By Lori Heine
According to the conventional wisdom of both sides in the Duck Dynasty culture battle, Andrew Sullivan does not exist. He is, after all, someone to whose existence neither side will admit: an orthodox gay Christian. Of course, these same people only recently – and very grudgingly – admitted that gay conservatives exist. Many of the readers of this blog know that a lot of the same Americans who deny the existence of gay Christians also ignore theirs.
Thus the problem with “reality” TV. It reflects not reality, but the unreality of what the elites believe America to be. Phil Robertson, the patriarch of Duck Dynasty, probably doesn’t even know there are gays who are Christians – some quite orthodox in their beliefs. That there are gay Catholics, gay Baptists, gay Pentecostals and gays who are, well, Orthodox with a capital “O.” Or that, as many of us were raised in orthodox Christian traditions and believed our eternal salvation was at stake, we actually studied the passages in the Bible that supposedly condemn us – studied them far more thoroughly than do most of our detractors – so we know what they really say.
Reality can be messy for those who toss it aside whenever it doesn’t suit them. Many of those who see the whole picture – instead of merely the two carefully-edited portions of it the mainstream media has shown – may be beginning to realize what is going on: that those hostile to gays want to use “religious freedom,” selectively defined, to trample gay rights, and that those hostile to religion, especially to Christianity, want to use the anti-gay prejudices of people like Phil Robertson to roll back religious influence in politics.
Once they’ve purged the political scene of gay Christians, what’s to stop them from going after gay Republicans, or gay conservatives? Even right-of-center LGBT folks who do not consider themselves religious have a stake in how this issue plays out. If we want to break the leftist stranglehold that Gay, Incorporated has on LGBT politics, the fact that an increasing number of gay Christians are coming out – and staying in their churches – cannot be ignored.
Religion and sex are two of the most powerful emotional motivators in politics. This is why the power-brokers play gay people like pawns on a chessboard. It’s why so many of us report the experience of feeling pushed around, and especially of being pushed further left, politically and perhaps religiously, than we want to be. That the “Christian” condemnation of same-sex love is actually not Christian at all cannot be overemphasized. The obsession many heterosexual religious conservatives have with sex, particularly gay sex, borders on the pornographic.
As Sullivan notes, “This emphasis is absolutely not orthodox Christianity. There is nothing primary about sexual sin as such in Christian doctrine. It sure can be powerfully sinful – but it’s not where sin starts. And to posit gay people as the true source of all moral corruption is to use eliminationist rhetoric and demonizing logic to soften up a small minority of people for exclusion, marginalization and, at some point, violence.”
Many of us find ourselves in a place we’re not comfortable being. Nor can we afford to get too comfortable with the gains we’ve made in society in recent years. If we don’t want to be shoved out of the GOP, out of the church, or even out of our country, it is not yet time to rest. The Duck Dynasty controversy makes very clear that our adversaries are not resting.
General gay Christian:
Gay Baptist: http://www.rainbowbaptists.org/index.htm/
Gay Pentecostal: http://www.t-e-n.org/
Gay Eastern Orthodox: