“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

This is one of the most well known statements of Jesus, and I find it is often thrown back at Christians by non-Christians.  Non-Christians feel judged by Christians and they think Christians are largely hypocrites who are ignoring the very commands of their Lord.  The whole issue of judgmentalism is a big one today for the Church to reckon with.  The younger generation of Christians today is leaving the church in droves because they perceive the Church to be intolerant, unloving, and judgmental.  This most often comes out when the Church makes moral pronouncements that the dominant culture disagrees with such as about issues like abortion, premarital sex, or homosexuality.

I have experienced people thinking I am intolerant and judgmental with my blog and dialoging with others.  Sometimes it is criticism given directly to me or about me, but most often it comes in a more general way when I read criticism and hatred against religious blogs like mine.  Because I say that certain things are objectively morally or religiously wrong, such as crossdressing or homosexuality, people see me as extremely judgmental and intolerant.  In fact, many crossdressers won’t read more than a few sentences on my site, because they see quickly that I am a Christian who thinks crossdressing is wrong, and to them that means I am a judgmental bigot.   Because I am seen as intolerant, they can’t even read my views and really think about them.  It completely shuts them down from rational dialog with me.  Ironically, in the name of their tolerance, they do NOT tolerate me.  They are willing to hear every voice but my own or other Christians.   Openminded Christians are still willing to hear out everybody elses’ viewpoint, but these people criticizing me for intolerance are not even willing to hear out what I have to say.  (obviously this not the case for everyone as I have some committed readers of my blog who graciously but vigorously disagree with me.  I appreciate their dialog and true tolerance.  They are a shining example to others).

 

One of the best books I’ve ever read is D.A. Carson’s book – “the Intolerance of tolerance.”  In the book he talks about how tolerance is the supreme virtue in our culture today, and if anyone seems to be going against that virtue, they are shunned, mistreated, or looked down upon.  He talks about how there has been a shift in the meaning of tolerance in our culture.  Tolerance used to mean that we should recognize and respect and allow people to have different beliefs and practices, and we can disagree with someone thinking they are wrong, but still allow them to freely exist with those different beliefs and not suppress them.   I think that kind of tolerance is good and essential for a flourishing society.  But the new illogical view of tolerance today is that we must accept other people’s different views and practices as just as true as our own view.  Strangely this new tolerance only is applied for certain spheres of life.  In the realms of math, science, medicine, psychology, politics and most other subjects that people discuss, debate, and disagree about, people in our culture still apply the old view of tolerance.

But in the realms of religion and morality, the new view of tolerance reigns.  It is totally illogical relativism.  Beliefs that are clearly contradictory among people of different religions, or different moral perspectives, are seen to be equally valid and true at the same time, and therefore there is never a reason to discuss or debate the truth of religious or moral claims.  This is a scary time and culture to live in.  If we cannot have objective discussions about what is morally right and wrong, how are we to uphold justice in our country?  Will stealing someday become okay because it seems morally right to some people?  Will murder someday become okay because it seems morally okay to some people?  Will pedophilia become allowed?  Will it all boil down to people’s individual choices?  This seems far-fetched maybe.  But the murder of infants through abortion is already just the personal choice of mothers, whether it seems morally right or wrong to them.

 

Carson explains 3 aspects of the old logical view of tolerance that use to exist in our culture.  And this is the kind of tolerance I want.  1.  There is objective truth out there, and it is our duty to pursue that truth.  2.  The various parties in a dispute think that they know what the truth of the matter is, even though they disagree with each other, and each party thinks the other is wrong.  3.  Nevertheless they hold that the best chance of reaching the truth is by the free unhindered exchanged of ideas, no matter how wrongheaded some of those ideas seem.   This means we don’t silence opposing views to our own.

In contrast, the new view of tolerance in our culture is that every individual’s beliefs and practices are all valid and equal.  All truth is relative.  Therefore under this new view of tolerance, it is impossible to say that somebody else’s belief or practice is wrong (at least religious or moral beliefs).  “Who are you to judge?”  The proponents of this new kind of tolerance tend to be moral relativists.  They say that either there is no external or objective standard of truth.  Or the standard may be out there, but we cannot know it.  Therefore, debate about religion and morality is pointless.  We should just accept that people’s moral and religious beliefs are true for them, even if they aren’t true for us.

 

It seems most proponents of this new tolerance are heavily inconsistent.  All views and religions and practices are tolerated supposedly, but then the tolerant people don’t perceive those they see as intolerant.  Anyone that makes a non-relative claim to religious or moral truth is branded as intolerant.  Christianity which claims that Jesus is the only way to salvation, is seen as fundamentally being opposed to this new tolerance, and so then Christianity becomes persecuted, shunned, ignored, and individual Christians increasingly are losing their freedom to hold a different point of view.  The main proponents of tolerance then become terribly INTOLERANT of Christians.  All views are equally valid and okay to believe, that is of course, except the Christian view.  The Christian view is not a valid belief that is equal to others because it is an intolerant view in their mind.  But this is not true according to the old definition of tolerance.  It is very possible to be a Christian who thinks others are sinning, who thinks that others have false beliefs, and still allow those people to hold those different beliefs and have different practices.  Such a Christian can even go beyond tolerating those people and love them.   It’s true at times that Christians have been intolerant in the old sense of the word, for example in the middle ages when some who claimed to be Christian forced others to convert to Christianity.  But in our world today, that is pretty rare.  Christians SHOULD NOT be branded as intolerant just because they actually have real beliefs about religion and morality.

