Phil Robertson, the patriarch of Louisiana's Duck Dynasty clan is being accused once again of making "anti-gay" remarks when he quoted Scripture during at sermon he delivered at his home church in West Monroe on Easter Sunday. Remarks not in a national magazine, nor on TV, nor in any other forum, but in church.
If America is not committed by its Constitution to protecting a speaker in the pulpit, then we must ask ourselves what is the status of every speaker in every pulpit of every church in the nation?
Robertson delivered the second sermon at Whites Ferry Road Church on Easter Sunday, April 20. Referencing an interview published in the December 2013 issue of GQ magazine when asked if homosexuality was a sin, the family leader recalled giving the reporter a "list" of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Here is a portion of what Robertson said during the sermon.
"Are you waiting on Jesus? Or are you afraid to see that sky busting his skin coming? You've got two lists. I gave some guy one list.
You say were they mad at you about that list? They were mad at me. Why did they get mad at you? Because instead of acknowledging their sin like you had better do, they railed against me for giving them the truth about their sin.
Don't deceive yourself. You want the verse? The news media didn't even know it was a verse. They thought I was just mouthing off. Is homosexual behavior a sin? the guy asked me. I said, 'Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don't be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor the idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves, nor greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.'
I gave you the rest of the story. I gave you the bad news then I gave you the good news. I said the apostle Paul then said and that's what some of you were. I was in that camp. I've been in that camp…We've all been there. The reason we're here today is to remind you of the gospel that was preached."
The verses' Robertson is referencing comes from 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 (ESV). Paul is directing the church at Corinth (a city of devious sexual sin) to avoid lawsuits against one another and as a prelude to his instruction to avoid sexual sin he wrote:
"Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, not thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ by the Spirit of our God."
So what's all the fuss about? These verses are taught every week in churches across America. Robertson was preaching in his home church to followers of Christ on arguably the most important day in Christian history, quoting from a book written by the Apostle Paul, whom many argue is the most influential Christian teacher of biblical times.
The reality is that the left and those who do not believe in God are targeting Phil Robertson because he is a man who exerts considerable influence over a portion of Americans who like his show, his frankness and that he values family second only to God.
Yet this is not about Phil Robertson. This is an outright attack on Christianity. It is an attack on anyone who believes that adultery is a sin. Oh excuse me, that homosexuality is a sin. Or that sin is a sin.
Phil Robertson did not make this statement on a TV show or at an IBM sales meeting. He made these comments in the pulpit of his own church, which I will argue is the most constitutionally protected three-square feet in America.
In a church, Bible in hand and quoting Scripture, Phil Robertson is no different from any other preacher in America and should be afforded all the constitutional protection available.
Fortunately, this isn't a constitutional matter yet. Robertson was not arrested or charged with a civil or criminal crime. He is merely being accused of being "anti-gay" and "homophobic" because he is reminding us of what Scripture says of consensual sexual relations between persons of the same sex.
Remember, adultery is also mentioned in the same verse and it too is sexual sin between consenting adults. Yet I have not seen or heard Robertson being labeled as "anti-adultery."
This will undoubtedly give the left much to rant about over the Memorial Day weekend, but what we as Americans who value our constitutional rights must ask ourselves is who is next. Could it be a Fortune 100 vice-president who is recorded teaching his weekly Bible study at Panera Bread? Or maybe Dr. Robert Jeffress at First Baptist Church in Dallas next month if he were teaching his way through 1 Corinthians?
As we honor those who fought and died for us this weekend, let us give thanks to our Constitution and our freedom of religion. At least for now.