but I live like one. The difference is I accept that homosexuality is here to stay and love is not a choice…but hate is.

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      • Homosexuality is not common in the animal kingdom – that is a fallacy. But rape is. So, does that make rape okay? You say you are no Christian, but you live as one. How is that possible? Do you even know what being a Christian means?

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    • Yes, William, it would be, but only if it were not true. So… If you believe in God and his teachings, you already know it is a sin. And if you do not believe in God and his teachings, then God is a fairy tale and you can ignore any beliefs founded on “what God has said”.

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    • No, if God didn’t proclaim what sin is that would be neglect. It’s the same if I didn’t teach my children what will hurt them if they touch a hot stove. Now if they do it anyway, then that’s on them. But, as a parent, here I am, waiting for them to be repentent and to trust me when I tell them those things that will hurt. The thing is, the consequences to the world wanting sin to be right will be consequences that you can’t get out of once death comes.

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  26. People seem to be forgetting that Phil also said this, “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?”
    He wasn’t bashing gays but simply answering the question he was asked which was, “what in your mind is sin?”
    He even said we love ’em and give them the good news an then it’s in God’s hands which is what any good Christian is supposed to do.

    Like

  27. I didn’t understand the hullabaloo, myself, as I sort of assume most people think gay sex (and/or being gay) is a sin. I don’t care, as long as they are polite and leave me alone. His focus on sex acts was a little ignorant, but that’s not a crime. It’s how people act when dealing with real people that matters most to me, not what they believe in the abstract when talking in generalities. In my experience, they most often don’t act out on the abstracts and generalities.

    I can’t stop myself from commenting on the ignorance betrayed by the anti-Catholic posts. I’m Orthodox, but we also pray to Mary and the Saints and confess before a priest. “Praying” just means “talking to”, you guys. It used to be used in English as form of “to ask”, as in, “I pray thee, will you explain . . “. We ask Mary for her prayers, just as we ask each other for prayers. That’s all it is. The priest is a witness to our confession, not the recipient. We are confessing to God. In the early Church, such confessions were made before the entire Congregation. It was only as the number of converts grew and you couldn’t be sure that the congregation hadn’t been infiltrated by spies for the Empire that confession went “private”. I’d also like to point out that the Church predates the Bible by over 300 years. The Church created the bible, not the other way around.

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    • How can you talk to dead people? Mary, etc cannot hear you. They are resting in Christ right now and are no longer of the world period. Going to a priest when Christ has come isn’t going with God’s Word either. Jesus is our mediator….The bridge to God. Jesus is the living Word who came to us instead of us trying to get to Him ( which we can’t anyway without God having a plan for us ) The catholic church also thinks to decide who saints are according to works but only God can judge the heart. A man cannot say whether someone has put their complete faith in Christ. Priests try to put themselves where Jesus is the only One who is in that place. So why don’t Catholic priests marry? It isn’t in God’s Word not to. And why do Catholics believe that the Euchrist becomes Christ Himself? It doesn’t. Jesus said to “do this in remeberence of me”. 1 Corinthians 11:24 He did not say one Word that a Euchrist would become Him! You guys, please pick up the Bible and study for yourselves asking for God’s Wisdom!

      The old testament priest were a dipiction of who Jeus is and what His plan was for the new testament so that we would understand just what it is that God did for us in coming here. We are under Grace now but we have always been under faith since the beginning of time which shows through being obedient (listening and doing God’s Word) Also, catholics say that priests are unable to marry. Well, in the old testament, priests were allowed to marry but to marry a virgin. This was a picture of God to come to us through a virgin but no where does it say to pray to Mary. Only to show honor to because her faith was great and she was obedient. God needed someone like her in order to have His plan of Grace for ALL in place. When any of us stray from what God’s Word actually says in CONTEXT, we set ourselves us for a fall.

      Paul, before being saved by Christ, persecuted Christ followers. Paul was a great religious leader! BUT, Paul was not saved when he persecuted. Long ago, when Catholics persecuted Christ followers, they were corrupt in the same way that Paul was persecuting. Paul honestly believed that he was doing the right thing though.