 

But Christians are indeed branded intolerant all the time, and are being mistreated for it.  In Carson’s book he mentions probably at least 100 examples of lawsuits against Christians or Christians be fired from universities, just because of their Christian beliefs.   Christians are often fired from jobs for refusing to go against their religious views.  Or they are sued for being discriminatory for not wanting to support and approve gay marriages.   Or Christian organizations on college campuses are being forced to allow membership and leaders in their groups to people who are vocally not Christians.   For a country that values free speech, an awful lot of Christians are being fired or disciplined by universities for having opinions.  We could go on and on.  Read the book.  It’s super interesting.  Some specific examples he gave in the book – A bank that made a Christian organization close its accounts because of the organization’s view about sexual orientation.  The bank publicly supports diversity among its customers, and yet they eliminated one of their diverse customers.  A writer in France was taken to court for inciting religious hatred because he said Islam is “the dumbest religion.”  He was not being tolerant in the true and yet even if he was, its strange that “the tolerant culture and people” would be fine with calling Christianity dumb.  Somehow Islam, which tends to be very intolerant in the true sense and even violent against those who have different views, is more tolerated than Christianity in some ways.  Carson cites tons of examples throughout the book of so-called “tolerant people” being extremely intolerant towards Christians.

He further talks about the privatization of religion.  Our culture, tolerant in the new sense, wants to say all religions are okay and valid, but they must not be taken too seriously.  Religion should be a trivial part of our being.  Our faith must not actually effect anything we do in public, or how we vote on issues.  Politicians are threatened when they let their religious views affect their policy making.  There is a strong push to make sure we don’t have any official religion in our country, which I am fine with.  But ironically, secularism has become the official religion.  It’s starting to become hard to actually speak out of our religious beliefs in politics or in public.  Only purely secular arguments are allowed (which is a religion unto itself).  All views should be allowed to be discussed, including religious views.  To try to bar religion from the public sphere is actually irrational and impossible, because disbelief in God is just as much of a religious belief.  It is exceedingly intolerant to try to force all people to have public debate from only the secular perspective.  We should allow true freedom of speech, and freedom of opinion, which includes religious opinions whether from Christianity, Islam, or atheism.

Carson says that the real old tolerance is seen in New York’s Central Park which allows people to set up a Christian nativity scene, a Jewish menorah, and a Muslim star, each paid for by private citizens.  Intolerance, in the name of the new form of tolerance, is seen in Eugene Oregon which at first banned Christmas trees from public property because this would not be inclusive, but exclusive.  (They fail to see they are discriminating against all the people who want Christmas in favor of not discriminating against the one or two people who don’t want them).   Our culture’s idea of tolerance is a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew all becoming friends and then when discussing their faiths, dumbing down their beliefs to the lowest common denominator so that they can say they agree with each other and say they have basically the same diluted faith in God.  Carson says a group like this is just a Muslim who believes very little, a Jew who believes very little, and a Christian who believes very little.  For Carson, true real tolerance would be if believers of those 3 religions showed up happily to discuss their different exclusive views, and had honest vigorous debate, were willing to say that the others were wrong, and were able to do so without fear of coercion or hate.

 

For me personally, I have become weary of all the people on the internet who think that relativism and secular neutrality is somehow the moral high ground in an argument.  Somehow not having an opinion on anything has become better than having an opinion on something.  Somehow it’s higher ground to say that we can’t actually know anything about true religion or morality, than saying we actually believe that something is true.  Somehow it has become the high ground to say that everyone’s (contradictory) truths are all just as true as all the others, rather than someone having the courage to point out when someone is wrong, or having the courage to debate and seek the truth together.   This relativism, this false neutrality, is NOT moral high ground.  I’m sick of people trying to make me feel like a bad guy, trying to say that I am pushing my agenda while they are not.  They are pushing their own secular or relativist agenda.  Carson says – “The point is that, while claiming the moral high ground, the secularists are unambiguously attempting to push their own agendas.  They have every right to do so, of course, but they do not have the right to assume that their stance is ‘neutral’ and therefore intrinsically superior.”

