Albert Mohler

You have been warned—The “Duck Dynasty” controversy

Albert Mohler
By Albert Mohler
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December 19, 2013 (Albert Mohler) - An interview can get you into big trouble. Remember General Stanley McChrystal? He was the commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan until he gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine in 2010 and criticized his Commander in Chief. Soon thereafter, he was sacked. This time the interview controversy surrounds Phil Robertson, founder of the Duck Commander company and star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty. Robertson gave an interview to GQ (formerly known as Gentlemen’s Quarterly), and now he has been put on “indefinite suspension” from the program.

Why? Because of controversy over his comments on homosexuality.

Phil Robertson is the plainspoken patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan. In the GQ interview, published in the January 2014 issue of the magazine, Robertson makes clear that his Christian faith is central to his identity and his life. He speaks of his life before Christ and actively seeks to convert the interviewer, Drew Magary, to faith in Christ. He tells Magary of the need for repentance from sin. Magary then asks Robertson to define sin. He responded:

“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,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “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.”

Christians will recognize that Robertson was offering a rather accurate paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

To be fair, Robertson also offered some comments that were rather crude and graphically anatomical in making the same point. As Magary explained, “Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out.”

Phil Robertson would have served the cause of Christ more faithfully if some of those comments had not rushed out. This is not because what he said was wrong; he was making the argument that homosexual acts are against nature. The Apostle Paul makes the very same argument in Romans 1:26. The problem is the graphic nature of Robertson’s language and the context of his statements.

The Apostle Paul made the same arguments, but worshipers in the congregations of Rome and Corinth did not have to put hands over the ears of their children when Paul’s letter was read to their church.

The entire Duck Dynasty enterprise is a giant publicity operation, and a very lucrative enterprise at that. Entertainment and marketing machines run on publicity, and the Robertsons have used that publicity to offer winsome witness to their Christian faith. But GQ magazine? Seriously?

Not all publicity is good publicity, and Christians had better think long and hard about the publicity we seek or allow by our cooperation.

Just ask Gen. McChrystal. In the aftermath of his embarrassing debacle, the obvious question was this: why would a gifted and tested military commander allow a reporter for Rolling Stone such access and then speak so carelessly? Rolling Stone is a magazine of the cultural left. It was insanity for Gen. McChrystal to speak so carelessly to a reporter who should have been expected to present whatever the general said in the most unfavorable light.

Similarly, Phil Robertson would have served himself and his mission far better by declining to cooperate with GQ for a major interview. GQ is a “lifestyle” magazine for men, a rather sophisticated and worldly platform for the kind of writing Drew Magary produced in this interview. GQ is not looking for Sunday School material. Given the publicity the interview has now attracted, the magazine must be thrilled. Phil Robertson is likely less thrilled.

Another interesting parallel emerges with the timing of this controversy. The current issue of TIME magazine features Pope Francis I as “Person of the Year.” Within days of TIME’s declaration, Phil Robertson had been suspended from Duck Dynasty. Robertson’s suspension was caused by his statements that homosexual acts are sinful. But Pope Francis is riding a wave of glowing publicity, even as he has stated in public his agreement with all that the Roman Catholic Church teaches, including its teachings on homosexual acts.

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Francis has declared himself to be a “son of the church,” and his church teaches that all homosexual acts are inherently sinful and must be seen as “acts of grave depravity” that are “intrinsically disordered.”

But Pope Francis is on the cover of TIME magazine and Phil Robertson is on indefinite suspension. Such are the inconsistencies, confusions, and hypocrisies of our cultural moment.

Writing for TIME, television critic James Poniewozik argued that Robertson’s error was to speak so explicitly and openly, “to make the subtext text.” He wrote:

Now, you’ve got an issue with those of us who maybe just want to watch a family comedy about people outside a major city, but please without supporting somebody thumping gay people with their Bible. Or a problem with people with gay friends, or family, or, you know, actual gay A&E viewers.

By speaking so openly, Robertson crossed the line, Poniewozik explains.

A&E was running for cover. The network released a statement that attempted to put as much distance as possible between what the network described as Robertson’s personal beliefs and their own advocacy for gay rights:

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.

So, even as most evangelical Christians will likely have concerns about the way Phil Robertson expressed himself in some of his comments and where he made the comments, the fact remains that it is the moral judgment he asserted, not the manner of his assertion, that caused such an uproar. A quick look at the protests from gay activist groups like GLAAD will confirm that judgment. They have protested the words Robertson drew from the Bible and labeled them as “far outside of the mainstream understanding of LGBT people.”

So the controversy over Duck Dynasty sends a clear signal to anyone who has anything to risk in public life: Say nothing about the sinfulness of homosexual acts or risk sure and certain destruction by the revolutionaries of the new morality. You have been warned.

In a statement released before his suspension, Phil Robertson told of his own sinful past and of his experience of salvation in Christ and said:

My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.

Those are fighting words, Phil. They are also the gospel truth.

Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler

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President Obama speaks at Planned Parenthood's national conference in 2013.
Lisa Bourne

Obama to speak at Catholic Health Association’s annual meeting

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

June 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic alliance that defied the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in supporting Barack Obama’s controversial overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system is persisting in its close relationship with the president, giving him a venue to further endorse ObamaCare at its annual meeting.

Obama will “focus on the future of health care and the Affordable Care Act,” when he delivers the “Future of Healthcare Address” June 9, closing the Catholic Health Association’s (CHA) annual membership meeting and marking the organization’s 100th year, a CHA statement said.

“We are delighted and honored that President Obama will speak to Catholic health care leaders gathered for our 100th anniversary as an association,” CHA president and CEO Sister Carol Keehan stated. “As long-time supporters of a health care system that works for everyone and pays special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable, we are grateful for the president’s leadership on the ACA.”

Sister Keehan was a crucial ObamaCare proponent. She later received one of the 21 ceremonial pens Obama used to sign the measure into law. She was also a beneficiary of his public, personal gratitude for her assistance in getting the law passed.

Pro-abortion Catholic politicians cited Keehan and CHA's support for the law, despite ObamaCare’s compulsory taxpayer funding of contraception and abortifacients, in justifying their support for the law.

In 2010, the late Cardinal Francis George, then president of the USCCB, said that culpability for ObamaCare’s passage lies at the feet of Sister Keehan and other Catholic groups that split from the bishops to support the pro-abortion legislation.

"The Catholic Health Association and other so-called Catholic groups provided cover for those on the fence to support Obama and the administration," Cardinal George said at the time, adding that "Sister Carol and her colleagues are to blame" for the passage of the health care bill.

The cardinal and bishops had met personally with her numerous times to communicate about the law and continually came away frustrated.

"The bill which was passed is fundamentally flawed. The executive order is meaningless. Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation," the cardinal stated, also saying that the CHA and the groups have "weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S." with their actions in regard to ObamaCare.

Sister Keehan, who was pressured off of the Knights of Malta’s Holy Family Hospital Foundation as a result of her ObamaCare support, continued in defending the embattled law in her statement announcing the president’s upcoming appearance to further tout it.

“This important law has provided meaningful health coverage to at least 16 million people who needed and deserved it, as well as improved both the benefits and finances of Medicare and Medicaid,” said Sister Keehan. “We look forward to the president's comments and insights at our assembly, and to being a continued partner in preserving and improving the ACA.”

One Catholic blogger criticized the CHA for having Obama come speak to its membership.

Kathy Schiffer of the Seasons of Grace blog pronounced herself “disgusted and horrified.”

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“What in the world, I wonder, could this president have to say to Catholics about health care?” Schiffer asked.

She then listed Obama’s policy offenses against Catholics, including seeking to penalize Catholic organizations that oppose funding contraception and abortifacients, and his refusal to acknowledge that Catholic organizations are religious employers for the purpose of religious liberty.

Schiffer’s examples illustrating the irreconcilable invitation for Obama to speak to Catholic healthcare professionals also included mention of the threat of Catholic hospitals closing because of his policies requiring contraception and sterilization. Statistics show that large numbers of Catholic doctors plan to retire early and leave healthcare because of the ACA.

Schiffer wrote that she believed it was her responsibility to share her concerns “and to encourage others to express their concerns as well–inviting the Catholic Health Association to abide by Church teaching, and to return to the faith passed on to us by the Apostles.”

Contact:

The Catholic Health Association of the United States

Sister Carol Keehan:
[email protected]

Board of Trustees Staff Contact Candice T. Hall:
[email protected]
1875 Eye Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20006
PH: (202) 296-3993
FX: (202) 296-3997 

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Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

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Bruce Jenner wanted to abort his oldest daughter

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By Ben Johnson

HOLLYWOOD, CA, June 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Bruce Jenner has spared the public virtually nothing during his public transformation into “Caitlyn,” but one detail of his life emerged in the story that accompanies that much-shared Vanity Fair cover: The former Olympic medalist wanted his oldest daughter, Casey, aborted and refused to be at the hospital during her birth.

During the height of his fame, Bruce Jenner was married to Chrystie Crownover. Their nine-year marriage produced two children: Burt (Burton) and Casey (Cassandra).

But Bruce learned about Casey in the midst of a divorce battle and told Chrystie he wanted her to get rid of the child.

“When I found out I was pregnant Bruce raised the issue of an abortion, and I went along with him just as I always did. I had all the tests and had even paid for the operation,” Chrystie wrote in People magazine in 1981, the year they divorced. “But one night I was out to dinner and my friend asked me why I wanted an abortion.”

Her answer was simple: “I don't want the abortion,” she said. “Bruce wants it.”

Her friend responded, “You are having the abortion because the man that you are not going to be living with wants you to have it?"

“I thought, what an idiot I am,” Chrystie wrote. “I wanted the child very, very much.”

She gave birth to a baby girl in June 1980. Bruce chose not to be present at her birth, telling Vanity Fair his night consisted of crying in a hotel room.