      I also want to mention the fact that the church does not predate God. The Bible is God’s Word that is God breathed. Meaning that His Holy Spirit wrote the Bible through Christ followers. His Word is so that we can all know who God is and follow so that we don’t have to suffer a Hell that was made for demons. When reading God’s Word in CONTEXT, their are no inaccuracies.

      Like

    • Your last statement is not true. Men, inspired by God created the Bible. The OT part predates Jesus by a span of 6000-500 years. The Christian canon (list of books accepted as inspired), for the most part, can be dated to mid 100s AD.

      Like

  28. Talking to Christians here – the Bible condemns it, among other things. I am a sinner myself but only through Christ I am clean. I disagree with the pope and the catholic church greatly but wanted to share this from the Bible. There are many verses where God tells us what we should and shouldn’t do.

    Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness … and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    Then there are the people in power in churches He talks about…

    2 Peter 2:1,2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

    Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

    Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

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    • When I first read these passages, or rather heard them in church, about 8 years ago I was a bit haunted by them. Why would Jesus want people to lie to us? He says people will, implying that he decided some people would have no choice but to lie to others at some point in the future. Also, in Ezekiel 14:9 Jesus seems to say that he deceived the prophet to make him a false one. Not to mention the numerous passages in which Jesus puts an evil spirit in someone to make them lie or cause harm to others. And then in Revelation we are told what the devil and false prophets will do as well as approximately how many people will be killed by Jesus. If everyone has freewill (including the devil, as it is taught that he rebels against Jesus), why is the devil going to do exactly what Jesus says in Revelation and why is the number of sinners killed on the earth fixed (instead, say, the devil decides to manifest as a shopping cart-sized seven-headed red dragon in front of a Wal-Mart display model TV from now to the end of time just to ruin the book of Revelation’s predictions)?

      Like

  29. I am confused on the ending of this article. Ben says Christians should be persecuted for worthwhile things and then says “diminishing someone else’s humanity is not one of those things.” Is Ben saying that it is not right to persecute Phil for his comments? Someone help me out.

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    • No, he’s saying it’s okay to persecute Phil Robertson because of his choice of semantics. You see, some Christians would rather be liked by others rather than stand up for the truth. I’m sure Ben would have just loved John the Baptist – beheaded for speaking the truth. (Being sarcastic here) Or, he would have ripped into Jesus big time when he cleared the temple. How DARE they “diminish someone else’s humanity?”

      Like

  30. But Phil also said something to the sort of “but who am I to judge… God loves them so I do too” Stop making this thing bigger than it is. God loves Phil just as much as he does the Pope. Geez

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  31. Did this person not read Phil’s statement after the article? He said he loves and accepts all God’s people and that he himself was a product of the 60’s and was in need of Christ. What he was doing was quoting the Bible not saying how he felt.

    Like

  32. Anyone who in any way expects both of these men to be able to express themselves with equal elegance is asking for too much. I also think people are reading far too much into incomplete pull-quotes from the Pope.
    For example, when Phil said “who characterized homosexuality as having “a strong tendency toward an intrinsic moral evil.””, he was, by the very definition of homosexuality and the teachings of the church, making an obviously true statement.

    “When the pope looks at a gay person, he sees a human being. Phil’s comments in GQ suggest that when he looks at a gay person, the first thing he sees are reproductive organs being put where he thinks they shouldn’t.” Both the Pope’s view and Phil’s view are accurate. Perhaps there are other ways to approach the issue, some with more tact, but the Pope and Phil agree with each other on their actual stances.

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  33. Ben you said in response to the accusation that the GQ article was edited to give an unfavorable view of Phil
    “If it was, then I’m sure Phil will have ample opportunity to clarify his remarks”
    Anyone who has only watched the show a few times knows Phil doesn’t have a cell phone are computer and doesn’t keep up with social media to worry about how he is being presented.
    Read the GQ article and it is laced with profanity and mocks Phil and his beliefs. Any article written about someone with a liberal perspective the way this one does would never have been taken seriously.
    And has anyone pointed out the time magazine Person of the Year is not based on who has done good or been a good person. It is about who has influenced the world the most in any fashion. That is why Miley Cyrus was considered and why Hitler has been Time Magazine’s Man of the year before.
    But as the original comparison between the Pope and Phil to your article shows it is not really about truth but just finding any platform for personal opinions.