 

Okay, now let’s finally go back to this quotation of Jesus and unpack what it means and does not mean.  Jesus did say, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”  But it is absolutely ridiculous to think that this prohibits us from moral discernment, or making religious or moral distinctions.  Jesus says this in his Sermon on the mount in which he gives a plethora of radical moral judgments about how we should live and exclusive religious judgments about the eternal destiny of people.  It’s full of moral rules.  The same chapter presents Jesus as the supreme judge (verses 21-23).  And in verse 6, we see that the disciples are to make distinctions about people.  And all over the Bible, and in the words of Jesus, we see that the disciples are to make moral judgments and distinctions, and to judge those in the church.  It is also good for us to keep in mind that Jesus was perhaps the most judgmental person in the Bible, which is fitting since he is God.  He talked about Hell more than all other authors combined.

Judgments in general are not wrong or sinful.  Not only did Jesus judge, and want the disciples to judge, but all people in general make judgments.  It is part of what makes us human, and part of how we use our minds.  We judge whether something is beautiful, ugly, or something in between, or whether something is good or bad, or whether something is morally right or morally wrong.  It is impossible to not make judgments.  It does not make logical sense to say that it is always wrong to judge.  In fact, the people that say Christians are judgmental, are making a judgment about Christians in the very act of saying that.

As Christians we need to make judgments to understand what is morally right and wrong, so that we know how live lives pleasing to God and avoid sin.  We have to teach our children how to live.  We need to tell other people about God’s laws and commands.  We have to hold other Christians accountable.  It is not bigoted or evil to hold someone accountable.  It is a deeply loving thing to do, to try to stop people from hurting themselves or others through sin, and to try to help people realize when they are sinning against God.  In that sense, I’d say my blog is a loving thing, even though many interpret it as a blog of hate against crossdressers or homosexuals.  It is a blog of love.  God has given me the courage to help out other Christians, to draw them away from sin, and back to the truth.

 

What Jesus is really saying in this quotation is that he is prohibiting self-righteous condemnation of others.  He is talking about the manner in which we judge.  We are not to judge harshly or in a hypocritical way.  And the harshness by which we judge others will be the standard God uses with us.   The younger generation of Christians has rightly called out the church to stop being hypocritical, to stop noticing some sins and ignoring others, and to stop being harsh and unloving.  WE MUST heed that call, but not throw out judgments all together.  We must continue to uphold the truth in the Church about what is sin and what is not, and we must continue to call fellow Christians to live for God and avoid sin.  But in doing so we must judge gently, without hypocrisy, and with extreme love and care.  This means not judging in the way that Westboro Baptist church judges, a way that find unhelpful and even sinful.

We should not judge harshly but with all the fruits of the Holy Spirit, so that we judge with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We must be careful not to judge other specific people if we don’t have the whole story.  We should be very careful when we don’t have all the facts.  Only God knows all and knows people’s motivations and situations.  We should be careful with our assumptions.

We should be careful to judge Christians and non-Christians in different ways.  God is the ultimate judge of non-Christians.  We are to call non-Christians to general repentance and faith in Jesus.  But our concern is not to make them live godly lives.  We can’t expect anyone to live godly lives unless they have been transformed by a relationship with Jesus.  However, we should still hold them accountable to universal natural law, universal morality, such as not stealing, not murdering, but not things like how they are sinning by not loving God or not reading the Bible.  Our main job is to hold fellow Christians accountable.  They are the ones who have been transformed by Jesus and can start trying to live for God.  We should spur one another on in love and good deeds.

We should judge ourselves before others.  That is the main problem Jesus was addressing.   Let us examine the log in our own eye before criticizing the sins of others.  I believe I have done this correctly through my blog.  I am not really judging individual people anyway, but just making moral judgments about specific issues like crossdressing or homosexuality.  But anyway I have confessed my own very personal sins with crossdressing, pride, etc. on this blog.  I don’t think it is good when Christians go on a crusade against a particular sin, say homosexuality, without acknowledging their own sins and struggles.  We shouldn’t elevate some sins over others.  It’s true that some sins are objectively worse, say murdering someone rather than just hitting someone.  But God judges the motivations of the heart and not just the outward actions.  So we can’t know what is a worse sin than others sometimes.  And we don’t choose what we are tempted to.  Some people are tempted to crossdressing, some to pedophilia.  Pedophilia is objectively 100 times worse.  But just like I didn’t choose my crossdressing temptations, they didn’t choose their pedophilia temptations.  So I should judge gently and think about my own sins first.

 

We need to judge with humility.  We must get rid of our pride and not be like the Pharisees.  Sometimes I get really frustrated with blogs I read online and I feel superior to them, but I have to remember that feeling that way is sinful.  We are all equally sinners before God.  And if we as Christians end up living any differently than others, it is not because of our own good nature, but only because of God’s grace working in us.  If there is anything good in my life, it is because God’s grace.  Therefore, I have not a single good reason, and never will, to feel superior or prideful.  This means that even though I have successfully given up crossdressing it should give me no reason to be prideful over those that haven’t.