However, his attitude changed. Chrystie wrote that after giving birth, “Bruce has been very loving and accepting of Casey.”

Although the articles were publicly available, Casey said she did not know about her father's initial reaction until she was 13 years old. She overheard a few cryptic remarks Bruce made to his ex-wife during a fight, telling Vanity Fair that she remembers at age 13 “asking my mom what he was talking about, until she confessed the history behind my birth.”

Casey has since reconciled with her father – and her mother has never questioned her decision to give birth, even in life apart from the decathlon winner.

“My fulfillment 10 years ago was totally through a man,” Chrystie wrote. “Today the important things in my life are my kids, my design work, my friends, and my running, and I feel fulfilled by those.” 

Like Chrystie almost did, many women abort under duress, feeling they have no choice but to follow the instructions of their husband, boyfriend, or parents.

Bruce Jenner went on to have six children with three wives.

Casey tells Vanity Fair that she supports her father's public and conspicuous transition into “Caitlyn.” But some of his other six children have reacted differently.

Seventeen-year-old Kylie Jenner, Bruce's youngest child with third wife, Kris, admitted last month, “I feel like I go through these times where I hate my life.”

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She told her father she missed their bonding times, saying, “I wish you were out here to do crazy things with me.” She then told the television audience, "Me and my dad have so many things in common, [but] he's making all of these changes.”

Kylie has denied rumors that she has had an abortion.

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Steve Weatherbe

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Gay atheist rips into Irish bishops’ weak response on gay ‘marriage’

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

June 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- A leading British commentator who is both a homosexual and an atheist has come down hard on the leadership of the Catholic Church in Ireland for what he calls its complacent “willingness to bend to prevailing mood” on Ireland’s same-sex “marriage” referendum.

The Irish voted two-to-one for allowing homosexual “marriage.” This result met with the full approval of Matthew Parris, a former Conservative MP and current columnist for the Spectator and Times newspapers who has been in a civil partnership with his longtime homosexual partner Julian Glover since 2006. He nonetheless devoted a scathing column in the Spectator to condemning the Catholic episcopate for undercutting its own beliefs with its tepid response to the referendum result.

He cited Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who told Irish broadcaster RTE, “The Church needs a reality check right across the board, to look at the things we are doing well and look at the areas where we need to say, have we drifted away completely from young people?” Martin went on to question the effectiveness of the Church’s involvement in the school system, since polling indicated young people proved especially keen on legalizing same-sex “marriage.”

But Martin’s humble, apologetic self-examination was not what Parris wanted from the Church he disbelieves in, though his Wikipedia entry indicates he was never a member. What he wanted to see was something like “Moses’ (and God’s) furious reaction to the nude dancing and heretical worship of Moloch in the form of a golden calf: the Sin of the Calf in the Hebrew literature.”

Archbishop Martin went on the describe Ireland’s vote as a “social revolution” which must serve as a “reality check” for Church leaders about how bad a job they are doing as teachers and pastors.

What should Martin have said? According to Parris, “The conservative Catholic’s only proper response to [the referendum result] is that 62 per cent in a referendum does not cause a sin in the eyes of God to cease to be a sin.”

“Can’t these Christians see that the moral basis of their faith cannot be sought in the pollsters’ arithmetic? What has the Irish referendum shown us? It is that a majority of people in the Republic of Ireland in 2015 do not agree with their church’s centuries-old doctrine that sexual relationships between two people of the same gender are a sin.”

Parris went on to argue that Christians more than other religious believers ought to expect their teachings to be unpopular, given “the fate of their Messiah, and the persecution of adherents to the Early Church. ‘Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you,’ says Paul.”

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Parris concludes with a question. He wonders if Martin’s response -- and Pope Francis’ too -- to the Irish loss, reveal that they never really believed their moral positions were from God after all –“that on some half-conscious level neither ever really believed that morality was absolute or objective anyway — or supposed we really thought they were serious? Have some of us, in short, made the mistake of taking the church at its word?”

Parris’s argument at this point rests on an atheist’s typically truncated understanding of Christian teaching—that it consists solely of repeating God’s word as distilled from the Bible. Clearly it has never occurred to him that the Church has developed a moral theology based on reason and the concept of natural law which it has passed down in the form of millennia-old Tradition (not “centuries-old” as Parris puts it).  That homosexuality is a sin not because God says so, but that God says so because He is the designer of humanity and ought to know best how we function.

But this does not necessarily make Parris wrong in his assessment of the Catholic hierarchy’s milquetoast response to the referendum. Raised in a time when the Church’s power was peaking, entering seminary with the expectation of preferment and perquisites, most current bishops never signed on to be reviled like Jesus Christ was, or, perhaps worse, ignored as an irrelevant anachronism.

So the answer to his question could be that the current Church leadership is indeed suffering from a crisis of doubt, but this need not be true of earlier generations, and is not even an accurate characterization of the Catholic faithful or bishops in the developing countries in Africa and Asia. There persecution is growing, and the Faith is strong.

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