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About the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) community

Part 1:
2000 to 2003: Anti LGB comments by Phil
Robertson, star of the Duck Dynasty TV program:

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About this section:

During late 2013, Drew Magary, a writer for GQ magazine, interviewed the star of the Duck Dynasty reality TV show: Phil Robertson.

According to Nielsen -- the television program rating company -- about 14 million viewers tune into the program weekly. The interview was published in the 2014-JAN edition of GQ and is available online. 1

During the interview, Robertson commented extensively about the lesbian, gay and bisexual community (LGB). Robertson is a devout conservative Protestant Christian. He expressed beliefs commonly found within that faith group. However, he worded his views more forcefully than is normally encountered in interviews. As a result, he was temporarily suspended by the TV program.

Some of his statements in GQ and other quotations he has made elsewhere are analyzed below. Unfortunately, copyright laws do not allow us to show his exact statements in this essay. So we will paraphrase them. We added responses that might be typical of the LGB community, secularists, or members of liberal faith groups.

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Paraphrased quotes from Phil Robertson about homosexuality, and possible liberal responses:

  • 1. Phil (paraphrased): It seems like, to me, that a man would prefer to have sex with a woman. To have sex with a man is sin; it is not logical. 2

    Response: What is normal and natural for humans is that for every 100 newborns, about 90 will have a heterosexual orientation as adults. That is, they will be attracted only to members of the opposite sex. These numbers are approximate because it is impossible to conduct a poll on a sensitive topic like sexual orientation and get precisely accurate answers. From his statements, Phil Robertson certainly appears to be a heterosexual.

    However, five of every 100 newborns will have a homosexual orientation as adults. They will be attracted only to members of the same-sex. Finally, the remaining five will have a bisexual orientation as adults. They will be attracted to both men and women, although not necessarily to the same degree; they, alone, will have a "sexual preference." Researchers have observed same-sex and opposite-sex paring and sexual activity among all of the many species of mammals that have been studied to date. All or essentially all researchers who are not religious conservatives agree that sexual orientation is discovered by people; it is not chosen; it is fixed in adulthood, not changeable.

    For biblical guidance, Christians might refer to Romans 1:26-27. This is a passage written by St. Paul that describes a group of former Christians who reverted to Paganism. They appear to be engaging in an orgy during a Pagan ritual. Although all were heterosexuals, some women were having sex with other women; some men were having sex with other men. Paul condemned this behavior because it was against the participants' basic nature (i.e. it involved same-gender sexual behavior by people whose orientation is heterosexual).

    This passage seem to send a similar message to persons with a homosexual orientation. It would appear to condemn any gays and lesbians who engage in opposite-gender sexual behavior. For a gay or lesbian to have sex with a member of the same-sex would be natural in that it would match with their sexual orientation. Thus, it would thus not be a sin.

    Same-gender sexual behavior is not "logical" to Phil because he has a heterosexual orientation. It probably makes his skin crawl and stomach heave.

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  • 2. Phil (paraphrased): If we allow same-gender sexual behavior, then sin will become acceptable. It will lead to people having casual sex with both men and women, people having sex with animals, etc. 2

    Response: Same-gender sexual behavior has been legal across the U.S. since 2003 when the U.S. Supreme Court issued their their Lawrence v. Texas ruling. By 2014-SEP, it has been fully accepted by U.S. marriage laws in 19 states. Allowing same-sex couples to marry should lead to more same-sex couples becoming married and being sexually faithful to each other, so the amount of casual, extramarital sex in the country should decrease.

    Having sex with animals outside one's own species is a rare phenomenon of interest only to zoophiles (a.k.a. zoosexuals and zoos). Sexual activity with animals is a very rare paraphilia or abnormal sexual behavior. As lesbians and gays have become acceptable in the U.S., we are unaware of any indications of this paraphilia increasing. We can se no obvious reason why people would suddenly switch and become zoosexuals simply because society approved of all adult humans having sex with other people to whom they are sexually attracted.