We have to be careful not to judge people’s eternal destinies.  We know that all people deserve Hell because of sin.  We know that all people freely choose Hell because they freely have chosen to sin.  Hell is separation from God, and all of us through our sins have chosen separation from God.  We know from the Bible that people can only be saved through faith in Jesus who took our punishment for us.  But we don’t know who really knows Jesus and who doesn’t.  I would not proclaim to know the eternal destiny of even an outspoken atheist.  We can think we know, but ultimately we leave it up to God as the final judge.  We can judge whether people seem to have healthy relationships with God or not, we can judge whether a person is sinning or not, but we cannot claim that they will be in Heaven or Hell.  We can judge, but not condemn.   And that is a wonderful comfort because God alone is both perfectly just and perfectly merciful so he is the best judge we can ask for.

 

Let me end with a positive note.  Jesus tells us that in the way we judge others, we will be judged by God.  But we also need to remember to judge others in the way that we have already been judged by God.  And how did God judge us?  Listen to John 3:16-17.   16 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

God judged us to be completely sinful deserving of hell.  But he didn’t stop there.  He followed up on that judgment by giving us more mercy than we can even comprehend.  Jesus came to save us rather than to condemn us.  God’s judgment ends in forgiveness and mercy through Jesus Christ.  We must now go out and treat other people as God has treated us.  God treated us with crazy mercy and grace and that should be how we treat others as well.

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17 comments on ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

  1. David Barrow says:

    Hi
    Very good article. But I am unclear on one thing. You had mentioned, “But we don’t know who really knows Jesus and who doesn’t. I would not proclaim to know the eternal destiny of even an outspoken atheist.”

    We know one’s heart on certain situations by the words they speak. Matthew 12:34 – “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

    If a person denies the person and work of Christ, John 3:18 says, “he is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” Christ has already pronounced judgment on such a person and as Christians we are to relay that pronouncement of judgment. Yes, it is true that person may repent before he dies, but for the time being it would be unloving not to warn him of where he is headed if he continues to deny our Lord.

    We are not condemning that person. God is. Shouldn’t we lovingly tell that person that in his present state he is condemned by God? God says in Ezekiel 3:18, “If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.

    David

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  2. thorin25 says:

    Fully agree David. Perhaps I could have worded things better in my post. I like all that you say.

    My point was is that I don’t know who is elect and who is not. And I’ve known some people who I believe were in the process of coming to know Christ but still calling themselves atheists because they were not yet ready to admit the truth they were coming to believe in.

    But your words are right and true. Good thoughts

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  3. David Barrow says:

    I know exactly what you mean Thorin25. The Parable of the Weeds speaks of this point.

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  4. Ralph says:

    Extremely well said! I don’t disagree with a single thing in this post 🙂

    As trite as it sounds, the old refrain “love the sinner, hate the sin” is a solid condensation of this common-sense approach to judging. I have friends who are supportive of gay marriage and they remain good friends despite the fact that I have made it clear that I do believe the Bible is unambiguous in the way God regards homosexuality. This is because I extend them — both people who profess to be gay and people who aren’t but support them — every courtesy I would my wife or brother or pastor, and admit freely that their sin is no worse than any of my multitude of beams in my own eye. I’ll hug them jubilantly when meeting after a long absence; I’ll go to a movie or share a beer with them; I’ll pray for them and send them Christmas cards… but I can’t in good conscience celebrate their wedding.

    All of which is really just a restatement of Thorin’s excellent article. So consider this a lengthy “me too!” post.

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  5. thorin25 says:

    Thanks Ralph!

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  6. Wosret says:

    Well, I take a different meaning from Jesus’ words, which actually aligns nicely with what you are saying. My view is that to judge others is to judge ourselves. Aristotle said that when people speak about others in their absence, they merely speak about themselves. Jung said to be weary when we feel upset about something we think others are doing, to ask ourselves “why do I care?”, and we may find that it is actually about us, and not them. A common phrase is that someone “protests too much”, to imply that they are hiding that it is actually about them.

    We disassociate from our less than praiseworthy character traits and activities, and project that aspect of ourselves, or we cast shadows unto people based on fear, and distrust. We primarily fear suffering our own injustices, or being treated in the wrongful ways that we treat others.

    That said, it is difficult to give an assessment of any of the people you’ve talked too — I don’t know if they were accusing you of being intolerant, because they were actually the one’s that were intolerant. See, I also have no problem with judgments, they are necessary, and we all make them. My problem is pre-judgment, or judging uninformed judgment. Judging before we even know someone, or when we barely know someone. When we do this, is when I think we are most likely to use our own characters, and behaviors as the standard, or source of the judgments. So, those we judge positively, we do so because of hope that they exemplify our positive character attributes, or behaviors, and those we judge negatively we do so because of fear that they exemplify our negative character traits, or behaviors. In this way, judgmentality is negative because it is poor, when egocentric, or just extensions of our own egos. It isn’t the selfless, wise judgments of God, or Jesus — or those gifted with the wisdom.