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  34. “According to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” ~ Pope Benedict. Not Pope Francis. Did anyone care? Nope. Catholic teaching and emphasis hasn’t changed, so the idea that Pope Francis is some kind of revolutionary because he isn’t judgmental doesn’t hold water. And John Paul II was even more so. I’m glad Pope Francis is changing public perception, but I really think the only reason people are only now seeing this ancient and unwavering teaching the Church is that this is the first time a Pope has ever really had the media on his side. That, more than anything, seems to be the difference…when the Robertson story broke it was all “Reality star spews homophobic remarks” or “goes on anti-gay rant” and etc. All from supposedly unbiased outlets. I could make a much more solid case for media coverage being the difference between these two men than this “one is a lover and one is a hater” argument

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  35. Ben Irwin,

    I read the “About Me” page of your blog, wherein you describe in part your spiritual journey, saying “I finally put down the political hatchet” and “The gospel I believe in has nothing to do with fighting a culture war.” I also followed the link to your October 2012 article about how you regretted doing “a hatchet job” on Tony Campolo when you were a political science intern in Washington.

    I have a hard time reconciling that posture with this post. You seem less like someone who has laid down his culture war weapons than someone who has simply switched sides. This post was a character assassination of Phil Robertson: that is, you portray him as someone who diminshes the humanity of others. It was done, as was your Campolo job, on scant evidence (as I wrote in a separate comment above).

    Your hatchet job on Campolo was actually more defensible because you were young and you had been ordered to do it by your boss. By contrast, your hatchet job on Phil was undertaken as an adult and apparently no one ordered you to do it.

    If homosexuality is not a sin then defend it on that basis. Explain why you think Scripture is wrong and why you think homosexuality is good for those who practice it and for the society of which they are a part. But to defend homosexuality by saying that anyone who calls it a sin is diminishing the humanity of others is to make nothing but ad hominem attacks which avoid – and prevent – a rational discussion what is and isn’t sin..

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  36. I believe it all comes down to interpretation. If you want to read Phil’s comments in a negative way…you will. If you want to read them in a positive way, you also will. I simply read it as his opinion and that’s up to him if that’s his opinion. What harm has it done? None. Has it changed my opinion? No. Will it change other’s opinion’s? More than likely not. So many people have opinions on Phil’s opinion, some positive and some negative. Should we be having a go at everyone on here? Of course not because they’re your opinions. I think people should put what he said into perspective and see it for what it is…an opinion. You may agree or disagree with it but in the end that’s all it is.

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  37. “If he had simply said, “I believe the Bible teaches sex should be between a man and a woman,” I doubt anyone would’ve batted an eye.”

    You are under a delusion if you believe this. I go to community college and if I were to say this statement in one of my classrooms, I would be booed out of my class…

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  38. So a man whose years of religious work and self reflection lead him to the highest office in the catholic church has deeper insight, and a more refined delivery, than an elderly hunter from Louisiana. Shocking. I don’t get why it isn’t enough to turn your nose up at ignorance, rather than demanding people lose their jobs.

    Like

  39. If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those persons with whom we may strongly disagree, we do not believe in freedom of speech at all. I am irritated at the PC police deciding now that a person is not entitled to hold personal convictions, even when they have no direct bearing upon their vocation.
    Are we to start ‘weeding’ the shelves of our libraries now and eliminating any sort of book we find ‘offensive’?
    The propaganda media spent over a week eulogizing Nelson Mandela, a man who had a very checkered political past which involved putting burning tire,’necklasses’ on political opponents and burning them alive.
    This man simply has a belief that homosexual practices are wrong.
    We have to endure a week of pomp and praise for Mandela, who was pro- abortion ,while this man must lose his job.
    What a twisted state of affairs!

    Like

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