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  • 3. Phil quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 2 which in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible says:
  • "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (Emphasis of key terms by us)

Response: Phil concluded his quote with the words: "It's not right." He is presumably referring to sexual all behavior by lesbians and gays.

A liberal might first notice that the phrase has nothing to do with lesbians, because it refers only to men.

The problem is that essentially all copies of the Bible mistranslate this verse from the original Greek. The Greek word "malakoi" which means "soft" in Greek is translated here as "effeminate." O. Wesley Allen Jr., an associate professor at Lexington Theological Seminary in Kentucky, said:

    "In the ancient world, it would refer to a boy in a relationship with an older man. It was pederasty, not homosexuality as we think of it today." 3

The Jerusalem Bible reflects this interpretation. It translates "malakoi" as "catamites" -- boys who had a sexual relation with a male adult. The New American Bible uses "boy prostitutes." The James Moffatt translation also uses the word "catamites."This is generally considered a crime today because a boy cannot legally consent to engage in sex with an adult.

A better and unambiguous translation would perhaps be "boys who are who sexually abused by men." Numerous professional mental health associations have studied such abuse and find that this criminal act is no more common among gay and lesbian adults as among heterosexuals. Thus, this item on Paul's "vice list" seems unrelated to gays and lesbians.

The Greek word "arsenokotai," is translated as "abusers of themselves with mankind" in the KJV. Allen said:

    "It refers to the other half in the man-boy [abusive] relationship, common in Greece at the time ... the older male having sex with the 'soft one'. ... it isn't anything to do with what we would see today in an intimate, mutual relationship between gay adults." 3

The New Testament translated by Richmond Lattimore follows this interpretation by translating "arsenokotai" as "pederasts."

The verse is profoundly immoral by today's secular and most religious moral standards because it involves scapegoating. It transfers punishment from the guilty perpetrator (an adult male) to the innocent victim (a boy; often a slave without human rights). This type of transfer is seen many passages throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Many religious liberals believe that these passages are immoral and should be ignored because they are clearly opposed to the will of God.

Many other versions of the Bible translate "arsenokotai" as "homosexuality," "homosexual." "sodomites," "practicing homosexuals," "men who have sexual relations with other men," "homosexual offenders," "male prostitutes," "pervert or behaves like a homosexual," "sexual pervert, "homosexual perverts," and "abusers of themselves with mankind."

Daniel Burk, the editor of the CNN Belief Blog commented on the lack of agreement of what the Bible means between conservative and liberal Christians:

"For decades, the gulf between the two sides has divided denominations, churches and families. To paraphrase Lincoln, both sides read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and both invoke his aid to argue against each other. Which is why our contemporary debate over homosexuality is so fierce, and so seemingly unending." 3

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  • 4. Phil (paraphrased): "There are lots of way to sin sexually. The safest way for men to have sex is to marry a woman, and don't commit adultery. If you are both healthy when you marry, you are then never going be infected with a STI; you are safe."

Response: He is correct. If a woman and man are free of sexually transmitted infections when they marry. and they don't engage in sexual activity except with each other, then they are very unlikely to catch a STI.

Because he has made so many anti-LGB statements in the past, some readers might interpret his statement as implying that such safety is only found within an-opposite-sex marriage. However a same-sex couple who follow his advice will be equally safe. It appears that he has provided an excellent argument in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry, without intending to do so.

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This topic is continued in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Drew Magary, "What the Duck,""GQ Magazine, 2013-JAN, at: http://www.gq.com/
  2. James Hibberd, "'Duck Dynasty' star makes anti-gay comments; GLAAD slams ," Entertainment Weekly, 2013-DEC-18, at: http://insidetv.ew.com/
  3. Daniel Burke, "Does Phil Robertson get the Bible wrong?" CNN Belief Blog, 2013-DEC-20, at: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

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Copyright © 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 2014-SEP-21
Last updated 2014-SEP-21
Author: Bruce A Robinson
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