    I also think that it is important to note that tolerance merely means that you allow something to exist. So that intolerance is to attempt to stop the object of your intolerance from existing. Organized religion, and this style of intolerance clearly was criticized by Christ — but to the extent that something is made illegal, or one is violent towards, and tries to destroy, prevent, or curb the existence of the object of your intolerance. Organized religion has historically played a large role in criminalizing, and instigating violence against deviants. So, , the accusations to me seem like a guilt by association thing. The presumption that you support, and wish to return to the illegality, and violence against such minorities.

    Now, I think these are rather vacuous things, myself. I believe that we should be intolerant towards many things, especially the immoral. The slippery slope you mention, for instance, with pedophila, murder, theft, rape and such. Just as judgment is good, and necessary. What is bad is when they are misplaced, poor, or false. It seems to me, that the “intolerance of intolerance”, is more perceiving disputes to be inconsequential — whereas things like murder, theft, lying and such are require intolerance for a functioning society. At the very left, in order to have a conversation, or do anything at all together, we can’t try to kill each other the moment we see each other. Matters in which we can tolerate difference are ones where society can still function regardless of their existence. So, calling something judgmental, or intolerant, in my view, is more saying that they are quick to judge, and inaccurately judge, and that their concerns are petty, or inconsequential.

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  7. Wosret says:

    I should also say that I do often people of the motivations, errors, and psychology of people, without talking about specific people — but this is because I see error as a plane, or field, that we are all susceptible to, and I not so much accuse specific people of committing any of them, but merely outline the kinds of errors people can commit, myself not being an exception in any of the cases. Everyone is susceptible to the plane of error, just for sharing in the human condition.

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  8. thorin25 says:

    Fully agree that certain intolerance is fundamentally necessary to keep a just society that can function.

    I also agree that there is an aspect that judging others judges ourselves at the same time.

    Thank you for reading such a long post.

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  9. A Quiet Voice says:

    Interesting conversation and one with which I find myself fully on board. I recently had a conversation with a friend on this very topic. He prides himself on being an educated “hillbilly” in that he knows his way around the forest, the sea and can pretty much figure out how to fix most anything.

    He does not watch much TV and so had not heard about the current uproar over the comments made by the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty. His reaction upon hearing about it from me was, “What a load of xxxxxxxxx”–(Fill in the expletive of your choice).

    He then when on to say the he did not say that homosexuals, adulterers, etc., were sinners, GOD did. In fact, God said we were ALL sinners and suggested we repent our sins and seek redemption through His mercy.

    What is at issue here IMHO, is not the morality or immorality of the sinner, but the freedom to express one’s beliefs without fear of, or intimidation by censure of any kind.

    As Camille Paglia pointed out in her comments which you can google, this type of PC thought control is reminiscent of Stalinist Fascism. Current examples of this persecution can be found in many countries which are ostensibly “friendly” to American interests, where “blasphemy” laws are used to persecute, imprison, murder and rape Christians.

    Despite the claims of the “progressive” left, ours is not a very kind world and the agents of Satan are powerful, prolific and well heeled.

    Keep up the good work and thank you for allowing me my rants.

    Yours in Christ,
    A. Quiet Voice

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  10. Ralph says:

    “… the freedom to express one’s beliefs without fear of, or intimidation by censure of any kind.”

    Well, that’s not going to happen. If I say or do something that offends, I may have the perfect LEGAL right to do so but that doesn’t protect me from the social consequences of my actions. Turn it around so you’re not the one whose speech is under attack. Suppose Nancy Nazi stands on a street corner expressing her belief, to which she has every legal right, that only pure Aryans are human and anyone else is an animal good for slave labor and destined for hell. She does have the freedom to express that belief without fear of being jailed or otherwise suppressed by the government, but should she have reasonable expectation that nobody will denounce her for those beliefs? Suppose she’s an employee of Happy Fun Ball, Inc. and people start picketing that company? From what you’re saying, the company would have no right to terminate their relationship with her despite the fact that she’s generating loads of negative publicity for them and damaging their reputation and their customer base.

    Whether rightly or wrongly, the non-Christian general public found Phil’s statements offensive and are expressing THEIR opinions, with similar legal right, opposing him. His employer, likewise, has the legal right to protect their investments when one of their employees starts costing them market share. The fact that we agree with him in this case doesn’t matter; the system should work the same whether he says things that offends us or says things that offend others.

    If there is ever any indication that a government entity — whether city, county, state, or federal — is using the force of law to prevent Phil from speaking his beliefs or punish him when he does so — even the ACLU will be right behind him. But as long as it’s just private individuals and non-government companies that oppose him, we can only shake our heads and bemoan the loss of moral values in the general public.

    Now having said all that, I do NOT believe Phil was simply speaking God’s truth, and here’s why: Although he correctly quoted 1 Corinthians, he went beyond that and singled out homosexuals as specific targets of personal insults comparing their behavior with bestiality and pedophilia. The bible certainly does not distinguish between homosexuality and drunkenness, but Phil did. If he truly believes that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, or that people who lie, gossip, envy, or divorce and remarry (adultery, according to Jesus) are equally at fault, why didn’t he say anything about those sins, which are far more prevalent in the Christian church than homosexuality? Yes, he SAID he doesn’t judge or condemn homosexuals, but his other words belie that claim. It’s like saying “You’re a filthy, stinking pervert who is going to burn in hell because you’re so awful, but I love you and I don’t think of you any less or treat you any differently from anyone else.” Yeah, I don’t think so.

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  11. A Quiet Voice says:

    Ralph. I find it interesting that you have brought up the Nazi’s in your efforts to demonize this godly man. I find it ironic because it is you who are using those very same tactics of twisting and turning his words to fit your constructed version of the “evil demon” tat lurks within the heart of Phil Richardson. You are not only judging him but bearing false witness.

    I defy you to show me the quote wherein Phil, “went beyond that, (quoting scripture), and singled out homosexuals as specific targets of personal insults comparing their behavior with bestiality and pedophilia.”. That is an outright lie on the same level as “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan”, or the made up stories that were put out there to “explain” the causes of the assassination of our US ambassador in Benghazi, Libya.

    While I do agree that A&E does have the legal right to censure Phil, (that is no doubt part of his employment contract), it is this very action, (censure), that employers are legally precluded from exercising when it comes to censuring cross dressing in the work place or in schools. How hypocritical is that. You are entitle to bring legal action against those who would display a nativity scene or a menorah, and you can openly express “gender fluidity”, while I must provide for your emotional comfort and birth control–even if I find that highly offensive and against my religious values.

    Not only that, but I must remain silent, while you “self-express”, (read ACT OUT).
    The good news is that Christians are not remaining silent, Cracker Barrel Restaurants was so overwhelmed by the huge negative reaction to their removing Duck Dynasty products from their stores, that they have returned them to the shelves. I expect the outcome with A&E will be similar. Remember that A&E is in business for profit. In the end “$$$ talks and B******t walks”.

    Phil Robertson finds homosexual behavior abhorrent and unnatural like the vast majority of the human race. He rightly quotes the bible that those who engage in such behavior will not “inherit the kingdom of God”. You have a right to believe otherwise, and I have an equal right to disagree with you and openly say so. When you try to silence my opinion and demonize me and those who disagree with you, you have crossed the line and joined the ranks of those like Mao, Stalin and Hitler, that used those exact same bully tactics used by oppressors everywhere throughout history.

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  12. Ralph says:

    AQV, you have misunderstood me entirely. First, I do not seek to demonize Phil Robertson; to do so would make me the worst hypocrite in the world. I most certainly did not compare him to Nazis. I specifically chose *the exact opposite* type of person from Phil, someone who holds views that I (and I assume you and Mr. Robertson) find abhorrent, to demonstrate that while it we have constitutional protection to speak those abhorrent viewpoints, we are not protected from employer or personal censure from others.

    If I twisted his words or misrepresent them, I apologize; I am relying on what I have read that he said and my understanding of what he said. For example:
    “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,”
    and
    “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.”

    I’m sure it was not his intention, but what that SOUNDS like is he is equating homosexuality with bestiality. He is not expressing biblical truth here; he is expressing his personal opinion, which he has every right to do but I believe it lacks compassion and humility, and expresses personal judgement. This directly contradicts his claim that he does not judge homosexuals or treat them any differently from others.

    I say he specifically targeted homosexuals because that’s *all* he made negative remarks about. As I said in my previous post, alcoholism and adultery are both far more widespread problems in the church than homosexuality, but you don’t hear Robertson (or any other Christians with access to a large audience) decrying those and complaining that they’re not natural or logical, or that they lead to bestiality.

    Why on earth would I seek legal action against religious displays, or desire to prevent you from speaking your opinion on a subject? You seem to have come to some very mistaken conclusions about me. So here’s the short version:
    I am a born-again Christian of some 40 years; I confess Jesus as my Lord and Savior and the living son of God. I currently attend a Southern Baptist church (yes, most of my brothers and sisters consider me a little too friendly to the liberals and heathens out there) but I am at home in any church that preaches straight from the word of God and proclaims Jesus as the son of God and the promised Messiah. I absolutely believe the Bible makes it very clear that God does not tolerate homosexuality, and nothing I said in my previous post was meant to suggest otherwise. And just to round out your list of accusations about my beliefs, I also think Obamacare is a crock and we were seriously lied to about its costs and how it would affect us individually.

    Now having said all THAT, I also know that I am, as Paul said, “the chief of sinners”. I make every effort — not always successfully — to work on whittling down the beam in my own eye before I start telling someone else the speck in his eye is like bestiality. From my reading of the words of Jesus, love and compassion are far more important than righteousness, and Paul agrees — if I have done all these things but I lack love, I have accomplished nothing.

    Does that mean we should embrace sin and not say anything when it is at our doorstep? By no means! But we must always, always speak the truth in love.

    *ALL* that I have against Robertson is that I believe he lacked compassion and humility in expressing his opinions, and the end result is that he makes himself — and all Christians by association — sound elitist and condescending. This is likely to drive more people away from Christ than bring anyone to repentance, so no matter how right he is, no matter how good his intentions, I believe he’s still doing more harm than good.

    If, after all that, you still believe that I am an evil person twisting the truth and encouraging sin, then I have no further defense.

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  13. A Quiet Voice says:

    You continue to imply that Robertson says that homosexuality leads to bestiality. Perhaps it does, I would not know. But do you not find it odd that it is you and your gay friends that so strongly draw this inference when no one else does?

    The quote that I have, that seems to be the one in question is as follows:

    “”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,” Robertson told GQ. “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.”

    It seems to me that in his opinion, one can starts w/ homosexuals and move on, (or morph), from there to the following….’ 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.” That is all he said, yet your sources print or distort his words this way.

    ” For example:
    “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,”
    and
    “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.”

    Where when did Phil say that. It most certainly was not in the GQ interview and even if it was the two statements were made in different context. And….even if you discount ALL of that, just what exactly is homophobic or offensive about this statement???? ““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.””

    I mean seriously where is the logic in homosexuality? Where is the “logic” in sodomy? You thin it is charitable and loving and inclusive to fire a guy for expressing his Christian viewpoint?

    Did he include bestiality? Yes he did. Is it not a sin, just like all the others. I am not familiar with the quote you use, or when/where it was made, but even so, he most certainly say or even imply that homosexuals are in anyway related to those who engage in bestiality except to say they are both abhorrent and sinful practices.

    I mean Phil is a fundamentalist Christian. He is also a backwoodsman who has a particular sense of wisdom and humor that millions of Americans can relate to.

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  14. A Quiet Voice says:

    con’d….A&E hired the Robertson family for exactly that reason. They have a huge following and if A&E was so offended by his comments, why have they continued to air continuous seven and nine hour marathons?

    Please do not misunderstand. When I use the pronoun “you” I am not referring to you Ralph. I am using “you” generically. I should have said “…one can bring legal action….etc. Please do not misconstrue my words as a personal attack on you personally. My wrath is reserved for those who use those tactics which I find abhorrent to free and open discussion and debate.

    What do you think about Twitter blocking support for a petition in support of Phil Richardson? Is that not the private sector piling on the gay bandwagon in attempting to suppress any opposition to their views?

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  15. Ralph says:

    Sorry, I meant to link to the actual article in GQ and got sidetracked. Here it is:
    http://www.gq.com/entertainment/television/201401/duck-dynasty-phil-robertson

    The quotes I put in quotation marks are exact words he said during the interview, including his opinions on whether one body part or another was preferable as a facility for intercourse. I tried to include the entire paragraph where available, so as not to selectively pull partial sentences out of context.

    I absolutely did not say that any of it was homophobic. That word has been thrown around and misused politically so much as to have lost all meaning. What I said was that *even if his statements are true and accurate*, he did not make them in love and humility. “Come on, guys” is a mocking, derogatory phrase — unless you have a different interpretation for what is implied in those words. But we wouldn’t be having this discussion if I were the only person on the planet to read some degree of condescension in his words.

    Understand, I *agree* with him — and yet here I am, in support of him, and I *still* think his choice of words was hurtful. So it’s no surprise that people who don’t agree with him at all will take even greater offense.

    I think one of the key areas where we have different interpretations is the “Start with homosexual behavior…” line. The way I read it, as he continues with “… and just morph out from there. Bestiality…” etc. is drawing a straight (no pun intended, haha) line from homosexuality to bestiality. Obviously you do not make that connection, and I respect your opinion. However, as I said what’s at issue is not what we personally take away from his message but whether his message is more likely to drive people away from Christ or to attract them. Maybe it’s a wash — people who weren’t interested in salvation or repentance were not going to be swayed no matter what he said, and people who are already on “our” side were not likely to be driven away from Christ by what he said.

    Where is the logic in homosexuality? I couldn’t begin to guess. I have *no idea* what causes a man to be physically attracted to another man. Personally I am repulsed by the idea. But if homosexuals are to be believed, they do not choose that attraction either. Like with crossdressing, those tendencies begin to manifest before they are even aware of their sexuality. So I guess the short answer is, there is no logic in homosexuality. But logic isn’t remotely connected with physical lust. When we see someone who arouses deep desires in us, we don’t put on our Spock ears and say “I am a human male and she is a human female. Therefore it is only logical that I should copulate with her and produce many human offspring.” No, Mr. Happy has a mind all his own and rarely consults logic in decision making. Considering how many young people commit suicide when they realize they are gay, I’m guessing they would rather not be like that either. And yet they don’t have the choice of not being gay; they have the choice to either live or die, and they choose death.

