One brief remark on the Phil Robertson fiasco.
But just because someone quotes 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and is opposed to same-sex marriage doesn’t mean that they’re speaking up for a theologically informed, humane, pastorally sensitive view of what it means to be gay. Not by a long shot. And social conservatives should think twice before linking the concern for religious liberty to a vindication of Robertson.
I won’t quote Robertson’s remarks in full here—they’re easy to look up—but suffice it to say that he implies that if gay men could only open their eyes, it would dawn on them how myopic they’ve been. “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.” The conclusion to draw from this comment, as Katelyn Beaty noted earlier today on Twitter, is “that gay men should just wake up to how awesome women’s body parts are.”
But, of course, that’s just not how sexuality works.
When I was in my early twenties and just beginning to allow myself to face up to my sexuality, I remember a wise pastor friend telling me that anyone with an Augustinian anthropology—for those playing at home, that’s a dim view of natural human ability to be virtuous and an uber-high view of God’s slow-moving, unpredictable grace—should have no time for the notion that gay people (or anyone else!) “choose” whom they’ll be attracted to. That seems obvious to me now, after years of thinking about these things, but at the time, hearing him say that felt like a revelation. A weight was lifted. Someone understood!
No one who takes seriously the mysteries of human nature and all the ways our hearts are opaque, even to ourselves, would say that embracing a Christian view of marriage and sexuality could ever be a matter of saying, “Gee, Phil, I’d never thought of it that way before, thanks!”
And making that point is also a matter of speaking up for Christian orthodoxy in the public square.
Wesley Hill is an assistant professor of New Testament at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality (Zondervan, 2010). He can be followed on Twitter: @WesleyHill.