    Demanding that gays, and gays alone, justify their attraction on logic makes no more sense than to say “Where’s the logic in getting drunk? It makes you sick, it makes you say and do things you regret later, it costs you money and alienates people who love you… come on, guys, don’t do it!” And yet alcoholism, for all its illogic, is still a tremendous problem in and out of the Christian church, and costs far more lives and breaks up far more families than homosexuality.

    I guess this is the other point I’m trying to make: Phil, like most people, is cherry-picking which sins to speak out against. So the problem is just as much what he did NOT say as what he DID say. Absolutely, as I said, homosexuality is a sin. But did he say “Come on, guys, why get drunk? It’s not logical.” Or “Come on guys, why be unfaithful to your wives? It’s not logical.” He didn’t go on about how it doesn’t make sense to him why any man would choose to do those things. He specifically picked at sins that he himself can safely say he is not burdened with. Yet the very verse he quoted in 1 Corinthians makes it clear that drunkenness and adultery are every bit as unacceptable as homosexuality. This comes back to the “beam in your own eye” point I was trying to make earlier. Stating with conviction that homosexuality is a sin is great. Implying (by omission) that you aren’t equally guilty of your own particular brand of sins… not so much.

    Finally, I agree entirely with your last comments about Phil’s personal background and A&E’s choice. I would further suggest that they made a spectacle out of a backwoods family *because* they anticipated such people would say and do “wacky Christian bible-thumper” things, and they were counting on that for laughs, not because A&E saw a spiritual necessity in airing a program that portrayed positive Christian values. To A&E, the Robertsons were a freak show from the start. (please believe me when I say I don’t share that point of view!) So yeah, to express surprise and indignation when a conservative, rural, evangelical family expresses fundamentalist views and does so in a coarse way is ridiculously naive. It’s like going to a rodeo and complaining afterwards, “I never expected to see animals treated so roughly!”

    Thorin, thank you for your patience with us as we sort out our communication difficulties!

    Like

  16. thorin25 says:

    No problem, I’ve been Away-from -keyboard for Christmas, feel free to continue your discussion

    Like

  17. A Quiet Voice says:

    Well. It seems to me we have come to agreement more than a few points. One, which I think is at the heart of tis debate. Your reading/interpretation of Robertson’s words differ significantly from mine for reasons unknown. I see the period between the words, “Start with homosexuality and morph from there” , and the next sentence. The whole idea/function of punctuation is to separate on thought/idea from the next.

    That GLAAD and their supporters choose to take offense, I think, is just a teensie weensie bit contrived. They have drawn a line in the sand, determined to extort blood or treasure for any self-perceived offense. Should not Christians take offense and demand redress by stoning for being referred to as “wacky” or “Bible thumping”? Perhaps we need POCAAD, (pissed off Christians association against defamation), to come to our defense.

    This is my point, the LGBT have leveraged their own perception as a prosecuted minority into a ‘speshul snowflake status’/protected elite, able to run offensive commercials, such as the one showing scantily clad gay boys, frolicking in a sexually provocative manner in support of obamacare.

    This is like Obama barricading the WWII War Memorial on the Nat’l Mall, while allowing Pro-Open Borders groups in support of illegal aliens to hold a rally on that very same Mall, attended no less my Nancy Pelosi and other vote pandering politicians.

    On the other hand I do not agree that Phil is singling out homosexuals for special treatment. If you read his comments in the context in which they were made, you have to go to exceptional lengths to ignore the fact that subsequent to his initial comment about homosexuality, he followed immediately with Corinthians, condemning drunkenness and assorted debaucheries.

    In the end, it is obvious to me that your views are set in stone and you seem unable to grasp the difference between the views and expressions of Pope Francis and his predecessors. They all hold the exact same views of homosexuality, abortion and women in the Church. Nevertheless, because Francis uses “kinder more inclusive” language, more open to “interpretation”, (read mis-interpretation), he is now their “Man of the Year”.

    Essentially what I am saying is that I am of the view that we have beat this topic into the ground. In the end, I am of the opinion that this will be worked out in the courts, (contract law), and in the market place. Remember, A&E is running a 25 episode Marathon tomorrow, Christmas Day. It seems they are taking full monetary advantage of their perceived outrage.

    Perhaps you might check out an episode or two and see why this show is so popular. You want to talk about changing peoples’ views about gays, perhaps you might consider that they might be seen as less offensive if they would grow a thicker skin and stop looking for constructed slights.

    God said homosexuality is a sin. I did not. If God says it is un-natural and offensive, I will take His word for it. Just because I find it un-natural and frankly just plain weird, I still have gay friends and we have mutual respect for our different sexual preferences. I think this is exactly how Phil feels. I think his words where 3/4 years ago, in the middle of a typical ‘fire and brimstone’ sermon, he characterized gays as liars, god-haters, and worse, I think he was generalizing the “Gay Movement”, and while I love my gay friends, I hate those self-serving purveyors of perdition that promote the gay lifestyle. I mean why is “gay” or “queer” not a pejorative while homo or faggot is? It is still sodomy, is it not?

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